Uncomfortable Question

Are people simply buying and consuming less traditional media?

Tim O’Reilly nails it. This is the entertainment industry’s most uncomfortable question:

Is the problem piracy, or are people simply buying less?

It’s anecdotal, but among my peers and myself, I know it to be true that we are buying less. Streaming media services, crappier movies, more expensive ticket prices, and significantly more entertainment alternatives might just mean that people are buying less:

While people have access to more traditional types of entertainment media they also have exponential access to alternatives.

  • Music: I buy a decent amount of music, but most of my friends simply use Pandora, Spotify or Rdio in place of purchasing or listening to terrestrial radio. Napster is a thing of the past and I don’t hear many peers talk about stealing music. So they’re either procuring it legally through services that are significantly cheaper than purchasing albums, or they’re putting their time and money elsewhere.
  • News: I don’t know anyone my age who subscribes to physical newspapers, and online, publishers like the New York Times have made it clear that they’re clueless when it comes to worthwhile online paid subscriptions.
  • Movies: I also don’t know anyone that buys DVDs anymore and Hollywood seems to be in a contest to see how much lower they can set the bar with each movie release while adding expensive gimmicks like 3D. Maybe I’m just bullshitting myself, but I feel like I’d see more movies if they were cheaper and I didn’t have to wear stupid glasses.

I’d suspect that the double-edged sword of the internet has meant that while people have access to more traditional types of entertainment media they also have exponential access to more alternative types of entertainment, games, news, writing, media, etc. that Hollywood can’t even find on its radar screen, let alone make money off of.

(via Daring Fireball)

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