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Entertainment Forecast: Trends and Predictions for the Future

by Charles Henderson

The entertainment and media industry is rapidly evolving. With new technologies transforming how content is created, distributed and monetized, it can be challenging to predict where the industry is headed. This article provides an in-depth look at the global entertainment and media outlook for 2023-2027, examining key trends, growth sectors, and the implications of forecasted developments on the future of entertainment.

The entertainment and media sector encompasses a wide range of industries involved in creating, producing, and distributing creative content. This includes film, television, music, publishing, advertising, video games, live events, and more. As a whole, the global entertainment and media industry generated revenues of over $2 trillion in 2021.

Forecasting future trends and predictions provides critical insights that allow organizations across the entertainment and media value chain to strategize effectively. An accurate industry outlook helps creators understand audience preferences, advertisers identify growth media formats, and infrastructure providers invest in the necessary technology and distribution channels. As such, analysis and forecasts are invaluable in informing business strategies in the dynamic entertainment and media sector.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the most recent industry analysis and predictions from 2023-2027. It will examine global revenue projections, growth rates, regional hotspots, key trends, a breakdown of the major sectors, and the significance of event planning and budgeting. The implications of these forecasts on the future of entertainment and media will also be discussed.

Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2023–2027

Analysis of Total Global Revenue

According to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2022-2026, global entertainment and media revenue is projected to grow at a healthy rate of 4.5% CAGR, from $2.1 trillion in 2021 to $2.6 trillion in 2026.

The market is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a decline of 5.6% in 2020 when revenues dropped to $1.8 trillion. However, certain sectors like video games, internet advertising, and streaming saw significant growth during the pandemic. This momentum is expected to continue driving the industry forward over the next five years.

Examination of Growth Rates and Deceleration

Despite the healthy CAGR, growth is expected to decelerate over the forecast period compared to the 2016-2021 period, which saw a CAGR of 7%. The key factors contributing to this slowdown include:

  • Moderation of consumer spending on entertainment and media as COVID-19 restrictions ease
  • Maturation of sectors like internet advertising and video streaming
  • Supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures
  • Uncertainty surrounding future lockdowns and geopolitical tensions

However, emerging sectors like virtual reality, e-sports, digital collectibles, and augmented reality are expected to see continued double-digit growth.

Hotspots and Growth Opportunities

The fastest growth is expected in Asia Pacific and Latin America, with CAGRs of 7.5% and 7.4% respectively from 2021-2026.

In Asia Pacific, India will be the fastest growing nation at 13.7% CAGR, followed by the Philippines at 12.6% and Malaysia at 10.3%. Key growth factors include increased disposable income, mobile and internet proliferation, foreign investment, and growth potential relative to market size.

Meanwhile, North America is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4% from 2021-2026. Europe will lag slightly behind at 3.8% CAGR, weighed down by uncertainty over Brexit and the Ukraine conflict.

Across both traditional and emerging sectors, three key trends will drive growth globally:

  • Targeting Generation Z and millennial consumers
  • Direct-to-consumer business models
  • Premium content and experiences

Now that we’ve covered the overall industry outlook, let’s examine some of the key trends and predictions in more detail.

  • Internet advertising will overtake TV advertising spend in 2023, growing at a 13.5% CAGR through 2026. This growth is driven by further adoption of e-commerce and the efficiency of targeted, data-driven ads.
  • Linear TV advertising will gradually decline as viewers shift to on-demand streaming. Global TV advertising spend is expected to fall from $181 billion in 2021 to $178 billion in 2026. Declines will be most pronounced in North America.
  • CTV advertising is forecasted to grow at a 27% CAGR from 2021-2026, rising from $11 billion to $36 billion globally. The format combines the broad reach of linear TV with the precision targeting of digital.
  • Total cinema advertising will recover from its 2020 slump, rising from $1 billion in 2021 to $1.5 billion in 2026. Growth will vary by region based on recovery timelines.

Embracing Innovative Thinking and Creative Endeavors

  • Investment in original content production will continue rising as streaming platforms compete for audience attention. Netflix’s annual content budget grew from $5 billion in 2016 to $17 billion in 2021.
  • To stand out, entertainment and media companies will need to embrace innovative thinking and creativity. Interactive TV, virtual concerts, and hybrid events are just some examples of innovative experiences being created.
  • Partnerships between technology firms and creative companies will drive immersive experiences leveraging emerging tech like AR/VR. The recent partnership between Snapchat and Universal Music Group to create AR concerts is one such example.

The Impact of Technology on Content Creation, Distribution, and Monetization

  • 5G networks, AI, cloud computing and spatial audio will empower creators and transform content production. For instance, AI can automate tasks while spatial audio can make content more immersive.
  • Distribution platforms like podcast networks, NFT marketplaces, e-sports tournaments, and metaverse virtual worlds will continue to grow rapidly. Content will need to be tailored for platforms with different monetization models.
  • Monetization will encompass both subscription (SVOD) and ad models, allowing greater choice for consumers. Brand partnerships, affiliates, tipping and NFTs also offer new revenue streams to creators.

Sectors and Territories

PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook examines growth projections and trends across 13 sectors and 53 territories. Let’s look at some key highlights.

 

Entertainment and Media Industry Segments. Source: PwC

Overview of the 13 Sectors Covered

The Outlook segments the industry into two broad categories – Consumers and Advertising.

Consumer Revenue Segments

  • OTT Video – Over-the-top streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+
  • Cinema – Revenue from box office ticket sales
  • Traditional TV and Video – Cable networks, broadcast networks, rental/sell-thru of movies and shows
  • Video Games and eSports – Revenue from video game sales, microtransactions, competitive gaming
  • Virtual Reality – Hardware, software, and VR content revenue
  • Music, Radio and Podcasts – Streaming subscriptions, live music, radio ads, podcast networks
  • Newspaper and Consumer Magazine Publishing – Print and digital subscription revenue
  • Books – Physical and digital book sales, educational books
  • Out of Home Advertising – Billboards, transit, street furniture, retail ads

Advertising Revenue Segments

  • Internet Access – ISP subscriptions and mobile data
  • Internet Advertising – Display ads, search, social, online video, digital ads
  • TV Advertising – Linear and connected TV ads
  • Print Advertising – Newspapers, magazines, directories

Forecasts for Consumer and Advertising Spending

Let’s examine the projections for the fastest growing sectors – Internet Advertising, OTT Video, and Video Games and eSports:

  • Internet Advertising – Global revenue will rise from $381 billion in 2021 to $562 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 10.1%. Growth will be driven by continued shifts in ad spend from traditional formats like print and TV to digital. Display, social and online video will be the top categories.
  • OTT Video – Global revenue to reach $119 billion in 2026, up from $72 billion in 2021 at 10.7% CAGR. APAC and LATAM will have higher growth rates while North America remains the largest market. Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and other new entrants will drive growth.
  • Video Games and eSports – Total video game revenue to reach $221 billion in 2026, up from $178 billion in 2021 at 5.8% CAGR. Growth to be driven by mobile gaming, live services, in-game ads and rise of competitive gaming.

Analysis of Key Sectors

Let’s do a deeper dive into the trends shaping three major sectors – OTT Video, Video Games, and Internet Advertising:

OTT Video

  • The number of OTT video subscriptions will rise from 1.3 billion in 2021 to 1.7 billion in 2026. Churn rates will increase as consumers hop between services.
  • Advertising supported models will gain share. Total ad revenue for OTT video is set to rise from $6 billion in 2021 to $21 billion in 2026.
  • Aggregators that bundle services together could help moderate churn and acquisition costs. Amazon Prime and Roku Select are early examples.

Video Games

  • Mobile gaming will account for 52% of total video game revenue by 2026. Downloads and in-game spending will drive mobile growth.
  • Cloud gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, PS Plus Premium, Apple Arcade and Google Stadia will represent 6% of total gaming revenue by 2026.
  • Total esports viewers will rise from 474 million in 2021 to 646 million in 2026, boosting revenue from media rights, streams, sponsorships and ticket sales.

Internet Advertising

  • Retail media advertising spend by consumer brands on e-commerce sites like Amazon and Instacart will grow at a whopping 31% CAGR to reach $110 billion in 2026.
  • Online video advertising spend will overtake TV advertising in 2025. Total spend will grow at 14.8% CAGR from 2021-2026 to reach $226 billion.
  • In the US, political advertising will drive record political ad spend in 2024, reaching $9 billion for the US presidential election cycle.

Event Planning and Budgeting

Live events are an integral component of the entertainment industry. As events shift back to in-person experiences, effective planning and budgeting will be critical.

Importance of Event Planning

Strategic event planning is crucial for success, allowing companies to:

  • Build meaningful engagement and experiences with current and potential customers
  • Generate new leads and sales opportunities
  • Launch new products/services to the market
  • Expand brand awareness through promotions and tie-ins
  • Connect with key stakeholders like investors, employees, and partners

Robust processes for logistics, vendor management, contingency planning, attendee management, and integrated marketing help ensure smooth execution.

Utilization of Event Budget Templates

Accurate budgeting prevents cost overruns and ensures effective allocation of resources. Key elements of an event budget include:

Venue – Rental fees, AV equipment, power, lighting, Wi-Fi

Food & Beverage – Catering, drinks, snacks

Speakers – Speaker fees and travel

Production – Stage, signage, rigging, sound

Staffing – Temporary event staff

Marketing – Advertising, promotions, social media

Freight & Logistics – Shipment, storage, setup, tear-down

Travel & Accommodations – For speakers and attendees

IT & Technology – Wi-Fi, live streaming, event apps

Insurance & Legal – Permits, licenses, liability insurance

Budget Contingency – Buffer for unforeseen costs

Event budgets are typically created using Excel templates that summarize costs across the above categories. Venue and F&B costs are the largest line items. Historical data helps derive budget estimates.

Significance of Budgeting

Without proper budgeting, companies risk exceeding budgets, cutting into profitability and threatening the viability of future events.

Accurate budgets allow managers to assess the ROI of events, directing future investment into the most value-driving event formats and platforms. As the entertainment industry shifts back to in-person experiences, rigorous budgeting processes will be essential.

Conclusion

This comprehensive outlook demonstrates that while the entertainment and media industry has weathered the COVID-19 storm, growth is stabilizing at a lower level compared to the pre-pandemic surge. However, ample opportunities remain across both traditional and emerging formats.

Key highlights include the continued rise of internet advertising, strength of video games and esports, growth of OTT video streaming despite rising churn, and the comeback of live in-person events industry. Meanwhile, cable and broadcast TV face decline as audiences shift online.

Across sectors and geographic markets, companies must stay nimble, creative and tech-savvy. They need to build direct relationships with consumers and leverage data to deliver targeted, engaging experiences. With careful strategic planning informed by these insights, entertainment and media businesses can continue thriving in the years ahead.

The trends outlined here underscore the dynamic, competitive nature of the global entertainment and media landscape. Companies that can successfully predict new opportunities and harness disruptive technologies will remain best positioned to captivate audiences worldwide.

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