Two unrelated stories indicate that there may be a large shift in the way in which we consume media, which could have implications for policy (if only policy was informed by empirical evidence). The first is that 2005 saw a drop in movie attendance, despite being a year that saw plenty of blockbusters released, such as Revenge of the Sith, The Island, King Kong and War of the Worlds. It is difficult to ascertain the reasons behind the drop – one could argue that it is only caused by the fact that the movies released last year were not that good. One could also argue that people are happy waiting for movies to be released on DVD and watch them in their increasingly impressive home theatres.
Another interesting news item is that according to the BBC, people spend more time surfing the internet than watching TV. This shift is understandable due to increased broadband and better and more varied content online. TV ratings now should start taking into account that many people will prefer to watch entire series on DVD or to download them. Series such as Lost and Galactica are now offered for download in iTunes, and one can even watch the next episode of The IT Crowd online right after the show.
Is traditional media dead?