The entertainment industry is one of those fields that is effected massively by technology. Knowing that it is no wonder that it has been radically transformed in the last few decades by the rapid pace of technological development. Almost all digital advancements have had their first application in entertainment. The media landscape and the way we receive our entertainment content has gone through some tectonic changes, with companies like Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and others completely disrupting the market. The way various technologies converged, as the increase in internet speeds and digitalization, is best described by Rahul Telang, professor of information systems and management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who called it a perfect storm. But how do these technologies actually work and what lays in store for us in the future?
Where is Entertainment Industry Today
By 2021, some experts predict that the entertainment and media market will be worth around $2.5 trillion. That number alone is mind-blowing, without even going into details about how much adjoint sectors will benefit from it. The video games market alone will be worth $30 billion, up 100% from 2012. They have doubled their revenue in less than a decade. Perhaps the biggest growth percentage-wise will be in consumer content, which was worth $422 million in 2016. By the end of 2021, it is expected to reach $6 billion. Digital music download, one of the first effects of digitalization, is shifting to apps and some 200 million people are using them regularly. Video streaming is booming, with more and more companies entering the field. The revenue from it will triple by the end of 2021. Most of this is powered by Internet advertising, which is also rapidly growing and expanding.
Whenever Artificial Intelligence (AI) is mentioned, people usually think first of Skynet and Arnold Schwarzenegger coming from the future to save us. While hostile AI isn’t something that can be readily dismissed as a possibility, the truth is that current AI is far away from anything even remotely possible. Although there were some worrying incidents, like an autonomous killer drone hunting down a human target without instructions last year, Skynet remains a distant future. There are other aspects of AI that we can and are fully utilizing on daily basis, like various data analyses and pattern findings. The AI is at the core of various casino software that detects users’ behavior and recognizes the symptoms of compulsive gambling, which can go a long way toward preventing gambling addiction. The latest generation of AI-powered editing software can even handle an entire movie on its own, complete with editing and music.
Initially created for use in the financial sector, blockchain is proving to be the most important security technology we ever created. It allows easy and seamless money transfers around the globe without additional surcharges and fees banks impose on similar payments. This is especially valuable for microtransactions, where fees would often be bigger than the payment itself, effectively banning them. With micropayments, you can easily buy a single article from a website or watch a single episode of your favorite TV show, vastly increasing options for independent creators and artists. With blockchain, they don’t have to be in thrall to large media distributors and can easily reach their audience. The elimination of content aggregation is a key to the survival of independent artists and something we look forward to seeing in the future.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (AR and VR)
Virtual reality is something we kept hearing about in the last three decades, but somehow never got a chance to fully experience. Most VR content is on the level of technology demonstrators, with precious few ready for mass consumption. At one point, it almost became a VR for the sake of a VR game. Fortunately, with the prices of equipment finally getting low enough that most people can afford them, we will hopefully get to see more titles and content in general. Augmented reality seemed like a gap stop measure on a road towards VR, but after Pokémon Go was released and became one of the most popular games ever, AR seems to be holding on its own. In fact, the game spurred several studios into creating similar AR titles and we can expect to see more of it in the coming years.
4K UHD Standardization
Even the best content can be useless unless displayed properly and the future 4K UHD standardization will make sure that everyone gets to see it as intended. The quality of the display is something that has been a limiting factor for many creators. As technology developed and finally caught up with their designs, we can now enjoy the marvels of ultrahigh definition, just like artists imagined it. Streaming services are slowly adopting 4K as standard, as most of them are now offering it as a premium service. Gaming companies are following suit, with Microsoft and Sony leading the way. Soon, 4k UHD will be a standard display setting.