The advent of high-speed Internet technology, coupled with the ongoing development of devices that fuel consumer demand for digital content, has led to a huge shift in how modern content is distributed to the masses. From Amazon to Apple, the technology world has witnessed the creation and resulting success of many online megastores where users have a plethora of videos, written materials, music and spoken word available to them at the click of a mouse button. As technology continues to advance and growth for such content grows, it is natural to ponder where digital distribution will find itself in the coming years.
Overcoming the Obstacles
Although online distribution is now a significant method for dispersing digital content of all sorts across the globe, it hasn’t quite become the standard for two significant reasons: 1.) the existing Internet infrastructure cannot support it. High speed Internet is much more commonplace than it ever was, but still only about 75% of American households have the necessary bandwidth required for high speed streaming and downloading of large video files to their homes. While some consumers may choose not to purchase these services because of financial or personal reasons, many others simply do not have service providers willing or able to connect yet. 2.) some percentage of consumers still prefer and perhaps always will, the store to store shopping experience.
Even for those homes who have an Internet connection, the speed of that connection sometimes hinders the consumer’s desire to purchase content online. Download times for small files, such as MP3s and ebooks, may be relatively small, but downloading a blockbuster film can tax the resources of a home Internet connection in a significant manner. These factors have to change for online distribution to become the primary method of digital distribution.
Advantages Driving Digital Distribution
In spite of the challenges that digital content distribution can pose, the many advantages of such channels make it certain that content providers and consumers will push infrastructure development forward. Arguably one of the most exciting benefits of content shared in this manner is the ability to utilize these materials across an assortment of different devices and platforms. Cloud services further capitalize on these capabilities, giving consumers access to their purchased materials on desktop computers as well as smart phones and tablets.
In addition to the creation of a seamless enduser experience, digital distribution is also a much more cost-effective way for content creators to market and distribute their digital products. Rather than spending resources on creating and deploying physical media purchased in retail stores, content creators can instead create digital versions that can be made available to consumers with the click of a mouse. These savings are often passed on to the consumer, resulting in a convenient and more affordable content option not to mention the immediate delivery factor.
Ultimately, the market will certainly dictate what digital distribution channels see success in the next few years, but a few simple realities are evident. The move to digital distribution will push broadband Internet development further, allowing more homes to take advantage of these services. The mobile web will also see growth in coming years, allowing smart phone and tablet users to access content on the fly. As these services become available to more and more consumers, physical media production will continue to decrease, and digital distribution will complete its ascent to the top.