UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Rebirth of Entertainment

According to a recent kids blurb in the Boston Globe, the most popular toy this past Christmas wasn’t a toy. That’s right; G.I. Joe’s and Barbie’s were surpassed by the toy that I got for Christmas as well: an I-Pod.

This is important to me writing this because if you the reader want to feel the scope of change that is taking place in the world of entertainment that I am speaking about, you have to look at aspects like these. The old models of audio/video distribution are gone already; buying them is simply closing out leftovers from bygone times. What makes this interesting though is that for the first time maybe in history; the playing field of who will rise up to meet the demands of our appetite is not clad in stone.

For the first time ever, the Nielsen rating system will take a look at a demographic that they have never thought important: college age. Quite possibly the most TV addled and impulsively compelled to buy products they don’t need, this group was never thought to be where major advertising (which IS for those who don’t know the only reason why we receive programming in any form from major outlets) should spend their cash and attention. This disregard for relevance is exactly why the world of entertainment is in upheaval. It is in an anarchy comprised of dying communications forms and literally thousands of potential delivery systems all fighting to replace each other.

Take for example the loved-or-hated I-Tunes software. Absent of your ownership of an I-Pod, this program on your computer makes many trips to the CD store obsolete and I am not talking about the times you decide you want something so you go to the store, have your fun and go shopping: that would be too easy and that is the voice narrow minded art-elitist that wants to limit your accessibility and appreciation of new media product.

I am talking about when you are trapped behind the screen of your computer, mindlessly pumping out work and you want a new song because you haven’t heard anything new in hours. Fifteen seconds later you have purchased a few songs that you have always wanted, and possibly never purchased for various reasons ranging from price to availability. The scenarios themselves are new and so are the contexts where we want to be entertained.

I mention the last scenario to complete my cut-away of how the world of entertainment is changing; there is too much to write in a column like this and too much unknown to make decisive, final assertions. This is only a pinprick on the iceberg that is the change now occurring in media and entertainment, I believe it should be embraced because innovation and competition are what keep this nation and culture lucid and thriving, and that’s the way I as an American, believe it should be.