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EDITORIAL How media and entertainment are driving telemedia evolution

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As we celebrate the 15th birthday of the iPhone – on 29 June, fact fans – the media and entertainment (M&E) sector which Apple’s revolutionary device helped usher in is in very good health. Long a cornerstone of the telemedia market – it is after all what we used to just call content – today it covers a not only a range of media, but also has the added need to be both interactive and shareable.

The melding of messaging, social, video, images, sound and a pocketful of computing more powerful than that which got man to the moon (and, miraculously, back again) – a feat which will celebrate its 53rd birthday next month – has changed what M&E is and how telemedia can leverage it.

Today M&E goes beyond content and goes beyond delivery. Now it is part of the message, part of the fabric of life and sliced and diced in so many ways that it is hard to see where media ends and UGC begins.

Together this has made M&E something that not only drives services that monetise content, but also is increasingly being seen as a key way to market businesses and services and is also morphing into a quasi-gamified means of consumer interaction.

A report out this week from PwC finds that M&E is growing rapidly across Europe and the rest of the world, driven by the initial boost given to all things digital by the pandemic and lockdowns, its momentum now maintained by increasing reliance on these services by consumers – along with increasing investment in making them ever-more exciting and engaging.

In the UK, growth in M&E spend is expected to be highest of all, with the market in this one nation set to hit almost £100bn by 2026, thanks to the British consumer’s love of ecommerce and, more pertinently, widespread broadband and 4 and 5G coverage.

Much of the revenues will come from advertising, says the report, but it is the changing consumer behaviour and what that means for new service creation that really intrigues me.

For instance, so entrenched in consumer minds has this sort of thing become that it is now standard to find it being rolled out across all sorts of other entertainment sectors. In sport, for instance, we find that West Ham United football club – recently promoted to the Premier League – sees part of that process as being not only to invest in new talent on the pitch, but also to roll out a data platform that can better segment its user base to give them better communications, better offers and more targeted marketing.

The Tour de France is also using advanced IT infrastructure to turn swathes of the 1029km race into ‘the largest connected stadium in the world’, to deliver a host of new and enhanced digital experiences to engage fans around the world, both at home and along the roadside. This will be done through AI-powered kiosks and avatars.

Leading tennis tournament at Wimbledon is also using IoT to better manage the delivery of 1.5 million strawberries to the site for the next two weeks.

The point is that consumers now expect this sort of level of engagement and want it to be driven by personalisation. They want every interaction they have to be entertaining and Informative – making M&E now part of a much wide circle of use. M&E underpins now everything. And it is all thanks to the iPhone starting a seismic shift in consumer behaviour – something that sending men to the moon failed to ignite. That said, you can expect the next moon landing – penciled in for 2024 – to be livestreamed, all over social and probably photographed and video-ed using a smartphone.

Image: Rawpixel/Licence

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