If one was looking for a cause to the consumer instant gratification paradigm, certainly the lead defendant would be the smart phone. With a blast radius far beyond the impatient teen or adult, the collateral damage is also complicit in the death of the encyclopedia and the auto mechanics hand book to name but a few. You might argue that my supposition is a bit of a stretch, so for the sake of transparency let’s examine the onion. Britannica might say that the Internet or Wikipedia was the demise of the 30-volume set, but I assert it was the instant availability of any answer to any question anywhere. A keyboard with an Internet connection and a screen that fits in a pocket, started as a portable music player or a secure enterprise tool, quickly evolved into a portable consumption panacea. This access to their PC or laptop in their pocket, means local compute 24x7, and before we knew it we, as a human species crossed from a technology driven world to a data driven one. What followed was not only unlimited answers, new curators, and real time awareness – but what no one expected was the rise of the app store. Being able to localize information, data, and ultimately video meant that the tether was assimilating, becoming a second artery, grafted in from the hip pocket. The phone became the go to for social media, photos,
The new consumer, from the baby boomer to Gen X, Y, and Z are not only aware of what content is being created, but how to find, both white and grey market varieties. They know how to share their opinion, how to find like minds, and where to rally. This up and coming consumer generation who prefers global awareness and content via Internet delivery (streaming), cares less about how they consume, on traditional or on non-traditional devices. The empowering ability to seek out and find nearly anything of their liking means they will they will go to the content, and per the RIAA and MPAA, this should be legal sites hosted by the content owner. But when the rules or restrictions are too high this same group will go underground. If a viewer is motivated, there is little an army of lawyers can do to stop it. As the consumer, they feel their time is more important than any possible reasons why BBC or Chinese or Indian TV content is not available in their country. Similarly, to the Napster MP3 threat, to the status quo, users will push back. Thanks to sites that offer SVOD (subscription) and AVOD (ads) content model, demonstrate the mainstream population has shown it prefers to stay legal in order to consume music, video, and as time will show premium.
The future of consumption will for the foreseeable future play more into the hands of the business models and availability of the sharing and social sites. The popularity of YouTube stars, their viral content, and their marketing and ad driven machinery are the top-site du jure of the moment. It’s fair to say finding technology has plateaued, in flux now is how consumers will pay. Pricing structures will vary, and SVOD tiers and providers will become the new delivery power players. Digital means change, and youth demands old ways evolve or retire. Traditions of the parents and grandparents are no longer sacrosanct, and convenience and portability are the new baseline. Today’s set-top boxes (STB) will give way to smaller, smarter, multifunction devices that bifurcate the service responsibilities between the providers CMS and the edge CPE. This virtualization will allow a single device to provide a long list of services without specialization. As virtualization improves, the need for the purpose-built STB will become outdated. The bring your own meta-content (BYOX) model will be the new technological ambience as content continues to evolve from a one to many to a one to one.