Sunday, June 01, 2008

Digimill Dump 1 - 1997

Looks like the website known as Digimill that strive to become a one stop shop for 3D news, discussion and help has fallen off the face of the Internet along with my posts for the site. I'll be uploading a of the important posts from the website within the next few days. Here's one about the impact of 1997 and how it changed the industry and thoughts about the future, written about November/December 2007:

We’re closing in on the end of 2007 and the entertainment industry is nearly on it’s head. Everywhere you look there’s advances here, tons of money there, and change is everywhere. The old rules seem to be dead, but why? Maybe the answer doesn’t lie in 2007… but a handful of small events that happened back in 1997.

In 1997 the sale of the compact disc (CD) hit all time high. Do you remember what were the biggest songs of 1997?
They were:
-“Barbie Girl” by Aqua
-“Mmmbop” by Hanson
-“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
-“Men in Black” by Will Smith
-“I Believe I Can Fly” by R Kelly
Scary isn’t it? Pop was running rampant, sure there were still some solid releases from Radiohead and Prodigy. But many people think that music begun to sound worse. CD sales begun to decline and in 2007 CD sales are so bad that Richard Branson, owner of Virgin has sold off his record label and the Virgin music stores (save a few) to get into the air line industry! It’s not just Virgin Stores shutting down, Sam the Record Man franchises in Canada are now gone. Oh yeah, do you know who had the best selling CD of 2006? It wasn’t Justin Timberlake, or Nine Inch Nails, it was the soundtrack to High School Musical. Yeah, a soundtrack to a cable made for TV movie.
The music industry is getting so bad that Radiohead, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails and more are jumping ship from the big record labels and have brought up the question “Do we even need big labels?” That’s a different topic.
But what’s at the root of this downcline? Is it because of people stealing music from the Internet? That might account for some… but what if it’s something else? Keep in mind the downfall of the CD until the end of this article.

TV. How many people watch the newest episode of CSI? I’m not talking about all the reruns on A&E, Showcase, Spike, etc.. I mean the newest episode on CBS? Did you know that only 1 in 10 people who have access to a TV watched that show last year? Only one in 10. But when you think about it, 10 in 100 out of millions is a lot. But did you know that The Cosby Show back in the 80’s had 15 out of 100 people watching it, even better. Even better then that is I Love Lucy, way back in the 1950’s had 6/10 people watching it. These numbers are falling fast. For an example, Al Gore’s (who just won the Peace Prize) Live Earth, a concert for Global Warming Awareness got 2.7 million viewers. Live Aid, the first big televised concert in the 80’s got 1.7 billion viewers.
So it would seem no one is watching much TV… Why is that? Could TV be fragmented into thousands of channels and with so much variety it is hard to add everyone up? Maybe. But keep thinking about the decline of TV and Music. Oh yeah, ER was the highest rated show in 1997.

2007 has been a huge year for the film industry. In May we were hit with a barrage of threequels (Spider-man 3, Shrek 3, Pirates 3…) and they broke records (some didn't live up to the hype). Big ones. But there’s a problem. Theater sales are down 18% from 2005 to 2006. If we convert that to numbers, if 10 people went to the theatres in 2005, that means 8 people came back in 2006. Even this month theater sales are down 14 for September.
Why would the movie industry be slowly wilding away? Could it be because Hollywood is making bad movies and cash in on sequels just for the money? Maybe. Could it be because movies are easier to steal because of torrents? Maybe. In 1997 the movie industry saw one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, Titanic. The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Men in Black were also released. It would seem that 1997 was also a high point for movies and they too are on the decline.

Ok, so we have Movies failing to fill seats in theaters. People aren’t buying CDs (the need for music is there thou), and no one is watching the most watched TV show. Is the entertainment industry doomed? Is there not one part of it doing good? Wait… what? One is? What one is that? That’s right. The one that’s raising by leaps and bounds. Rewriting the forecast for profit every single month… Video Games. Within the last month we saw the release of Halo 3, a video game that garnered the biggest amount of hype since Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. With that help, the video game sales in Canada for September were up double since last year.

Now we bring it all into context. We’re not buying CDs, we’re not watching movies as much or watching TV because video games are becoming the premiere form of entertainment. There you go. After hearing that statement for years you finally know what that means. If one industry goes up, then others must fall.
But where does 1997 fit in with video games?Here’s a list of a few games that came out in 1997:
-Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation 1)
-GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64)
-Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64)
-Grand Theft Auto (PC)
-Quake II (PC)
-Grand Turismo (PlayStation 1)
-Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation 1)

Check over any Top 10 Games of All Time and you’ll find at least 3 of those on that list. All these games brought in a brand new era of gaming that has sent waves of influences and has changed how we view the RPG, First Person Shooter and more.
As you read this people are beginning to spend more and more time with video games. People who never played a game before are now playing them. The face of gaming is no longer a teenage boy in his parent’s basement. It’s Everyone. College guys are playing Halo 3 online, Grandma is playing Brain Age on her DS, your Mom is playing Wii Sports, the receptionist at the dentist is playing Bejeweled, school yard kids are trading Pokemon, people in bars are playing Guitar Hero. Welcome to the future of entertainment.
But wait… something else happened in 1997. Well, kind of took place slowly. More and more people begun to discover the Internet. People begun to create e-mail addresses and visiting sites on the world wide web. How’s that little thing going? Well you are on it right now. Now think about all the things you’ve read/I’ve wrote. How much music have you been listening to today? Did you buy any? Did you watch a movie, how long was it? Did you watch TV? How long did you play video games? Now the big one, how long have you been on your computer and surfing online? Chances are, you’ve been online for a lot longer then you’ve watched TV or a movie today. Have you been playing video games longer then you’ve been online? (If you have, seriously take a break!) I didn’t think so.
Could the next entertainment battle be between video games and the internet? Or do they have a symbiotic relationship? There’s a change you’re reading this on your video game console of choice. But what’s the big down fall of video games and the internet taking over the entertainment industry? Let’s look at another part of the entertainment industry, it has survived longer then the music industry, TV, movies and of course the newbies video games and the internet. Books. When was the last time you read a book? Ok… bad question…. Anyway the book industry is still going and has survived everything that has been thrown at it. But even now and again the book industry sees blockbusters. Oprah’s book club gets millions of books sold, Harry Potter created a huge storm of readers and more.

Chances are Music, Film, TV and Books will never go away, but they will change their face and game plan. Our need for music will never die, I’m always looking for new tunes. We’ll always love to see a new movie and leave our drab boring world. We can always zone out and watch the tube and see what’s on. So in the end, 1997 has completely flipped the entertainment industry around. What could the next 10 years bring?

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