Industry Brief

Media and entertainment companies emerged in 2021 as one of the pandemic’s big winners as consumers enthusiastically signed on to various streaming services to keep themselves entertained during lockdown. The industry’s next challenge is to retain all those new customers, many of whom are totting up the cost of their various media and streaming subscriptions and canceling those that fall short of their expectations. That trend places on media and entertainment providers the dual burdens of developing both marquee content that wins new subscribers and more modest offerings that persuade new customers to renew.

In addition to offering new content, media and entertainment companies are also experimenting with tiered pricing (including free or low-cost ad-supported streaming), bundled content, and expanded service offerings, such as gaming, music, and podcast subscriptions. As the lines dividing content distribution from content production continue to blur, prospects grow for increased merger activity and cooperative arrangements among players on both sides of the content-delivery divide.

Media executives report being most challenged by the technological infrastructure and consumer expectations for personalized experiences and services in 2022.

media entertainment industry remote control television 2022

These companies are stepping up their emphasis on gathering subscriber data to help them decide what content to invest in, how to price it, and how and when to recommend it to potential viewers. The data also serves as raw material for platforms and advertisers to devise compelling and relevant messages that have a chance to cut through the clutter and persuade viewers to continue watching an ad rather than click past. But even without the support of such advertising, U.S. broadcasters, at least, can expect a reasonably prosperous 2022, thanks to an upsurge in political advertising keyed to the 2022 congressional elections and a spate of advertising from sports gambling companies looking to make a name for themselves among the betting public.

Content producers were challenged coming into 2022 as Omicron forced cancellations or postponements of planned shoots. The possibility of new varients could spur more development of documentary content that repurposes or reedits preexisting film and video recordings. Always attuned to creating content that is more of a "sure thing," producers may be encouraged on this course by the success of director Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary chronicling the Beatles’ sessions for the “Get Back” album. Rather than requiring new shoots, the production sent Jackson and his team back into the edit suite to recut hundreds of hours of contemporaneous footage. The result is a reminder that everything old, in the right hands, can be new again.