It wasn’t that long ago that people used to read newspapers, subscribe to magazines and get their entertainment by going to the movies on a Saturday night. Children went outside to play and adults had to pick up a phone to contact someone in a hurry.
Times have changed in many ways, and nowhere is that change more pronounced than in how we now use digital media. It’s a huge industry, and one that continues to grow in many ways.
For example, Platforms like Netflix showed how you could watch whatever movies or television programs you want whenever you wanted by simply paying a low monthly fee and installing an app on your computer or mobile device. Amazon imitated this model with success, and today there are not only a plethora of streaming online channels—most recently Disney+ and HBOMax among them—but an ever-growing number of “made for platform” television shows and movies. Streaming media is a big business.
How big? Realizing the opportunity to play key roles in the industry, many executives, like G. Scott Paterson, a Toronto-based technology and media venture capitalist, Dave McClure of 500 Startups, or angel investor Ron Conway, have gotten into the game.
There’s no doubt about it, the streaming media industry is enjoying unprecedented success. And with the recent quarantine that was mandated due to COVID-19, viewership has been going through the roof.
“Over the last decade, some of the world’s biggest entertainment and telecom conglomerates bet on streaming entertainment,” writes Julia Alexander, a reporter at theverge.com.
“The last 10 years have ushered in a rapid progression of at-home entertainment as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Now, and more rack up millions of subscribers. As more people are forced to stay at home to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the concept of a bored, cable-cutting consumer searching for things to constantly watch for weeks on end has become a reality.”
There have been no signs of a slowdown, either. In fact it’s just the opposite as casual viewers get hooked on online-only offerings, begin to binge-watch new favorite series, become loyal viewers, then gravitate to online chat forums to discuss minutiae related to shows, characters and plot points. Twenty-five years ago, Thursday night was considered “must-see TV” on NBC-TV, a major network. Today, viewers—especially those in the highly coveted young adult demographic—are more likely to watch online series and discuss them online with fellow viewers.
According to a study published in June by Grand View Research, “The global video streaming market size was valued at USD 42.60 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% from 2020 to 2027.”
The study further indicates that the use of such newer, innovative technologies as blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve video quality are expected to boost market growth. “AI is playing an essential role in editing, cinematography, voice-overs, scriptwriting, and several other aspects of video production and upload,” says the study.
Meanwhile, production companies across North America and around the world are pushing out all manner of content to appeal to viewers. For instance, HBO Now, features HBO original shows and the cable channel’s rotating package of movies.
As streaming content continues to overtake the entertainment market, it’s likely that the future of the industry will be right there on your desktop or mobile device. One advantage: no more long lines.