Online social entertainment
Online social entertainment blends entertaining interactive functionality and content including live video streaming, video chat communications, multi-player gaming, music and videos streaming, with social networking service such as social graph management, forums, reviews, ratings, and geo-location options. It is the foundation for a more immersive, interactive, enriching and engaging content consumption experience through social channels. Social entertainment is distinct from social networking websites in that the former is based fundamentally on immersive engaging experiences with functionality, content and people, while the latter is based primarily on building and maintaining relationships with other users. Typically, social entertainment is defined by the individual sites dedicated to a particular type of entertainment experience incorporating basic social networking services.
Within the realm of social entertainment, online content is tightly intertwined with social features. These interactions around the content create a highly personalized experience for users which, in turn, drives a virtuous cycle of ongoing consumer engagement for service providers. In this sense, social entertainment refines the paradigm established by social networks, in which interactions with others are central and reasons for interacting with them are secondary.
Types of services
A social entertainment service is an online service, platform or website which links back to social networking websites to help connect users and has begun to facilitate audience acquisition. While these websites may not yet be recognized as entertainment companies, they are leading the way in terms of adding value to the consumer experience of entertainment online. The majority of users polled in both the UK and US felt that social networking websites provide better value than music, gaming and television companies alone. Due to this shift in audience interaction, traditional media companies are acquiring social components to stay competitive.
The main types of services offering social entertainment are split into two categories: live platforms and packaged Internet platforms. The main differentiating factor between these categories is that one offers their experience through an exclusive real-time online experience and the latter has broadened the user experience by the inclusion of mobile platforms.
These services may also create an interactive experience that is fundamental to a dynamic online social environment. The level of audience interaction with a social networking service or social graphic continues to make an impact on the entertainment in which these audiences partake. Some examples for this type of online social entertainment service are also big platforms like Twitch.tv and Youtube and others like Cisco Eos, Woo Media, IMVU, and Hi5.
Packaged Internet platforms
A hallmark of social entertainment is that it can also be accessible across connected mobile device platforms. Social entertainment providers who prioritize development of mobile applications for a range operating systems (iOS and Android in particular) and display sizes will be best equipped to meet user expectations of anywhere, anytime access and to exceed expectations of a deep, rich content experience. Examples of these packaged social entertainment platforms are MySpace and Warner Bros.
As an evolution of social networks online, social entertainment websites have grown exponentially. In 2010, Edelman released a study revealing that seventy-three percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in the US and 61 percent in the UK see social networks as a form of entertainment. Fifty percent (US) and 56 percent (UK) of respondents aged 35–49 also consider social networking websites to be a main source of entertainment.
Online vs. traditional media
Online entertainment is a growing industry which is replacing traditional media. Within the past decade, video renting companies have shutdown do to services such as Netflix making video rental more convenient. Similarly, cable and satellite television companies are experiencing similar situations. In March 2017, YouTube announced their new service YouTube TV. The news prompted the discussion as to how the service would compare to traditional cable and satellite. When referencing the stock market, companies that provide cable or satellite services have been to shown to have decreasing share prices while companies such as Netflix have shown substantial growth.
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