While many are still dealing with the issues of inflation over the past couple of years, we find it quite surprising how large corporations are still able to achieve record-breaking profits. This alone may not be concerning because, yes over years, corporations do grow bigger and end up producing more profits, but the point where we feel it does get concerning is when you look at the greed of these huge corporations and how they abandon long-term growth and sustainability for extreme short-term gains. We can talk about corporate greed in nearly any corporation, but let’s focus on the entertainment industry.
The first thing that we will touch on, and what sparked this discussion, is how Hasbro stocks lost value due to overprinting Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering cards. Now, you may think with the overprinting of cards would skew the entirety of supply and demand, however, that is not the main issue. The main issue is how the company released 20 different products this year alone, resulting in many players of Magic: The Gathering feeling unable to enjoy the new set of cards as the next product is already being shoved in their faces. This has led to many players feeling burned out and resulting in some entirely abandoning the hobby or changing the method they engage with it.
Another aspect of corporate greed we see is the inverse of the previous golden age of online piracy when it comes to corporations peddling their movies and TV shows online. The previous golden age came to an end nearly 20 years ago in 2003 when Apple released iTunes. Now, we’re not saying that Apple is the golden child exempted from corporate greed, but we are merely using the existence of iTunes to point out a simple truth of human nature. That is — humans will always gravitate towards the simplest and easy system to use. Before iTunes, if you wanted to purchase digital music online, you would have to try and track down the song on a multitude of different websites, each of which could be carrying only one of the several songs that you were looking for, and so piracy became the easy solution to this — otherwise, you’d have to buy the CD. Instead of scouring the Internet for the few songs you want to listen to, now you can just go to one convenient website that has everything available for download. iTunes came onto the scene and offered the convenience without any worries of viruses.
Despite this clear example of people willing to pay for the content that they consume, if it’s convenient for them to do that, corporations aren’t satisfied without having a piece of the pie. Instead of Disney or Warner Bros. being content with making money off of their content as it is hosted on third-party websites, such as Netflix, they are pushing their own streaming platforms. Due to these corporations not receiving all of the money they could, they decided to put it behind individual paywalls instead of having it be conveniently accessible at one location. Now, like before, people may turn to sketchy piracy websites where they can find any shows that they want to watch with the bonus of not needing to go through any paywall.
Fundamentally all of this corporate greed is hurting the consumers in the short term as they are either forced to spend more money to continuously engage in their hobbies, keep up to date with their favourite TV shows, or abandon them together. Whereas in the long-term, consumers are also hurt as corporations will either require them to pay more money to continuously engage in media they enjoy or cancel it because it’s not making a profit. Corporations are being hurt in the long term as this constant need to make more money turns people away due to a lack of funds.