Updated: May 14
In the high-tech world of today, computers, cellphones and other forms of digital media are changing the face of entertainment behavior – especially with the younger generation.
The Times Are Changing
In this fast evolving world of technology and digital media, land-based attractions, such as theme parks and live shows (which have remained basically unchanged for the past 50 years) are facing stiff competition for the consumer’s entertainment time. The challenge for land-based attractions is to integrate some elements of the new entertainment experience into the traditional destination attraction. It will require a whole new approach and a whole new business model that has been contemplated by the creative thinkers at Mirage Entertainment for some time. We at Mirage call this new entertainment concept the 3G (or third generation) destination attraction.
The Evolution of Entertainment
We all know the evolution of ages in human technology (Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, etc…), but there is a corresponding evolution in human industry, as well. First came the agricultural industry (1), when most of humankind’s pursuits involved the raising or growing of food. Then came an industrial age (2) of mass production and mechanization, when much human labor could be handled by machine. This freed up time to allow the formation of a service industry (3), as there emerged more leisure needs to be filled. Now we are into an information age (4), ruled by data and computer technology – which is, itself, fast becoming supplanted by an age of artificial intelligence. Each of these eras of progress has compounded upon the other in shorter and shorter intervals of time. The agricultural period lasted about 7,000 years before progressing to the industrial period, which then lasted about 200 years before progressing to the service period, which then lasted about 50 years before progressing on to the information period, and so forth and so on.
Each of these industrial periods also came with its own progression in entertainment technology, each with its own model. The agricultural period had live performances of drama, music and storytelling (ranging from Greek poetry to Shakespeare and Beethoven). The nucleus of these performances revolved around the documentation of notable events, artistic expression and philosophy. The industrial period introduced mechanical technology (such as sound recording, photography and motion picture equipment) to the business of showmanship, so that entertainment product could be mass produced for mass distribution. The service period brought theming and branding into the entertainment mix, while the information age brought in electronic gaming, social media and computerized data.
The old generations of Amusement Parks are dying, and audiences demand a fresh new experience for land based entertainment.
The modern Destination Attraction, as we understand it today, can be said to have begun with the Amusement Parks of the industrial age. Accordingly, these parks (such as Coney Island (5), Cedar Point and Idlewild Park) introduced mechanical technology for entertainment purposes, with rides and arcade games providing thrills and excitement to park patrons. We consider this to be the First Generation (or 1G) Destination Attraction. The Second Generation (or 2G) Destination Attraction was the Theme Park which emerged during the service age. These parks (such as Disneyland (6), Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios Park) added theming, story, and branding to the traditional Amusement Park experience. Now, Mirage Entertainment proposes the next step in Destination Attractions, which we will call the 3G Destination Attraction!
Watch how the 3rd Generation of Amusement Parks and Land Based Entertainment is being developed.
A New Business Model
The Third Generation Destination Attraction will require a new business model that blends the traditional Theme Park experience with new digital technology (incorporating cellphone or computer apps) for greater appeal to the demographics and economics of today. This model would involve a cross-pollination of venues, which is to say a blend of many related venues (such as a sports complex, with a game arcade, with an amusement park, with a restaurant, and so on) into one whole new multi-entertainment experience with broad appeal over many interests. Since attention spans are ever decreasing from generation to generation, the attraction would also require content mobility. This will involve high-tech content (such as projection screens and 3-D mapping) that allow for quick conversions from one theme to another in order to keep the experience fresh and continuously updated for the discriminating entertainment tastes of the younger generation. Such content could also be mobile to allow for a traveling venue that tours from city to city – or it could be tailor-made for one specific location, based on the history, traditions, or special qualities of that certain locality. It must also offer a high degree of Connectivity among many demographics in order to establish mass appeal and Interactivity to enhance participation between the patrons and the environment of the attraction, itself. This may involve physical effects (such as talking displays that seem to know who you are) or virtual features (like the Pokemon phone games).
Land Based Entertainment Timeline: By Generation
(1) The Agricultural Era (also known as the Agrarian Era) is generally considered to have begun between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago and lasted up to the modern age
(2) The Industrial Age is generally considered to have begun in 1720 in Britain. It involves no specific invention, but revolves around a series of inventions (such as improved textile looming technology and the steam engine) over a period of several decades. It also involves the invention of the cotton gin in the U.S.
(3) There is no agreed upon timeline for the Service Era, but we consider it to have begun around the middle of the 20th Century.
(4) The Information Age coincides with the widespread introduction of personal computers around 1980.
(5) Coney Island (originally called “Sea Lion Park” is considered to be the America’s first amusement park, opened in 1895.
(6) Disneyland, The world’s most famous theme park, opened in 1955.