Communication in the media is an increasingly growing and competitive environment, especially among those reporting news and distributing information throughout our society. The revolution in the competitive media landscape since 1995 has altered the way Americans live today. Since 1995, the media industry has had to consider international opportunities as well as international threats. For example, international expansion has caused the United States to do things such as invest in foreign programming networks, create centralized management policies so that if and when the media is expanded overseas, they will be prepared to deal with the challenges of vertically integrated competitors that operate in a more centralized manner. In regards to technology, the paths to access and distribution have opened immensely giving Americans more and more ways to obtain information. According to the Pew Research Center, "Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) now use a computer at least on an occasional basis, up from 61 percent in 1998 and 58 percent in 1996. Almost as many have a computer in their home-59 percent, up from 43 percent in 1998 and 36 percent in 1995" (Pew Research Center, 2006). Traditional news outlets, such as the television, are no longer the main source of receiving information. In our new technologically advanced world, most of society prefers to receive information through their cell phones or blackberries. "Only 55 percent of Americans now report having watched the news or a news program on television 'yesterday,'" whereas in 1994, 74 percent of Americans used television as their news outlet (The Pew Research Center, 2006). Television's supremacy is ending. TV ratings are going down and the internet's usage is going up. The internet has become one of the largest technology breakthroughs in history making business very hard for networks. For example, the majority of businesses prefer their consumers and clients to visit their websites in order to obtain information about their company. The non-stop growing environment of technology has, in turn, changed every aspect of a human's life.
Consider the social and economic impacts of communication inside the lives of Americans in 2006 compared to those in 1995. In order to keep up with the trends of today's society, people are purchasing new media conceptions every day causing "built in obsolescence." This is when the consumer is initially persuaded into buying a product; however, the corporation quickly manufactures something new and improved making the first product obsolescent (for example: ipod, then the ipod mini, then the nano). Convenience has also moved its way up to the top of the priority list of most Americans. As a result, our society is becoming more and more alienated and unsociable. We now no longer have to communicate with our peers and/or colleagues face-to-face anymore. It seems our society would rather communicate through emails and the internet than even picking up the telephone. Nonetheless, this increasing technology may have a tendency to harm these companies. For instance, people no longer want to take the time to go to the store and buy DVD's or rent movies because it is inconvenient for them.
The way entertainment corporations operate in the future will differ from the 1995 Viacom case in many aspects; however, it will be similar in the aspect of international market expansion. China and India’s Bollywood are the emerging markets for entertainment production. Chinese and Indian movies, as well as producers and actors, are now gaining more and more attention which awakens the industry’s interests and concern in developing local cultural content that reflects the life, stories, people and culture of the country. Consumers within the country will resonate with the content while the consumers outside the country will develop awareness and even interests in other cultures. Consequently, globalization will be the driving force behind entertainment companies’ future development. Globalization opens up unlimited opportunities for people from all over the world to connect with each other and develop a deeper understanding of different cultures and races. In addition, in the near future, long-standing media empires such as Viacom, Disney, Time-Warner/AOL and Universal will face tough competitions with foreign equipment manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung and LG as they ambitiously creep into the content portion to share the luscious pie of entertainment industry. The competitions go beyond the original domestic terrain and expand internationally. The economy becomes borderless. Also, with the expanding nature of the Internet, launching a company requires little capital. The success of Amazon and eBay best illustrates this phenomenon. Drawing from that, opportunities for entrepreneurship increase substantially and lead to a competition that is tougher than ever. Moreover, computer and network corporations such as Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Google are also multi-directionally expanding their tentacles to all kinds of digital media in the hope of transforming themselves into a multi-faceted company. They make no attempt of masking their desire to become media service providers by delivering entertainment either online or via other sorts of platform, thus taking over the pie that the traditional media empires have long occupied. As a result, on the social level, individuals who are versatile, flexible and possess multi-cultural background, language skills as well as multi-directional expertise become incredibly valuable assets for employers in this world of overlap. The future of global entertainment will be all about the convergence of information, entertainment/digital media, and technology. It is the ultimate era of convergence.
Accordingly, the evolvement of technology or computer companies will be the other driving force for the development of future global entertainment. New technologies will be constantly and promptly developed to meet the needs of the whimsical and transitory entertainment industry. In the near future, all media will probably be wireless and mobile. Technologies serve not only to improve the quality of human life, productions and arouse consumers’ interests but also protect copyrighted productions during and after the process of distribution. Convenience, mobility, human-machine interaction and the integration of all will be essential to the development of a new technology as well as the agenda for future entertainment corporations. Films, television, music, gaming, electronics, cell phones and all other kinds of technology will all be a part of the big entertainment family. On top of that, with the rapid development and growth of Internet as well as the computer companies mentioned above, rich infotainment content will be at our fingertips whenever and wherever. The prevalence of Internet and the digitalness of media will tremendously threaten traditional distribution method and cause serious issues towards copyrights. The fact that it is difficult to regulate digitalized or online media turns protecting copyrights into a formidable task and significantly decreases revenue for the traditional media corporate. As a result, developing new distribution channels that will arouse consumers’ desire of purchase becomes crucial.
However, on the other hand, the non-stoppable evolution of technology will also spoil consumers. Consumers will have increasing information, choices and diversity. They will demand tailor-made content and functions that meet each individual’s preference. “The demand for “breadth, localized and in-depth content” will increase the pace of development of ‘non-Westernized programming’” (Gunde, 2005). Customization will result in the emergence of a multi-cultural world.
Yet, none of the above will happen if the government of a country does not support the development and expansion of the entertainment corporations within its own country. As a corporation extends its tentacles into another country, it has to pay special attention to the regulation and management system of that country and this is where the governmental influence comes in. One of the major factors that contribute to the success of Hollywood is the support from the United States government. If the U.S government did not use its political influences to negotiate or semi-threatened the government of other countries into importing Hollywood films, people outside the U.S. would not have a chance to get a glimpse of the American life. In the years to come, the influence that the U.S. government weighs will continually to grow and contributes to the opening of unlimited market opportunities outside the U.S.
To conclude, in the near future, entertainment corporations should focus on international market expansion in terms of management, employing people with a wide range of language skills, knowledge, expertise and adaptability. Also, the convergence of various types of media and technologies will also be a major issue as the corporations expand their business.
by Lauren Camp & Jasmine Chang