It has been written many times before, but change is a constant. As America and the world find its way through daily, weekly, yearly, and seasonal issues, businesses and people must find their way along with it. Mostly, the businesses and those in government must keep up with the trends and needs of the people who pay and elect as consumers and constituents.
Keeping up with the trends is generally implemented through changes in the law, enforcement, and approach. There have been three major changes in the entertainment, media, and sports industries in the last five years, especially in the last nine months to three years. These changes were brought on by a gig economy, the work-from-home strategy, and an increase in technology and distribution through mobile cellphones, streaming, and the like.
Sports betting for live sports on television from home and via electronic transfer (e.g., mobile phones) is the next big revenue stream for sports and betting. In what is likely the first non-sponsorship partnership agreement between a betting company (Bally’s) and a media company (Sinclair), the two entities are now investing in each other through ownership with future stakes for investment. Sinclair is a radio and media company that purchased the regional sports networks (RSN) from Disney, who purchased RSN’s from FOX Sports. With RSN’s seeing less and less in value, the sports betting aspect through Bally’s is likely to be the catalyst to keep RSN’s relevant and profitable. Of course, the Bally’s-Sinclair partnership is going to be as successful as the states that allow sports betting, which is growing by the month and by revenue in those states.
Films like Eddie Murphy’s Coming 2 America via Amazon, and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984 via Warner Media’s HBO Max, and others are continuing to collapse the theatrical window. The move to direct-to-consumer, specifically shortening and in some cases getting rid of the traditional theatrical window has been aided by Universal Pictures deals with Cineplex and Cinemark. More importantly, it has been aided by consumer need and interest. Studios have finally found a financial model to have both traditional and digital distribution by offering consumer choice not restriction.
3. Social Media as a News Source (but not what you think!)
In what may be one of the most fascinating changes, social media has become a news source. There are two aspects to this phenomenon. First, social media users seeing news from their friends, friends of friends, and other celebrity posters and influencers. This has fallen on disfavor with news being challenged and with censorship by the social media giants. Second, which has a higher survival rate, is news via the video options provided by Facebook Watch and Instagram TV. To that end, it makes sense because as consumers rely more on their cellphones and applications to live and do business, information and news would make its way to meet consumers where their eyeballs stare. This includes the explosion in the power of podcasting as an entertainment and news source where consumers ears listen.
With the changes in the entertainment, media, and sports industries, one thing is true, in the economy today, information like content is a commodity. Being traded and exchanged for value. The new distribution models are just meeting the consumer where they are at, which means where the revenue is at for businesses in the space.