We are at an interesting point with technology where more and more media can be accessed any time and any where with a monthly subscription cost. The subscriber does not own any of the media, but they can stream from a library of various media. At one point do consumers no longer really own the media, but instead decide to just use various subscription services to always have access to a multitude of options. There are subscription services that allow you to gain one new item a month, but then for a similar cost you don’t own and just have access. The only issue is the fact that you then only have access as long as you keep paying. So truly at what point does someone say that the subscription is enough.
Owning versus Subscription
Owning media means that you never have to worry about there being a point that you don’t have access because you own it. Even if it is just a digital copy if you make sure to download it then you have a copy that you have access to. Now there is always the possibility that something happens to the copy that you own, which means that you either have to buy a new one or just no longer have it. At the same time you pay once and that is it you can watch it over and over again as many times as you want. At the same time to buy everything that you might want to watch would cost a lot of money.
Subscriptions on the other hand allow you to have access to more than you might be able to buy at any time. Suddenly you have access to so much more than you need at any given time, but it means that at any point there are multiple things that you can watch depending on your mood. It is great to have thousands of titles at your fingertips at the same time you are dependent on the service getting access to the same titles that you want. Even though there is still a lot of choices it is limited by the service.
It is an interesting balance between quantity versus quality and we are getting closer to a point where the quality is pretty dang good. It is also really nice to not have physical items taking up space.
Now the other piece that we have to remember in this discussion is that libraries are evolving in this digital age. The amount of things that public libraries are offering online now really is amazing. Suddenly you do not have to go to the physical library to get an e-book or an audio book. There are so many things that you can get from the library that you do not always need to own. Libraries are expanding beyond just books, but includes a variety of media and games that people can access without having to pay extra.
It will be interesting to see if there comes a point that buying is not the best option and when owning does not mean as much as it usually does.