By the year 2020, the entertainment and media industry in the United States is expected to be worth over $720 billion. On a global scale, it is set to hit over $2.2 trillion by the same time. There is no way an industry could make that much money and have that much of an influence on us, right?
We love entertainment. Entertainment is an escape from the real world – from work, school and the daily stresses of life. Entertainment brings light to our lives and makes us happy, often inspiring people to believe that they can do and be more.
The industry influences society and culture dramatically. It influences the way we think, live, eat, dress and even the purchases we make. People keep up with the star of a show, film, book, album or even YouTube channel and want to be like them. They even want to own things that the star owns, so that they can share commonalities with their celebrity hero.
In regard to the film and television industry, there are countless features that imitate real life situations and experiences; however, they are often glorified and made more glamorous than is realistic.
An example of this is the movie “V for Vendetta,” in which the hacktivist group Anonymous plays a central role. According to blogger Natasha Engelhardt, Anonymous “uses the mask as a symbol of anonymity for anyone fighting any kind of injustice anywhere.”
Another film that has influenced popular culture is “Jaws.” After this film was released, it caused beach tourism to decline for months because of the fear of a shark attack (which, in real life, is a rare occurrence).
Another clear example of media influence would be in the social media world, more specifically Instagram and YouTube. There are thousands of celebrities and influencers who post images and videos of themselves wearing, using, and otherwise promoting certain products or brands. Viewers who are younger are much more vulnerable to this marketing trap. They feel as if they would be cooler if they were wearing a Jake Paul shirt, or were drinking the same smoothie as Kylie Jenner. Those who are older often understand that these influencers do not actually use the products they are promoting; they are only posting the product onto their account to make a profit. It’s a beautiful marketing scheme.
A further example can be found in the music industry. Artists write music about certain events that may occur to them or others and share these through song, opening our eyes to their perspective and influencing the way we live our lives.
All in all, we are very impressionable beings. Depending on one’s viewpoint, media can be either a positive or negative influence, or both. Either way, the entertainment industry influences all of us in one way or another.