Globally one of the largest industries in terms of revenue and market size, media and entertainment enables people everywhere to participate in our heavily content-driven global culture, whether that be on the big screen, through a headset connected to a desktop, by streaming music or reading an ebook.
Media, in particular, has taken the world by storm in this digitally-powered era by changing the way entertainment is delivered and distributed – and therefore, how content is consumed. Here, we explore the changing world of media and entertainment by discussing key trends in media preferences and consumption, and what this ultimately means for service providers and the future of the industry.
Shifting preferences for online media consumption
Reflecting a mass shift to on-demand digital media, streaming services have been “having their moment” for the past few years, and that’s not likely to slow down any time soon. Deloitte observes that “…the rise of media players such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV, Roku and Boxee are challenging the traditionally maintained supremacy of the television as the main entertainment hub.”
This is simply because people want faster, better quality, and more accessible content compared to traditional media services, and digital avenues provide just that.
As a result of consumers’ desire for quick and easy access to content, mobile devices simultaneously took charge as the preferred medium for consuming online media, as the smartphone became king.
It’s no surprise that mobile media consumption is expected to become even more prevalent in the coming years. According to Statista, global mobile data traffic is expected to jump from 11.51 exabytes per month in 2017 to 77.49 exabytes per month in 2022, increasing at a CAGR of 46.43%.
Considering the history of media consumption, this shift to mobile is major. Only a decade ago, back in 2010, 97% of global web traffic came from desktop computers, whereas now, that figure is down to 46.39%, and mobile traffic prevails at 50.88%.
Social media is a prime example where approximately 83% of visits come from mobile devices, compared to around only 15% on desktops or laptop computers. It’s actually been estimated that roughly half of social media users only use mobile devices to access their social network of choice.
These developments in consumer preferences for media consumption are shaping the way media companies deliver their offerings, and how providers of network and connectivity services support this process. Specifically, providers are stepping up their game through the provisioning of extra bandwidth for lower latency, new servers for optimum performance, and cloud services for maximum efficiency for end users.
Surging IP traffic to video, gaming, and multimedia platforms
As content is so readily available and demand for consumption has hit new heights, internet traffic to various media and entertainment platforms has never been so extensive, and is set to amplify in the short term.
According to Cisco in 2018, IP video traffic was set to quadruple from 2018 to 2022 to account for 82% of total IP traffic, while gaming traffic was expected to grow nine-fold from 2017 to 2022 to account for 4% of overall IP traffic that year. The rising virtual and augmented reality sector was also anticipated to garner 4.02 exabytes of traffic per month by 2022, up from 0.33 exabytes per month in 2017.
Since the release of Cisco’s report, however, these numbers have only increased thanks to the 2020 lockdowns that caused unprecedented rates of media streaming and device usage worldwide, which also subsequently sent service providers and media companies into overdrive to facilitate the booming demand coming from the media and entertainment industry.
Growing storage requirements forcing industry cloud adoption
As traffic to digital media platforms heightens, image resolution increases, and things like stereoscopic VR video become more common, digital storage requirements are exploding.
In fact, it’s been estimated that between 2019 and 2025, entertainment and media storage TAM (without archiving and preservation) will increase by about 1.8x from $7.3 billion to $13.3 billion, and there will be a 3.0x increase in the required digital storage capacity used in the entertainment industry alone.
As the media and entertainment industry continues booming, these massive requirements for digital storage will only expand, and many media enterprises are already feeling compelled to consider cloud-based solutions to support their operations.
This compulsion is driving major growth in the cloud storage market for the media and entertainment industry, which is projected to grow at a CAGR of 24.11% from 2018 to 2023 to reach $2.511 billion by 2023.
Between 2019 and 2025, overall cloud storage capacity for the industry is expected to grow by over 13x (from 2.2 exabytes to 29.0 exabytes), which will be driven by the media and entertainment organizations who recognize the importance of storing their digital content in a way that is efficient and effective.
Altering storage processes in this way will likely be the first step that the sector collectively takes to fully harness the benefits of cloud, as they’ve generally been seen to ‘lag behind’ in terms of the uptake of cloud computing.
Nonetheless, by utilizing cloud to organize their resources and infrastructure in a way that is more flexible and self-managing, media enterprises can get back to what they do best: creating and monetizing content.
As new content is created and more industry providers adapt to the specific demands and desires of their consumers, the media and entertainment sector is sure to continue thriving. After all, people are always looking to be entertained, and they will always be on the hunt for the services that provide the best possible experience.
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