The entertainment industry has undergone significant disruption in recent years, with the media industry shifting towards an on-demand service. Much of this shift can be attributed to the emergence of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – platforms that have invested in creating compelling programming, whilst forcing conventional media networks to rethink the way they work.
You can go all the way back to analog television to see how digitalization has redefined and reimagined the possibilities for home-based entertainment. Cloud-based and physical storage solutions, combined with intuitive software, have changed the way that content is consumed by the masses.
All hail reliable broadband
The increasing speed and reliability of broadband connectivity has helped to usher in a new wave of entertainment service providers, encouraging more than a quarter (27%) of homes in the US alone to scrap cable services in 2021 alone. One of the biggest factors in this statistic is the rise of subscription-based platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. In essence, there is nothing particularly fancy about what these operators have done. They’ve created one-stop-shop libraries of entertainment content, available to stream on-demand, whenever a customer likes. So, whether it’s a hard-hitting documentary or a light-hearted chick flick, there is something to cater for all tastes and moods.
All this choice and interactivity is available at a cut price in comparison with a base-level cable package too. It is said that the average household in the US will pay a shade over $156 per month, which equates to $217 when taxes and additional fees are included. Compare this with $8.99 for a basic Netflix plan and it’s easy to see why so many millions are flocking to on-demand platforms. The very most anyone will pay for a monthly Netflix plan is $15.99 for the premium service, which includes all content streamed in high-definition (HD) quality.
Netflix was even forced to adapt in oder to survive and thrive in the digital age of entertainment. Its earliest incarnation was a video rental service, whereby customers could place orders for DVDs online and receive them via mail order. They would return them in the same way. Think of it like a more convenient Blockbuster. However, as internet speeds soared and computers, mobiles and smart TVs were powerful enough to handle it, streamed content effectively killed off the video rental industry. Netflix acted fast enough to pivot to an on-demand streaming service in 2007 and has never looked back. More recently it has invested heavily in its own media production, with Netflix-exclusive shows and series featuring some of the biggest names from the big screen.
Digitalization has helped to shake up tired broadcast networks and industry models
In the UK, long-standing broadcast network the BBC was also forced to pivot its iPlayer service in fear of millennials ditching it in favor of Netflix and Amazon Prime. iPlayer has changed little since its launch in July 2007. Instead of BBC iPlayer being used as a “pure catchup service”, the addition of boxsets, exclusive content, and live-streamed events has encouraged more users to “browse for content”, according to Tom Harrington, senior broadcast research analyst at Enders Analysis.
The era of digitalization has heavily impacted other entertainment subsectors too. Not least the online betting industry. The proliferation of high-speed broadband has made it possible for online bookmakers to offer live-streamed sporting events, available on desktop and mobile devices. This has become more than just a ‘nice to have’ and is now a necessity for the leading sportsbooks. The rise of e-wallets has also had a major impact on online betting sites, as operators compete with one another to offer the broadest choice of deposit methods for the ultimate in bettor convenience. At bet365 Australia, casual punters with iPhones ‘Down Under’ can use ApplePay to make quick transactions, while PayPal is considered the quickest withdrawal method with funds cleared into PayPal accounts within 24 hours. This is a far cry from the four-to-five business days it takes to withdraw to debit cards.
The music subsector of the entertainment industry has also undergone a seismic makeover. A company that goes by the name of Spotify celebrated its 15-year anniversary earlier this year. It is not hyperbole to suggest this brand single-handedly reinvented the music business. With peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing platforms making it easier than ever to share music illegally, streaming portals like Spotify and iTunes were deemed to at least bring some form of revenue to the music industry’s flagging business model.
Spotify is considered the Netflix of the music industry, with customers able to commit a small monthly subscription fee to get access to a monstrous library of music to stream on-demand. One of the biggest benefits of Spotify is the way it has opened up new genres of music, making them fully accessible to millennials – many of whom have increasingly eclectic tastes. A study from YPulse in 2019 found that 85% of millennial Spotify users had musical tastes spanning multiple genres on the platform.
Variety is the spice of life and digitalization has played a key role in transforming what types of entertainment we consume and how we consume them.