Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 5 – Episode 20 – Reading – Instant Satisfaction

We’re back with another compelling reading, along with some activities. So make sure you read the entry below and answer the questions!

(1)Streaming and on-demand services have demonstrated exponential growth in recent years, largely due to the widespread availability of high-speed internet connections and improved wireless connectivity. Without the vast improvements in these fields, streaming as we know it simple would not be technologically feasible. While streaming has come to dominate several contemporary industries, its origins can actually be traced back to the early 80s when the hacking community used it for file sharing. Over the following two decades, the technology improved enough to facilitate the video sharing sites that have transformed how we consume media today. This report looks at media consumption trends in several industries and assesses their impact on society as a whole.

(2)Perhaps one of the biggest changes of the past 20 years is the shift away from physical media. No industry exemplifies this change more so than the music industry. Sales of physical singles and albums have dropped dramatically since the inception of digital media services such as iTunes and Spotify. Today the bulk of music is consumed digitally, although overall, the rate of digital downloads and streamed music has started to flatten out. As evidenced in Figure 1.1, income digital sales, in all forms, now constitutes in excess of 50% of the market and has remained consistently higher than physical sales for the past three year. While an increasing number of sales for the past three years. While an increasing number of people are choosing to buck this trend — sales of vinyl are at a 25-year high — the vast majority are embracing forms of digital media. Should this trend continue, physical media may well become a thing of the past sooner than we think.

(3)There has also been a significant rise in online subscription video and on-demand TV services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. Digital TV Research — a London-based media research company — forecasts that revenues from video streaming services will reach 32 billion in 2021, up from under 2 billion in 2010. Countries such as Chila will see increases from just 37 million in 2010, to 3 billion in 2020. Without doubt, the leading video sharing site in the world is YouTube. A staggering 300 hours of video footage is uploaded to YouTube every minute and 5 billion videos are watched daily — 1 billion of which are accessed via a mobile platform. Companies are also increasingly using it to advertise their products and to communicate directly with consumers. In terms of popularity, YouTube is second only to Google, and viewing figures far outstrip those of its direct competitors. Should growth rates continues in this way, on-demand and subscription viewing could surpass traditional broadcasting as the primary source of television.

(4)There are, however, distinct generational differences in media consumption. According to Ericsson (2015), 82% of 60-69 year-olds watch traditionally broadcasted television on a daily basis, while only 60% of 16-34 year olds consume media this way. Just over half of this younger generation watches all videos on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Broadly speaking, 90% of YouTube viewers are under 50 — a statistic replicated across virtually all paid-for media platforms. People aged 14-25 are more likely to subscribe to a video streaming channel than to pay TV. In comparison, about a third more people over the age of 49 are likely to subscribe to pay TV. Newspapers, either in print or digital forms, appeal only to a minority of younger people, whereas approximately five times the number of pensioners consume news this way. Consequently, this is seen by many in the industry as an area of potential growth as it becomes the norm for the proportion of users in new forms to dominate traditional ones.

(5)Though it may seem counterintuitive, the trend towards digital media is far less pronounced in the video game sector. According to PwC (2016), physical sales still dominate the market, with digital media being outsold by 4 to 1. However, cross-platform games — those that can be available on desktops, consoles, and mobile devices — and massively multiplayer online games, like World of Warcraft, look set to fuel an explosion in growth. Another key revenue stream for the industry is in-game purchases of supplementary content that, while not essential to the core gameplay, may enhance or personalize the overall experience.

(6)In many industries, sales of digital media are rapidly outstripping their physical counterparts. CD sales have been steadily declining for the past decade, and in the past three years, sales of digital media has dominated the market. Access to subscription TV services has also risen dramatically in recent years, with many predicting 1,000% growth over the next decade. This trend is likely to be exacerbated by the younger generation’s preference for digital forms of media. However, sales of physical media in the gaming industry remain buoyant, arguably due to the huge file size of most digital games, which can be up to 16 times that of a standard movie. However, growth in in-game purchases and other markets are likely to transform the industry in years to come.

Skillful 4

Complete the reading above with the headings.

  • Media and demographics
  • The origins of media streaming
  • Trends in the gaming industry
  • The death of broadcasting?
  • Transition in all sectors
  • A trend toward digital consumption

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