Friday night. Mom, new husband, kids (from all 3 previous marriages) and dogs are all gathered together in the warmth of the trailer – and the TV is on. Into their psyches flow the wholesome narratives of a variety of TV shows and the late-night movie. All this entertainment cost millions to produce – but for the little dirty bomb nuclear family – all that is required are the ad breaks, where the big boys tell them which toothpaste to buy, which cars to drive and which cigarette brands will have them skiing in Aspen in no time.
A variety of genres and show formats. Cheaper than renting VHS (a good deal is the 3 older ones which you can keep 2 days – they can get that once a month).
Then there comes a massive change. The internet takes off. Things will be cheaper, better, faster now. DVDs take over, but only for a little bit. TV is still TV, but if you want the super cool shows, you sign up for this thing with a big red N. It’s worth it. They have a REALLY big selection, don’t cost too much, you can watch as much as you want, when you want. No ad breaks.
So it becomes a monthly expense. Like the bottle of whiskey or smokes. It’s okay, it can be absorbed by the family budget.
Then every studio and every distributor inside and outside of Hollywood decides to do exactly what the big red N company did. An apple logo company, a mountain, a jungle in Brazil, those people who don’t like the trailer trash family viewing their stuff down in Florida… suddenly everybody and his cousin wants a (small) monthly amount for you to get to see the shows and movies you’ve been advertised into wanting to see. Ker-ching ker-ching.
A while goes on and they say, yo, hey, specially for you backward folks: we got a package that’s cheaper, but then you see the ads.
So it’s Friday night and the family gathers round the TV in the warmth of the trailer and they watch the wholesome narratives of a variety of TV shows and the late-night movie. All supported by the big boys punting headache tablets, additional sport packages and credit cards. Only now, post all this lovely progress, it’ll cost the family.
That’s really all there is to it – the classic bait and switch. You used to not pay for the limited choices offered to you by a network. Now you do (not so wide the catalogue, not anymore. Shows disappear before we have to start paying the writers, and whatsisname has a distribution deal that means your particular favourite is only in Norway, here you have to subscribe to a different network).
The situation, post progress, is exactly the same, except now you have to pay for it.
Not just movies and TV (and understand, whichever tech and delivery channels are flaunted as breakthrough – it’s still just movies and TV).
Kid from trailer grows up and makes good. She can’t afford college but she moves to the big city, and has a little bit of experience, and gets kicked around a little until she’s competent as heck as a graphic designer. Decides to run her own business. Hell of a risk, lots of long hours, no protections, certainly no freaking union – just her paying her own way and building her business.
To do so she has to have the software. Pricey – but it is a business expense and she has no choice but to use it. So she forks out the $686.95 plus shipping and handling and the box with the disks arrive and she installs the program and Jenna’s Designs is good for five years, six at a push, and she can earn enough to feed her and (after one mistake) her bastard son.
Not no more, though. Haven’t you heard? Progress happened. That hefty software price tag is now only $45.00 easy payment per month. Every month. So Jenna’s Designs spends $3,240.00 over the six years instead of $686.95. On the bright side, there’s no shipping and handling. And who needs those clunky disks.
All this cloud based stuff, all of it… your accounting and your office applications and every single thing you want to do… turned into a monthly utility bill. (It’s so cool though, so much better, we promise, its the way of the future, just click here). You now no longer have companies offering you goods and services for a price, so you can fulfil your needs. All of that is as outdated as personal responsibility.
No, what you have are dependents. Monthly dependents. Eternal monthly dependents, leaving you with nothing to show for it.
Some folks like to rent their whole lives (those who don’t do numbers, see example above). But there is no longer the OPTION to buy. They don’t want your transaction, they want you to put them on the payroll.
Perhaps, then, the marketers can have the common courtesy not to refer to us as target markets, customers or clients anymore.
Just come out and say it, and call us cows.