The newest digital trends in the media and entertainment industry
People are consuming more digital media and entertainment than before the pandemic began — a lot more. In August 2021, 84% of consumers said they were spending more time watching online entertainment at home, and 69% said they plan to either increase or maintain their video streaming habit over the next 12 months. Another 71% said they will spend the same amount of time or more on social media.
Media and entertainment companies have taken note. They see the opportunity, and they are producing ever-higher volumes of digital content to feed rising demand. But many are discovering that just churning out content isn’t enough as they look to adopt new strategies based on customer data.
To better understand these emerging challenges and opportunities, Adobe and Econsultancy conducted a global survey of practitioners and leaders within the media and entertainment industry. The findings from this year’s report demonstrate the importance of creating a unified view of the consumer to deliver hyper-personalized experiences.
What will ultimately make companies in the media and entertainment industry stand out against their competitors? The ability to innovate.
Cutting through noise takes cutting-edge content
With the explosion of quality on-demand content comes a multitude of ways to consume it. Exploring newer, more personalized ways to meet consumers on their terms rather than waiting for them to visit a website, app, or social channel is crucial for staying connected.
In this environment, brands are struggling to stand out — regardless of the quality of their content. Our research suggests only 25% of survey responders rate their organization’s innovation capabilities as 8 or more out of 10. They’re also not connecting with younger audiences, particularly Generation Z. In fact, 64% of survey responders either agreed or strongly agreed that it’s more difficult to connect with an audience that largely considers broadcast media out of date.
“When I started about three years ago, it was basically an on-air department, meaning we cut trailers and promos for TV spots, maybe a little bit of social media on the side,” says Nicholas Economides, creative manager of Fox Networks Group Germany. “Today, about two-thirds of our output is digital, and only one-third is on-air.”
High tech with a human touch
As media consumption behaviors shift from simply viewing content to immersing in it, brands are focusing their attention on ways to turn audiences into active participants. The existing trend toward live and pre-arranged entertainment creates major engagement opportunities, supplemented by faster-running augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technology.
Our research indicates that 53% of media and entertainment respondents believe experimentation and innovation in content delivery is first in their top three engagement and retention drivers. As a sign of entertainment experiences to come, brands can:
- Livestream red carpet world premieres
- In a TikTok-Sony partnership, fans of the film Spider-Man: No Way Home, most notably consisting of Gen Z users, were able to use the movie soundtrack in the app’s video content to livestream the red-carpet world premiere. TikTok reported almost 50 billion views of #spiderman, and the Spider-Man fandom became one of the app’s most active fan communities.
- Create groundbreaking AR experiences
- Inspired by the BBC show The Green Planet, six leading creative, technology, and science organizations came together to deliver a truly unique experience. The result allowed audiences to discover, observe, and even nurture some of the world’s most exotic plants through high-resolution holographic images and AR technology.
- Live render in 3D
- StudioLab, from Verizon and Walt Disney Studios, live rendered 3D Sith jet troopers into the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker afterparty. The troopers, all actors sporting AR glasses several miles away, could interact and engage with event attendees.
We are entering a new age of mixed reality, collaborative viewing, and location-based entertainment experiences, and we’re already starting to see fascinating experimentation in the 5G-enabled content space.
Innovating at speed
In 2021, trials went underway for the world’s first 5G music festival, dubbed “5G Festival.” In the last test, musicians were split across several UK locations. Performing with AR glasses and livestreamed through a 5G network platform and audio mixing interface, the musicians played as if they were on the same stage. The live version of the festival recently took place in March 2022, with audiences experiencing the event through AR, VR, and 360-degree video.
In the never-ending quest to innovate, 5G will transform more than the way AR and VR content is consumed — it will also transform the way that media is produced and distributed. Advances in 5G and cloud technology are just as much about innovation as they are about a shift in employee culture. As a result of the global pandemic, we can expect remote distribution and remote production teams to become more of an industry norm.
5G could also accelerate the shift of production to the cloud, allowing media and entertainment teams to share and upload larger volumes of data at a faster pace, saving on costs and increasing the speed of content creation. However, our research indicates that many media and entertainment organizations are not totally ready for a new innovative future — just 55% of media and entertainment leaders and practitioners feel that they are maximizing the opportunities presented by 5G.
For organizations that are prepared to maximize 5G opportunities, the benefits are huge. The promise of sub-second latency — in which livestreaming technologies deliver livestreams in less than a second — creates remarkable opportunities to capitalize on audiences who crave speed and offers more ways for media companies to capture, analyze, and act on consumer data.
Customer data is crucial for delivering valuable content
Keeping up with today’s audiences and extreme competition makes it pivotal for companies to deeply understand and retain their customer base by extracting valuable consumer datasets. Currently, our research shows that the top three data inputs used by media and entertainment brands to inform a consumer’s content experiences are:
- Transactional or past purchase data: 46%
- Historical content performance/content metadata analysis: 42%
- App and website behavioral data: 40%
But first, earning trust is critical to making audiences feel more comfortable with sharing their personal data. In gathering a trove of personal insights about users’ behaviors, preferences, and unmet needs, brands must be transparent and give consumers assurances that they will:
- Deliver personalized, relevant experiences
- Provide applicable content recommendations
- Renew subscriptions with enticing options
- Solve users’ problems
- Optimize products and services to meet audiences’ preferences
Microsegmentation strategies are also critical in providing real-time personalized content at scale. Corralling data across different platforms, systems, and applications can build a more complete understanding, but it may not be enough to compete in a new content age — even with the benefits of predictive modeling and AI. Organizations must identify their data blind spots to capture data proactively and intentionally across touchpoints.
Promisingly, 67% of media and entertainment leaders and practitioners either agree or strongly agree that their audience data value exchange is transparent, competitive, and informed by their audience’s needs and journeys. Ultimately, content providers that reorient around the consumer will win out.
Innovation wins audiences in 2022
When media and entertainment providers think outside the box, consumers respond with their loyalty — and wallets. This year, in particular, innovators who break the mold will captivate audiences with faster digital offerings and new opportunities for immersive content experiences. These breakthroughs promise to stimulate the flow of valuable customer insights, tailored recommendations across screens, and ultimately, revenue.
For more insights and ideas, download the full report, 2022 Digital Trends: Media and Entertainment in Focus.