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Year of change Themes that will shape entertainment in 2023

Report by Mark Mulligan, Tim Mulligan, Karol Severin, Hanna Kahlert, Kriss Thakrar, Ashleigh Millar, Tatiana Cirisano, Annie Langston, Perry Gresham, Sam Griffin, Ben Woods and Srishti Das
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20,000 foot view

This report deep dives into the themes identified in MIDiA’s 2023 predictions report. These themes will drive innovation in the digital entertainment landscape in 2023 across music, video, games, audio, cultural trends, and the creator economy.

Expect 2023 to be a of period significant disruption and innovation forced upon the digital entertainment industry, as nearly two decades of uninterrupted growth makes way for consumer-led disruption that is driven by a reduction in discretionary spending, attention, and willingness to make do with tired old formats. 

Welcome to a new way of engaging with the digital status quo. Welcome to digital entertainment in 2023.

Key insights 

  • The return of IRL, coupled with reduced spending ability to go out, will mean the more socially inclined that entertainment is, the better; e.g., the return of the cinema, local live music venues, and the continued prominence of games
  • Algorithms may increasingly favour ‘what you might like’ in an individualised context, but popularity and success of content relies on a broader community that collectively consumes it and negotiates its cultural value through discussion, memes, identity association, in-groups, and adjacent lean-through activities
  • Noticing creators as interconnected groups, and not as individuals, will help brands to tap into their communities, promote overall growth in audience size and satisfaction, and aid in converting casual creators into more serious / impactful members of the creator economy
  • Creators only have so much time and energy, and thus building engagement through moments inevitably comes with an investment in the process over the product. However, when creators are able to harness the power of the process, it becomes the product in itself
  • The next generation of consumers wants less products served to them and more opportunities to engage directly with the creators they love. The role of products in this new paradigm, therefore, will be to serve as a reminder of the moment
  • The search for authenticity goes beyond influencer culture, playing an additional and crucial role in the information sphere: in effect, information oversaturation has resulted in information unreliability. Credibility is increasingly a function of emotional perception of truth, rather than a scientific one
  • Cultural scenes are emerging across the globe, harnessing the distribution power of social and streaming. Emerging markets come with their own cultures that the West has tried to leverage for their own stars. An inability to grasp these nuances has led to inauthentic and seemingly forced collaborations that have failed to grab the attention of new audiences
  • While the independent film and video game sector will continue to conjure new stories and formats, the overall output of innovative content from the entertainment industry’s biggest players will fall
  • There is a limit as to how many times games developers and video streamers can use pre-existing IP to squeeze fresh revenues from established fanbases without frustrating audiences who are seeking fresh experience
  • Walled gardens erected by video streamers, IP owners, and video games companies, will be challenged by fans wanting to express a single digital identity across multiple platforms
  • The blending of cultural fandom on games like Fortnite, where players can use skins inspired by disparate IP worlds, like Star Wars and NBA’s Michael Jordan, has set a precedent that other entertainment companies will be expected to follow

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Africori, All or Nothing, Amazon, Andrew Tate, Bandcamp, BeReal, Braindead, Break Point, Brittany Broski, Camilla Cabello, Charlie, Charlie Puth, Complex, Crisis Core, Discord, Disney, Dreamlight Valley, Drive to Survive, Epitaph, Final Fantasy        Fortnite, Fueled by Ramen, Google, Hulu, James Charles, Joe Rogan, Katie Gregor-MacLeod, Meghan Trainor, Michael Jordan, NBA, Netflix, NTS Radio, Parlor, Rise Records, Ryan Reynolds, Shut Up and Dance, Spotify, Square Enix, Star Wars, Tiger King, TikTok, Toro Y Moi, Truth Social, Twitch, Twitter, Warner Music, Warp Records, Welcome to Wrexham, XL Recordings, YouTube, Yungblud, Zoom

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