10 Trends Shaping Media & Entertainment in 2020

1. Audiences Continue to Cut the Cord

Over-the-top (OTT) video revenue for media and entertainment in the U.S. reached $20.1 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $30.6 billion in 2022. With the popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO GO, and Hulu, thirteen thousand Americans are canceling their cable-TV subscriptions every day. Cord cutting and OTT domination will only continue to proliferate in 2019, especially with the rollout of Disney’s own streaming platform, Disney+, late this year.

2. AI Hype Comes to Fruition

Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated major hype in 2018, but this year we will see it become implemented on a much larger scale. With increases in functionality, flexibility, and ease of use, AI will transform content, audience experience, and marketing communication like never before. What’s more, the growing awareness of AI’s cost-saving benefits will give way to more innovative marketing strategies. In fact, AI won’t just be a great tool; it will be crucial for one-to-one marketing across social platforms.

3. Growth of Video Ads

With video expected to account for 80% of total internet traffic in 2019, it will be a key medium for distributing content and increasing audience engagement. Mobile will account for 43% of all ad spending this year, which is not terribly surprising considering video content drove 65% of ad impressions on Instagram in 2018. The continued shift from traditional ad-supported linear TV programming to OTT platforms also provides an opportunity for more interactive, personalized video ads.

4. Rise of In-App Ads

Over 2 billion users accessed OTT messaging apps in 2018, and that number is only expected to rise this year. Messaging apps are a gold mine for marketers in terms of audience reach. For example, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps globally, with over 1.2 billion monthly active users. Facebook Messenger leads the game in the U.S., with over 110 million daily users and a staggering 1.3 billion around the world. With in-app ads predicted to grow by 60% in 2019, advertisers will increase conversion with these captive users.

5. Voice Advertising Enters the Mainstream

Technology trends come and go, but voice looks like it’s here to stay. Almost half of American households will own a smart speaker this year, and by 2020 50% of all searchesare predicted to be through voice. What does this mean for entertainment and media? Because voice provides greater context for audience needs and preferences, marketers will be able to better tailor ads and landing pages. The growing popularity of smart speakers and similar technology also opens the door for creative voice campaigns to better engage audiences.

6. Continued Explosion of eSports

In 2018, nearly 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the League of Legends World Championship, about five times more than the audience for the NBA Finals. Esports is predicted to be a $1.1 billion industry this year, and IHS expects global eSports viewing to surpass 9 billion hours by 2021. The massive growth and popularity of live gaming provides endless opportunities for immersive content, cross-promotion, and experiential marketing.

7. Snackable Content Is King

With people spending an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes on their smartphones every day, mobile will finally surpass TV as the most watched medium in 2019. And with viewer attention spans getting shorter and shorter, “snack-sized” content will reign supreme. This includes tweet-able graphics and bumper ads, along with quick digital shorts. Google found that 9 out of 10 bumper ads drive significant lift in ad recall despite only being about 6 seconds long.

8. TikTok Is the Hot New App

TikTok represents the culmination of many 2019 digital trends. The short-form mobile video platform is one of the most popular apps for over 500 million young adults around the world. As part of a global expansion effort, the company launched its “TikTok Lite” app with no major promotion, and already has over 7 million total downloads since its August rollout. ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, was valued at $78 billion as of October 2018, and with that kind of capital we can only expect the app’s user base to grow well beyond its current 500 million monthly active users.

9. GenZ Pushes Back Against Social Media

GenZs are disillusioned with social media and concerned that technology has ruined their mental health. The most ethnically diverse and largest generation in American history is pushing back against social media in 2019 in favor of more intimate and authentic connection. While they still spend an average of 5 hours a day on their phones, GenZs primarily access communication and news apps. Only 32% of teens consider Instagram their favorite platform. Overwhelmingly concerned about privacy issues, Facebook usage among teens, who are overwhelmingly concerned about privacy issues, is also down 60% from 2016. Advertisers can better reach these old souls by understanding their values and going beyond a one-size-fits-all social media marketing strategy.

10. Emergence of Nanoinfluencers

As influencer marketing becomes more and more akin to celebrity endorsements, those with smaller followings will trend in 2019. Nanoinfluencers have only 1,000 to 5,000 followers but achieve higher quality engagement – five times higher, to be specific. Whereas traditional influencer accounts are often muddied with fake followers and bots, nanoinfluencers deliver better ROI because of their authentic audience and friendly intimacy. They cost less, are easy to work with, and are likely to even over-deliver on promotion deals. Nanoinfluencers are also great at reaching GenZs, who lean toward the opinions of their online peers over those of authority figures.

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