This year, the majority of the global population has spent more time at home than ever before. Because of the pandemic, people were forced to forget about commuting, attending classes, and enjoying their time at the concerts or movies. Basically, everything has to happen online now, and for the most part, it works out. This would not have been possible even a decade ago, at least not with the same comfort level. Thanks to the rapid technological development of recent years, the lockdown has been tolerable in developed countries; event entertainment is available, albeit remotely.
How Has the Lockdown Affected the Average Time People Spend Online?
Until this year, going to work or out implied leaving one’s home and having non-digital experiences, such as going to a restaurant or concert, traveling, or simply commuting. Not anymore. Now, business meetings are usually held online; people order food delivery from their favorite dining spots; Netflix and other streaming platforms have replaced the big screen. As a result, the amount of time an average person spends with digital media has increased significantly: compared to 2019, it grew about 12% for Americans and the French, 11% for Canadians and German people, 10% for the Chinese, and 9% for the British.
How Has the Entertainment Industry adapted to the New Demands?
With the increased need for online entertainment, all major sectors of the entertainment industry had to mobilize their resources to provide a high-quality, novel, and satisfying experience for consumers stuck at home.
Online casino operators keep up the steady flow of new content. With land-based casinos closed for the better half of the year, online gambling platforms have seen a surge of users. To keep them hooked, operators keep expanding the selection of new online casino games. Besides, thanks to the development of the advanced optical character recognition technology and the game control unit, the quality of user experience in live dealer casinos have improved. They have grown in popularity as well this year.
Over-the-top (OTT) media services are going out of their way to deliver. Most of the OTT platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar, experienced a notable growth of their subscriber bases because, despite the lockdown, they are still providing viewers with quality content. At the beginning of the lockdown, Netflix struggled to keep the quality of the picture up because of the increased demand globally, but it managed to recover and get back to 4K HDR video quality at up to 15 Mb/s.
Online gaming is more immersive than ever. Online gaming is another sector of the entertainment industry that has become even more mainstream this year. The race between the tech teams of leading game companies is intense. As they are trying to outperform one another, the technology used for online gaming is becoming more and more futuristic by the day. Some of this year’s most impressive gaming trends have been the implementation of VR and AR (for example, using HTC Vive) and cloud gaming that makes games accessible to players regardless of how expensive their hardware is.
Platforms for video telephony keep developing. The number one reason why Zoom and its competitors have made a huge leap this year is that most office workers had to switch to remote work this year. However, video telephony is crucial for the entertainment industry, as well. No one would have thought of a Zoom-based birthday party or a concert a year ago, but these are common forms of entertainment now. As the demand is going up, companies are working hard to retain users. For example, Zoom has improved its voice commands feature, enhanced dashboard reporting for rooms, and added remote management, among other things.
What Will Happen Next?
Seeing as the second wave of the pandemic is in full swing, technology will remain the mediator between the global population and entertainment. According to a digital technology futurist and a chief executive from Accenture, Paul Daugherty, “We are seeing three years of digital and culture transformation in three months.”