TechDogs-"Media & Entertainment Technology Trends For 2021"

Media And Entertainment

Media & Entertainment Technology Trends For 2021

By TechDogs

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Here's a fun fact for you -
 
According to a recent survey by Ernst and Young, roughly half the Media and Entertainment industry executives believe that traditional business models no longer work for them, especially not if they want to grow (who doesn't!). In fact, over a third of these executives stated that their company would cease to exist in five years if no action is taken!
 
The meaning of entertainment changes by the minute in today's digital day and age. Check any list of global top 20 hits. You'd hardly find a song on the top for more than a few days. So, the industry executives perpetually have to be on their toes to keep up with the changing taste of consumers over time. Okay, yes, "Old Town Road" was an exception!
 
Given the plethora of options we have today - be it movies, songs, TV series or podcasts - discovering personalized and relevant digital content is the priority for consumers. If your business cannot do that, your customers will leave faster than The Flash! With roughly 60,000 songs, 2055 podcasts and two new movies being released every day, traditional business models need to evolve to provide smarter personalization. From Artificial Intelligence-driven OTT (Over-The-Top) Services to Virtual Co-viewing features, the Media and Entertainment industry is changing for the better!
 
Here's where the Media and Entertainment industry is headed in 2021.
 
Let the show begin!
TechDogs-Binge On-"Media & Entertainment Technology Trends For 2021"
Flashback! Flashback! Flashback!
 
Ah, the good old days when entertainment and drama were synonymous with Shakespeare's plays performed live in theatres. The larger-than-life sets, the elaborate costumes and the obvious overacting! ("The whole w'rld is mine own stage!") Then came the radio and telegraph, which evolved into the idiot box, which gradually paved the way for other electronic displays such as smartphones, laptops and PCs.
 
Today, entertainment has more faces than Jaqen H'ghar from Game Of Thrones. Entertainment can be the new unending stream by Ludwig, the "You Laugh, You Lose" series by PewDiePie, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast or maybe even the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy. Thanks to our growing appetite for digital consumption, we no longer have to step out for entertainment (theatres, gardens and arenas); we can access it from anywhere at any time! Heck, using Virtual Reality, Immersive Streaming (digital content superimposed over physical environment) and 8K resolution, we can truly step into the world of entertainment!

In 2020, when the world came to a standstill due to the pandemic, amidst lockdowns and restrictions, one industry managed to stay true to its most popular saying – the show must go on. Media and Entertainment businesses put on a new face in 2020 by evolving to meet the new normal (much like the Faceless Men in Braavos!). This meant adopting better broadband standards, using AI-driven personalization strategies, offering co-viewing features and more.
 
Here are five key Media and Entertainment Technology Trends that will have a significant impact in 2021.
 

Trend 1: We Will Go Live (While Staying Safe!)

 
No e-book reader or audiobook can replace the charm of holding an actual book. There, we said it! We at TechDogs are all in for technology but hey, how can we resist the smell of an old book. You smell it too, right?
 
Similarly, it's hard to resist the charm of live events–the aura, the energy, the overpriced snacks! Yet, 2020 took that away from us. With festivals and tours being called off, stadiums, auditoriums and cafes being shut, live entertainment was, well, not live anymore. Although we could attend our favorite festivals virtually, thanks to video streaming and VR technologies, it just wasn’t the same.
 
An industry where Sundance Film Festival could alone bring $150 million to Park City and music festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach could generate over $700 million, Media and Entertainment faced a loss of $9 billion in 2020. However, that's likely to change in 2021. The live entertainment vertical is set to rock now, with events designed keeping in mind the new normal. Infrastructure and regulations will be put in place to ensure all safety norms are followed, as live shows make a comeback. Festivals will employ contactless technologies for transactions, right from buying tickets to paying for your food! Digital signages will also be deployed to direct people to the right places to avoid overcrowding at venues.
 
TechDogs' Opinion: Live event venues will now go for Blended events. No, nothing to do with Adam Sandler! Blended events will offer interactive, virtual options for fans who feel uncomfortable coming out of their houses and attending in-person. At the same time, venues would downsize on the footfall and use their total capacity to meet social distancing norms. That way, fans will be able to join in the way they prefer without risking their health.
 

Trend 2: Broadband Will Go Places


TechDogs-Trend 2: "Broadband" Will Go Places-2D Image With Top View Of wi-fi Router -  5G wireless Networks Will Facilitate Faster Broadband Experiences For Live Streaming, Online Gaming And OTT Services
Here's a riddle for you - what was more in demand than hand sanitizers and masks in 2020?
 
No, it wasn't toilet paper. It was the Internet!
 
Last year, cable companies got a significant chunk of their revenue from internet packages and not DTH connections (which was the case earlier!). You've got a meeting; you need broadband. Kids have got online classes; they need broadband. You want to stream the latest episode of The Handmaid's Tale; you need broadband and Hulu. Basically, broadband was necessary for everything, including entertainment.
 
A study revealed that 40% of the people purchased internet-only packages from cable companies, a number that's increasing at the rate of 8% each year. The pandemic further boosted the reliance on broadband of every type – satellite, fiber, wireless, etc. This trend is primarily due to the wide adoption of Internet services, over-the-top ("OTT") streaming platforms and smart TVs, that are actively replacing DTH.
 
TechDogs' Opinion: With cable and DTH losing relevance, cable companies will set foot into newer Internet avenues. The introduction of 5G wireless networks will facilitate faster broadband experiences for live streaming, online gaming and OTT services. Digital media will become more seamless and accessible in 2021 as broadband services continue to improve.
 

Trend 3: eSports Will Get The Top Scores


TechDogs-Trend 3: "eSports" Will Get The Top Scores Image Of A Human Hand That Holds The Joystick Playing Racing Games On Computer - eSports Streaming Is Opening Up As Video Platforms Will Encourage Gamers To Live-Stream From Their Homes
Much like any other live event, sporting events too were canceled owing to the pandemic. So, when the world couldn't watch the Knicks play IRL (in-real-life, not a new team!), they chose to enjoy NBA 2K League, a national esports league (No kidding, it was on ESPN 2!). Last year, players and promoters moved to eSports competitions and so did the spectators. Imagine, the League of Legends World Championship Finals had over 100 million unique viewers - yes, eSports is the new sport!
 
Through immersive technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality, fans were kept engaged while revolutionizing how they accessed and experienced their favorite eSports. The pandemic merely accelerated the upward trend. eSports were undoubtedly GenZ's favorite mode of entertainment these past few years. As a matter of fact, video game revenues industry-wide have almost doubled in the last five years.
 
TechDogs' Opinion: It's an open secret that eSports are here to stay. Ninja, arguably the most famous e-gamer, earned roughly $500,000 per month from his gaming streams! 2021 would witness tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon cashing in on the opportunity while bringing in loads of innovation and investments in the arena of eSports. Furthermore, a large market for eSports streaming is opening up as video platforms will encourage gamers to live-stream from their homes.
 

Trend 4: OTT (Over-The-Top) Services Will Take It All


TechDogs-Trend 4: "OTT" (Over-The-Top) Services Will Take It All Modern Device With Netflix App - OTT (Over-The-Top) Services - Only Platforms That Provide Quality, Customer-Centric, Personalized Content And Are Economical Would Manage To Be The Chosen Ones
What if Netflix ordered you to watch something instead of merely suggesting it? It will have a predefined schedule for you to follow. On Mondays, you watch Notting Hill, Tuesday is for Insidious series, Wednesdays for Mission Impossible. You get the gist, right?
 
The new age has made us all spoilt for choice and this year is going to be no different. OTT services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime are the perfect choices for our generation – one which loves options (a lot of them!).
 
When the pandemic locked us at home, everyone resorted to these content hubs for unlimited choices and amazing content for entertainment. We were certainly thankful for it! This sudden increase in demand for OTT services was partly supported by the rapid adoption of 5G Internet and cloud-based services. OTT vendors gained improved reliability and lowered operational costs by transitioning to a cloud infrastructure while also providing a better quality of experience for viewers. In fact, on April 4th 2020, Americans streamed 27 billion minutes of content! If you do the math, that's 50,000 years of content in just one day. Needless to say, OTT is here to stay.
 
TechDogs' Opinion: In 2021, while OTT would be popular, customers would also have the choice to choose their streaming partner due to the various OTT vendors that will emerge in the market. Only platforms that provide quality, customer-centric, personalized content and are economical would manage to be the chosen ones. We’re looking for a platform that won’t let us watch The Haunting of Hill House after 2 a.m. - yes, mistakes were made!
 

Trend 5: Virtual Co-Viewing Will Be The New Cool

 
Another COVID-induced fad that's here to stay now is Virtual Co-Viewing. It is when two people have a virtual date and watch The Proposal or The Conjuring (to each his own!) together while being at their respective homes. #SocialDistancingForTheWin
 
With the lockdown in place, many resorted to Co-Viewing – not just for virtual movie dates. Especially in March, arguably the hardest period of the lockdown worldwide, when cases peaked, the industry got a whiff of the demand and sprang into action. Disney+ was the first to latch on the trend and release its GroupWatch feature in October, where up to 7 people could binge content together. Whoever said seven’s a crowd!
 
Hulu and Sling have announced similar updates as well. If you're wondering what Netflix is up to – they had launched their Teleparty feature (formerly Netflix Party) in March 2020 itself. Trust Netflix to be ahead of the game!
 
TechDogs' Opinion: While Co-Viewing technology found its roots last year, it has yet to gain momentum. This year, we can expect Co-Viewing to become nearly as commonplace as Zoom calls. Though, platforms might have to make their Co-Viewing features less cumbersome and easier to use for that to happen. They would also need to support adaptive bitrate streaming, which adjusts to provide the best video quality according to the fluctuations in internet speed. So, while the quality of your video may take a temporary dip, your video won't lag or buffer.


It's A Wrap – Not Really!


If there's one thing we can conclude from these trends, it is that entertainment goes bitrate on! From broadband adoption, rise of eSports and OTT platforms to Co-Viewing and Live Streaming, entertainment and media technology is bound to transform throughout 2021. While we have come to the end of this article, Entertainment and Media will keep evolving and growing. It may change faces, change venues and even change names–but one way or the other, entertainment will find us.
 
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