The Explosion of Media Consumption in a Pandemic and Implications for Travel

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If you want to be scared out of your mind and be hugely inspired at the same time, all wrapped in a less-than-20-minutes video, well, you’ve landed on the right planet.

Sure, it’s a locked-down planet, but one that is consuming digital media in every waking and even sleeping minute these days, if we’re getting any sleep. The explosion of media consumption around the globe this pandemic year has huge implications for the future of every business sector.

And also for the business of travel, particularly how the industry keeps for-now-grounded travelers inspired and reminded about what they’re missing (as if they need a reminder), and for marketing of travel when the world opens up again.

Activate, the leading management consulting firm in media and tech, gives a much-anticipated annual presentation on what’s the year ahead for the two intertwined sectors and this year has been particularly stark with the accelerated consumer habits during the pandemic.

Michael Wolf, the founder and CEO of Activate, gave this very punchy presentation at the WSJ Tech Live conference on the media consumption numbers in 2020. Your head will spin just thinking about these numbers, guaranteed. And it will give you a great sense of the world to come, whether you are ready for it or not.

The key takeaways from this presentation:

    • The entire growth curve for consumer time spent with technology and media has shifted upwards and will be sustained at a higher level than ever before, opening up new opportunities.
    • Gaming is the new technology paradigm as most digital activities (e.g. search, social, shopping, live events) will increasingly take place inside of gaming.
    • Augmented reality and virtual reality are on the verge of widespread adoption as headset sales take off and use cases expand beyond gaming into other consumer digital activities and enterprise functionality.
    • By 2024, nearly all American households will have a Connected TV. The average paid video streaming subscriber will own 5.7 subscriptions, while also watching other services for free.
    • The growth curve of eCommerce has accelerated by five years in five months. Consumers will expand their digital shopping destinations beyond the retailers that they bought from before shelter-in-place.
    • To drive growth, technology and media companies will need to focus their efforts on super-serving the 23 percent of all users who account for the overwhelming majority of time and money spent on eCommerce, video, gaming, virtual reality, and music.
    • A large percentage of consumers will upgrade to 5G mobile devices and higher bandwidth speeds, as they dramatically expand their use of digital technologies such as telemedicine, video conferencing, video streaming, digital fitness, and cloud gaming.

The full presentation is embedded below.

My two favorite scariest slides? We have multi-tasked ourselves to impossible overload and the pandemic has only accelerated it.

2019:

2020:

Photo Credit: Activate CEO Michael Wolf hosting a session at the recent WSJ Tech Live conference. Activate

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