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The Wow Factor in the Media Renaissance

Can you recall having more access to entertainment than you do now?

We are in the midst of a media renaissance where consumers no longer need to choose between quality and quantity. Not only are we viewing more than we used to – a survey by the Broadcast Authority found the national average for TV watching rose more than 20 percent between July and October 2017 – we’re also watching in exciting new ways, with 60 percent of Americans under the age of 30 using online streaming services for their content.

It seems that we can have it all these days, without even leaving our homes. Our living rooms have transformed into control centers, acting as virtual gateways to an unprecedented array of entertainment possibilities. In a matter of seconds, consumers can have a theater-like home viewing experience, or be transported to other content-rich experiences outside of the home.

When it comes to the future of media, image is leading the charge. Every day, advancements in image technology are redefining what we know about traditional media, adding a wow factor that keeps us all watching. Here’s why it keeps getting better.

New Storytelling Formats

Not only do better pixels and image technology create a better viewing experience, they also accommodate new forms of storytelling.

4K and HDR displays, for example, create theater-quality experiences on ever-larger home screens, providing an upgraded viewing experience that is resonating with consumers in a big way.

HDR was in such high demand that almost every mid-range and high-end TV produced and sold in 2017 included HDR technology. And research firms predict that HDR TV shipments will reach 245 million units by 2022 – proving the power of image and the desire that companies have for meeting the level of quality that consumers expect.

On the production front, lenses and cameras have made striking advances over the past decade that allows superb resolution, HDR, and WCG imagery to be originated.

Not only does improved image technology let us see things in a new way, it also lets us see things we’ve never seen before. Advances in ultra-high sensitivity technology let cameras capture footage in low-light environments, in color, without using artificial lighting – allowing viewers to virtually see in the dark.

If you aren’t familiar with these trends yet, you will be soon. We saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that TV imaging is continuing to  improve with 4K, 8K and larger image format solutions that offer even more image upgrades.

Data Enables Personalization

While companies are working to provide platforms that suit next-generation imaging formats, they need to make sure they are doing it right. Savvy providers are rethinking their approach to keep up with customer demand for a high-quality image experience.

Many companies are using data science to study consumer viewing habits – looking at everything from play clicks to genre preferences – to determine what new content to create, where to produce it, how to format it for consumption, and guide improvements to overall quality.

Streaming services like Netflix, for example, are taking popular imaging preferences and incorporating them into their latest content offerings to suit 4K quality, HDR and WCG (wide color gamut). These imaging upgrades have become so common that Amazon has also committed to streaming more than 150 hours of HDR content within its shows. Even cable providers, like DirectTV, are slowly but surely joining the club, offering live 4K services and select 4K channels.

Now is a critical time to integrate data to stay ahead of the curve and provide a more personalized, quality viewing experience for consumers. As more services become available to accommodate this upgraded content, the ones that offer the highest level of personalization based on real consumer insights will become the most attractive options.

Signs of the Times

With so much content readily available in our living rooms, we can sometimes overlook the larger, overarching impact of this media renaissance.

The wow factor is truly everywhere these days, with everything from cinema screens to digital signage improving in quality and size.

And it’s becoming more imaginative, too. Places like stadiums, museums and aquariums are using digital motion technology to augment and virtually transform a predictable, traditional experience, introducing an unexpected level of storytelling and entertainment. Separately, the digital signage industry has become particularly invested in extending screen sizes, improving image quality, and enhancing production values.  

These innovative imaging technologies are a new creative force driving production companies, networks, streaming services, and countless other industries — creating more content on more platforms that are more readily available to the everyday consumer.

And that’s just the beginning. With the growing popularity of cloud services, user-generated video, and augmented and virtual reality, the evolution of the content experience is full steam ahead. Stay tuned.