Since the days of dial up, the Internet has affected how we live. We can find new places with ease, talk to friends and family across the world for little cost and grow and improve our businesses from behind a screen.
Digital technology, notably the Internet, has contributed to the success of a number of industries – some that didn’t even exist before it was introduced. Subscription services, eSports and the gambling industry are just three examples that have been shaken up and transformed due to the new online world, reinventing how people watch TV, play games and place bets.
It has made them easily accessible to a wider demographic – allowing more people instant access to the things they want. Here, we’ve taken a look at how this advancement in online digital tech has impacted these three industries and how it could continue to develop them in the future.
With the internet came the rise in subscription services, offering people the opportunity to gain access to everything from music to films to even their groceries without leaving the house.
A subscription service simply involves paying an agreed monthly amount for a product or service – with Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Subscribe & Save three good examples of this offering. In the UK, £2.5billion is spent every year on subscription services, and 15% of ecommerce shoppers claim to have signed up for one, with 46% of these setting-up an account with Netflix.
Netflix is synonymous with the concept of a subscription service. The brand truly became a force to be reckoned with in 2007, when it launched its streaming service, as more and more people took on the faster Internet in their homes. Now, it’s part of our popular culture and the sixth most popular channel after BBC1, ITV, Channel 4, BBC 2 and Channel 5. Incredible, considering the company started out renting DVDs to customers, competing with the likes of Blockbuster and Lovefilm. Since then, the brand has branched out into creating original series and films, making it a one-stop destination for content.
The Internet has not only allowed Netflix to advance but in turn, it’s also had an impact on television viewing, with regular TV viewings dropping to 67% of the shares. The Internet has effectively encouraged the age of binge-watching, exclusive content and instant access and competing brands are now starting to notice this trend. Amazon’s Prime Video subscription service now even features exclusive shows, such as its latest Jack Ryan offering, as it tries to keep up with Netflix.
Amazon’s grocery subscription service is another that has expanded due to Internet use. Customers can now set up regular purchases through the Amazon site, for those everyday items they need, to be delivered every four weeks.
The Internet has essentially adapted people’s buying behavior, with instant gratification a key concept among many consumers and brands now have to keep up with the demand.
Paying a monthly fee, to subscribe to a service, will become a common concept for many and keep up with demand some brands may be looking to expand or team up with others to enhance their offering, ultimately creating a one-stop shopping destination. Spotify and Hulu have already got the ball rolling with this concept, with more likely to follow.
Online gaming has been around since the 90s when the world wide web allowed friends to pair up their computers and play against one another. Fast forward to 2018 and eSports tournaments are now aired on traditional sports channels and players take home millions in prize money. It’s safe to say, the eSports industry wouldn’t be where it is now or even exist without the Internet.
Playing online against real people has allowed gamers to improve their skills, win titles and of course, make friends across the world. The first eSports event was actually believed to have taken place in 1997, with 2,000 competitors playing the game Quake and the winner taking home a Ferrari. Since then, tournaments got bigger and prize amounts larger to draw gamers in. The concept of eSports took off in locations such as South Korea and the games Starcraft 2 and League of Legends proved popular with players.
Streaming channels such as Twitch offer gamers the opportunity to broadcast their gaming to get noticed and people tuned in to watch. In 2018 alone, Twitch has had 1,039,000 average viewers with 45 billion minutes viewed per month. There’s money to be made playing games now, even if you aren’t at a professional level. Twitch streamer Ninja revealed earlier this year that he makes more than $500,000 a month playing Fortnite – a multiplayer Battle Royale-style video game. The Internet has allowed those who game to essentially set up their own successful businesses, doing what they love, working with big-name gaming brands and receiving donations from fans to fund their content creation.
eSports is going mainstream now, with big-name brands clocking on to the benefits of sponsoring tournaments and popular players. By 2019, we could see brands spending a total of $800 million on global advertising and sponsorship for eSports – more than double what was spent in 2016.
The NBA created its own eSports league this year, with players competing on the latest basketball title. It’s a great move as the game – NBA 2K – is played by 1.6 billion people every day so there should be no problem encouraging them to watch pro players competing against one another on the game.
There’s also a bigger plan in place, as the popularity of watching eSports could spur interest in the basketball league in general – potentially encouraging those who watch the tournament to later buy tickets to watch the real thing. The Internet has a way of impacting both the online world and the real world eventually. The NBA’s move into eSports may spur other sporting bodies to do it too, blending real-world sports with online gameplay.
The eSports industry is predicted to only continue growing, with revenue to hit $1.5 billion in 2020. Goldman Sachs valued the industry to be worth $500 million in 2016 and is estimated to grow by 22% each year. Many people thought the rise of eSports would impact other aspects of the gaming industry such as story-based games or platform titles but these have actually increased in popularity alongside it as graphics only get better.
Instead, tournaments focus on well-known titles that have built up established roots in the eSports industry – Overwatch is perhaps the most recent online multiplayer to be added to the tournament circuit.
What constitutes gambling has definitely changed over the years. Nowadays, more and more of us place bets and play slot games simply because they’re easier to access via the Internet.
For example, the bright lights of Vegas or a local village hall are no longer the places to play slot games or a round of bingo. Instead, you can access the game online and have your winnings in your bank the same day. The gambling industry is a multi-billion-dollar global market now and while bingo halls aren’t as popular you can still get the thrill of the game with live bingo online. With access to the Internet available wherever you are, via smartphones or tablets, this platform is advancing how we play.
The brand Wink Bingo noted that 77% of those gambling now do so while on the move via their smartphone and as well as the Internet other factors impacted the closure of traditional bingo halls, pushing people online.
In the 60s, bingo was legalized as a form of gambling and bingo halls saw millions of people signing up to play. The game peaked in the 80s, with halls set up outside the UK but popularity dipped in the 90s with the availability of the Internet. The smoking ban in 2006/2007 took a real toll on bingo halls, pushing people to play online more and the premises shut down frequently. The Internet has shaped this industry, adapting to our social preferences as we communicate more frequently online instead of spending an evening down the local hall. But online bingo isn’t just a backup option. Thanks to better graphics and engaging games, it’s a real alternative. Take a look at an operator such as Wink Bingo you might even think it’s better than the real thing itself.
The future looks bright for online bingo; it’s predicted that by 2019 players will spend £30 million each year playing the game. As the Internet itself has advanced, so has the gambling market. In 2008, 50,000 people were playing bingo online but today that figure is predicted to be around 3 million. The Internet has made the game more widely accessible, fun to play and has perhaps even had a youthful update.
These three industries have been shaped by the Internet and advancements in digital technology but there are so many others. How we shop, get around and interact with others is now influenced by the Internet and smartphones make getting online all the more accessible. With the Internet, the future of many businesses definitely looks bright.
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