remembering cinemania: the history of digitalisation 

I just came across a reference to an old Microsoft initiative, Cinemania, in Gates, by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, loc 10184:

Cinemania, demonstrated by Chairman Bill himself—a CD-ROM movie database containing information on 19,000 films and 3,000 stars. The movie-mad Gates called up The Maltese Falcon, clicked on the sound icon, and smiled as Humphrey Bogart’s voice emerged from the speakers.

Doesn’t this seem remarkably quaint only a little more than two decades later? Yet I dimly recall being fascinated by Cinemania as a child, struggling to make sense of the sheer abundance of information it offered about a singular topic. Contrast this to what IMDB now offers, as stated on their Wikipedia page:

As of September 2015, IMDb had approximately 3.4 million titles (includes episodes) and 6.7 million personalities in its database,[2] as well as 60 million registered users and is an Alexa Top 50 site.

The theoretical question this poses for me is how best to make sense of the transition from the former to the latter. Is it something we could usefully think of in terms of the acceleration of digitalisation? This could then organise the analysis of a whole range of interconnected factors: technological affordances,  consumer demand, business strategy, consumption to prosumption etc.

About Mark