Get YourDigital Cocktail Right

By Parijat Dey, Director - Business Technology Transformation, Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd.

Your old road is rapidly aging Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand cause the times they are a-changing.

Bob Dylan (Nobel Prize in Literature – 2016)

Last year on September 13, the hard drive turned 50.

The first hard drive was shipped by IBM in 1956 which had a capacity of 5MB. The drive costed $10,000 a megabyte and was literally the size of two refrigerators weight a ton. Today a 5TB drive can fit into a pocket or handbag and weighs 2.7 pounds.

The World Wide Web which started as a software project by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in early 1980s, today connects almost 3.6 billion people across the globe. The Internet it self, that provide the bed rock for interconnected computer networks, started as a military research project in 1960s.

Technology has achieved a remarkable fleet in the last 60 years. Such advancements have allowed us to interact freely on a global scale and create a world without barriers, where flow of information is seamless across borders with instant availability.

"How some of the evolutionary disruptions impact the boundaries of social interaction and the realms of behavioural science is an open debate, but we are in for drastic shifts in the way we consume information"

In 1990s the Encyclopedia Britannica was a sign of education, culture and success. Its print copies were sold for $1500 - $2000 each. In March 2012, in a move to adapt to times, the company announced that 2010 would be its last printed edition. Today information on any topic is mostly available for free on the internet. Internet has helped democratize knowledge by taking it from a select few and making it freely available to masses.

This shift from analogue or print to digital, makes control much more difficult to exert therefore challenging the fundamentals of price discrimination which works on one’s ability to control usability, quality and availability of how customer access content.

It is not surprising that popular file sharing protocol like Bit Torrent accounted for almost 31% of all North America internet traffic during its peak in 2008. However, this too was in for a change and that is because the entire business model around content creation and distribution was in for a tectonic shift.

Some thing unique happened in 2011. For the first time in internet history, Netflix’s share of internet traffic exceeded BitTorrent’s with Netflix @ 22.2% and BitTorrent @ 21.6% of all North American Internet traffic.

The gap widened further in 2015 with Netflix @ 36.5% and BitTorrent @ 6.3%.

Netflix’s case study is interesting because its platform and business model gives it a distinct advantage over incumbent studios and networks. It created a new way of monetizing content via on-demand bundled service as opposed to a la carte sales, it provided a new level of creative freedom to writers who could now curate their story to meet the needs of specific audience for storytelling, it broke the 30-60 min broadcast slot barrier to allow developing content with less restrictive approach and it created a new way to combat piracy.

Today anyone with a smartphone having a decent camera can records and deploy stories on internet. All in the click of a button.

The internet also allows for creation of a unique user footprint. This data is used to uncover hidden patterns and unknown correlations to predict customer preference and behaviour which content producers can then use to curate user specific content.

This alteration to our current value chain is not just limited to print and broadcasting but also the music industry. Today organizations like Mycelia, Dot Blockchain music are attempting to transform the recording music industry by leveraging on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to create a decentralized system with music related metadata to address the relationship that sits between artists and fan.

Such is the pace of disruption that while we are trying to acclimatise to the current shift, the next is already brewing. A technology that can transpose a person from the comfort of their space to an alternate dimension where the storyline is personalized to create a universe that resonates with the needs of the individual and evolves with their decision. Virtual and Alternate reality has huge implications not just for the Media industry but also for other like education, medicine and retail.

How some of these evolutionary disruptions impact the boundaries of social interaction and the realms of behavioural science is an open debate, but we are in for drastic shifts in the way we consume information.

This is not the first time that the entertainment industry is witnessing changes but what if the advances in computing is fundamentally altering the dynamics of scarcity and challenging the natural competitive advantage thereby creating the perfect storm.

“Meteorologist see perfect in strange things, and the meshing of three completely independent weather systems to form a hundred-year event is one of them. My God, thought Case, this is the perfect storm.”

Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea.

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