Entertainment technology has greatly impacted how we consume media and digital entertainment. It refers to the use of technology to create and distribute entertainment experiences such as streaming video, social media and gaming, which includes video games and virtual reality headsets. All these present new possibilities for companies, content creators and users.
Opportunities in the media and entertainment industry are also being driven by the growth of internet users in South Africa. According to the Digital 2023 Global Overview Report, South Africans on average spend nine hours and 38 minutes daily online. This is more than any population in the world using the internet.
Below are the top 5 technologies that are shaping the media and entertainment South Africans consume.
Streaming services have taken over the entertainment industry in recent years. From video to music streaming, these services enable users to access a diverse range of content online.
South Africa is currently undergoing a streaming boom with more users moving away from live television to on-demand video content. This is confirmed by research from comparison website Finder, which found that 56.15% of South African adults used at least one video streaming service. The growth of streaming in the country can be credited to developments in high-speed connectivity such as fibre.
Social media platforms continue to be a major part of the entertainment industry. Recent trends show that social media services are leaning into user-generated content (UGC), in particular social video.
Social video is a huge trend with the incredible growth of TikTok. Other social media platforms have followed suit and are expanding their short-form video offerings, including Instagram with Reels, and YouTube’s Shorts, as well as Google, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Virtual and augmented reality technologies
There is great potential for digital entrepreneurs to create immersive experiences in the entertainment industry through the use of virtual and augmented reality technologies.
While the two technologies share some similarities, they differ in key ways. Virtual reality is an all-immersive experience in a virtual world that users can interact with, augmented reality, on the other hand, blends virtual reality with real life.
Beyond gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality gaming, these technologies are expected to have a massive impact in sales and marketing.
The gaming industry in South Africa is steadily growing and evolving. According to a report by Digital Turbine 71% of South African adults play mobile games. It’s reported that this growth is largely being driven by an increase in smartphone availability.
Other types of games in the market are esports, online gaming, which allows gamers to play against each other in real-time, and virtual reality (VR) gaming, which is still in its early stages in South Africa .
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are being used in the media and entertainment industry to improve users’ entertainment experience. These technologies offer everything from personalised recommendations and voice recognition, to search optimisation (to get search results and suggestions) and media automation.
On-demand streaming platforms like Netflix and Youtube make use of these technologies to not only increase content consumption, but to also increase user engagement.