Over the last year, the media and entertainment industry has seen a significant number of developments, including the emergence of conversational voice search capabilities in the TV space that has transformed how consumers search and discover content. In 2018, we’re predicting that these five trends will develop and gain momentum:
- ‘Specialist’ voice services will win when it comes to the entertainment experience
With the proliferation of devices, both in Pay TV and out of Pay TV, there is a need for re-simplification of the discovery experience. For Pay TV operators, voice has become table stakes; as soon as one provider in the market gets it, the other providers start to look lacking. However, it will be the ‘specialists’ in the Pay TV market that come out on top. Indeed, many voice services outside of Pay TV – such as home smart assistants – are considered ‘generalists’ when it comes to voice; they have knowledge of a lot of topics, but not in a lot of detail. Whereas in the Pay TV space, voice services understand queries in a great amount of detail so that consumers don’t feel the need to hold back when it comes to entertainment discovery. It’s this that will separate the wheat from the chaff in 2018. Critical to this will be the expanding voice services in other languages besides English.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) will realise the importance of ‘emotional intelligence’
Entertainment is all about emotion; it is how an audience connects to content. For the entertainment industry to tap into this, AI needs to become more than just anticipating consumers’ interests and merchandising back catalogues to reference related content – it needs to become more ‘emotionally intelligent’. What this means is voice assistants developing a personality in terms of understanding the emotional factors within a piece of content and the person it is interacting with, and being able to tie those two together. It is also about voice assistants having a constant personality for a consistent entertainment discovery experience. In 2018, AI will realise the need to bring in ‘emotion’ to voice services.
- The ‘gig’ economy and pay-as-you-go mentality will affect media consumption
With the ‘gig’ economy providing workers with the ability to work on short-term contracts or freelance, as opposed to permanent jobs, 2018 will see these attitudes being reflected in the entertainment industry – particularly in the way the younger demographic consume content. As consumers move away from the commitment of contractual arrangements and towards a ‘pay-as-you-go’ mentality, providers will need to adjust their business models to meet this demand. YouTube has already capitalised on the potential of spontaneous viewing, reinforcing the taste for instantaneous watching in audiences, rather than a long-term commitment. In 2018, the flexible provision of entertainment content will be a step in the right direction for media and content organisations, and the industry as a whole.
- Mobile will fulfil a huge part of content consumption in 2018, particularly in sporting and special events
There has been a rapid uptake of streaming in Europe, particularly when it comes to content consumption. Take, for instance, the Wimbledon 2017 tennis tournament, which served 24.1 million stream requests this year via BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer, making it the most streamed Wimbledon to date. The most popular match was Rafa Nadal versus Gilles Muller, which brought in 1.4 million requests in total. With global events to look forward to in 2018 – such as the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the Winter Olympics – it’s likely they will also be watched live from mobile devices across the world. What’s more, with events such as Formula One – which is hosted in countries including France, Dubai, Australia and China – mobile device viewing will be highly dependent on location, with time zone playing an important role in how viewers will watch these key events. Indeed, this could lead to an uptake in device viewing on catch-up services.
- Regional OTT services will remain the global frontrunner until global OTT harnesses localisation
In many markets, multi-country Over-the-Top (OTT) service providers are currently battling for viewership with regional service providers. With regional OTT proving a vital part to play in content that certain regions can identify with on a cultural level, having access to aggregate the content will grow in importance in the tug-of-war between global and regional OTT. The fact that regional OTT often ends up more cost-effective also plays a role in this. Different languages and culture informs this local content, and having access to a good selection of more topical, local issues which are in tune with people’s every day can provide regional OTTs with the leverage they need to not be swallowed up by the global players.