Audiences are Laughing at You, Not With You
The evolution of 4G phones has changed the way that people experience the world. It doesn't take long before smartphone owners start to rely on their devices for everything from directions to Internet access.
As people have gotten used to carrying small, Internet-ready devices, problems from past decades start to look humorous instead of dramatic. Iconic '80s movies like National Lampoon's Vacation and Friday the 13th look silly to audiences yelling at main characters to just call someone for help.
When the Griswolds get lost in the desert, older viewers who grew up without mobile technology have to explain to younger audiences that Google Maps wasn't an option. When a murderer creates havoc at Crystal Lake, young viewers throw their hands up in disbelief because no one calls the police.
When TV and cable stations air movies made as recently as two decades ago, they have to know that young viewers will find the plots frustrating because they don't seem relevant to the way people solve problems today.
Everyone on TV Uses a Smartphone for Everything
It's no wonder that audiences scoff at older movies that don't use new technology. Turn on the TV and nearly every character uses a smartphone for the simplest tasks. The plots of hit shows like 24 and Fringe wouldn't even make sense without smartphone technology. This means that smartphone technology has become so commonplace that it has changed what audiences expect from entertainment.
Characters can solve minor problems faster than ever, so producers can move the story forward to keep audiences interested. You won't see an entire episode of people trying to remember where they parked a car. That's not even a problem for today's TV characters. They just pull out their phones to overcome life's daily challenges.
People Have Gotten Used to Portable Content
Cable television producers started serving select audiences in the 1940s but didn't gain prominence in national markets until the '70s. As more people purchased televisions, the audience for cable television grew steadily until 2012, when a lot of people decided that they didn't want to spend money on such a limited service. In 2013, a quarter million people cut the cable. That's the biggest drop in the industry's history, and it's likely to continue since mobile devices can stream content at cheaper prices.
Some cable providers have responded to this trend by making more content available via smartphones and other mobile devices. Still, services like Netflix and Amazon continue to attract customers who want portable options that give them 24-hour access to content. If this trend doesn't change, 2012 will have been the peak of cable TV in the U.S.
It isn't just cable TV producers that are losing audiences. The music industry has also been hit hard by smartphones that can deliver a variety of content for free or just a few dollars a month.
Everyone is a Director
It takes talent and dedication for directors to make classic movies that earn accolades from critics and audiences. It also takes access to professional cameras that can cost thousands of dollars. At least, it used to take that. Now, most people have smartphones that can take high-definition video that looks nearly as good as video made by professional cameras.
Several companies even make camera lens kits that allow smartphones to take wide-angle and close-up shots. There are even contests and festivals dedicated to movies made with smartphones. Now, anyone can direct a short movie without spending hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.
No one has made a hit feature-length movie using nothing but smartphone cameras, but it seems like an inevitability. Eventually some young auteur will make a masterpiece with a piece of equipment that he or she bought for a couple hundred dollars.
Only time can tell what's in store for the entertainment industry next as smartphone use continues to skyrocket.