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How Has the Library Model in Entertainment Become the Norm and Where Can It Go from Here?


From streaming services like Netflix to consoles like the PlayStation 4, the library model has become the norm when it comes to selecting an entertainment option. The modern user has become accustomed to having things recommended to them based on their preferences, and seeing vast lists of titles arranged into neat pigeonholes based on their genres. With this optimized way of finding titles almost ubiquitous, it is hard to imagine where it could advance from here.

Modern Entertainment Sites Have Unlimited Space

One of the main advantages that modern entertainment has over what came before it is the limitless amount of space. Physical entertainment stores are severely restricted in what they can offer, and if they are unable to supplement their real-world offerings with an online library they can’t compete. This was the case with Blockbuster, the video store that famously went bankrupt after failing to adapt to the internet revolution. The rental chain used to have 9,904 stores worldwide and raked in $5.9 billion per year at its peak, but its decline was rapid and devastating.

Netflix had previously tried to strike a deal with Blockbuster in 2000, but CEO John Antioco laughed Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph out of the room. The two up-and-coming players were able to envision the way the industry was heading, though, and their company is the success story now with a valuation of around $125 billion. While Blockbuster stores could only offer a certain number of DVDs, Netflix could provide users with as much content as it wanted.

The streaming service was one of the early pioneers of this online library model, and it has been jumped on by other sectors that have realized how popular it is. It has been notably seen in the online casino industry, where each site has hundreds of slots for players to choose from. The live casino genre is expanding as well, and sites typically have upwards of 20 offerings on display from traditional roulette to original options like Dream Catcher. Not many standard local casinos could fit such a vast quantity of titles inside. Meanwhile, consoles like Sony’s PlayStation have also incorporated this library model, and there is beginning to be a decrease in the number of physical discs purchased with many users preferring to download content and add it to their library. This shift is reflected in the fact that players will be able to choose whether they want a PS5 with a disk drive or one without.

Seamless Transition Between Options

Not only do libraries online have unlimited space and restrictions, they can also provide viewers with quick transitions between options. Rather than stand up, walk to a DVD player, eject a disk, replace it in its case, find another film, put the DVD in the player, press play and return to the sofa, Netflix viewers can simply press back and choose another title in seconds.

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The next step could lead to an even smoother transition between options than what already exists. This certainly appears to be the case with the upcoming PS5. The game that a player is currently playing will stay on in the background while they explore other options in the library. They can then either click on a new choice and watch it load up instantly, or revert to the game they were playing easily.

Another way that the library experience could be improved in the future is with more refined algorithms that make better predictions based on past preferences. Netflix already makes recommendations about movies and TV series, but a lot of the time it is wide of the mark. If it is able to provide a viewer with exactly what they want to watch depending on their mood, the time of day, and how much free time they have, the transition between shows may soon be unnoticeable.

The lack of physical barriers has made it possible for entertainment providers to put everything in one handy spot for users to access. The next step could be for companies to refine the process, improve their algorithms, and make the transition between different options more seamless.

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