2021 is changing our understanding of entertainment. Industry leaders from Warner Bros., Nike, and GM discuss the future of entertainment and marketing at CES 2021. At Wednesday’s CES 2021 panel, titled “Entertainment Transformed,” Ann Sarnoff, President and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios & Networks Group, spoke about the recent past of his study. The controversial decision to simultaneously release the films in theaters and on HBO Max in North America, where they will be available for 31 days.
2021 is changing our understanding of entertainment
This day-to-day strategy influenced highly anticipated films such as The Suicide Squad and The Matrix 4, and on December 25, 2020, Warner Bros. released their blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984 in both the United States and Canada, and also in HBO Max. Premium video on demand.
Sarnoff, the first woman to run Warner Bros., cited the need to make content available where fans can enjoy it, and she’s certainly not calling her new policy “the death of the theater industry.” With the day-to-day running on HBO Max, Warner is in sync with the environment we currently live in. With 60% of theaters currently closed, Sarnoff said studios will have to find other platforms for their movies.
Warner Bros. had director Christopher Nolan’s movie Tenet in theaters in August 2020 during the height of the pandemic, and it grossed more than $ 360 million at the box office. Sarnoff explained how difficult it is to release a new movie when theaters are closed in some cities while theaters are open in other cities.
Sarnoff responded to questions from panel moderator Michael Kason, President and CEO of MediaLink, about the new platform and changing consumer behavior. Sarnoff responded that Warner’s focus was on franchise content and intellectual property (IP). She said the key to the process was working closely with the creators. During the pandemic, Warner Bros. came up with the idea of a 24-hour “super event” for fans of the DC Universe, connecting them with actors and creators. The event garnered more than 22 million fan interactions.
Sarnoff said she thought her greatest achievement since she took office a year ago was bringing together various divisions of Warner Bros., in what she Sarnoff called a “silo of rupture.” She said her unique experience allowed her to build bridges, become a contributor, and work “across the aisle.”
Sarnoff said that when we cooperate, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. She advised that women and people of color in particular should “get a seat at the table” first in order to make a difference.
Instant gratification is not fast enough
When Kassan cited the “entertainment business mantra” that instant gratification isn’t soon enough, Sarnoff responded that using opening weekend box office metrics to predict a movie’s success no longer worked. The Joker movie grossed $ 60 million, but managed to do a billion dollar business.
Today, it’s all about the number of eyes viewing content, and things like acquisition costs and the amount of abandonment need to be taken into account when calculating the number of eyeballs. Manthan describes customers who switch from one streaming service to another.
Content creators are extremely concerned about how many people are viewing their creations, and Sarnoff outlined the need for a more performance- and customer-oriented movie marketing strategy.
Sports, footwear and vehicle marketing
Additional panel members included Deborah Wahl, General Motors Global Marketing Director, Maverick Carter, CEO of The Springhill Company, and Adrienne Laughton, Nike Vice President of North American Marketing.
Wahl describes the pivot that GM built during the pandemic when they started making fans. She also described the need to reach out to the consumer, and Lofton spoke about Nike’s desire to be 100% digital and connect with its customers. She focused on the “experience” that Nike provides to consumers and how Nike has the mantra to “always do the right thing.”
The panel members responded to Kassan’s question about whether people still like to watch the game, and Carter cited the sacrifices NBA players made when they entered the NBA bubble. Panel members also said that the job of the advertiser and marketer is changing, from selling things to attracting and entertaining consumers. Consumers will stay connected to your brand by telling incredible stories.
Panel members agreed that the COVID pandemic has hampered their digital sales and mentioned the need to connect, engage and entertain consumers. Laughton said that content has to say who you are as a brand and, at the end of the day, the consumer wants content when and where they want, even in real time.
Wahl explained how GM used to introduce new vehicles with an reveal during a presentation. With the launch of GM’s all-electric Hummer in October 2020, they did it in a fun way where technologists discussed car battery systems and electric vehicles in general, and people got involved in a whole new way. .
It is clear that the COVID pandemic triggered processes that were already operating within the commercial locations of the panel members. It’s also clear that with Kassan, Sarnoff, Loftin, Wahl, and Carter at the helm of their respective companies, we can expect to see carefully crafted new strategies that put the consumer at the forefront.
Some reasons the entertainment industry will look different in 2021. According to these 14 business leaders, everything from live music to museums to games has to adapt to changing times. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of the editors or publishers of Rolling Stone.
Some reasons the entertainment industry will look different in 2021
As culture changes, we also consume it. The way we entertain ourselves with movies and television, art exhibitions, sports, music, and live entertainment is a reflection of our needs, desires, and traditions – our culture. So it makes sense that the unexpected changes we experienced last year would affect the way we spend our free time.
To give an idea of this collective change, 14 members of the Rolling Stone Cultural Council share the factors they believe will contribute to a new direction for the media and entertainment industry in 2021 and beyond.
change media consumption habits
The appetite for different forms of media (sports, movies, television, music, etc.) will not change, but the way they are consumed will grow at an even faster rate. Now is the time to add flexibility to your models to prepare for changes in distribution model, workflow, monetization, and more. – James Simpson, Goldfire Studios
A change to the ‘Station’ package
People have switched their content consumption to digital and virtual viewing during Covid. Traveling is no longer an option for many people due to financial and security concerns, I think there is an opportunity to provide options with the type of accommodation packages. This can be in the form of an interactive virtual event in foreign cities, a virtual concert series, an interactive online movie, or a package delivered directly to your home. – Shadow Rosenthal, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.
Games become an important source of entertainment
Games are the new entertainment. It’s more than a game, it’s the NFL of the future. Leaders must be prepared to understand the dreams and fears of the gaming culture, memes, and community. This is a world where authenticity is important, but so is honesty. –Justin Warden, Eder, Inc.
Fusion of the digital and physical worlds
Since it will take a long time for a large-scale public event to take place, 2021 will see a lot of new things to do as you mix the digital and physical worlds. We’ve seen it in 2020, but a lot of events don’t run very well because it’s a new and unwieldy world. Leaders can prepare for this simply by thinking about how they can improve their experience when it cannot be demonstrated in real life. –Bridget Hilton, LSTN Sound Company.
A greater sense of producer control
We will continue to see a major shift towards artist and producer control. For the past six months, the creators have had a direct connection with fans through social media and other online platforms. When the live events begin, we will see more actors wanting to be in the driver’s seat. – Kim Kaupe, The Superfan Company
Preference for smaller and more intimate events
Nightlife and event spaces were already polarizing into more intimate, smaller venues or larger festivals (or even dinners in front of restaurants). Mega clubs were less of a trend even before 2020 rolled around. This trend will now accelerate with smaller groups of people wanting to attend more intimate venues and events. It forces people to evaluate who they want in their social circle. Large-scale festivals will take a long time to return. – Gideon Kimbrel, InList
Growing need for digital solutions first
COVID-19 has changed the way we attend our cultural events, and digital can be the solution to keep us all connected. Therefore, the need for a digital strategy first in 2021 will be more important than ever. Going digital first means considering user needs in a meaningful way in the digital context for any project. Interactions have changed and cultural organizations must have a digital solution first to keep us all engaged as consumers, whether driven by objects or experiences. -Ashley Dees, Smithsonian Institution.
More advertising opportunities
Increasing the number of hours spent consuming entertainment content will create greater opportunities for startups in the ad-based video-on-demand space. Subscription-on-demand videos will start to shrink as subscription saturation occurs. -Ra Kumar, United Talent Agency
The need for a profitable live music platform
I think we will see the viral show happening in the right way. 2020 brings with it tons of options to bring live music straight to fans, but this time around, there are more mistakes than hits. I think we will see a format that will not only be beneficial to the artists, but also beneficial to the fans. – Anthony Langone, Marbaloo Marketing
A step towards new forms of conversation
Producers and consumers of culture and entertainment will naturally be drawn to new forms of interaction as the established distribution does not meet their needs. We have seen the start of this trend in 2020 and I look forward to more changes in the future. – Enno VanderMeer, Rune Labs
The rise of creator-based independent exhibition content
Those in the field of culture, especially museums, need to be aware of what will happen now that they are eliminating most of their teams in charge of public participation. Many institutions only have employees who are associated with wealthy donors rather than those who educate the audience.
Actions speak louder than words and these decisions are a mission statement. This means that in 2021 onwards, innovative, captivating and inspiring display material will not come from museums, but from those who have freed themselves from these institutions and are now free to create on their own with new rules and understandings. Importance of technology – Corridor by Bernadine Weider, Vastarik
New avenues of monetization for creators
In the field of culture, producers will continue to collaborate in different areas and will start to earn money in new ways. The more value they create, the more it will come directly to them and have a positive impact for decades to come. – Marcus Cobb, Jamber, Inc.
Games and streaming fuel popular culture
The culture of the players and streamers will be entrenched in the momentum of popular culture. The personalities and preferences emerging from these sectors will drive business consumption in categories ranging from consumer packaged goods to apparel and entertainment. – Ben Cousin, Wayne
Need for more sustainable production and distribution models
The cultural rebellion have already expanded the cultural space in the coming years. These developments have been a bold reminder that we need to further challenge our existing power structures for the time being to find creative solutions while simultaneously creating sustainable production and distribution models for independent films, games, and immersive work. – Vasiliki Khonsari, INK Stories