Our Brave New World

One of the questions me and my meat-world pals have been debating is what life will be like once we get through this pandemic. Axios’ morning email thingie is also wondering about that:

Media and entertainment: Venerable mediums like television, newspapers and movies are all quickly moving their content to digital formats and online delivery as they struggle to adapt.

  • Some weekly newspapers are ending or pausing print editions, and all publishers are ramping up digital operations. “We will look back on these events as a moment at which the newspaper industry’s transition from print to digital accelerated meaningfully,” says Jim Friedlich, executive director of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit that supports local news and is the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Television interviews are overwhelmingly being conducted via Skype or other digital channels. There’s been a major uptick in internet video and streaming consumption, per Nielsen. More than a quarter of Americans (26%) are using video streaming services, like Netflix, for the first time, per the Consumer Technology Association.
  • Some movie studios, like Universal Pictures, have said that they will for the first time roll out movies to digital audiences at the same time that they make them available in theaters due to the crisis.

Retail: Brick-and-mortar shops that never sold goods online are moving there as stores nationwide shut their doors and customers can’t leave their homes.

This is a story that started a long time ago, and has accelerated in the recent days. My first thought when my friends and I started this speculation is that the CinePlex will not come back. According to IndieWire:

So, on Friday March 20 Universal will push already-opened Focus Features’ “Emma” and horror flicks “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man” — films with advertising still fresh in consumers’ minds, marooned in theaters that will soon be closed — to VOD, where they can be rented for $19.99 for 48 hours. That price point was calculated as the cost of two movie tickets, said insiders with knowledge. And what better time to pursue this model, as theaters have no leverage and cinephiles are stuck indoors with kids sent home from school?

$20 Ameros for a ticket? They cut out the distributor, etc? You think even for a minute that they are gonna go back to releasing in theaters?

I think we all know that Amazon continues its death march across America’s retail landscape; have you been to a mall lately? Have you been to a department store downtown lately?

Craig’s List, Faceberg, Google, etc.,  basically destroyed the daily newspapers a decade ago, but now that Americans correctly are not picking up physical papers, the move to digital platforms will complete.

I really don’t see print media coming back — except, ironically, for books:

  • Powell’s Books, an iconic Portland independent bookstore, was able to rehire 100 laid-off store employees after a surge of online orders from devoted customers.

I have not seen any news showing a jump in Kindles and the like. Maybe they’ve been a victim of our Very Stable Jenius’ trade wars?

Retail has always been an entry-point to service sector jobs, tho, so what happens to the real economy where real people work is pretty clear: we’re eff’ed in the dark. One of my predictions for how this disease plays out in the real world is that maybe, finally, people will realize that our political split is not Left-vs-Right, it is really Top-vs-Bottom.

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11 Responses to Our Brave New World

  1. Dennis Cole says:

    TG – that streaming movie offer is really not such a bad deal – $20 Ameros for TWO tickets is a bargain in my town, unless you qualify for the Senior Discount. And there are “bennies” to watching in the privacy of your own home: you can pause the movie at any time, for a bathroom run, (SWIDT?) or a snack attack, (that popcorn doesn’t pop itself, you know,) and there’s a definite lack of rudeness and intrusions, such as cellphone use by others in the audience. Plus, as an added bonus, you don’t have to pay for parking, or make that perilous journey from garage to theater.

    And the resurgence of interest in bookstores can be explained by the library closures. Here in CA, anyway. I’m not sure if the sheltering order in other states affects libraries. I have never before desired to use an e-book format, but I’ll have to grudgingly change my ways, and adapt, as I’m a “junkie” for the written word, whether it’s a novel, the newspaper, or the back of the cereal box.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Buy hoverchair stocks, NOW! Get in on the 12 inches above the ground floor!

    Also I used to get yelled at by my mom for reading the cereal boxes at the breakfast table…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sirius Lunacy says:

    I commented this in the bad signs post below but it is appropriate here as far as how the daily paper will come out of this.

    The fading newspaper business is missing a wonderful opportunity to increase daily subscription rates. There’s no sports to report on anyway so send out the morning paper with a completely blank ‘sports’ section. ‘Cause nobody wants newsprint on their butts.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. MDavis says:

    I hadn’t thought of the journalism side at all.
    I was just thinking along the lines of:
    Maybe people will start taking the regular flu season more seriously.
    Maybe sick leave will still be better supported after the big wave sweeps through. (COnami?)
    Maybe craft and hobby equipment will become a staple at home.
    Maybe people will normally keep more toilet paper at home if they have the storage.
    Maybe (see Microsoft reports) telecommuting will be better supported and more common.
    Maybe school online access equipment and bring-home computers will become more common.

    Like that.

    fun anecdote – we were once involved in a proposal to set up a state-wide school project to supply school kids with the parts to build a computer and then keep it at the end of the year. Turns out the unbreachable barrier wasn’t “what if the parents sell it for crack?” and similar but a state administrator who shut the whole thing down because a woman was proposing it. He treated it, publicly, as an insult because they already had computers in Idaho, but we heard about him saying no woman could teach anyone anything about computers. Ah, the good old days. Now we have the prez* shutting down aid for states and territories (remember Puerto Rico’s mayor?) because they had the audacity to elect a woman. Happy days are here again. sigh

    Liked by 1 person

  5. M. Bouffant says:

    There are going to be fewer jobs for the least-paid of us, service workers & the like. We may even see a two-class system: Those who deliver, & those to whom deliveries are made.

    Liked by 2 people

    • MDavis says:

      We may see a two-class system?
      Pretty sure it’s been here for a while. It’s one of the power plants for trump’s success.
      Combine Fox everywhere, a waiting room staple, with an inflexible caste system – it’s a recipe for this kind of disaster.


  6. ali redford says:

    I love Powell’s, and am so happy that things are working out for them. I found out about them years ago as a great (Buy Blue) alternative to Amazon. Powell’s later did me a solid when I needed dictionaries for our 5th grade promotion, and I will never forget, and I will always buy there.

    Liked by 3 people

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