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Escape Products

Escape media products are the go-to media platforms users consume during breaks. Think of Twitter scrolling during lunch or a quick YouTube video between tasks.

Details: Escape media products meet psychological needs such as combating boredom, satisfying prestige, or fulfilling a fear of missing out.

  • Escape products feature short Shelf Life content in chronologically ordered feeds, i.e., their content that keeps frequently changing throughout the day. This, in turn, creates a fear of missing out that brings the audience back multiple times a day. 
  • Their success is gauged by user engagement. Hence, these products need to be addictive (increase Time Per Session, Sessions Per User, DAU/MAU) and fast-moving.
  • Audiences don’t pay for escape media. Hence, escape products trade user attention for Digital Advertisements and affiliate revenue.
  • However, as attention is finite, these platforms strive to monopolize engagement, typically leading to one dominant player and others serving the long tail.

Driving the news: With audience attention being a Zero-sum game, entertainment and Social media have found a sweet spot, offering time-pass content and peer interaction. Legacy news products like Hindustan Times also fall in this category by serving Bollywood, cricket, and politics.Then there are games like 2048.

  • Other media companies also know this formula for success: Buzzfeed caters to the ‘Bored at Work‘ network, according to founder Peretti. Brut India’s homepage, for instance, entices visitors with “Take a break with us.”
  • Netflix famously said that their biggest competitor was sleep.

“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin.”

Netflix C.E.O. Reed Hastings

Launch a new website in this category: In my opinion, this is an extremely competitive space with winner-take-all characteristics.

  • If you are setting up in the escape media product category, then you’ve to publish at extreme scale and have to rely on SEO and programmatic Digital Advertisements for monetization.

Implications on the rest of us:

“We’re Candid Communication no longer just competing with each other, or with the entertainment industry, but with what people create themselves and their communications with one another.”

Journalism+Design founder Heather Chaplin

Every time you publish a compelling story, you are essentially seeking to reserve 10-minutes in your readers’ calendar.

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It doesn’t take much imagination to think of ways for Escape Products to game “attention minutes” 

  • Click-bait
  • If you’ve ever seen a headline over a YouTube embed with an appeal to stick around until a certain point in a video
  • Or a post that implores you to stick around for a particular list item (These 29 Advertisements Are Almost Too Clever For Their Own Good. Number 11 Got Me Good. LOL.)
  • What else takes a long time? Quizzes. Games.



Click-baiting’ is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.

It is typically used in escape products because Escape products game attention minutes.