Week 2: Sjordal

Consumption on Demand started out as a bit of a rocky concept for content producers. But as people are given more and more choices regarding how we view our media, the old barriers begin to crumble and new paths begin to form, for both consumers and producers. Consumers no longer need to constricted to appointment consumption or physical media, a reality that has proven to be good for producers as well. With the emergence of technologies like the internet, personal computers, tablets, video game consoles and like creations, companies now have more ways of communicating with consumers than ever before.

Forms of communication that once appeared to threaten companies have been accepted and adapted to, creating lots of successful results. In the early days of YouTube, you could find countless episodes of all kinds of television shows, uploaded by users who had no right to place others’ copyrighted materials on their channels. Over time, YouTube grew in popularity and companies realized that this was just another method of selling their products to an audience. Soon enough, television networks like Fox and NBC all had their own channels to host their own material, and copyright infringement on the site declined massively. Now, YouTube plays host to many paid channels and even offers people a chance to pay to watch episodes or subscribe to seasons of various. What was once seen as a menace to potential profits by many a company, was adapted into a new opportunity to reach new and old audiences in different ways.

Even methods of obtaining media that are seen as immoral, namely piracy, have been helpful to companies in some degree. When the HBO show, “Game of Thrones,” became a hit it also became the one of most pirated shows on television. Not everyone had the means to obtain an HBO Go subscription, and a lot of people assumed that this would be bad business for Time Warner and their subsidiary, HBO. However, HBO reported that all that online theft of content had done was add to their subscriber count. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes compared it to communication by “word of mouth,” and was quoted saying “Our experience is, it all leads to more penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising – we don’t do a whole lot of paid advertising on HBO, we let the programming and the views talk for us – it seems to be working.”

However, when it comes to media consumption on demand, not everyone can win all the time, especially when you decide to screw over your customers in an attempt to squeeze out some extra cash. Earlier this month, Apple was sued by an Ohio man because of their decision to offer only the first half of the final season of “Breaking Bad” via their iTunes “Season Pass.” Buyers were not informed that their season pass would only be good for eight of the last sixteen episodes, so Apple was sued for breach of their own contract. The consumers won out in the end, as Apple was forced to compensate all of the people who paid for their “Season Pass,” the price of the missing content.

Incidents like these reveal modern media to be a dangerous thing when abused. Situations like the legal issue with Apple aren’t caused by on demand media, they’re caused by an abuse of the medium’s system. The methods of communication that consumption on demand entails can be used for both good, bad, lawful and unlawful purposes. The outcry towards Apple for breaking their word is only the public demanding fair treatment. As long as companies don’t abuse their positions of power, the embrace of consumption on demand will only generate more growth and success for a large variety of parties as time goes on.