Monday, October 19, 2009

Balloon Boy, what have you cost us? (And who should pay?)

Balloon Boy... what have you cost us? Who should pay?

I was going to post this as a Fermi problem, but decided to have fun myself.
The first question is, considering only the Thursday afternoon media frenzy, how much money in lost work did the whole balloon boy fiasco cost?

For nearly 2 hours on Thursday, October 15th 2009, "millions" of viewers across the world sat "transfixed" in front of their televisions and computer screens following the "harrowing" plight of poor little Falcon Heene. At least, according to the news.
However, it turns out that there were a significant number of people watching the TV and surfing the next on the balloon boy story who should have been working. I heard accounts by friends and family of their co-workers watching the news raptly.
So lets start:

Lets assume only the people in the US as our sample. If we assume that only 1 in 3000 Americans watching during work, and an average pay of $10/hr for a period of two hours that comes out to be 2 million dollars in direct wage costs lost to the balloon boy frenzy.
Adding 30% overhead costs in benefits and such for each employee, and that comes out to 2.6 million in direct.
Now add to the cost to other people who may be held up from completing their projects and have to sit twiddling their thumbs or working on other less pressing projects. Lets say equivalent of 10% of the number of people watching, so add another 260 thousand dollars.

So, rounding up we can estimate at least 3 million dollars were directly lost because of the balloon boy fiasco! Take ~10% of that in taxes, and the government will sure be pissed!

That is just for those two hours during the whole "harrowing" ordeal.
How can we start on the hours spent online by people reading the news for the latest information of balloon boy, reading and writing blogs over the last 5 days?

Oh my.

Who should pay for this mess?

Here are some candidates:

Richard Heene:
They guy has already paid in getting the short end of the stick genetically. Jail time for him will suffice. And blood from a turnip after all.

The Media:
Hands down this is who should pay. They were the fear mongering exploitative people who made this hoax into a much bigger deal than it needed to be. Hello, and average cable tv show costs 3-5 million an episode to produce. I doubt too many people will miss an episode wife swap. Hey, the producers of wife swap should pay as well.

Of course, that is my opinion! ;)

1 comment:

  1. "Thank god they found balloon boy, I was afraid that Michael Jackson was ordering take out from heaven." - Texts from last night