The digital streaming sector has evolved at a rapid rate in recent times, and the trend looks set to continue for many years to come.
The days were people were reliant on a handful of television and radio outlets to consume content are long gone, with advancements in technology helping to transform consumer habits.
Digital streaming is now prevalent across numerous genres including sport, entertainment, live music, marketing and advertising.
With analysts predicting that the sector could be worth more than $165 billion by 2025, these are exciting times for digital streaming. Read on as we take a look at trends to follow next year.
Sport set for Further Digital Shift
The sports industry has been quick to embrace the modern digital landscape, and this is certain to continue throughout 2021 and beyond.
The increased usage of live soccer streaming sites is an excellent example of how millions of fans now consume content in a different way.
This shift in behaviour means that it is now critical for sports organisations to invest significant resources into the infrastructure required to power digital channels and streaming platforms.
Pete Giorgio, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, has worked with numerous major clients including the NBA and the United States Golf Association.
He believes the sports industry will adopt a digital-first strategy during 2021, with increased usage of data to improve fan engagement at the core of its efforts.
“Given the imperative to identify new revenue generation opportunities and ways of engaging with fans, sports organisations should attract and retain specialised data analytics talent,” he said. “These skills are especially critical to targeting specific fan segments with personalised offers.
“Traditional sports broadcasters now face stiff competition from social media and streaming video services, all of which have secured deals to stream live sports events.
“Sports organisations are now challenged with balancing the needs of fans who primarily view traditional broadcasts and those who prefer digital platforms.”
Boom Time for eSports Industry
Once viewed as a nerdy pastime, eSports has become one of the biggest growth industries in the world, with the market currently valued at around $1bn.
Significant revenue increases have been forecast over the next few years as broadcasters and sponsors battle to jump on the bandwagon.
Charlie Baillie, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Ampverse, believes that eSports is on track to becoming the most valuable global entertainment asset.
He says that the genre may even eclipse traditional sports, with eSports likely to benefit from increased convergence with mainstream organisations.
“With this ever-increasing interest in eSports, we’ll start to see more personalities evolve from the world of eSports as their stories are increasingly told by mainstream media,” he said.
“Mobile eSports viewership is expected to continue to skyrocket. With audience numbers rising and esports very much being on the radar for mainstream brands as a valuable way to engage with a hard-to-reach Gen-Z audience, I expect that advertising and media dollars will really start to flow into eSports.
“We’ll see more investment into gaming content from publishers, OTT, broadcasters as a key driver to stay relevant and drive viewership, and I expect that we’ll have one or two more IPO listings as well as the first couple of high profile acquisitions/exits for an eSports team.”
Live Music Poised to Embrace Streaming
Digital streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer have revolutionised the way that people listen to their favourite music.
They have also changed the way that performers earn a living, with many now reliant on income from live gigs and merchandise as opposed to CD sales.
However, with touring becoming an increasingly costly business, many acts have been exploring whether they can monetise live streaming services.
For instance, top indie band Embrace recently enjoyed massive success with their Out Of Nothing live-streamed gig and have another event planned for early next year.
It is a similar story for Sheffield music legend Joe Carnall Jr, who this year will be staging his annual Christmas party via a digital platform.
Wayne Yardley, the Co-Founder of streaming service rippla.tv, has already worked on high-profile events with acts such as Mumford & Sons, The National and Keane.
He believes that the music industry will increasingly explore live streaming opportunities during 2021 as the supporting tech continues to improve.
“We are looking at the potential of having artists play together in separate spaces, and (in terms of audio) that would clearly be very low latency-driven,” he said.
“The 5G element for that would be to take the idea and make it possible over distance. I expect there to be continued crossover between different approaches and technologies as we progress towards a future more defined by a universal channel idea in which you are delivering content online or offline.”