Media as Business: Versatility as a Trend
In today’s class, we looked closely at the business side of mass communication and it has changed in recent years. One major change that companies have had to make is making themselves as reachable and versatile as possible. With a population completely absorbed into their smart phones it is a huge advantage to have apps which represent and help your business. This also helps the next topic we discussed which was extending these different media experiences into the physical realm. Even though everything seems to be “going digital” there are many people who still crave unique physical experiences like going to a movie theater.
This article from the Denver post discusses how movies continue to bring us out of our homes even when streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are much more convenient and cheaper. Although it may be true that it is more convenient to stay at home, people still crave the outside or “escapist” experience that going to the movies provides. There are also much more obvious reasons however like the simple fact that it is an incredible experience to see a movie on an enormous theater screen which offers a unique level of immersion even virtual reality does not match. I personally still enjoy going to the theaters, especially when i want to see a movie like Star Wars that’s larger than life experience can only be properly appreciated on the big screen.
Although experiences like seeing a major motion picture on the big screen may never lose their appeal, streaming services continue to improve. This was the topic of another interesting conversation in class. Today’s streaming services offer unparalleled customization that allow it users to see only what they want to and not be bothered by things they find uninteresting. Services like YouTube Red and Pandora use your previous likes and subscriptions to set up a clean-cut list of suggestions each specific user will enjoy. It is incredible and almost scary how accurate these services can be sometimes, there are even times where I catch myself liking songs from artists I never liked before.
With streaming services, as advanced as these it is no surprise how much people have cut back on pay TV services. The reason for the sudden burst in streaming service success seems to be the fact that production has become cheaper and easier. This has completely changed the value chain and allowed for one company to produce distribute and exhibit their own products. With all the new wildly popular Netflix original series it is highly unlikely this trend will end any time soon
2. Convergence: Good or Bad?
The limit of technological advancement in the last decade is unfathomable. Almost all forms of media have converged. Media convergence is the interlinking of mass communication outlets – print, television, radio, the Internet along with portable and interactive technologies through various digital media platforms. Is it possible, however, that there is a downside to media convergence? For traditional media, the answer is yes. For example, paid television such as cable and network shows on HBO, Showtime, or Stars for example have evolved in to original content on various streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Statistics show that as of late streaming is becoming more popular than paid television. Also, most of these shows on TV Networks eventually come to streaming services anyways.
When I was much younger, music was still on CD-Roms. This fad was actually beginning to die out as I grew up. As a result of convergence, every song you can think of can be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, and a wide variety of alternative apps that allow music to be streamed for a small fee. This small fee in the end is a lot less than it was to buy albums on CDs and as a result of the ease and cheap price, music is becoming more popular via streaming services.
Even current events and national news no longer has to be read from a physical newspaper. Most reading services and news outlets have online websites that allow us to access every bit of news at our fingertips. The internet allows us to access news, stories, gossip, and literature quickly and more conveniently. Ultimately, this will probably result in the demise of print news and libraries.
Media convergence, in my opinion, is a necessary component to the technological advancements of our generation. While some may not prefer everything becoming digital, it is unavoidable. Businesses are focusing on the distribution of a product more than the production, and that is having a large impact on sales and overall influence. Production is focused on with original content and exhibition is easier as well because of the wide attainability of means to stream.
Netflix has succeeded and continues to evolve as a result of a choice to become convergent from utilizing and mailing CDs to becoming the world’s largest streaming service. It is only a matter of time before print news and album music is a thing of the past. Cable television will eventually die out too, but not as soon.
It is an important responsibility of businesses to adapt to and get ahead of media convergence. Focusing on target audiences that fill a majority of the total audience is a major goal that has become difficult. Pockets of growth such as Spanish Americans are good audiences because this growing population can influence ratings and sales.
It is up to you decide whether media convergence is good or bad, but three things are for certain: It is happening, it is unavoidable, and it is popular.