The Random Access Information Blog has moved to a new URL address. You can find new posts at:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Entertainment, Mass Media, Anime, and You

I think all of entertainment is being divided into very fine slices of the greater entertainment sector.  More people are specializing their finite entertainment time into more specific and concentrated forms.  Media companies are responding to this shift in consumer habits.

In previous decades, the entertainment medium had very few channels to reach consumers.  There were only 3 major networks and a couple of local broadcast networks.  The radio had a limited number of licenses and channels.  The hard print newspaper was the only portable medium.  The pre-packaged entertainment life styles of early decades were a necessity for broadcasters.  They needed to reach the widest audience with the fewest avenues of approach.  Almost everyone watched the same hit shows, listen to the same radio stations, and read the same papers.

Technology has changed this limited nature of media and entertainment.  Cable and satellite TV systems provide 200 to 300 channels of programming.  They also include digital record/playback and on-demand.  Radio is adopting new forms such as podcasts, satellite radio, and local independent broadcaster.  The internet is user-friendly (WWW), and anyone can use it for marketing and promotion (myspace and youtube).  The explosion of the personal devices industry is another major development.  People are carrying cell phones, blackberries, laptops, pda, mp3 players, handheld video games, Bluetooth devices, and multi-purpose devices.

This rapid expansion and integration of new media devices and media outlets has changed the very nature of media and entertainment.  If you believe that mass media shapes society, then these new technological developments also directly affects society.

These new developments have shattered mass media entertainment into a thousand little pieces.  This new system of decentralized media has trained people to be extremely selective in their media choices.  Consumers are not only movie fans, music fans, or television fans.  They have become emo-rock fans, indie movie fans, foreign movie fans, indie rock fans, blues-rock fans, WoW role-playing, FR role-playing, WWE wrestling, fight clubs, j-drama, Hong Kong movie fans, Bollywood fans, shonen fighting fans, magical girl fans, harem fans, shonen-ai, yuri, yaoi, and many others.

Although, there are still large mass media vehicles like Hollywood , Oprah , New York Times, and the Tonight Show.  They have stagnant or steady growth in viewer-ship.  In other words, they have very established and stable viewer base.  The real growth is in the fragmented pieces.  Media companies have started to cater to these splinter groups and their interests. 

In the anime/manga industry, the major players dominate over the established mainstream market (such as Aniplex, Studio Ghibli, and Toei).  All of the new companies and studios are forced to cater to the fragmented pieces in order to survive.

The pie is not shrinking, but it's changing shape.  The larger pie is being sliced into smaller pieces.  There are still industry giants, but the real growth and opportunity lies in the growing number of niche markets.  The growing niche markets are slowly establishing a significant presence in the entertainment sector.  Entertainment and media companies can't afford to ignore these growing number of niche consumers.

No comments: