This is the first post of what I’m sure will be many, as a part of my research project looking into the field of web-based entertainment and how it specifically through the lens of entrepreneurship. As a twenty-something in the year 2017, I’m well acquainted with the world of digital streaming, but I’ve taken a substantial notice in the boom and demand for any and all kinds of web-based entertainment–from video streaming to online community, gaming, and beyond. There is constantly a demand for new and innovative ways to make entertainment accessible, and the internet has created an outlet for brand new ways of interactive and enjoyable content to live and thrive.
First video killed the radio star. The more exciting and easier to access thing is always going to win in a battle for the public’s eye. When TV broadcasting became available in the home, the movie industry worried that it would become obsolete , but innovative thinkers turned the initial loss of revenue into a gain when production companies started creating content for television. This article from 2009 makes an eloquent argument as to why web-based entertainment is the way of the future, but as it is nearing a decade old, there’s no surprise that the main topics of web-based entertainment mentioned is YouTube. While YouTube remains a popular platform for video streaming and original content, it does not have quite the same notoriety of some of the other big named sites: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are popular subscription streaming services that have also been turning out exclusive content that not only rakes in subscriptions, but is also award-winning and receives recognition as television series. The internet is once again transforming the way that people consume media, and those to hop on the ever-changing bandwagon are king.
But streaming sites are only one side to this multi-faceted dice, my friend. Where my interest is piqued is with the more niche sites and platforms of web-based entertainment, with production companies like Fullscreen, YouTube, Rooster Teeth, and podcasting. One main attraction of a lot of these web-based entertainment sites is that the majority of their content is free with the help of advertising and sponsorship–millennials who are hip to the jive on the web don’t necessarily have money to do their laundry, let alone support their cravings for entertainment, so having access to free content is an important asset on the internet. Once these poor college students get some money, though, they are likely to support the companies that produce content they like and around the cycle goes.
As a college senior and theater major taking an entrepreneurship course, I’m here asking myself a few questions around this industry: What exactly needs to happen when someone has a new idea for web-based entertainment, what are the main startups in this industry, and how can I hop on that bandwagon?
I can’t guarantee I’ll answer that last question, but I can at least try and answer the other two and if I have some other good ones along the way, I’ll take a crack at ’em.