Suddenly the world (and out-of-home entertainment) is a different place

There's a passage in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises in which a character named Mike is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

Culture change happens in much the same way. Small changes accumulate, and suddenly the world is a different place. If you're skeptical, remember that 25 years ago the internet was just becoming mainstream, and even the smartphone revolution is only 11 years old. Gradually, then suddenly, both have transformed the world and how we live our lives.

Our leisure culture, which includes entertainment, also changes in the same way, now facilitated by digital technology and all its options – gradually, then suddenly it's a different world with a changed leisure culture and different preferences and habits. That culture then enables new industries and types of entertainment, which further changes our expectations and leisure culture. Compared to just a decade or so ago, we now live in a world where the suddenly, the changes, happen at a rapid rate. Today trends go mainstream almost overnight.

If you have an entertainment venue of some type and you are seeing gradual changes that are reducing attendance and revenues, you need to ask, “Is there a ‘suddenly' on the horizon? Is leisure culture changing to my detriment?” If that is a possibility, it might be time to totally rethink and reinvent your business model.