With each new year, producers in the entertainment industry aim to explore as many new avenues as possible. Sometimes this means themes and styles, other times changes can come as adapting to developments in language and culture. Far less common are fundamental shifts in the way that we absorb media. For generations, movies, TV, and books have been enjoyed the same way, but in the 2000s this has begun to change.
In the 2020s, humanity is exploring more options to shorten media down into smaller and faster experiences. While there has been some pushback, this move has overall proved an effective one, opening up previously unavailable and unexplored parts of the market. It’s a complicated evolution and one which is difficult to trace the root reasons for.
Exploring the Medium
To look at how the shortening of media has occurred, it’s first important to note that each medium is affected differently. We have seen one of the most contentious ways this change has occurred in television shows.
A famous demonstration of one type of approach was noted by LifeHacker. When viewers noticed something was wrong with the classic sitcom Seinfeld, they ran some tests to determine what the issue was. The results returned that episodes were sped up by around 8% over how they were recorded. This allowed more advertisements to be played per timeslot, which fans were not appreciative of.
How widespread this approach is can be difficult to determine. Humans are not especially adept at noticing these changes unless they’re familiar with a property, so it could be happening more often than we realize. Whether on big American channels or the Nepali channels we explore in Nepal, this could be a common tactic going forward.
On a broader and accepted scale, our appreciation of shortening media could be illustrated in the success of the media streaming platforms covered at Make Use Of. These sites, alongside YouTube, tend to offer content in smaller bursts than what we’d experience with traditional TV, and they’ve rapidly become globally successful.
According to Hoot Suite, YouTube alone receives around 1.7 billion unique monthly visitors, far more than any standard television channel. With the average length of a YouTube video around 13 minutes, the difference between this and traditional media is substantial.
Attempting to capitalize on this move towards shorter media was the short-form video streaming service called Quibi. Despite ostensibly being in the right place at the right time, Quibi lasted less than a year before being closed down. Even with $1.7 billion in investment, failure of management, high prices, and a lack of quality content meant Quibi served as a warning of what not to do, as recorded by The Verge.
In interactive systems, shorter experiences have again opened up a new landscape, much of which is owed to the ubiquity of mobile phones. Thanks to apps like the ones we’ve reviewed at ImNepal, mobiles are taken seriously as tools, and this appreciation extends to entertainment uses too. Online Casino Betway games like roulette and Immortal Romance are perfect examples of this. Highly flexible in terms of a shorter or longer play, these new apps and websites have quickly challenged the status quo.
Even books have experienced the move towards shorter forms of media absorption, albeit on a more complicated scale. The big change in how we immerse ourselves in books is thanks to a growing acceptance of audiobooks. As we’ve covered, these can now be enjoyed on the go in small bites thanks to the advantages of listening over reading. Without requiring your full attention, and thanks to services like Audible, audiobooks can be stopped and started quickly, giving even the busiest among us a way to get involved.
Creating a New Market
Looking back at these new means of media consumption, the obvious conclusion is that technology facilitated the change. Though some of these shorter and more convenient forms of access were possible with older technology, it’s digital evolution that made the largest difference. Speeding up shows and carrying around audiobooks might have been achievable before, but without the likes of computer software and wi-fi, they were infinitely more difficult.
As technology evolved, a natural expression into new avenues was inevitable, which raises questions as to how much we’ve been guided down the path to newer experiences. While it could be true that years of slow adaption have led us to more easily accept smaller forms of media, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Rather, the modern age could demonstrate the scenario that we’ve always had a taste for the more convenient and time-efficient options, we just haven’t had the means to explore them. With software, smartphones, and with wireless internet, it might be that the floodgates were opened, and we fell into what we were always going to love.
Looking at these aspects together, the future of smaller entertainment experiences is a complicated trajectory to predict. It could be that we turn to methods of faster entertainment that we haven’t thought of before. On the other hand, it could be that newer systems like Quibi, managed competently this time, will fuse traditional and contemporary possibilities in a way we’ve never before seen.
Quite likely, the future will entertain both sides, as the potential financial rewards of both are too great to ignore. For consumers, this means more ways to customize how we engage, to get more of what we want where we want it. For developers, a broader market should lead to a wider expression of ideas, to help us escape media stagnation. It’s going to be an influential decade, one which could set the tone for a long time to come.