A chapter that is clearly missing from the subject textbook by Veal, Darcy and Lynch (2013) is one on digital leisure. This is a massive growth area in our lives as evidenced by leisure participation rates identified in previous weeks in this subject. This module scratches the surface of what is a multi-billion dollar industry within the sphere of leisure. This module primarily focuses on the field of online entertainment (e.g. film, TV, and gaming technologies). It does not enter into the massive arena that is social media other than references to YouTube. While working through this module please consider how might you include digital leisure into your own leisure business opportunity?
Online digital leisure has been around for three decades. Check out this amusing advertisement from 1989 about The Sierra Network:
What is Digital Leisure now and into the future?:
This video from Channel NewsAsia is called “Leisure in the Future” [5:20 mins]. It discusses how technology is pushing us to individualism but “at the same time we are social animals”. It explores the trends in leisure consumption and technologies, and also how technology can enhance experiences.
Lauren Schnipper is a film, TV and stage producer who presented an awesome TED Talk called “The Future of Entertainment and Technology” [11:48 mins]. You are encouraged to watch the first eight minutes of this video. It discusses how technology is changing for leisure and how easy it is now for someone to produce their own content due to high speed Internet and lower cost.
Schnipper said that “clearly there is a lot of choice out there and every single one of these movies, TV shows, web series, apps, and devices are all vying for your attention… and how much free time do you actually have to consume content?”. How do you balance this? Schnipper also said that “You have in your pocket, wait for it, an HD camera with a microphone where you can make endless hours of video and upload it to your choice of the biggest platforms in the world” and “For the first time in history the future of entertainment is truly in your hands and your pockets so get our your phones and make stuff.” Do you actively use technology to ‘produce’ your own content? Why not have a go at doing this an uploading it to your portfolio?
Examples of Digital Leisure
Below is a slide show of examples of digital leisure conducted on an iPad:
An example of a relatively new business model is the monetisation of online films on social media sites like YouTube. Have you heard of Felix Kjellberg? For those of you who from generations Y and Z you would know him as PewDiePie. As a case in point, in 2015 Kjellberg had monthly earnings up to $US1.4m in 2015 from simply having people watch him play video games. This next video from 2015 is an interview between Kjellberg and well-known host Katie Couric for Nightline on ABC News called “How PewDiePie, YouTube Star, Made Millions Playing Video Games”.
As he discussed, a key part of Kjellberg’s success is that he is an entertainer. Couric summed it up well:
“It’s a trend that’s now being referred to as the let’s play phenomenon where watching someone play a video games is an entertaining as playing the game itself.”
Couric saw it as his viewers, or Bros, “hanging out with their friend”.
Free to play (F2P) online gaming:
Another business model to come about recently is the free to play (F2P) approach to gaming. This October 2012 interview by GamerHubTV with President of Sony Online Entertainment John Smedley focussed on the future of online gaming. Smedley described the F2P business model where consumers can try before they buy. A significant proportion of content is free but with in-app or in-game purchases or add-ons.
In 2015 Sony were riding the wave of this business model. A Fortune Online article January 2015 by John Gaudiosi claimed that:
“The wave of free-to-play video games is surging, and Sony’s along for the ride”.
Gaudiosi claims that:
“today, the free-to-play gaming model is global in scope and has come to dominate the mobile gaming market. It's also an area of growth for console games.”
This type of business model is akin to the ‘freemium’ model where basic content is free but
“users get basic features at no cost and can access richer functionality for a subscription fee”.
Examples of this form of business model are online newspapers, online magazines and LinkedIn.