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Social Media 80’s Style

You’ve never had more instant access to content without leaving home, but if you want to take your favourite TV show or film to your friend’s house you may still be better off with 20th century technology

It only seems like yesterday when I was renting VHS tapes, making mix tapes and swapping computer games cartridges with my friends. Weekly swaps of our favourite games, videos and CDs/tapes bound our trust – I didn’t just lend my things to anyone!

But today, this doesn’t happen like it did in the 80s, and it got me thinking; with today’s technology, shouldn’t shared experiences be easier than ever?

Well, if you look at how Generation Z consumes content today, it’s not straightforward:

  • Content is streamed directly to a set-top-box or computer and only lasts for a limited time
  • If you’ve bought content which has DRM, you can’t share with your friends as it’s a violation of copyright
  • Even though DVD Blu Rays are as popular with consumers, the drive for content consumption is coming from the Internet

There’s a distinct lack of trust here – studios are keen to protect their assets from online piracy, which has been rife for years. However, this lack of trust is affecting the honest consumer.

People are ready to buy through legitimate downloading or online steaming, but the restrictions make no sense. I can’t take a download on my set top box to my friends’ house to watch it. I’m better off buying a plastic disc, having that mailed to me, taking it to my friends’ living room machine to spin it at high speed while shining a laser beam at it to watch a movie.

How very 90’s.

But there is still hope for the honest consumer. At the announcement of the Sony PS4, the company made it clear that it would enable its users to share their games with friends, on different consoles, using the same disc. Many other companies such as Microsoft and Steam have not made this possible, through DRM.

So it’s great to see a brand such as Sony, which established its gaming presence in the swapping era, enabling the next generation of gamers to share the same lifestyle as their predecessors.

It’s clear that content protection is needed, but we need something better than the blunt tools of digital “restriction” management. To start with my top wishes:

  1. Let me download, not just stream – we’ll avoid these kinds of playground squabbles
  2. Free me buy the best content from wherever – I don’t need two subscriptions and choosing one will always be a compromise
  3. Let me take my downloadeds to watch on my friends’ big screen – and device makers play nicely to standards

At Trustonic, we’re frequently in discussions with our partners on the need to place trust in connected devices, so consumers can enjoy any content on any screen, all the while protecting studio assets for the producers and content owners.

Wouldn’t it be great to bring the 80’s media sharing culture online to connected devices for Generation Z?  What would you have on your sharing wish list?