Thanks to some ground-breaking software and hardware tech, the cloud has entered many facets of our daily lives, entertainment certainly being one of them.
The entertainment industry has too gone through a great transformation with the rise of the Internet and arrival of the cloud. With the open and constant access to video streaming portals such as YouTube, gaming services and music channels, entertainment is available anytime – for free or at low price. Whereas convenient for end-users, online entertainment forces related industries to either come up with new models of monetising their services, or subdue to the power of the open web.
When it comes to modern music industry, it might be said that a single service has changed its looks – iTunes. Instead of buying CDs in a shop, people can simply log in to their online accounts and download any piece of music they want. A crucial difference for the global music industry is that now people are able to download individual songs instead of whole albums, which certainly changes the game for both musicians and labels.
While this contributes to the rise of independent bands and publishers, companies need to be very creative with their business models in order to achieve profits in the open web. However, not even this can ensure stable income, since most of the users do not actually pay for the downloaded music.
In Australia this is the case with around 80% of users who visit pirate file-sharing sites instead of official e-stores. Moreover, the destiny of music-based radio is also under threat with increasing number of songs being uploaded to the cloud and accessed even from mobile devices that generally do not provide large amounts of storage.
How Hollywood Handles the Cloud
Movie industry is also heavily affected by the emergence of free video-streaming and content-sharing networks. With the ability to watch movies online and download them almost instantly after they hit the cinemas, traditional physical sale points and DVDs are gradually becoming outdated.
Hollywood, the center of the global movie industry has long realised that its profits no longer rely on DVD sales, which is why they came up with new business models adjusted to present demands. Even though they cannot fight free file-sharing networks, they can at least support legal cloud copies of DVDs, which is now possible with UltraViolet, a digital content locker supported by most Hollywood studios.
Gaming has seen tremendous improvements in both quality and delivery of gaming services with the growth of cloud gaming services that enable seamless streaming of bandwidth-heavy games across multiple platforms. The most important names connected to the whole cloud gaming story are OnLive and Gaikai, the companies that use powerful servers and advanced technology to deliver high quality games to end user devices.
Moreover, the cloud offers significant incentives for game developers, who can rent computing resources on-demand and focus on their core competences. With the help of the platforms like Unity and Microsoft’s DirectX, game developers have more abilities to monetise their efforts.
When it comes to cloud entertainment, end users see only the tip of the iceberg. While revolutionising the way we access favorite movies, music and games, the cloud also poses challenge to publishers to make profit in this turbulent market. The game has obviously changed for everyone but the focus has remained the same – making end users happy.