In this week’s text, Chris Lederer and Megan Brownlow outline some of the recent shifts in the Entertainment and Media (E&M) industry that, if utilised effectively, have the capacity to contribute to the continuing sustainable growth of the field. In this post, I will elaborate on two of the shifts they identified that were of particular interest and relevance to me.
One of the shifts mentioned was the role of youth as an increasingly influential demographic for the E&M industries. According to their research, there is an obvious correlation between markets with higher populations of youth and those with high E&M growth. This does not surprise me, as increasingly we see youth today adopting new technologies and platforms ahead of older generations. Not only are we quick to jump on the latest technological bandwagons, but we are also the generation of multi-taskers, with phenomenons of double- and even triple-screening becoming a daily habit. As youth today have growth up with the Internet and technological devices such as smart phones and tablets, they are inherently more responsive and open-minded to new technologies that might arise in the future. Marketing to this demographic is thus of vital importance to E&M companies not only due to the fact that they are bringing in more revenue, but also because they are ultimately the future of consumerism.
Lederer and Brownlow also claim that contrary to many contradicting opinions, “content is still king.” This is reassuring to us as media practitioners, as although new technologies and platforms create new and exciting ways of consuming media, they would not get far without the high quality content (which is where we come in) to distribute to consumers. For example, if Netflix had mind-numbingly awful content, people are not going to respond positively despite the convenience and affordability of the platform itself. Further, the section on tailoring universally appealing content for local markets is also an interesting concept to think about. When we think of greatly successful content, we often determine this by its international reach. But international reach is in fact more complex than what we might initially assume. Lederer and Brownlow highlight the benefits of “blending international reach and local focus.” This relates to shows that have begun in one country and are adopted and produced by another with their own national flare, e.g. talent shows, dating shows and even cooking shows. These programs are commonly successful as the style and format has already been tried and tested, and the localised focus helps to resonate more with domestic audiences.
This reading presented some relevant points that are helpful in understanding the areas to tap into in order to be successful in this constantly changing landscape. Although these opportunistic areas might be limited to the next 5-10 years, they certainly provide a good starting point.
After reading the selected excerpts of Klaus Schwab’s The Fourth Industrial Revolution, I felt a strange mixture of excitement and fear. There’s no questioning the fact that recent technological developments and future trends have and will drastically alter the state of the world that we live in, but whether it be for the better or worse in the long run is still up for debate.
Schwab begins by identifying the physical, digital and biological drivers and megatrends that have essentially crafted the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’ It’s amazing to consider the fact that automated cars might become the norm, that we as humans might collaborate with robots on a regular basis, and that synthetic biology could repair injury and eliminate disease. Most relevant to the media industry is of course the growing phenomenon of digitisation. The Internet, for example, has reinvented the state of the economy, changed the nature of work and has provided individuals with a modern sense of community and an opportunity to make their voices heard. At surface value, these innovations are mind-blowing and have begun, and will likely continue to, benefit our economy and quality of life.
However, Schwab not only draws attention to the advantages of the revolution, but also the undeniable implications. One of the things that stood out for me was the inequalities that would be further exacerbated by the continued proliferation of digital technologies. Developing countries and social groups of a lower class might become further ostracised as they do not have the resources to gain access to such technologies and information. Additionally, those who are tech-savvy will inevitably have significant advantages over those who are not. It becomes the responsibility of the government to step in and improve accessibility, availability and education in order to overcome these issues – but this is easier said than done.
Further, the effects of the revolution on society’s behaviours and attitudes are also a cause for concern. Schwab identifies how synthetic biology may lead to the standardisation of designer babies. This immediately made me think of the film Gatacca (1997), a sci-fi drama in which individual’s capabilities are determined strictly by their genetic makeup. While at the time of its release the concept was unimaginable, after reading this text, it doesn’t even seem that far-fetched. The fact that science fiction could become a reality is slightly terrifying to say the least. Schwab also highlights how the increased use of digital devices might lead to a decline in face-to-face sociability and the ability to feel empathy. Sadly, I feel as though we are already headed in this direction as our digital devices have essentially become an extension of our bodies and identities. The internet and social media has altered our lifestyle so much in such a short span of time that I’m kind of scared to see where it takes us next.
This text was certainly eye opening and positioned me to discover that I have a lot of mixed feelings towards the subjects covered. Innovation and enterprise are of course essential to our economy moving forward, but that’s not to say they don’t come without their complications.