How Media Consumption Has Changed


At the risk of sounding 100 years old, things sure have changed when it comes to media consumption in the world. Up until the late 1970s, if you wanted to watch something on television, you looked it up in the TV Guide and then sat in front of the TV when it aired. The arrival of the VCR changed that, allowing people to record things and watch them later. The VCR gave way to PVRs, which made the process even easier.

In the early 2000s, streaming also became a viable and increasingly popular way to consume media. Netflix, which had previously been a DVD-through-the-mail rental service, launched its streaming platform which became so popular, it dominated Internet use during certain periods in multiple countries. With its low cost, original movies, and wide selection of television shows, Netflix has become a dominant way that many people consume media these days.

Streaming services like Netflix also inaugurated what came to be known as binge watching. Instead of watching one episode a week of a program, people would instead wait for multiple episodes to appear on the site and then watch them one after another. In doing this, some people would spend entire days parked in front of Netflix. They could also now get through an entire season of a program in only a matter of days, rather than the months it used to take. This can be a fascinating and rewarding way to watch a program, especially if it is serialized and has a running storyline.

On the downside, services like Netflix and the new cable universe, which offers literally hundreds of channels, are encouraging people to become even more sedentary, increasing the obesity epidemic. So, there is more to watch than ever, and more ways to watch it, but we also need to take more responsibility in how we consume media than our parents did.