Technology has become a crucial part of the daily lives of billions of people around the world. From connecting with friends and family to meeting work deadlines, the internet is a widespread phenomenon that the majority of people have experienced in one form or another.
Perhaps the area of society most seriously impacted by the advent of the internet is the entertainment industry. From playing new collaborative games to streaming new movies and shows, today’s entertainment consumption is very different from a few short decades ago. Let’s take a look at how streaming has changed our consumption habits across all forms of entertainment, focusing on gaming, television, and movies.
One area where streaming has changed the fabric of consumption is gaming. Like the media described above, gaming has become an increasingly online experience, with many providers offering back catalogues of their most popular hits. And whereas titles from a few decades ago were entirely solo experiences, modern games almost always have at least some online elements.
Online streaming has all but replaced the LAN parties of the early ‘00s, too. Players no longer need to cart their hard drives to a friend’s house in order to play the same game with their buddies. People from all over the world can connect in-game in a way that was never possible just two decades ago.
Casino gaming is another industry revolutionized by streaming. Instead of visiting casinos in person to access their favourite games, today’s players can often find all their top titles online. This has been a great boon, especially for folks who prefer time alone to being in a crowd. Playing with a deck of cards no longer needs to be done in person, for example, but rather can be done entirely online using a reputable operator.
A few decades ago, people consumed TV live, when the program aired. If the show one wanted to watch aired at 7pm on Thursday, then they were in front of the TV at 7pm on Thursday. If a viewer missed watching the show on its initial broadcast, they were beholden to rerun times later in the week.
There was no guarantee that the rerun would not get bumped by a breaking news story or sports game, either, so it was a toss-up whether one got to see the episode they missed before the next one came out or not. People who did not see the episode live also did not know what happened and were generally left out of ‘watercooler’ discussions the next day — there were no synopses online to fill the gaps.
Since 2016, the number of people in Canada who pay for a streaming service has increased from 54% (2016) to 80% (2020). Today’s youth do not know anything about being tethered to a TV for the duration of a show. On the contrary, it has become possible to watch shows whenever and wherever one wants to.
Many networks, both local and premium, now offer their shows online via a streaming service. This allows viewers to watch the episodes at their leisure whenever they have time. This does not mean that no one watches traditional network scheduling, of course, but rather that it is now a lot easier for viewers to conveniently keep up on their favourite shows.
Much of the information above for television shows holds true for movies as well. While attending the movies in person is still a favourite activity for many across Canada, an increasing number of people are opting for in-home movie screenings. While this is not always available while the movie is in theatres, some providers launch their VOD offering alongside their theatre screenings, making it possible to see a brand-new movie without leaving home.
Once movies have left theatres, there is no need to wait for a VHS or DVD release, either. Streaming has made it easy to watch most films immediately after they finish streaming in theatres. From Netflix to Prime to Twitch and everything in between, it has never been so easy to watch a movie. Note that this is true for even old and obscure films. There is an increasing catalogue of old movies, including silent films, on the internet for instant perusal. Films like this used to be expensive and time-intensive to find, but now they are available with a quick Google search and, typically, a low-priced streaming service subscription.