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Revision as of 11:39, 11 August 2012

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We already have 11 comic explanations!

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Video Content
"So, like, sexy news videos?" "No, people have tried that--it's still just video content. We need to actually inform people THROUGH making out. I would call it 'Mouth Content,' but I think that's already the title of a Neil Cicierega album."
Title text: "So, like, sexy news videos?" "No, people have tried that--it's still just video content. We need to actually inform people THROUGH making out. I would call it 'Mouth Content,' but I think that's already the title of a Neil Cicierega album."


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: work in progress.

This comic appears to be a commentary about the declining publishing industry and their unsuccessful attempts at regaining an audience.

News media has evolved dramatically as the world entered the information era. Newspapers, which were at one point the most widely distributed and consumed form of media, have rapidly been eclipsed by new technologies such as television, Internet, and streaming video. Subscriptions to paper-based media have been drastically declining to the point where many publishers are on the verge of shutting down. While publishers are making an effort to move their content to newer, more popular forms of media, in many cases they are still clearly behind the times.

The comic illustrates one such example with Cueball suggesting presenting news stories as videos rather than text. This is presented and received as a clever new idea that would appeal to young people based on the fact that they like watching YouTube videos. However, apparently no one in the comic has realized that television news programs have been filling such a niche for decades and that young people are just as disinterested. In reality, this idea is not at all original and likely to be doomed to fail from the start. As with many similar attempts, the new "ideas" that publishers are trying to adopt are merely cramming news content into things young people like, without really understanding why they like it and without considering whether news would be a good fit.

In the caption, Randall suggests it would be pointless to argue with newspaper publishers about their ideas. Presumably Randall believes publishers who fall for those ideas are already out of touch with the new generation, and would not be able to understand why those ideas lack merit. Instead, he suggests taking the trend to a ridiculous extreme, by telling publishers that young people like making out. Suppose publishers follow the same pattern and try to cram news into this as well, they would end up creating some form of news program centered around making out. The results may turn out completely laughable or highly entertaining. If the former, it could serve as a wake-up call to publishers that they need to reconsider their approach. If the latter, then it could actually become a trend and unexpectedly reinvigorate the industry.

The title text describes the group discussing this idea. Ironically, part of this discussion is to dismiss the concept of "sexy news videos" (the straightforward combination of "video news presentation" and "making out") by pointing out that it's already been tried, an objection that applies even more clearly and obviously to the idea of presenting news in video form. The title text also dismisses the proposed name Mouth Content as possibly the title of a Neil Cicierega album, probably a reference to his recently-released Mouth Moods, as well as his prior albums Mouth Sounds and Mouth Silence.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[From left to right: Hairy, Cueball, Megan and Hairbun sit around a conference table.]
Cueball: Research shows young people like YouTube, so we should present news stories as videos instead of text!
Megan: Good idea!
Hairbun: They'll love that!
[Caption below the panel:]
Instead of arguing with newspapers about this, we should just tell them how much young people like making out and see what happens.

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