Home > Articles > Business & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

The Digital Disruption

As nearly anyone who hasn’t been stranded on some frozen tundra or desert island knows, the last decade has been all about the Internet, the phenomenal conduit that has opened the doors to the mass distribution of all digitized media, thereby creating a fertile ground for innovation. But as the invention of gas-powered engines set the mighty railroad industry on its ear, so the new democracy of digital has upended entertainment. We are involved in a disruption of existing entertainment and media business models not seen in hundreds of years, greatly transforming the traditional entertainment platforms and creating new ones.

As Plunkett Research, a firm specializing in the entertainment and media industry, so correctly points out, there are three basic issues related to the control of entertainment content6:

  1. Pricing for content (including free-of-charge access versus paid, illegal downloads versus authorized downloads, and full ownership of a paid download versus pay-per-view).
  2. Portability (including the ability for a consumer to download once and then use a file on multiple platforms and devices, such as tablets and smartphones, or the ability to share a download with friends).
  3. Delayed viewing or listening (such as viewing TV programming at the consumer’s convenience via TiVo and similar digital video recorders).

It would be nearly impossible to capture all that is happening in this disruption. As soon as we have discussed one platform, set it in stone, and moved on to the next, changes occur that send everything and everyone scurrying around once again. It is our intent, in this discussion, to capture the current situation in each platform as best we can, bringing you up to date to current standards. But be aware: This is a subject you must research every single day...change happens that fast.

Conveyance Versus Content

In a moment, we begin our discussion on the distinct elements that make up the entertainment marketing economy, but we’d like to clarify one thing first. In our industry, it is the content that has value, that can be monetized and extended across platforms. The carriage of that content—as in the Internet, or a broadcast network, or a radio station—is not entertainment. They are conduits by which various products are delivered to devices both fixed and mobile.

In that same regard, social networking applications such as Facebook and Twitter are not entertainment platforms (although many of the discussions that take place there are certainly entertaining). They are conduits that allow marketing professionals to reach audiences. In the case of Facebook, it provides an access point for a wide variety of games but is not a game in and of itself unless you’re trying to figure out the latest value of its stock offering.

We will leave it to the social networking experts to discuss why the public seems to love congregating online. In the meantime, we offer discussion on how entertainment platforms are interacting with those sites and using them to monetize content.

We take this same approach with the move toward mobile. Mobile devices are allowing consumers to take their entertainment everywhere and as such are critical to our industry. We discuss how entertainment platforms are taking advantage of this access but leave it to others to define the actual technology behind it.

This evolution of technology carries with it ever-expanding opportunities. The rapid growth of mobile devices gives marketing professionals the ability to reach potential customers right at the moment of the buying decision. Social networking allows for far more buzz (essentially, free marketing) than ever before. All distribution channels and opportunities must be addressed. Marketers must be constantly aware of the demographics involved in every new format.

Technology Trends

From a global perspective, technology has brought massive expansion into new markets. Wireless technology forms the communication backbone in such rising giants as China and India. In many places, these countries have literally skipped the step of telephone lines, creating both a broad network and a consumer base that seems completely tech-savvy.

Data collection has exploded. Today’s marketing professionals can reach hairs-width consumer slivers. This requires a thorough knowledge of what those consumers might want, along with a strategy for reaching across all platforms to have the greatest reach.

The great challenge is the public’s ability to get far out ahead of any marketing effort. Social networking has made an insider of everyone. With bad buzz on Facebook, Twitter, or any other form of social networking, firestorms are created in a matter of minutes. Disney’s 2012, $350 million film John Carter was basically dead on opening, with bad news reaching core audiences long before the first ticket was sold. Domestic box office was less than $40 million. Bad news no longer gets hidden in Hollywood, where, in the past, it might have been carefully massaged into something more palatable.

There’s No Business Like Show Business

If anything, the rise of technology and the easy, fast reach of connection have created a consumer even more obsessed with stars—and the business itself. Entertainment continues to bring big press, from regular reports of box office revenue to bestseller lists to weekly ratings of network TV shows. All of this—and much more—is explored in the mainstream press, trade publications such as Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Broadcast & Cable, Electronic Media, and hundreds of other magazines, websites, blogs, and Twitter feeds examining every aspect of each of the sectors.

And lest you think it’s all about digital, old platforms still have an impact. Award shows, not within the control of the marketer, can still make or break entertainment products, at least in the longer term. The profitability—or failure—of a film, an album, or a Broadway show can still rest on the opening of an envelope one evening each spring.

So here we are in the twenty-first century, in a world well-schooled in the pleasures of in-home, out-of-home, and self-created entertainment, surrounded by a population that knows it runs the show. The marketing professional of today operates in an industry consumed by louder, faster, bigger, and brighter, attempting to reach an audience on choice overload. The global desire for entertainment requires a universal understanding of the language needed to promote the product, both locally and internationally.

In short, entertainment marketing is not a career for the indecisive, the incompatible, or the inexperienced. With over a trillion dollars in total revenue at stake, today’s entertainment marketing professional must be fully aware of the mistakes of the past and the opportunities of the future to produce something extraordinary.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020