A Year in Digital Entertainments: What to Expect in 2017
As an industry, Digital Entertainments is entering a new age of mature growth across the Europe. Digital subscriptions, tickets and downloads are mainstream, which means merchants need to provide friction-free experiences for customers and subscribers.
According to PwC, the UK’s entertainment and media sector will “be worth £68.2bn compared to Germany’s £61.3bn by 2020.” Making it the largest market in Europe, the Middle East & Africa. Online advertising revenues are driving this growth, alongside app downloads, in-app revenues, e-book sales and subscription services.
Companies with a digital audience, or a percentage of revenues from digital channels, should expect this growth to continue in 2017. What else should players in the digital entertainments industry prepare for next year?
#1: Tighter belts
The fight for subscription revenue is fierce. With Brexit negotiations approaching, customers could become more cautious with their discretionary spending, which means they won’t be as inclined to click/subscribe. Even if they have the same purchasing power, potential economic downturn makes people save, not spend. Consider ways you can position your service as a way they can save money. Make that a key selling point going forward, to stay within consumers’ budgets and keep revenue healthy.
It is also worth noting that the word “subscribe” can be off-putting to some consumers. It implies a direct debit style commitment, not unlike paying energy bills. Instead, use language that makes even signing up for a monthly payment fun and easy.
#2: Merging offline and online
Events, ‘popup’ shops and experiences have a huge advantage in the digital entertainment industry. With tools like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat, event promoters can bring online fans and potential customers closer to the action.
Promoters should always avoid giving away content for free that ticket-holders are paying for, but there can be a greater integration between events and the digital marketing used to promote them. Bringing these together is invaluable when trying to attract younger consumers who are hungry for new, exciting experiences. Exclusive offers for fans or loyal customers can be an effective way to drive sales, not unlike Justin Bieber’s presale tickets that were available a week before the official ticket sales launch for those people with his fan app.
#3: Virtual Reality
As a digital entertainments sub-sector, virtual reality is at a turning point. According to a Guardian journalist, “Virtual reality is about to hit the mass market, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the next six months are of existential importance for the field.”
Advertising VR is the hard part. Hence, the hard work Oculus (owned by Facebook), Sony and Samsung have put into promoting VR in stores across the UK and creating new, low-cost, stripped down versions for high-resolution, motion-sensitive smartphones, designed to “offer something close to a full VR experience for a fraction of the cost.”
VR and live-streaming are two ways brands can promote events and sell digital products more effectively. With VR, immersive experiences are easier to create and advertise, especially when digital ticket sales make it possible for event goers to act as marketing amplifiers, encouraging others to attend and buy tickets.
Social media will continue to play a key role in promoting and selling digital goods, services and subscriptions, providing brands avoid a cut and paste approach.
Standing out in 2017 for digital entertainment brands is going to be all about thinking differently.