It’s no surprise that our world has gone completely digital. This theme has probably been discussed more than enough already, but as we take the technological advancement for granted we might ignore its true benefits. Most of the work we do goes online, our education becomes more digital based and even online food delivery services are becoming popular. But it’s probably the entertainment sphere that propels technology further. While some say that weapons are the pinnacle of technology, the easy way of making money through people’s interest is something that entertainment excels at. There are even some jokes out there about us not trying to colonize Mars, but having new iPhones every year instead. Why this is true about the Western world and not the developing one is unknown. So let’s have a look today at online entertainment and how does it develops worldwide.
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A country’s worth of leisure
Nicola Finn is the Managing Director at Elaborate Marketing, with experience across many industries.
Think for a moment about how much money you spend on entertainment. The first things that come to your mind are probably concerts and football matches, or even more expensive activities like going to the opera or theaters. But those relatively cheap online services like Netflix and YouTube that all of us use are in fact the ones who are dominating the entertainment market.
“In 2017, global consumer expenditure on entertainment content (video, games and music) worldwide continued to climb. By 2021, this spend is set to reach US$439 billion globally, a 17% increase from 2017,”
But not only is the industry big, it’s also ever-changing and unpredictable as well. You would probably not imagine a service like Netflix a couple of decades ago when DVDs were viewed as the peak of technical progress. With our present variety our appetite grows as well, creating an environment for fierce competition between various content providers. That’s why more of them are being oriented for convenient and mobile usage. We want it all and we want it now.
“Furthermore, this is compounded by the increased competition stemming from a growing number of online platforms that includes Netflix and Amazon and increasingly the likes of Facebook and Twitter, all of which have significant war chests for content acquisitions. Combined, the FAANG companies are looking to spend around $20 billion on video content in 2018.”
Those large investments into the entertainment industry undoubtedly prove the further potential of the market. Here we can also see the leaders – social networks, streaming services, and online distribution platforms pushing further to attract more users and secure their sector of dominance. What they have in common is the understanding of the need to know your client better and to be closer to them as much as they can. The KYC procedures grow more complex every day, so with the introduction of biometric registration we might face a future where companies know their clients a bit too well.
Changes coming from the inside
The Wharton School maintains a long tradition of educating visionary business leaders in academia, business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.
Starting with a first black and white films and finishing with Twitch streams, we can trace the history of digital entertainment before our very eyes. The history of the media giants is not untraceable as well, and their legacy might provide us a better understanding of future trends.
“YouTube was originally created to make it easy for everyone to create and upload their own personal, homemade videos and post them to the internet so anyone could see them. It quickly became a destination of its own, one that challenged and continues to challenge traditional TV broadcaster business models.”
The shape of the modern digital landscape is partially our responsibility. Nowadays, it’s getting harder to notice where demand ends and supply starts. Mass media has control over the people’s minds and people tend to self-organize and produce trends out of nothing. What would the future bring to us and what would we bring to it? Who knows, but the changes in our behaviour can already be seen. Do you remember when you last watched broadcast television? Maybe you do, but for lots of people this is not as easy as it sounds now. On the other hand, some YouTubers might have an influence similar to that of TV channels. The shift of balance and power is changing.
“Sports, entertainment, broadcasting and publishing companies that cling to the old way of doing things will continue to lose ground. Premium content, such as the great sports franchises of the NFL, NBA and MLB, will remain valuable. As would telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon that provide a vast, national network. Those at risk are companies that rely mostly on their own content, and not the content of their network using extensible and scalable digital platforms to give users a place to share their own creations.”
This is not just about 4k resolution or virtual reality. It’s the shape of the market that changes, the way we see things and how we expect them to be. We are prone to boredom and expect more, which is only boosted by how readily accessible digital products. So many conservative TV companies and other entities might find themselves out of place, becoming antiques right before their eyes.
Facts and figures
Deloitte provides industry-leading auditing and assurance, consulting, tax, and risk and financial advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies.
“Advances in mobile, video, and wireless technologies have ignited an explosion in the growth of streaming services. Nearly half of US households subscribed to one as of 2016, and 60 percent of US consumers (and 82 percent of millennials) stream TV shows at least monthly”
We’ve also experienced a sudden increase in our life expectancy. We can say whatever we want, but our grandfathers would not even dream of the riches that we have access to today. Mass media used to be considered something “cool,” but it’s now better to go “indie” and develop your own preferences. This creates a situation where the customer is rather picky and is not satisfied with the products and services prepared for some faceless general public. So now entertainment companies have to be able to find a personal approach for its customers and be highly customizable unless they want to be left behind in the market.
“A big challenge for the media and entertainment industry in 2018 will be to figure out how to create tailored customer experiences when there is mass customization of experience across all content, advertising, and brands.”
From ashes they shall rise
Jacob Poushter, Caldwell Bishop, and Hanyu Chwe are journalists with the analytical rigor of social scientists, combining their observational and storytelling skills to enrich the public dialogue and support sound decision-making.
While its true that developed countries are mostly the ones that determine future trends, we should not forget that the world does not only consist of Europe and North America. There are ‘a lot’ just ‘lots’ or ‘many’ of underdeveloped countries out there and they have a totally different list of demands.
“In 12 of the 22 emerging and developing nations surveyed, fewer than 50% report owning a smartphone.”
Even though inequality is one of the major issues our world is facing, some real achievements have definitely been made. There may be some countries that have yet to glimpse the digital world as well. Still, most of them have relatively stable access to the Internet, so the demand for various mobile application are present.
“Smartphone ownership has been on the rise since 2015, with especially large increases occurring in Lebanon (+28 percentage points), Jordan (+25) and the Philippines (+22)…
Across 39 countries, a median of 53% say they use online social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.”
But there are certainly some problems that those users might encounter, starting with the overall complexity and expensiveness of the platforms and ending with unstable and not widely accepted local currencies of their own, which may be difficult to deal with. Those barriers might prove substantial for those users and the market may remain underdeveloped unless some measures will be implemented.
One can make a change
Jamal Hassim is a digital pathfinder pushing the media innovation envelop for the next 6 billion of our fellow World citizens by being the founder and CEO of BOLT.Global.
Even though there are definitely some efforts being made to bring this kind of service to developing countries, the situation has yet to radically change. Still, there are some positive prospects ahead. One of those could be the BOLT project that makes developing economies their primary focus.
“We felt the responsibility to use our collective knowledge across traditional and digital media to bridge the gap between consumers and the independent producers of video content, games and future services — particularly for the emerging markets where we have significant experience in..”
Although people of developing regions have access to conventional social networks and digital content platforms, they still face complications that the present players fail to answer.
“1. Information may not always be reliable or fact-checked
2. Existing social media and video content platforms, within their centralised business models, provide their services in exchange for user data which is then sold to advertisers.
3. They are unable to mobilise the community meaningfully enough to self censor and moderate to community-determined standards.”
When demand is present, there is certainly someone ready to satisfy it. Of course, not for free. The case of mobile entertainment markets in developing countries seems to be overlooked, but projects like Bolt might be the ones to create a basis for them to thrive.
In the end, it’s important to understand that a change like this doesn’t occur overnight. It’s naive to think that companies like BOLT would be the single cause of change in emerging and developing countries. Still, they could be part of it, pushing improvement of digital-related local institutions and services. This is not only about getting quick profits out of a market that currently lacks competition, but a way to improve the infrastructure of local payment networks and maybe even become one of the cornerstones of the local economy.
Yes, the future will definitely bring these countries to reality. They will improve their own means of getting services including the ones that BOLT USP provides. But does this actually mean that they would be driven out of the global market? It’s probably not the case. As we’ve already mentioned, innovation is not a thing to be achieved in the short-term. In fact, digital entertainment services will still be in demand in the next period of time and their own evolution will continue to develop further services not only for emergent nations but for the worldwide economy.