Because of the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been a little weird – and certainly disrupting – for the entertainment industry. Traditional offline options have been off-limits for the most part (except perhaps for hiking, but it does not really count). Paradoxically, 2020 has also highlighted some of the biggest entertainment trends that emerged over the last 20 years, with the Internet’s growth. So, here is a quick overview of what has changed between 2000 and 2020.
It All Comes Down to the World Wide Web
The Internet became commercially available to the public a bit more than two decades ago, in 1991, but it was not mainstream until the late 90s, so it feels appropriate to mention it here. The thing is, global connectivity that the World Wide Web allows has been the single most defining thing of the twenty-first century. The entertainment industry we know today is largely affected, if not shaped, by it.
What Types of Entertainment Are New?
Gaming and iGaming
Video gaming is not really new. In fact, it dates back to as early as the 1970s, when the first arcade video games became available and popular among consumers. However, they had nothing on the gaming industry in 2020. Alongside online video streaming, gaming is the most rapidly growing part of the entertainment industry today.
The same goes for iGaming. While land-based casinos have been around for centuries, online gambling is a relatively new phenomenon. Online casinos with emerging new games have been a salvation for all gambling lovers this year (just think how much more awful 2020 would have been without online entertainment).
No text about the entertainment industry in the twenty-first century would be complete without the mention of social media. It is actually amazing that Facebook, which is now seen as a somewhat boomer thing, was launched in 2004. The more relevant platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, are now an inherent part of the cultural landscape.
Again, online dating has been in the picture for a bit longer than 20 years, but it had not been part of the entertainment industry until the 2010s. Now, Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and other dating apps are as much about having fun as they are about actually finding a partner. It is actually impressive (and perfectly understandable) what an important place they now hold in pop culture.
The Main Business Change: Short Tail vs. Long Tail
If you are not familiar with these terms, think of them this way: television is mostly short-tail, while streaming services are long-tail. Short-tail media are oriented toward the broader audience and are basic in that everyone is more or less lukewarm to them. The phrase that describes the biggest change in the entertainment industry over the last 20 years is content personalization.