In times of recession, are media providers missing our families?
But as budgets tighten have social networking sites gained in more ways than one in recognising our fundamental relationships?
Facebook knows to whom I’m married: Jon and I can easily shared things on line with each other without too much hassle. It’s not that we count as one; Facebook recognises us as individuals who are closely related. Many of the games don’t work this way, but media sharing does.
Let’s talk about how my family lives. We’re lucky, we share network resources, including photos and music we’ve made ourselves and this can be accessed anywhere in the world by our phones and laptops and tablets. We’ve been in the cloud for a while.
Only one person owns the telephone wire – this is how telecommunication services work. Thankfully it’s me who owns it, but if my husband wanted to buy a service over that medium, he would need to go through me and my account. I owns the wireless service. Do we think the telecommunication providers are missing something here?
Now, let’s talk about iTunes (neither me nor my husband have an iTunes account – which is why we don’t have any apple kit). If we did, we would be counted as individuals: we could share non-DRM material, but anything else, we would need to use a device which logged into the perspective account. Essentially, we would need to swap login details to achieve the same thing as borrow a CD or DVD and play it on my device. BTW this is what seriously annoys me about the PS 3, if I login as anyone but the owner I get a cut down experience. Compare this to the Wii, where I can put anything I like into the Wii without “logging on”, yet when I play a game, I’m me. Needless to say we have many games for the Wii and not many for the PS3…
Then there’s the Kindle. I love my Kindle. We’re still buying paper books though. My husband or son can buy a new title and if it’s good, I can borrow it off the shelf. The same deal cannot be achieved without me providing them with my account details. At first this didn’t seem too much of a problem, but I am considering ceasing my newspaper subscription. A paper copy can be read by all of us simultaneously, not easily achieved with the electronic copy and why buy both?
The argument for companies like Virgin and Sky, is that someone needs to be responsible for the bill and it should be controlled. But you’re missing out on sales. That’s only if we’re counting the parents. As the young fail to move out, even if they manage to find a job, they are reaching for mobiles rather than land lines to enable them to spend their money and use media. Do you think they are going to invest in new media when it doesn’t offer the same social experience they enjoy with their own photos, videos and hard copy books.
Much media on cinema and television still see a secondary partner (whether heterosexual or homosexual) as a part time worker happy to not share the media they enjoy on their devices. We all buy into this model: there is a primary wage earner and this is the family head. Typically, we see this person as being male.
The individuals listen to their play lists in isolation, only coming together away from online to share experiences.
But the recession has meant some interesting changes. Even if children get jobs, they are staying at home for far longer. The mobile sellers can really benefit from this, this selling model is based on the individual. But it isn’t so good for the traditional telecos: remember if you don’t have a telephone line or cable line, that buyer doesn’t exist.
Will these models hold out if the recession lingers or will there be a return to hard media that can be shared?
Posted: October 30th, 2011 under 42.