[Manic Monday] The Importance Of Entertainment Infrastructure
Today, we as entertainment consumers have a multitude of choice. We still can enjoy entertainment channels handed down from the 20th century: TV, radio and print media – the variety of these three types of media is increasing, fulfilling the ever-widening preferences and needs of society for entertainment and information. With the growth of digital media like the internet, the variety of content or entertainment technologies has also increased. In a period of around 10 years, the cellular phone has evolved from a simple communication device into one of the main entertainment devices, to the point that the technology advancement of cellular phones is outpacing the PC industry. Any kind of entertainment is only a few clicks away, through browsers or applications.
What many entertainment consumers might not realise is the fact that the provision of infrastructure for these entertainment services is very complicated and involves many people. ‘Just’ to deliver one magazine every month to readers would take cooperation of these people: journalists, editors, ad sales, designers, printers, distributor agents, the drivers of trucks/motorcycles to deliver the magazine to distribution points, magazine sellers, and of course the magazine buyer. And even more people if the magazine often holds events (which means an event organizing team), and has a website (which means that there’s another bunch of people handling the website for content, design, programming, website hosting to the server’s bandwidth capacity).
Even when building digital services, there are many interconnecting components all around the world that work together to deliver, say, a download from iTunes. A chain of people work together, from the ISP in Indonesia to iTunes servers in the US, also connected to payment mechanisms handled by various other people and systems, to make sure that the buyer receives what he or she orders, the payment is processed properly so that it becomes income for the musician or label which owns the song. Ironically, the best digital services are those which make sure that these processes happen almost immediately and invisibly to the user.
The difficulty in creating digital entertainment services for Indonesia is that the structure and balance of the infrastructure, between the consumer and the service provider is often not mapped out well. The issues may be as simple as an unstable internet connection, which might stem from anywhere between the computer/cellular phone used, the state of the network, the ISP in Indonesia, the interconnection to overseas (if the service is overseas), and the services’ own server. A classic problem would be when the bandwidth or server capacity cannot keep up with increasing usage.
From the content creator’s side, the presence of adequate infrastructure is also very important. Moviemakers will always need a suitable cinema to display their work, but a business infrastructure is equally important because the presence of a movie distribution company can help a lot with actual distribution of the movies to cinemas and also manage the movies’ promotion. Even the promotion of a movie requires a suitable infrastructure; for something as simple as playing a 1-minute trailer, which can be played pre-roll before the movie, or through advertising networks using LCD screens spread out at office buildings and taxis.
Entertainment infrastructure is a chain of cooperating components to make sure that content flows from the creator to the user, and if available, the payment for that content also flows back to the creator. This infrastructure becomes an ecosystem if we consider all the media and promotional infrastructure needed to direct people to where they can buy or enjoy the content. And within those infrastructures and ecosystems, where there are pain points, there are definitely business opportunities.
Ario is a co-founder of Ohdio, an Indonesian music streaming service. He worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog at http://barijoe.wordpress.com.
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