Module 5- From DVD’s To Video On Demand

Posted: August 4, 2016 in Ph.D., Uncategorized
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The way that we watch, videos has changed over the years. The advancement of technology has been leading us to the discovery of new technologies. Most recently we have gone from the use of DVD’s to video-on-demand. When we look at how technology changes, we must reference the six fundamental principles of the evolutionary technology. According to Thornburg (2014), the six forces that drive emerging technologies are Evolutionary Technologies, Rhyme of History, Science Fiction, Disruptive Technologies, Increasing Returns and Red Queen (Thornburg, 2014j). When looking at the trend of moving from DVD’s to video on demand and the competition between the two, we must examine two of the six principles. We must look at Increasing returns and red queens.

To explain these two principles, we must define them. Increasing returns is when, “Between two competing technologies, one technology is chosen, and the other disappears” (Thornburg, 2014j). Another way that this can be defined was when Arthur stated that increasing returns are, “the tendency for that which is ahead to get further ahead, for that which loses advantage to lose further advantage” (Arthur, 1996, p. 100). When we look at a Red Queen, it is when, “two technologies suddenly move ahead of a bunch of competitors because of their fierce completion” (Thornburg, 2014j).

Both of these are compelling arguments for the ways DVD’s and video on demand strike up fierce competition but unfortunately the struggle for powers is really about Increasing Returns. The reason this would fit the definition of increasing returns is that when you simplify the meaning, it is when you have two new technologies entering the marketplace at the same time. Then one of those technologies becomes the leading technology. It takes the lead in a way that the other technology is driven away from the market (Laureate Education, 2014e). Mearian (2014) explains to us that, “DVD and Blu-ray revenues will fall because consumer demand is falling and competition from so-called “virtual formats” is increasing. Revenue from DVD and Blu-ray sales will decrease by 38% from $14.3 billion in 2014 to $8.9 billion in 2018, the report showed.” (Mearian 2014 p.1) This is true because when you ask people how they watch their movies, most people will mention Netflix, Hulu, CrunchyRoll or other online mediums in which they stream video service. Having a DVD that you must carry around is the old way of doing things. With all of the mobile devices that we own and the increased popularity of “Smart” televisions, there is no real need to have DVD’s anymore.

Now, DVD’s have not entirely fallen out of the market yet, but they are slowly fading away. If you look at the sale trends over the last few years in traditional retailers, there are always deals on the purchases of DVD’s. Unless a movie has just come out, they run many discounts and promotional options for this media format. Although, I do like the fact that when you have a DVD, you, in fact, own the movie and always have it, unlike many media formats it is not convenient. We live in a world where now the more efficient a service is; the more likely it is to become the new hottest trend. We all want to make our lives simpler and having instant access to your wants and needs is just where society mindset falls. Everyone is looking for instant gratification wherever they can find it. Although this is a problem in the world, this also is a reason why we the six fundamental principles of the evolutionary technology.

When looking at McLuhan’s tetrad and examining where DVD’s and video on demand, they will fall into different quadrants. The four quadrants our enhances, obsoletes, retrieves and reverses. DVD’s would belong to the quadrant of what Video on Demand would obsolete. Since having access to videos anywhere at any time, DVD’s are slowly being pushed out of the market. Whereas video on demand would then fit the category of what it enhances. For us, video on demand would enhance our need for instant gratification of users, provide a large variety of choices and allow users to simultaneously watch the same video in several different locations.





Arthur, W. B. (1996). Increasing returns and the new world of business. Harvard Business Review,74(4), 100−109. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014e). David Thornburg: Increasing returns [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014j). David Thornburg: Six forces that drive emerging technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Mearian, L. (2014) Online movie streaming can be profitable as TV, disc sales. Computerworld. Retrieved from–disc-sales.html

  1. Monica Triplett says:

    You have provided a succinct but comprehensive summary of the forces that impact emerging technology. I agree that when we look at the relationship between DVDs and video-on-demand (VOD), the Increasing Returns category is appropriate. VOD is simply more convenient, and that is a compelling characteristic for consumers. However, you also noted what I think is a strong argument not to trash all DVDs: if there is something that you truly like and will want to see it again and again, the DVD is a nice medium as you can own it.

  2. Thank you very much for commenting. Yes I agree that it is a nice medium that you can own it’s just not convenient…

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