This source is a summary of different studies and papers regarding the VCR’s impact on consumers and media consumption. I will focus on the paper by Lin, 1995. Lin views the VCR in terms of the emerging “home entertainment culture.” The VCR has altered the dynamic between consumers and other types of media because VCRs expanded the possible forms of media use and consumption. These new uses have redefined the “home entertainment culture,” meaning video viewing and the VCR’s capabilities have become substitutes for other “leisurely family activities.” As a result of these new forms of use and increased diversity of content, the VCR causes higher levels of user satisfaction. Specifically the argument is made that VCR users are likely to be more satisfied with their television viewing experience because of their ability to time shift. The other important point that Lin makes is that VCR users represent a different socio-economic segment that normal “heavy television” users.
Importance for thesis:
This source helps me in making the claim that media companies were short sighted in initially fighting the VCR. There were two benefits from the VCR that media companies overlooked. First, the VCR resulted in higher user satisfaction, which led to increased media consumption by VCR users. Second, the VCR allowed access to new market segments, which due to demographics, was a desirable result. However, these benefits were overlooked while media companies instead tried to defend their business models and the status quo.
This paper is based on questionnaires that were developed to determine the motives people have for using VCRs. It was found that the VCR was not a revolutionary technology, but rather an evolution that enabled consumers to take a greater stake in their media consumption. The paper cited four results due to the VCR’s increased consumer activity. They were (1) an expansion in the commercial markets for media, (2) an alternative programming and use of video, (3) an alternative context for media (eg: movie rentals), and (4) an extension of other media consumption methods (eg: video books).
Additionally, this paper discusses the concern of media companies regarding advertising revenues. Firstly, there was no evidence to suggest that time shifting would harm advertising revenues. Secondly, the primary use of VCRs, which is to time shift, actually turned out to be beneficial for media companies because viewers could watch programming they otherwise would have missed. Thus, there was no defensible reason for media companies to fight the VCR.
Importance for thesis:
The arguments put forth above are relevant to my thesis because they help prove that the VCR was not actually the threat that media companies perceived it to be. In fact, the opposite is proved true, as the markets for media consumption expanded due to the VCR. Additionally, the increased user interaction with media content that the VCR facilitated ended up being beneficial for media companies, instead of detrimental to their future profits. Lastly, this paper proves that the VCR was not as revolutionary as media companies tried to argue it would be. Instead, it is clear that the VCR was part of a natural evolution in technology and media consumption.