As times change, so do tastes in entertainment, as well as the channels through which it’s delivered.
There are also many parallels between the different kinds of entertainment and how they evolve. Often this is driven by the technology of the time, as well as social and other changes and this is something that is shared by both the development of streaming services and online bingo.
To go back to the very beginning of the evolution of both kinds of entertainment, for bingo it was a matter of fans having to gather in bingo halls. In the case of movies, a trip to the cinema was the only option for recently released titles. The alternative was watching older films on TV at the precise time that they were broadcast.
The next leap forward for movie-lovers was the arrival of the video player. At last, it became possible to rent or buy a tape of a favourite movie and to watch it at their leisure, and in the comfort of their own homes.
But, in the mid-70s when the VHS and Betamax wars were starting, the prospect of play on demand was still a fair way off for bingo fans.
Then, a couple of decades later, bingo suddenly overtook its rival when the first online bingo sites were launched. At around the same time, Netflix appeared in its first manifestation. In this, customers paid a monthly subscription for a DVD mailing service. In fact, it wasn’t until 2007 that it moved to the online streaming service that it offers today.
At last, the two entertainment forms had evolved to a similar state, thanks in a large part, to the technology becoming available to make this possible. Better still, the arrival of the smartphone meant it now became possible to play bingo on your mobile. With a wide range of games to play, and the relative simplicity of playing them, it’s no wonder that, to this day, it remains the favoured way for many people to play the game.
In the case of streaming services, for all of the main operators from Netflix to Disney+ the use of apps has also made watching movies and shows possible on mobile devices – something that’s made long journeys a far more enjoyable experience for so many people.
The key similarity between the evolution of bingo and streaming is that both are now available completely on demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The consumer has never been more in charge, with there now being no need to stick to rigid schedules.
But where next? Netflix has announced that it will be introducing a new lower-cost subscription that will include ads. Perhaps more bingo sites may also start to carry advertising or promote third-party products and services to players.
Then there’s the question of virtual reality. This has the potential to make both bingo and entertainment streaming a far more immersive experience.
So while there are many questions left unanswered, one thing is for certain – it’s an evolution that certainly still has many more avenues to explore.