I tell my classes in media topics that “people will pay anything for their entertainment.” Today we get yet one more proof of that. Apple, a company famous for mostly hardware and a good place to buy music, is going to invest $1 Billion in new content in 2018. Wow! The entertainment business is big, but that is still a lot of money. For example, ALL of Broadway grossed approximately $1.5 Billion last year. this is a huge number and shows the continuing shift from “appointment media” such as networks toward “me media” or on-demand consumption. Here a company that is good at making harware or selling songs is venturing into content much as other recent neophytes including the “bookseller” Amazon and the “video rental store,” Netflix.
Yet these non-traditional media venues are having terrific success creating media and getting the public to consume and rave about their shows; just check the number of Emmy nominations they are receiving. Why? Well from their side, the intellectual property is a gold mine with enduring value. You can only sell a computer once, but you can play a show over and over again for many years. What is not to like about that revenue model? And on the quality side, media has always been a “gig economy” where people come together for a project then disband and go onto their next project. So there are few institutional barriers to working on a gig for Apple, Amazon, or Netflix, and it is always another employment opportunity in a business famous for not having enough. The tide has turned, the number of opportunities is rising, and there is no downside to working for a non-traditional media company.