The global entertainment industry has seen huge shifts throughout 2020. New technologies and changing consumer habits have resulted in a plethora of online entertainment trends and services being introduced, improved or catching the attention of the public for the first time.
The entertainment and media industry was one of the first to begin to navigate the landscape of digital disruption and remains ahead of the game when it comes to embracing new technologies and adapting to meet consumer demand. New trends have emerged in 2020 and technologies that already existed have shifted to make at-home entertainment more accessible than ever before.
Esports have been around for many years, but until recently were viewed as a mostly niche market – the realm of teenage boys and video game fanatics. Over the past few years, a noticeable shift has begun, with esports nudging their way into the mainstream slowly but surely. Year on year, interest in esports has grown by approximately 12% since 2016, reaching a total viewing audience of around 445 million in 2019.
More accessible live streaming and a growing awareness of esports have contributed to the increased popularity. Live sports fans are now turning to esports in the off-season and gambling enthusiasts have another outlet for competitive wagering. As esports spread to mobile, the popularity of the genre is only increasing more. Transitioning to mobile makes esports more accessible and fans can often access streaming content on-demand, meaning they can tune into their favorite events from anywhere at any time.
Online gambling has been a highly popular pastime since it was first introduced back in the nineties. Since going mobile, online gambling statistics show huge increases in the numbers of people who enjoy placing bets and playing online casino games for money. Some of the key trends we have seen in 2020 have included better financial security for people playing real money games or placing bets online. Better authentication procedures, secure third-party payment websites and even cryptocurrencies have all contributed to ensuring players can deposit and withdraw funds securely. Lately, Casinos have also started accepting American Express as Casino Amex deposit. Further trends include an increase in the number of available live dealer games, creating an at-home experience that is similar to the thrill of visiting a brick and mortar casino. Virtual reality is also just starting to hit online casinos, generating unique opportunities to recreate the buzz of the casino from home.
Video streaming services are by no means a recent development, but 2020 has seen a huge influx in new providers and networks. Many of the new contenders have chosen to focus on the mobile market, which is one of the most rapid growing sectors for video streaming. By 2024, it is predicted that the global video streaming industry will reach revenues in excess of $30 billion annually, so it is no surprise that there are plenty of companies wanting to get in on the action.
Social video is another concept that has been around for a while but has taken off in 2020 to astounding proportions. The younger generations in particular have embraced platforms such as TikTok, which allow for creating and streaming home videos. Apps such as House Party, which facilitate group video chat, have also taken off in 2020. Increased 5G coverage will make using apps such as these easier and faster than ever, which can only help boost downloads and widen the market.
From a marketing perspective, 2020 has seen a rise in ad-supported content as marketers try to capture audiences turning to new media channels for entertainment. Statistics show that people watching content on a streaming platform such as YouTube are significantly more likely to pay attention to the adverts they are shown than their television watching counterparts. One survey found that 55% of television watchers were likely to leave the room during an ad break, while only 2% of YouTube viewers would do the same. Ad-supported videos are already widespread in Asia and viewers in the west can expect to see more of this as producers seek ways to keep subscription costs as low as possible for the end user.
Technologies such as 5G that have begun to emerge throughout 2020 are making the possibilities for the ways we view media and entertainment more exciting than ever before. Activities previously only possible via broadband connections are increasingly becoming accessible for mobile as download, upload and streaming speeds increase. Better quality software and hardware mean mobile gaming is becoming more complex, while virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are no longer futuristic dreams: they are increasingly forming an intrinsic part of new and more immersive services. As we head into 2021, we can expect more changes and improvements to our home entertainment and media.
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