The future of entertainment, media, and sports is a foggy one, as are most predictions. However, consumers and experts alike can glean possible outcomes from facts and circumstances needed for anticipatory decision-making. It is certain that each industry and the collective industries have changed drastically from one-hundred years ago to today.
One constant in any industry is that history is a great teacher. History has shown that it tends to repeat itself for two reasons: (1) it worked in the past to the ends sought by those seeking a specified outcome, and/or (2) those seeking a certain outcome failed to learn from history, so history inevitably repeated itself. Here are three likely occurrences for each of the entertainment, media, and sports industries in 2020 and beyond.
First, in entertainment, the key to success for networks is offering at least three major content options to the consumer, with Sportico recently reporting on the following historical pattern. FOX, before it sold its entertainment library and assets to Disney, had NFL football, a vast film content library, and great television shows like Married with Children and the Simpsons. TNT has NBA basketball and Atlanta Braves baseball (MLB), films through the MGM library, and television programming. HBO has boxing and paid sports events, specialty and highly anticipated television shows, and movies. Disney like WarnerMedia (AT&T) have now added more content options to consumers through their mergers, acquisitions, and the like.
Second, in media, news delivered via newspapers and cable television or any traditional format (in delivery and/or substance) is consistently declining in viewership and trust. The 2020 process in life and politics will only continue the push to online news media and specifically tailored media for consumers through social media and other delivery services. Time will tell whether siloes are good for people and our society. No wonder companies like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast, Sky, and NBCUniversal, Disney, and others have considered and acted upon content purchasing and consolidation. It is a dual strategy of going where the consumer is at, but also offering more content when said companies meet the consumer to keep them entertained on their platforms.
Finally, third, in sports, betting is a third strategy to keep consumers engaged, specifically the companies that follow the power of three content options mentioned under part one, entertainment networks. At the start of the 2021 season, the Washington Nationals of the MLB will be the first American professional sports franchise to offer sports betting from the comfort of stadium seating inside the ballpark. The sports betting strategy is two-fold: (1) increase revenue, and (2) increase engagement for the sake of engagement, and advertising. Speaking of engagement, sports executives have also been focused on trimming the time it takes to consume a game of competition, while also increasing the time of in-play activity.
Overall, industry growth will continue to rely heavily on consumer engagement and history as a teacher in order to reach success.