Not to be duped by digital entertainment  

Woalid Hossain Khan   | Published: October 15, 2018 21:57:53 | Updated: October 27, 2018 21:12:35

Bangladesh has witnessed a massive development over the past 10 years. Beside health, education and transportation, country's internet infrastructure and information and communications technology (ICT) sector has improved the most. With cheap and easy access to internet, we already have reshaped our habits and taste of entertainment, which is affecting our personal and social life to a great extent. Despite having cheap and easy access to internet, we have not seen the entire internet-universe as yet. One of the most appalling and expanding cities of the internet-universe is On-demand Streaming services.

On-demand Steaming service is basically a platform that delivers entertaining contents like movies and TV-shows whenever the consumer or user wants. Unlike traditional platforms, audiences do not have to wait in front of TV for the show to be broadcast, rather they can watch their favourite contents at their convenience. This surely seems a good and innovative idea but how we are using the service is quite alarming. Streaming giants like Netflix, with nearly 100 million subscribers, is producing their own shows. Retail giant like Amazon is also stepping into the streaming business with their Amazon prime video service. Hulu, HBO now, Sling TV, Philo TV are among the most popular. We all know about youtube which is free to use. But many of us do not know that youtube has a paid version named youtube TV that delivers TV shows and movies. These services are as cheap as $7.0 a month.

These streaming service providers are also delivering country-specific contents to target more audience to expand their subscriber base. Both Netflix and Amazon prime have launched several TV series in our neighbouring India, customer-tailored to the country's culture and taste, featuring local starts. Some might question these contents for vulgarity and violence, but that is an altogether different issue. What is more concerning is that, these companies are employing clever marketing strategies to retain their subscribers. On-demand streaming service has started a new trend among the youth called binge-watching, which is referred to watching as much as an entire season of a show in a single day. And a single season of these shows can be as long as 18 hours. With delivering interesting contents to attract people of all ages and its sugar-coated marketing plans, Netflix CEO "Reed Hastings" believes, besides penetrating new markets, Netflix may have another growth area by getting people to spend more time on it.

We certainly welcome new idea and innovations, but being a developing country, we need all of our potential and human resources to accelerate the developing process, and that requires our youth to invest a great deal of time in study and innovative activities. Entertainment is a very important part of our life but how it is being delivered and consumed plays a vital role. Excessive consumption of foreign shows is already evident in the youth portion of the population. We might not yet have easy access to these services, but with the country's digitalisation and ICT development we will eventually be a target market for these companies. But, it is our responsibility to keep the entertainment from being a bad habit that negatively influences our personal and social life.

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