Analysts note that TV broadcasts of the Winter Olympics -- which come hours after the results are known via the Internet -- have not hurt ratings. Rather than cannnibalizing the audience, the Internet may be creating some strange mojo, in which water cooler chatter about big events and American medals actually boosts the TV audience.
But this isn't so unusual, considering the synergy between two other media: books and movies. Just glance at USA Today's best seller list, whose Top 10 includes -- for the first time -- all five books in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The books obviously are getting a big boost from new movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Maybe parents suffering from a Harry Potter overdose have discovered a new series for their children. Maybe kids are buying the books to see how much deeper the plot is than the movie adaptation. Whatever, it counters the argument that kids would rather watch a movie (or TV) than read a book.
The movie/book mojo extends further on the best seller list. At #1 is "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks, which evidently got a boost from the movie (and may have helped to carry "The Last Song" to the #3 spot). At #5 and #9 are "Shutter Island" by Dennis Lehane and "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold, which also have been released as movies this year.
I'm actually less likely to read a book once I've seen a movie -- I don't like having the ending spoiled. But I sometimes will postpone seeing a movie, and rush out to get the book. Sounds backward, I know, but I usually find that the book to be deeper, more layered and more enjoyable than the movie. Call it The "Dune" Effect.