Global Entertainment and Media
The global entertainment and media industry has been defined by two dimensions for a very long time: content and distribution. However, technological improvements and the corresponding increased global connectedness mean that a third dimension is now a concern for companies: user experience. The increasingly digital era means that traditional mediums for content are becoming outdated and that new methods of engagement are becoming available. The overall entertainment and media market has seen slowing growth rates due to oversaturation and the preferences of the new generation of consumers. The combination of the sheer amount of content available and the fickle nature of new millennials means that great user experience is one of the best methods to keep customers returning.
Overview of the Current Market
The current global and entertainment market is highly saturated and has slow growth. This is due in part to two factors – the rise of over-the-top subscription services that provide a mind-boggling volume of content to customers, such as Netflix or Spotify. In fact, Netflix’s monthly subscription opens up almost 35,000 hours of content for users – or over three straight years of viewing time if no breaks are taken. There is an incredibly small chance that a viewer will see all the shows on Netflix or listen to all the songs on Spotify, but the sheer volume of content means that it’s unlikely that the viewer will go looking elsewhere for films or TV shows. The other cause for the slowdown is the fact that people are already at max capacity for media they can consume, many viewers cannot physically watch more content.
In fact, the average American spends 10 hours and 39 minutes a day consuming media, where 4 hours and 31 minutes are spent watching live television. This means that squeezing in more content is incredibly difficult for many users, if now outright impossible. Their days are incredibly saturated with content, and the only way to obtain these consumers as customers is to convince them to re-allocate their time into consuming your content. This means global and entertainment companies need to shift their strategy to eliminate barriers to consuming their content, such as improving unintuitive user interfaces or providing good content suggestions. Appealing to customers can also be achieved if companies begin making the wish lists of their clients a reality, such as making sure that media is available worldwide, easily searchable, or cheaper to participate in. Part of these wishes can be accomplished by leveraging new technology such as Blockchains, virtual reality or AI. Ultimately, making clients happy will cause them to become repeat customers, which will mean that they will spend more than any other type of client per capita.
How Technology Improves User Experience
The push to ensure that customers spend a larger slice of their media time within one particular service or company has already begun to happen. For example, Netflix has been continuously refining their model so that users spend more time on their platform – the addition of automatically playing episodes and refining recommended choices makes it incredibly easy to binge-watch. Almost 80% of TV shows that people watch on Netflix are discovered via the recommendation system on the platform, and it’s no accident that the algorithm is so good at what it does. Netflix has spent millions of dollars into perfecting the formula and employs around 1,000 people in order to estimate what one user may want to watch at any given time. The introduction of the recommendation system is an example of emphasizing user experience – it serves to help users navigate through the sheer amount of content instead of leaving them stranded wondering what they should watch next. This emphasis on user experience helped Netflix differentiate itself from a sea of copycat streaming services such as Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.
There are other interpretations of how to use technology to enable customer desires. A recent startup, CEEK, is looking to merge virtual reality with concerts in order to make concerts possible to attend from anywhere in the world. The goal of CEEK is twofold – global concert accessibility and providing unique, VIP experiences that a limited number of people can attend. In other words, the company is making concerts more globally accessible while also creating small, exclusive events with celebrities that are privy only to a select group of people. What makes CEEK unique is that it recognizes that many big-name artists have a global fan base, yet only a small fraction will ever be able to see them in concert due to location of concerts or cost of tickets. While VR technology today won’t be able to replicate the concert-going experience perfectly – the technology is rapidly growing and maturing with each passing year. In fact, the technology is advancing so quickly that experts at PWC are predicting that the global VR market will grow to become a $15 billion market in 2021 from an $869 million market in 2016. New technology will continue to revolutionize the way people process content and their preferences.
The Next Generation of Consumers are like Nothing Seen Before
The current generation of consumers, millennials, are like nothing the world has ever seen before. The shift in generational preferences has been tremendous – while baby boomers are still heavily reliant on older, more deeply entrenched technologies such as television; millennials are fickle and quick to embrace new technology. When looking at subscription levels for cable or satellite service, only 16% of baby boomers are cordless compared to 30% of millennials – millennials prefer to pick and choose the media they watch instead of pre-programmed shows. When looking five or ten years in the future, the market will be trying to appeal to a new generation that grew up with technology the world never imagined, with iPhones and iPads within reach as a child. It is imperative for the industry’s success to be able to speak the language that this future generation does and to be able to provide content in a way that they are familiar with.