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eSports, hyper-automation and 8K: Media & Broadcast predictions for 2020 

2019 has been yet another rollercoaster year for broadcast. The OTT market has had numerous new players enter and eSports has seen a significant increase in popularity. What does 2020 have in store? Chris Wood, CTO, Spicy Mango takes a look at the key trends, technical and commercial that are likely to see the world of media & broadcast continue to evolve throughout 2020.

Technical trends

  1. Hyper-automation

2020 will see machine learning in the broadcast and streaming chain move to become the norm. This is no longer available only to experts and specialists, as tools are readily available from most of the cloud service providers. The use of machine learning will speed up services, improve accuracy and quality providing a better end user experience.

  1. 8K

Is it too early to start talking about 8K UHD for the home? It will be a niche for some time to come however, with Japan hosting the Olympic Games in 2020 there will be some amazing content to view in 8K later in the year. Whilst TVs remain expensive, they are available and hopefully there will be broadcasts available for those early adopters.

  1. 5G

5G is here and available in a number of cities across the world. In 2020, there will be more trials for remote production, particularly in sports, but it will remain experimental as coverage is expanded and the valuable use case developed and worked out.

  1. Cybersecurity

Across the world, everyone is fighting to keep up with and defend against cyberattacks – especially with the rise in IoT, which means an increasing number of cheap devices are easily hackable such as smart speakers, locks, switches and lightbulbs and CCTV. 2020 will see more attacks more frequently and machine learning will have a major role and impact in aiding human decisions to prevent attacks.

  1. Transparency and traceability

More and more people are becoming data protection savvy regarding how their data is stored and moved around. In 2020, all service providers and broadcasters will have to place a greater emphasis and focus on creating smoother processes and technology to deal with this more easily. The experience for end users is still very variable and not good enough. Without this improvement then subscribers will churn from poor user experience.

Commercial trends

  1. OTT saturation

Disney+ and AppleTV+ have both launched to big fanfare, despite the odd hiccup. Additionally, Netflix has raised a further $2bn for new content. For 2020, the industry will see a number of other launches and a mountain of advertising to persuade users to subscribe to the new offers, but the biggest winner will be Disney+, with Netflix’s growth becoming mostly flat throughout the year.

  1. Britbox

Continuing the OTT theme, Britbox feels like it’s over before it even started. There has been little promotion of the new service in the UK, and the promotion that has taken place is limited. Unfortunately, this service might not make the cut, but realistically, there has to be some streaming victims in 2020, as the industry is becoming far too fragmented and customers won’t consider paying £6 per/month for content that is largely available on other platforms.

  1. Piracy

If there aren’t victims, there will be a significant rise in piracy. For the first time ever, VPN advertisements are being seen on the TV. This will be the biggest challenge for broadcasters, service providers and OTT platforms in 2020.

  1. Sports 

Just like with general entertainment content owners, sports governing bodies are seeking to go directly to the consumer. However, the key difference is that in their home or main markets they will continue to work with service providers and broadcasters to carry their content, given the value of those rights. Yet, outside of those markets there will be more subscriptions services available as sports seek to specifically target their key audiences – such as Tennis Channel, Golf TV, UFC and NFL. 2020 will see more choices for consumers, but fatigue will set in as those consumers are asked to pay yet more money to watch their favourite content.

  1. eSports 

2019 saw eSports tournaments hit the mainstream press with a big bang. eSports has been around for a long time now, but with tournament prize money now exceeding US$30M, in some cases this is now an entertainment genre that cannot be ignored. In 2020 we’ll see broadcasters trying to get in on the act and find a way to bring what has been a streaming only format on YouTube, Twitch and Mixer to their main channels. It’s a demographic that they are currently missing, but could this be the way to reach what should be their future subscribers?

Conclusion

There we have it – our predictions for 2020. With new technology becoming increasingly available and new players entering, it won’t come as a surprise if the industry looks a little different at the end of 2020. The question is: which providers will rise to the top and which won’t make the cut?

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