Intertainment is a combination of the words Internet and entertainment. The term has been used since the early 1990s and is often thought to been inspired by the formation of the company INTERTAINMENT Media Concepts & Licensing®. In the modern sense, the word is not restricted to a single company. It refers to multiple ways in which people amuse or entertain themselves with services that are Internet-based. There are so many ways that people access Internet entertainment, it would be difficult to list them all, and this field continues to grow with new development in technology that fuels the Internet.
In the early days of Internet use, some examples of intertainment include MOOs and MUDs. Multi-object oriented and multi-user dungeons or domains were places on the Internet where people could gather and create text-based descriptions of environments. They could then talk to each other, play games like Scrabble®, engage in imaginative and sometimes sexual text-based play. Other examples of early intertainment are the many USENET or e-mail based groups called listserves, where people with common interests could share information, get support, ask questions or contribute information about a topic.
Modern forms of intertainment are much more sophisticated. Consider the many things that a person can do via the Internet. It’s possible to catch up on favorite shows by using networks or companies like Hulu®. Live streaming makes many network shows readily available to people with sophisticated enough computers. Internet users can also download their favorite TV shows for a price.
It’s also possible to download movies to computers or television sets through cable connections or game machines like the Wii® or PlayStation®. People can also buy games online for these machines or play games online at numerous free or subscription Internet game sites. Another form of intertainment is access to music; consumers buy millions of songs and albums from sites like the iTunes® store or alternately they may look up videos produced by their favorite artists on sites like YouTube®.
Intertainment includes being able to read a newspaper online, to join any type of e-mail or Internet group of interest, or to follow or create blogs. Millions of people find daily amusement in contributing to social network sites like Facebook®. Moreover, it should be made clear that Internet entertainment doesn’t just happen on the computer screen. People access it on televisions, cell phones, reading machines like the Kindle® and iPad®, and even on some music players like the iTouch®.
Concern exists that Intertainment will replace traditional entertainment and this may be well-founded. For example, newspaper sales have dropped dramatically because people can access newspapers online and they can avail themselves of the many Internet only news sites such asThe Huffington Post or Politico. Television networks have similar concerns but many are learning how to adapt their programming to Internet entertainment environments. The survival of traditional entertainment likely depends on how well these sources learn how to use the Internet to their advantage.