When we created MIDiA eight years ago, we saw that the new world of entertainment was going to demand a new joint approach for entertainment companies. With the beginning of the rise of the smartphone, we made an intellectual bet that everything would become more interconnected, interdependent and inter-competitive. Our vision then was to create analytics and data that crosses silos, to help previously unconnected industries understand that they were becoming connected. The “Connect the Dots” slogan we launched in 2014 was right for the time, but now the world has moved on. The dots are now connected. This work is done. Now is the time to decide what to do with these connections.
In recent years, we have identified new drivers of the entertainment economy, such as:
- Fragmented Fandom
- The attention economy
- The recession of attention
- Independence of the creator
- Rise of the creation tools
When we introduced these concepts, they took a while to land, but they are now becoming more and more widely accepted as industry bargaining chips. Even other research companies have started to follow our lead, with webinars and research on the attention economy, attention recession, and fandom fragmentation.
But while these trends will continue to play a crucial role, it is an entirely new set of market dynamics that will shape the future as the world enters a period of uncertainty and disruption unprecedented in modern times:
- Caution inflation: As consumers revert to pre-pandemic behaviors, they are trying to squeeze all of their new entertainment behaviors into less available time. Multitasking is booming, which means every minute of entertainment is worth less as it’s increasingly done alongside other things. Many more consumption hours than actual hours lead to Watch out for inflation.
- The breakdown of culture: The water chill moments may not be dead yet, but they are fading. The hits are getting smaller and smaller (just ask Beyonce) and the audience is fragmenting. But cultural relevance may actually increase within these fragmented fanbases (again, just ask Beyonce). Culture is fragmenting, but may end up becoming more dynamic.
- Scenes and identity: The rise of the scenes, especially the micro-scenes that populate platforms like Twitter, is at the root of and results from the breakdown of culture. Scenes are more than just fan groups, they are cultural movements that people look to for identity and belonging. Fandom is just a subcomponent.
- Lean through: Consumers used to just, well, consume. Now, however, all want to participate. The boundary between creation and consumption is blurring. Leaning forward is not enough, now the public wants bend over and create.
- The economy of creators: Perhaps the biggest change in entertainment in recent years is the rise of the creator economy, straddling virtually every entertainment format. The creator economy is about more than vloggers and influencers. It represents an overhaul of culture, remuneration and audiences. As such, it will reshape entertainment forever.
- Post-peak growth: With inflation soaring and a recession looming, consumers will have less money to spend on entertainment and recreation. Some sectors will suffer, some will persist but others will grow. Whether to survive or thrive, entertainment companies will need to rethink both their strategies and their purpose.
- Rediscovery is the future of discovery: The first phase of streaming was all about discovery. Now, with a surplus of supply and demand constrained by the recession in attention, what consumers want as much as what is new is to find what they already know and love.
Business as usual is gone. The next chapter in the entertainment industry will require a completely new approach. This is MIDiA’s CREATE Entertainment Manifesto for what is demanded of entertainment businesses in this brave new world.
- Cultivate every moment: Multitasking means consumption minutes lose value. Every moment should be made as valuable and entertaining as possible. Entertainment companies need their audience to notice what they are consuming.
- Rewarding the economy of creators: Streaming and social platforms are increasingly reliant on the long tail. The economy of scale works for platforms summarizing a multiplicity of niches, but it doesn’t work for long-tail creators. Platforms and rights holders need to nurture, not just harvest, the creator economy.
- Empowering the consumer as a creator: Lean through consumers are also super fans. More platforms and services need to offer consumers the kind of participation tools on which TikTok has built its success. Not just because it’s what audiences want, but because it also creates fandom and amplifies entertainment brands.
- Added value and escape: As consumer wallets tighten, subscriptions and ad spend are both at risk. But it doesn’t have to be Armageddon entertainment. Instead, entertainment companies should give consumers what they want: 1) value for money, 2) an escape from the harsh realities of everyday life.
- Target the middle: While it’s tempting to always chase the big hit, the reality is that hits are getting smaller and smaller. Success in the years to come will be easier to find by cultivating a collection of medium-sized hits rather than placing all bets on mega hits.
- Embrace scenes and identity: Scenes and identity are the underrated superpower of entertainment. Music, games, sports, designers, books, movies, TV shows – they all move people and all help define who we are. Truly understanding and harnessing identity will make the difference between surviving and thriving.
We hope the CREATE and our new Critical Developments coverage helps companies and creators navigate their way through the troubled waters ahead. But even more important is developing a sense of purpose, a definition of why you do what you do, and communicating that to your audiences and partners. Entertainment industries have