The 2010s saw the convergence of two decades worth of trends. Those forces will radically accelerate due to Covid.
In August 2011, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen coined the famous phrase “Software is eating the world” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. While Hollywood views itself as the center of the world, Silicon Valley views itself as the center of the universe. These two worlds have collided, redrawing the landscape and explaining why Hollywood, as we know it, is over.
In addition to the explosion of Netflix and Youtube as the dominant sources of entertainment (with the former being evolutionary and the latter being revolutionary), the 2010s saw a handful of earlier trends collide, leading to the landscape we now see in online entertainment. The streaming revolution meant that niche topics and communities would become large markets, given the boundaryless global nature of the Web. Throughout, it ushered a gold rush of entertainment programming that would dramatically grow watch time, engagement, and attention. Here are a few of them:
- Convergence of the 3 Cs
In the late 1990s, companies focused largely on one of the three, i.e. eBay on Community, Amazon on Commerce, Yahoo! on Content (with eBay being a bit more mixed between Community/Commerce). Nowadays, the most successful brands tend to weave the three more closely into one another.
2. Corporate Backing
When Disney bought Lucas and Marvel, it was clear that they’d pour massive development, production and marketing resources behind the IP in each. As a result, these franchises became a larger part of our social fibre. Today you see the dividends paying off.
3. Entertainment is no longer a side thing, it’s the main thing
As discussed previously, not only did “Geek culture overtake pop culture,” but pop culture became what as popular as say sports when it came to what people associated and identified themselves with. No longer was an individual an ardent “Browns fan” for example, they were hard core into a given show or movie franchise. As legions of comic book fans grew up to work in the marketing and entertainment fields, slowly but surely geek culture filtered into the mainstream. Roughly a decade ago, anyone who thought that “The Big Bang Theory” would be the #1 show on broadcast TV or that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would become a socio-cultural juggernaut, would have been laughed out of the room (including the boardroom).
Some of these factors served as the pillars in our business’ success. For all of the others, read my piece on our Four Big Bets. You can also watch our 7-part documentary entitled How Geek culture overtook pop culture. The documentary intended to explore how the current generation of decision-makers grew up reading comic books, watching Star Wars and as they grew into their roles, integrated “geek culture” into everyday life was a normal phenomenon. Watch part 1 below:
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