Should the Media and Entertainment Industry Go All in on the Metaverse?

Three industry domains are utilizing metaverse technology to enhance consumer experiences

By Moizzur Rahman, Vice President and Media and Entertainment Sector Lead, Capgemini Americas

Since its inception, many leading technology players have made big bets on the metaverse – and with good reason. ️According to research, the metaverse is slated to add $5 trillion to the global economy by 2030, signifying an increased consumer demand for virtual experiences and capabilities.

By 2027, it is estimated that the metaverse will account for 70% of annual media traffic growth on the internet. As an expert in this industry, it is my belief that the potential for the metaverse in the media and entertainment industry is significant but will be much different than anticipated.

To clarify, metaverse can sometimes be misunderstood as simply an extension of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), when in reality it is a much broader technology ecosystem. The issue with this misconception is that it limits the possibility of what the metaverse is, or of what it could be – constraining these augmented realities to the existing consumer-oriented applications. Metaverse platforms combine advanced, next-generation technologies such as blockchain, NFTs, cryptocurrency, and more to enable social interaction, retail, commerce, personalized experiences and many elements of our daily lives –in a highly interactive virtual world.

While almost every sector is clamoring to monetize the metaverse and understand how it can enhance their businesses, there is one sector in particular where the metaverse has already taken root: media and entertainment.

There are many relevant use cases for metaverse technology that already exist across the M&E sector.

Gaming

Gaming is the area of entertainment that is furthest along in metaverse technology. The prevalence of metaverse in gaming can partially be attributed to the use of AR and VR, as well as the diminished concern over consumer guardedness and privacy. Gamers want to define their online personas and offer their identities to allow content providers to know them on a deeper level. For gamers to have the best interaction with the metaverse, they want to be transparent about their preferences and identity – and avoid anonymity – because that is how they will receive the most personalized content.

What’s further, there is a large appetite for gamers to interact with and customize their avatars by purchasing and trading digital content. This has inspired a retail component to the metaverse within gaming, where players can earn credits and then utilize these credits to dress their avatars – almost as if they were buying real clothing, jewelry, cars, and beyond. In this way, retail has become closely intertwined with the gaming ecosystem.

Virtual events and live sports

The pandemic changed life as we knew it. With the world shut down, businesses and entertainment providers alike hustled to identify creative ways to fill the void of in-person gatherings. This ushered in a boom in virtual events and concerts.

A survey conducted by UTA IQ showed that three out of four people attended an online event during the pandemic, and of those who participated in a virtual event, 88% said they plan to do so again even when in-person gatherings return. Some of the world’s biggest conferences moved to virtual platforms and have since continued to operate on a hybrid model. For example, hip hop artist Travis Scott’s Astronomical virtual concert drew in 45.8 million viewers and exceeded over 77 million views on the artist’s YouTube channel.

Virtual events and other interactive life experiences have continued to grow, and present a large, ongoing opportunity for the future. The idea of experimenting with a metaverse environment and expanding experiences to much larger audiences has opened up a new realm of possibilities for M&E enterprises to leverage.

Content production and consumption

Historically, entertainment was equated to sitting in front of a television or movie screen and consuming content that is delivered one way. But modern entertainment has since become an ‘always with me’ immersive experience. As entertainment shifts, media companies must evaluate how they can offer more connected, immersive, and interactive experiences beyond simple video content for consumption.

Paired with this challenge, the media industry has historically struggled with personalization and fully understanding individual consumer behavior and interactions. The metaverse can help begin to solve this problem. Through metaverse technology, much like in the gaming sector, viewers will be able to customize their identity to their preferences, experiences, and personal profile to deliver more targeted and interactive content. For example, the potential to allow a viewer to alter the end of their favorite show or movie.

This could potentially tie entertainment to the retail experience. Many streaming platforms are connecting to the ad ecosystem and trying to convert that into a retail experience for viewers. For example, if a viewer is streaming a show or movie, there will be an option to purchase a product that is shown on your screen. Consider being able to click on the outfit of an actor or actress in your favorite show, try it out on your avatar, and purchase it directly from the retailer on the spot. The retail aspect of streaming can also extend into digital artwork through NFTs. If a viewer is drawn to a certain frame of a show or movie – or artwork within that show or movie – they can receive the option to purchase that piece of art in an NFT format from the content provider.

While media companies will always produce original content, these providers should begin to focus on converting the entertainment experience into a multichannel experience with enhanced capabilities. This involves the ‘gamification’ of content, as well as multiplatform content that integrates shopping and retail experiences into their offerings.

Many providers in the media and entertainment sectors are currently evaluating if the metaverse is a worthwhile investment for their organization. And while many industry leaders have launched sizeable investments into this technology, there are still several challenges that remain, such as sustainability roadblocks, moderating metaverse spaces, and issues associated with data volume and storage implications.

This signals that while there are obvious successes associated with metaverse technology within the M&E industry, the question still remains what level of adoption will truly take place. The promise of a connected ecosystem overlaying with advanced elements of content consumption promises an exciting future ahead for consumers, but leaders must invest wisely in this new technology in order to succeed long-term.

About the Author

Moizzur Rahman is a Vice President and Media and Entertainment Sector Lead for Capgemini Americas. With 25 years of global consulting and technology delivery experience, Moizzur is responsible for managing Capgemini’s Media & Entertainment business across the U.S. market. He specializes in pioneering innovative technology and disruptive solutions for well-known brands to transform global businesses into frictionless digital enterprises.

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