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The Future of Entertainment, Media and Publishing: Disruption, Portability and Consumer Control, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Executives within the entertainment and media sector have long been accustomed to rapid change and disruption.  Movies, for example, evolved fairly rapidly from silent to recorded sound; from black and white to color; from color to technicolor; from the movie theater to VHS or Beta tape; then DVD; and finally streaming on the internet and your smartphone screen.
Newspapers still look largely as they did two centuries ago, although they have added internet sites to their portfolios.  Printed books really haven’t changed that much through the years, but consumers now have the option of reading the same title in ebook form, and audio versions are available for their smartphones and earbuds.  In fact, audio books are one of the hottest growth areas in all of publishing, thanks to the ease of listening to them on smartphones.
Over the mid-term, the evolution of media and entertainment technology is going to leap ahead dramatically.  This is due to technology enhancements that include much faster 5G service for smartphones, virtual reality, HTML5 for web sites and 1 gigabyte download speeds for fixed internet service.
The end result will be that consumers will be able to access their selected content much faster, such as downloading a full-length movie in a few minutes, while internet-based content pages will load very quickly while having richer features.
Also, over the mid-term, another billion consumers around the globe will get their first smartphones.  For example, in India, innovative hardware firms such as Xiaomi and Lenovo have launched well-equipped smartphones at incredibly low prices, aimed at consumers who, until now, simply could not afford the equipment.  Meanwhile, Reliance Jiu has launched incredibly inexpensive and capable 4G service within India, ready to serve hundreds of millions of new smartphone owners.
Consumers have become accustomed to greater control over when, where and how they enjoy their media.  For example, a few short years ago television viewers were at the mercy of a very small number of TV channels.  Each program was available only on specified days in specified time slots.  By the beginning of the 21st Century, that had altered dramatically, thanks to hundreds of unique cable and satellite TV channels and video-on-demand technologies. 
The next step is already extremely popular, with dozens of streaming services enabling consumers to subscribe to internet-based streaming TV access that allows them to pick and choose the channels, movies, sports or other content they specifically want, rather than being forced to pay very high monthly subscription fees for huge packages of hundreds of channels in typical cable and satellite deals.  If all you want to watch is Disney programming, then simply subscribe to Disney.  If all you want to watch is Major League Baseball, then there’s an internet-based offering that will suit you.
What comes next will be disruptive and revolutionary, in the form of immersive entertainment and media, something referred to as “the metaverse.”  This will largely utilize virtual reality (VR) hardware and software, which are very rapidly improving capabilities while prices drop.  In addition to new technologies introduced by startups and challengers, the best-known brands in entertainment and media today will continue to evolve as future technologies open up listening, viewing, reading and participating options that will change habits and tastes, and in many cases lower costs while improving efficiencies.  This is evidenced by the fact that the parent company of Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms, Inc. in 2021.  Despite Facebook’s enthusiasm, the Metaverse, as of 2023, was off to a slow start.  Massive future investment in software and development will be required to make this a major platform.  This may take many years to evolve.

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