Entertainment is not what it used to be
November 1, 2010
— account planning, constant gardener, fragmentation, social media, socialtainment
You’ll probably be pleased to find that this post is not about the quality of reality TV its about what entertainment now is to people and the ways they access it.
Entertainment’s face is still glamorous, celebrity making etc. but its body has basically had more done to it than Cher’s. People are accessing entertainment in very different ways now.
Families are now more nebulous than nucleus. Kids and parents are eating at different times which is fragmenting entertainment primetime. Practically everyone has their own access to the net be it through their mobile, tablet, net book or computer and most have their own TV. TVs don’t tend to die anymore so the old TV just gets passed into bedrooms. This is fragmenting entertainment access. The idea that a family sits down together and watches anything but X-Factor as a unit is not exactly out dated but we’re certainly not all the Royles.
What does this mean to the likes of BSkyB, Virgin Media and BT? They need to be the purveyors of ‘quality entertainment’ as defined by people and to give these people access to it through whatever means they choose, whenever they choose to access it.
Blockbusters, TV big hits, news award winners, goals, tries, wickets, home runs, touchdowns and music are all the less surprising forms of entertainment. But you speak to people out there and they’ll tell you that entertainment is also, Facebook, YouTube, gaming and in some sad cases even happy slapping (which is essentially a perverse form on sharing).
On the TV: people want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want. Each of the big players have some sort of video on demand offering, Virgin Media’s being the most advanced and extensive. But their offerings are like having a pick and mix bag full of stuff you know you like, stuff you know you don’t like and stuff you don’t know so you won’t know if you like it or not. (Thanks Rummy.) What would really make a difference is an offering that delights me with the type of entertainment I would choose if I knew it to choose it. That, to me is where the cherry hides.
If the biggies really want to entertain beyond the confines of ‘TV’ they need to facilitate Socialtainment. I don’t mean setting up their own social platform that talks about movies, I mean proper facilitation that allows people to access the social network that they have set up for themselves.
This is where the real battleground lies – thus BT’s investment in a fiber optic network and the governmental posturing in a similar vein. How do people get to the entertainment and socialtainment out there? Research by Ofcom shows that families are now more worried about losing their broadband than TV service. With the former they can still access TV programming and socialtainment but without it, you are stuck with someone else’s entertainment agenda and schedule and no network.
When everyone gets on the internet at primetime, broadband bandwidth gets shared and the circle of doom rears its ugly head. This is not good entertainment. It’s not good for a ball to stutter into a goal, a buffering horror movie generally kills the suspense and slow comment or response can be incredibly detrimental in the world of teenage digital flirting.
So here’s the thing, people want faster broadband speeds as standard, not what broadband speeds you can supply ‘up to’ when you’re not throttling, and we want to know what the speeds can do for us.
Perhaps it’s time to go beyond Mbps and “Look! We have the lastest HBO series. Aren’t we clever.”? Perhaps it’s time these companies recognise that entertainment ain’t what it once was? Perhaps it’s time they begin to inspire and facilitate the sort of entertainment people now demand?