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The four key cultural trends transforming digital entertainment in 2021 and beyond

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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The 20,000 Foot View:  The effect of streaming on entertainment is not new, but as we move into the era of mainstream vaccinations, the shifts in streaming-driven consumer behaviour over the last year and a half will drive fundamental changes. From the rise of virtual events to the fall of the box office opening weekend, underpinned by the swift commodification of content pushing consumers towards lean-in behaviours, this is the post-pandemic new normal. 

Key insights

  • Virtual concerts and adapted sports features were a forced innovation to respond to lockdowns, but have come into their own and will play a new role as we move into a post-pandemic new normal
  •        of all consumers went to gigs and concerts monthly in        2021, which is the same percentage who watched live streamed concerts and performances, watched more than one virtual concert, and watched a live music event within a game
  • Sports has accelerated its digital transition, adapting game footage to create a worthy spectacle without the full crowd appeal, continued outreach to younger consumers through esports, and streaming-first video features
  •        of pay-per-view sports viewers used to attend live games every weekend, but will not do so after lockdown, along with        of fantasy sports players,        of sports merch buyers, and        of sports betters
  • Concurrent streaming debuts of new studio releases has set films on a trajectory towards reduced cultural impact
  • With the loss of the cultural significance of the box office, the distinction between film and TV will disappear
  • As the distinctions among entertainment blur, they compete increasingly against each other – and ultimately lead to the commodification of content
  •        of consumers mainly focus on video when streaming, while        engage with it as a background activity. This rises to        for music streaming background activity engagement 
  • Lean-back consumption in the form of streaming is inherently fading further and further into the background of consumers’ lives, but lean-in content formats are taking up the slack

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBOMax, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, MGM Studios, Netflix, Peacock, Warner Bros., Warner Media

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