As consumers have become comfortable purchasing (and stealing) music online, they are now beginning to download other digital forms of entertainment, including music videos, short-subject films, television shows, and even full-length Hollywood pictures. Traditional media companies have recognized the opportunity to establish new revenue streams and leverage old assets by enabling consumers to download television programming for a fee, and the adoption rate appears to match the early days of music downloading. The increasing penetration of broadband connections (over 50 million homes in the US), advances in software that enables high-quality downloads, and content companies recognizing an enormous opportunity to distribute directly and inexpensively to consumers has created a tidal shift in the number of digital media assets available for download to computers, handheld devices, and even cell phones.
Companies such as YouTube are at the forefront of the intersection of video entertainment and the fragmentation of media due to the empowerment of the consumer. Hundreds of millions of videos are downloaded weekly from YouTube (as well as dozens of competitors), and a significant portion of those videos are not “professionally” produced. More importantly, new talent in various entertainment fields are being discovered through these distribution platforms and forever changing how entertainment is conceived, produced, distributed, and valued.