Following the news that Blockbusters and HMV have appointed administrators, we take a fresh look at how people are storing and consuming media, and how the convenience of portable devices maybe helping to reduce our reliance on physical formats.
Attitudes towards owning information (such as books, movies, music and software) have radically changed from the times when our choices were limited to paper, audio or data discs. Amassing a physical library is becoming less of an indulgence and more of an inconvenience for the modern generation, as they store vast amounts of information and entertainment on computers, memory sticks and portable hard drives.
Panda sculpture made from recycled CDs by Sean Avery
In fact, digital copies are becoming less popular, as people use Spotify, BBC iPlayer, iTunes and Google Documents to ‘rent’ access to content and services. These services allow access to music, video or software which isn’t copied to a computer, but ‘streamed’ from ‘the cloud’ wherever and whenever is convenient.
This begs the question; will our children see printed books, and disc collections as antiquated as a shelf full of Encyclopedia seems today? In an age where people are becoming less concerned about owning a digital copy (let alone a physical one) it’s worth considering how this could effect your business or brand.
There was a time when brands enjoyed the option of sending a digital ‘pack’ to their customers. These packs included a CD, DVD or USB memory stick, along with a brochure or booklet. Some companies even based their business model around it. Remember the AOL trial discs? These days Smart Phones and Tablets (including the latest version of Kindle Fire HD and iPad Mini) don’t have USB ports or disc drives, which is something to remember if you are looking to send your customers some portable media.
Kingfisher sculpture made from recycled CDs by Sean Avery
There are still business models that rely on discs. High-quality formats such as Blu-Ray, computer games and software companies still manufacture discs, whilst offering a download option too. Sunday newspapers used discs to drive sales of their supplements to great effect and LoveFilm continues to offer discs, albeit for a short period as it transitions customers over to full streaming.
The good news is that super-fast Internet speeds and impressive technologies allow you to get closer than ever to your customers and clients, without embarrassingly long downloads or waiting for discs to arrive in the post.
Do you still prefer to own your own copy of movies and music for your shelf? Or are you happy to pay a smaller subscription fee and never own your own content?