The media and entertainment sector is experiencing an unprecedented wave of technological advancements that continue to disrupt and advance the industry. This situation is highlighted by recent acquisitions by brand leaders including: Walt Disney/Fox Entertainment/Hulu, AT&T/Warner Media, Amazon/Twitch, Spectrum/Charter/Time Warner Cable and NBC Universal/Dreamworks, with more to come.

There are several reasons for this consolidation; the most important being the digital transition to mobile technologies that have accelerated the growth of non-traditional media companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Apple. This wide-ranging corporate realignment is continuing to change the way audiences behave and consume entertainment at home, theaters, concert venues, online, amusement parks and sporting events.

To thrive and survive in this ultra-competitive space, entertainment companies must double down on the exploration of new business models and technologies – reaching increasingly mobile audiences, even though they’re harder to find, entertain and, ultimately, to monetize. 5G technology, one of the decade’s most significant breakthroughs, is launching at scale this year and looks set to continue the disruptive trend.

Brace Yourself for the Impact of 5G Technology

Forecasts show that 5G deployment will increase the velocity of growth, substantially. IBC forecasts a 50% acceleration of mobile due to 5G technology. Another reliable source predicts an $800 billion increase in media and entertainment industry revenues through 5G-related incremental services, products and entertainment experiences.

Media executives say this advancement will be fueled by 5G enabling innovative experiences of which, previously, content creators – film/TV studios, gaming creatives and organizations, advertising agencies, arena marketers and live sports companies – could only dream.

Also, the advantages of 5G will spark an entire experience ecosystem for things like augmented reality, virtual reality, cloud-based video gaming and true, “live”, mobile entertainment. And as 5G deployment continues to scale, additional business segments will benefit from new network services offering network slicing (fast streaming for some content while the rest streams at slower, tiered speeds over the same network).

Here are some potential 5G use cases:

1. Live Entertainment and Gaming Shows

Real-time “live” experiences enabled by 5G technology thanks to reduced latency, real-time editing and audience integration at scale and in real time. Leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence, real-time predictive analytics and automation, 5G will revolutionize the way content is deployed, consumed and monetized.

Imagine a baseball game, where you see the incoming pitch from the batter’s point of view, through virtual reality. Or, maybe, “American Idol” or an episode of “Survivor” with real-time feedback that changes not only the way audiences interact and consume content, but also the way shows are conceived, produced, funded, launched, marketed and validated.

2. E-Sports and Online Gambling

Reduced signal latency will also progress online gambling, mobile gaming and e-sports leagues –markets with a built-in, true, “live” experience and interactivity. According to IBC, these businesses are expected to grow exponentially over the next 3 years, leveraging an ecosystem built on 5G deployment.

So, say goodbye to “lag” – the delay between a user inputting a command and the software initiating it – which creates a true live experience and takes the frustration out of gaming.

Currently, 300 million people worldwide watch e-sports. That number is expected to rise to, 500 million by 2020, so 5G technology will be essential for this level of “live” streaming.

3. Amusement Parks, Theme Parks and Concert Venues

5G advantages will enable transformational event experiences. Also, they will improve ancillary back-end customer-service functions, leveraging technology that optimizes the mobile ecosystem including: geofencing, automation, IoT and cloud.

This will lead to advancements in targeted guest promotions, real-time interactive experiences in a theme park or stadium environment (e.g., live interactive tour guides and hyper-targeted advertising based on location), as well as improvements in operational functions such as predictive ride maintenance and automated service operations.

For example, a new Korean theme park is being equipped with 5G technology to enable virtual reality, mixed reality and air-quality monitoring (the park is outside) via IoT and intelligent CCTV to ensure visitor safety.

4. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality sectors will be fueled by 5G’s additional mobile bandwidth. This will accelerate the development of incremental experiences aligned with major events such as: the Olympics, the Super Bowl and tentpole film initiatives. It also extends to cloud-based video gaming, NASCAR-type events and the expansion of franchises like Warner Media’s “Batman” into other product categories.

The power behind virtual reality and augmented reality, 5G is set to unlock new applications that will deliver more than $140 billion in revenues between 2021 and 2028.

Ready for the 5G Future

Overall, 5G deployment will lead to exciting developments right across the media and entertainment spectrum. We’ll discover immersive entertainment experiences to challenge our collective imagination, build new businesses and satisfy a whole new generation of fans.
Jeffrey L Thompson
Jeffrey Thompson helps lead Luxoft’s Digital Transformation practice for the media and entertainment industry. Previously, Mr. Thompson led technology initiatives for both large and small media companies including Walt Disney Company, Conde Nast and Shout Factory, as well as technology organizations like IBM and TCS. Now, a great deal of his time is spent developing strategies to advance emerging technologies, leveraging analytics, 5G, blockchain, artificial intelligence and automation. Jeffrey has a deep understanding of the impact of new technology on the industry’s economic and business models. He is particularly focused on use cases designed to optimize content monetization, rights management, distribution, audience development, data governance, cognitive skills and personalization.