Just a few short decades ago, most of the entertainment we experienced was enjoyed over a wide range of platforms. We’d have a television and radio turned to dozens of channels, carry huge wallets of CDs with us, and otherwise pursue a myriad of different methods to get what we wanted. In the modern digital age, this pattern has changed, with most of us sticking to just one or two avenues to scratch whatever entertainment itch raises its head.
Looking at both sides of this equation, we want to look at why such centralization in entertainment has become so common. From what technological and business realities is this change born, what limitations exist, and why is centralization as a pattern only looking to grow more dominant in the future?
In many ways, the modern model of entertainment concentration was inevitable. What held it back for so long were limitations largely tied to cost. Delivering entertainment in an analog fashion is expensive, owing to both direct physical costs and issues of licencing. With the help of the internet, these costs are mitigated substantially, allowing involved industries to finally accomplish decade-old goals.
There is a sometimes confounding element on this front, however, in terms of exclusivity. This is especially a problem with larger television and movie platforms. By leaning so strongly on exclusivity for a few key properties, streaming services like Disney and Netflix can be frustrating for consumers to engage with. Even if many shows are shared, having to pay an entire subscription fee for just one or two shows you don’t want to miss out on is an experience that few users appreciate, as MoneyTalksNews explains.
“Cord Cutting – Cutting the Cord from Tra” (CC BY 2.0) by mikemacmarketing
Other industries take a different route, where cooperation is a much more central tenet. Online casino games are common illustrations of this, where software providers offer their titles on a range of online services. Consider the LeoVegas jackpot games selection, for example. Games like Mega Moolah and Empire Fortune are popular here, but not exclusive. Instead, the difference in services like this comes from the overall quality of the different host websites, giving players a far more appreciated level of choice.
At its core, it is this choice combined with convenience which has allowed digital entertainment centers to evolve as far as they have. Rather than having to manage many disparate systems, digital centralization drives engagement through simplicity. With the opportunity to get what you want, when you want, and as many times as you want, the choice between digital and analog systems is not much of a choice at all.
The convenience of these choices is born from both hardware and software improvements, the two working together in harmony for a vastly streamlined experience. Instead of needing a Discman or even a separate MP3 player, just use your phone. Instead of having to scroll through a disorganized list of entertainment, use voice commands like on Spotify to do the heavy lifting. Again, it’s not much of a choice.
“Discman” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jacob Zúñiga
With media conglomerates becoming larger by the day, the centralization of media properties is essentially a guaranteed path going forward. The only question is how these systems will be implemented. Will they continue down the typical path of video streamers and be arguably frustrating for users, or will they adopt a more diplomatic and cooperative approach a la online casinos? Only time will tell.