5 basic questions that will determine the future direction of the Media Industry
1. The Platform Wars. Who will win? Who will lose?
Everyone who counts either already has or is currently creating a platform:
- Cable/satellite companies (Sky, HBO, Comcast, Liberty Global, …)
- Big Tech (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Youtube, Facebook, …)
- Telecom (BT, Telefonica, …)
- Content - Joyn (DE), Britbox (UK), Salto (FR), Disney+ (US and later international)
Clearly not all will survive.
- International vs local platforms and content?
- Integrated platforms (Apple, AP, Youtube) vs stand alone (Netflix, national platforms)?
- Who will own the mobile? Still not clear (but FB and Google have a HUGE data and advertising advantage here)?
- Who will be able to afford sports?
Prediction: No clear winner. In 5 years we’ll be back to mega-aggregators like cable in the past.
Issue – “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO” - Reed Hastings – CEO Netflix. The competition has become broader than just broadcast vs OTT or video platform vs video platform. The competition is for overall screen time, whether that be gaming, social networks or video.
2. Younger Audiences. Will millennials and GenX return to the big TV set in the living room?
- Will linear continue its gradual decline or will a tipping point be reached (and after, a very rapid decline)?
Prediction – They aren’t coming back, certainly not to linear and not so much to the traditional TV. For them it isn’t coming back, they’ve never been there in the first place. Therefore, my prediction is the decline will start to accelerate.
Issue – If, in fact, they don’t massively go back to the TV set, what does this mean for all the investment in 4k/8k and HDR?
3. AR and VR content. Will it take off or is it just hype and wishful thinking (like 3D TV)?
- Are they just for gaming?
- Will image quality improve sufficiently (and at a reasonable price)?
- Will high resolution avatars of ourselves really be a thing? (See https://www.ted.com/talks/doug_roble_digital_humans_that_look_just_like_us)
- Can volumetric capture and distribution be done at scale and in real time (especially for sports)?
Prediction – Probably less than the hype, but especially amongst younger generations (see previous question), by 2024 it will be commonplace, much as gaming consoles are now.
Issue – Success for AR and VR in gaming will lead to uptake in other domains such as the workplace, social media or tourism. This will lead to positive feedback loops.
4. Gaming is clearly only going to grow, but the questions are around what directions it will take. One only has to look at the massive success of Fortnite to be convinced.
- Will eSports continue its massive growth?
- Will the trend toward more socialization such as in Fortnite or Twitch continue?
- Will convergence with more narrative forms of content continue? i.e. Will story rich games become more important?
- Will AR/VR become the dominant format (together with mobile)?
Prediction – None of these are really questions, except the last one. Will AR and VR take over from 2D consoles in gaming? The prediction is yes, eventually.
Issue – Storytelling. Narrative for immersive environments is in its infancy, and for AR and VR to advance, narrative language for interactive and immersive content beyond gaming needs to mature.
5. Tech Giants. Will the tech giants (GAFA) be broken up or somehow limited via legislation?
- Will the advertising areas of Google and Facebook be carved off?
- Amazon and AWS?
- Apple and its cloud based services?
- Android? Youtube?
- Will the personal information controlled by the tech giants somehow be restricted? Does anyone in power in America really want to do this?
- Chinese tech giants vs American tech giants
Prediction/Issue – No prediction, as this fundamentally depends on politics, rather than economics or technology. But the current disputes between US and China would suggest the GAFA companies will not be broken up because of the fear of competition from the Chinese, especially Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei.
There are of course other issues. Will 5G be a gamechanger in terms of rich content? Or questions around user generated content and semi-professional content (Youtube Channels for example)? Or the declining credibility of mainstream sources of information? But how the main 5 questions described above play out over the next 5 years will have a decisive role in defining the shape of the media industry.
Let’s talk again in about 5 years to see how things turned out!
For more insights, we’ll be showcasing practical expertise on how we help broadcast and media companies meet their enterprise IT challenges. Meet us on our booth from 13-17 September at IBC 2019. More info