When it comes to media, it has always been very closely linked to the technology that developed it. When Charles Dickens was writing his novels, they were printed in magazines and serialized. This had a huge impact on their structure. The length of an album was once dictated by how much you could physically fit onto a vinyl record. It should come as no surprise then that the internet has had a serious impact on the way in which people consume a lot of their media. Many of these ways are pretty obvious while others are a little more surprising. Here are some ways that the internet, and streaming, in particular, are changing the face of popular media.
If there’s one thing that online streaming media has above just about anything else, it’s interactivity. Never before have audience members been in a position to comment on the media that they’re consuming so easily and so quickly. Youtube comments allow you to deliver your opinion directly to the content creator in an instant. Sites like Twitch, which offer live streamed content, allow you to leave comments and speak to the creators in real time while you’re watching. This often means that the comments that you leave can influence a piece of media as it’s going on!
2. Long form content
There was once a time where TVs simply stopped showing content for the day. They ran out of things to show, and they shut down for the night. When digital TV arrived, that went out of the window and channels could show content for twenty-four hours a day. This meant that the idea of being able to marathon a TV show or film series became a real viable option. However, it’s only with the rise of streaming services that the idea of a single piece of content lasting for hours at a time has entered the public consciousness. Whether you’re watching one of the hours-long gaming streams on Twitch or any of the content on services like CSN California live stream, you’re now in a position to have a single piece of content running for hours at a time without a break.
When things were shown on TV, there was a chance that, if you missed an episode, you simply never got to see it. If you were lucky, then the thing you missed might be shown a few days later, or it was sometimes possible that a show would enter syndication and would just be shown constantly at a particular time slot forever. The very idea of being beholden to things like scheduling is baffling to many people who grew up with streaming. Not only that but now, thanks to the internet, there is a permanent archive of just about everything that has ever been on television at any time. Services like Netflix allow people to discover shows that finished airing long before they were even born and they can sit and watch the entire thing in a single sitting. The idea of “missing an episode” is simply no longer relevant to a world where any media you want is little more than a click away.