Rethinking Entertainment with Wearable Technology

The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners have come out in the United States with an updated film-theft prevention policy. Previously tackling the enormous uptake of smart phones, this new policy has evolved from the latest technological breakthrough which will impact the future of entertainment . . . Wearable Technology.


Wearable technology is the latest development by the big technological companies. Featuring all the functionality (plus more) of the average smart phone, these devices mimic the appearance of everyday items such as glasses and watches. Google Glass and the Apple Watch are hotly anticipated by tech-lovers everywhere and it will only be a matter of time before they filter throughout society in the same manner as the smart phone.

But this presents a problem for the entertainment industry.

With the creation of these wearable technology items, how do they stop product theft?

The US film industry is quite worried about these technological innovations. Giving consumers access to high quality video-recording within everyday items, there are great fears surrounding piracy. Where it was previously easy to spot a bulky video camera in a cinema, it is significantly more difficult to see someone recording a film with their watch or glasses.

The current debate surrounds what should be done with these devices when consumers enter the cinema. Does it policy remain the same as smart phones with consumers being instructed to turn off and put away their devices? Should they be collected upon entry and returned one consumers exit?

There is no definitive answer to this issue yet, but if smart phones are anything to go by, then there will be constant flouting of these rules no matter the policy. And who is to blame?


Okay, television isn’t the only object to blame for this constant disregard for rules, but it is an important consideration for the cinema.

The way we watch television and the way we watch a movie in the cinemas is remarkably different. We are used to holding the remote in one hand and a phone, tablet or laptop in the other when we watch television. When we are in the cinema, consumers are asked to ignore this nagging urge for technology and focus purely on the screen.

Because we are exposed to television a lot more frequently than we visit the cinema, these behaviours have become ingrained making it rather difficult to switch off. We have become conditioned to multi-task. Think about other problems while watching a screen. Look up information about the movie. Who hasn’t vaguely recognised an actor in a show or movie while sitting on their couch and then turned to Google immediately to find out who they are?

This is where the issue with wearable technology will arise. Wearable technology will only strengthen this multi-tasking section of our entertainment behaviour making these out-of-date rules even more difficult to accept. It is already hard enough to put down the smart phone, now customers are going to be instructed to lose their glasses and watches as well.

There isn’t really a solution yet for the cinema, but it is something that all other entertainment mediums need to start considering. It will be near impossible to police whether consumers are using wearable technology to record the product, so maybe it is time to approach it via another way.

How can the experience be changed so that a mere video recording does not substitute paying the ticket price and going to experience the event first hand?