1894 was an auspicious year in humankind’s quest to develop useful technologies. It was the year that a 20-year-old Italian, Guglielmo Marconi, demonstrated to his mom in their home in Bologna, Italy, how he could make a bell system ring across the room with the first working radio transmitter and receiver. In 1909, Marconi would share the Nobel Prize in physics for his invention and the study of the physics of radio waves. Fast forward 126 years, and we live in a world completely and utterly transformed by Marconi’s invention. He would be shocked by what he would see today. Some of the most transformative technologies humankind has ever invented, including GPS systems, smartphones, WiFi, air traffic control, and so many other life-altering technologies would simply not be possible without a modern version of Marconi’s “wireless” technology.
Today, these evolved “wireless” technologies, help the media and entertainment industry move content around the globe and get that content to consumers in their homes and on all their mobile devices. But things are just starting to get going.
Recent changes in wireless technology have been profound. It took over a century, but until only the last handful of years, have the silicon and software technologies existed to make the distribution of multi-media content via wireless signals to a mobile personal computing device like the smartphone a successful reality. Today, with more than 70 percent of mobile users watching video on their 3G and 4G Internet-connected phones, 5G technology is about to change the media & entertainment landscape as much in the next ten years as radio-based distribution technologies like broadcast, satellite, and microwave did in the past 50 years.*
Media and entertainment ‘experiences’ enabled by 5G will generate up to $1.3 trillion (£0.9 trillion) in revenue by 2028, according to a new report commissioned by Intel and carried out by Ovum. This is almost half of the projected $3 trillion (£2.3 trillion) in wireless revenues overall. The report suggests that 2025 will represent a ‘tipping point’ for 5G in entertainment and media. By that time, the report forecasts that around 57 percent of wireless revenue globally will be driven by the capabilities of 5G networks and devices. By 2028, Intel and Ovum expect that number to rise to 80 percent.**
Like nothing we’ve seen before
The COVID-19 pandemic and the profound bandwidth and low-latency of 5G wireless technologies will accelerate a race to provide even richer media experiences to consumer devices. Quality video & audio are table stakes on today’s high-end phones. But coming soon to a pocket near you will be a new entertainment content and technology nexus where virtual experiences, collaborative viewing and working, location-based experiences, and so much more will grow and thrive. The smartphone has won the hearts and minds of the world either as a viewing device itself or a control device for powerful in-home and industrial networks. Nearly 50 percent of the world’s more than 7 billion people have one, and that share will continue to grow.
Currently, the smartphone is really a miniaturized computer connected to an often budget-sensitive digital data network that throttles the phone’s super-computer capabilities to affect our world even more profoundly. The ‘5G Economics of Entertainment Report’ predicts that the monthly traffic per 5G subscriber will rocket from 11.7GB in 2019 to 84.8GB in 2028. By this time, video is expected to account for 90 percent of all 5G traffic, the upcoming transformation of entertainment and content will quickly begin as lightning-fast data speeds, massive bandwidth, and low-network latency are spurred by the 5G technology stack. What powerful, transformative opportunities might this new network and device complement deliver for entertainment companies, their technology partners, and consumers?**
Here’s a peek into what this new world may look like and where entertainment companies can see significant opportunity:
- Shared entertainment experiences will flourish: In a world driven apart by pandemic, where physical co-location is dangerous, the power of the smartphone, 5G, and viewing accessories like mixed-reality headsets can provide new, shared real-time entertainment experiences live and on-demand. Concerts, movie premieres, sporting events, participatory games, and all manner of location-based activities will take place in real-time, across time zones, and continents to the delight of truly global audiences.
- Sports will never be the same: Team sporting events will be transformed with 5G enabled wireless headsets and glasses, providing ultra-rich, visual experiences overlaid on the real-world events themselves. Stadium-based events, in particular, will be tapestries of real-world action with stats, fantasy league activities, and even wagering placed within fans’ field-of-view and fingertips.
- AR/VR will be accelerated: 5G will unlock the potential of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), creating more than $140 billion in cumulative revenues between 2021 and 2028.**
- Gaming experiences will be re-imagined: Gaming will be at the forefront of 5G-led innovations. The possibility of fully interactive gaming can be made both technologically and economically possible with 5G. AR games will make up more than 90 percent of 5G AR revenues by 2028, nearly $36 billion globally. 5G will usher in mobile cloud gaming (interactive gaming that utilizes mobile devices that access the cloud as an external resource for processing game scenarios) because it provides the fast responsiveness and high-resolution gamers demand with real-time streaming. 5G mobile games revenue, including AR and cloud gaming, is forecast to exceed $100 billion annually in 2028 alone.**
- A new generation of super-creators will emerge: The incredible creativity we now see on user-generated platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok will be turbocharged by 5G’s ability to deliver massive two-way bandwidth anytime, anywhere. Everyone with a smartphone will have the equivalent of a powerful commercial editing suite and distribution network in their pockets. AI-driven tools will empower young and old alike to become more dynamics visual storytellers leading to the next great wave of global creativity. Visual storytelling itself will become an even more powerful basic competency for a generation raised with smartphones and the desire to communicate through video.
- Learning will be transformed: The storytelling abilities of entertainment companies combined with the 5G wireless opportunity to bring broadband to all, no matter how remote, will catalyze a deep educational opportunity. Schools will increasingly have a virtual component to their curricula where the best teachers can reach students in their homes with captivating visualizations and simulations to support learning. Students will be empowered to work collaboratively through mixed reality technologies driving distributed approaches to group learning and problem-solving.
- Audience Engagement will be redefined: The need to better understand and personalize every experience will be a top priority for content creators. Combining data and Audience Engagement metrics will create deeper brand loyalty, better conversion to premium and subscription services, as well as deliver never before seen targeting and recommendation in advertising and commerce offers.
- New, never-imagined applications and usages will be brought to life by 5G, such as in-car entertainment and 3D holographic displays. Immersive and new media will reach unprecedented scale by 2028, generating more than $67 billion annually, the equivalent to the value of the entire global mobile media market—video, music, and games—in 2017.**
- Supercharged Advertising experiences will be created: Mobile display advertising has an expected market of $178 billion worldwide by 2028. 5G will have a fundamental role in transitioning traditional display advertising toward social and media immersive experiences. Scale, delivery, and measurements are key challenges for mobile ad campaigns today, which 5G will help overcome.**
Your mission, should you choose to accept it
The global deployment of 5G technologies is a certainty. As we have seen with every wireless generation shift before, this will drive the proliferation of richer entertainment, media, and advertising experiences. The nature of these experiences and the changes they will bring will be far-reaching for creators, packagers, marketers, distributors, and, most importantly, consumers. The exciting thing is that we can all play an essential part by defining the next generation of anytime and anywhere entertainment opportunities. Products will need to be designed and deployed, and realistic business models will have to be determined. The migration to the Cloud will have a significant seat at the table of 5G evolution. Leveraging cloud fundamentals, media and entertainment, advertising, and gaming companies will create, deliver, engage, and monetize better and richer experiences that will be delivered to global audiences in their own languages and with creative personalization.
With the dawn of 5G, a new vision of the future of media and entertainment will be defined. Opportunities this significant and impactful come along only a few times in a generation. Together with our partners and customers, we look forward to the journey.
Learn more about intelligent media and entertainment to see how the capabilities of our solutions have optimized workflows, streamlined content delivery, and deepened audience engagement from the likes of Mr. X, Dentsu Aegis Network, Reuters, La Liga, and Endemol Shine Group.
* GSMA 5G
** 5G economics of entertainment