The creation of the Internet has created plenty of good in the world. People now have access to more information, tighter connections with more friends, and the ability to make a difference. But some things haven’t had an easy time making the adjustment.
Here are just a handful of technologies that the Internet is transforming for better or for worse.
1. Pay TV
Recent findings have revealed that the U.S. pay-TV industry has lost 119,000 subscribers in the last quarter. This has only ever happened twice, which doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that the first time was two quarters ago. So two straight quarters of subscriber drops doesn’t sound so good. There is no doubt that pay-for television is in trouble.
New players like Hulu, Netflix, and other video-on-demand services have stepped in to fill in the gap that pay TV has never filled. Consumers are beginning to realize that they don’t need thousands of irrelevant channels. Even sporting associations are beginning to get with the program. Consumers simply want to watch what they want, when they want, and without the extra crap that usually comes with pay TV.
Until the industry learns to adapt — which is doubtful in the short term future — consumers will continue to convert to IPTV and video-on-demand options. It’s only a question of whether or not the television networks and providers will be able to get in on the action before it is too late.
In 2010, only 74 percent of adults consider landlines a necessity, down from 97 percent in 2001. The decline is even more drastic with younger adults aged from 18 to 29, as only half of all surveyed believed that a landline was necessary. While this can primarily be attributed to mobile devices themselves, the Internet and data that these phones can handle has played a huge part in their growth, too.
While I know quite a few people in my family who do subscribe to landlines, all of them tend to be over the age of 50 or have one for business purposes. Everyone else in my family only has cell phones. All of my best friends also only have cell phones. I’m sure that nearly everyone I went to school with only has cell phones. So who needs a landline these days?
It’s time to adapt to the wireless world. Thankfully, the Internet, along with VOIP, is starting to shine through.
Cameras and camcorders are, contrary to what the manufacturers would have you believe, seeing downturns in the demand for photography and videography equipment in recent years. Unfortunately, this trend is bound to continue as the Internet enables instant sharing of content from mobile devices.
We can thank the likes of Facebook and YouTube for this transformation. And while Canon, Nikon, and Sony will always have their loyal customers from the professional side of the industry, everyday consumers are passing up DSLRs, digital cameras, and digital camcorders for what they already have that is with them at all times and fits in their pocket: their mobile phones.
Sure, people won’t direct the next Harry Potter film or shoot the next Sports Illustrated cover with these devices anytime soon (at least not yet). However, for the purpose of sharing real-life moments with family and friends, they are more than enough.
4. Console Gaming
Game hardware and software has also been dwindling for the first time in the industry’s history. Dedicated game consoles will eventually become extinct in the future as the Internet ushers in a new wave of social and browser-based gaming.
While I’m not a fan of Zynga’s properties, I will admit that FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and all of their other highly-addictive titles must have done something right. They are keeping gamers engaged and it is a highly profitable industry.
Other games like this are sure to explode in popularity, and even more advancements are sure to come as the development of HTML5 and WebGL continues to expand. Then again, mobile operating systems might take over before the browser ever gets its chance to shine. Either way, it is surely going to be a fun time for game developers who think outside of the console box.
And last, but not least, it is the print industry which is facing reality more so than the rest. We could mention a whole bunch of statistics, but the Magazine Death Pool tells the whole story on the side of magazine publications. Newspaper circulation is also on the decline; only 76 newspapers in the U.S. have over 100,000 daily circulation.
I haven’t read a newspaper in around… okay, honestly, I have never read a newspaper! It’s that bad. Sure, I’ve skimmed the sports section for one or two articles, but I have never picked up a newspaper and read it with purpose. I’m sure there are many more like me.
Why bother? Anyone can easily load up any number of newspaper websites or blogs and get all the information they need. We now have content aggregators that bring us the news we care about. And this is an area that will be sure to expand in the future, as content personalization continues to improve.
So save the trees!
What else has the Internet transformed? Let us know in the comments!