G. Scott Paterson
As another year draws to a close, it’s time to look at some of the biggest entertainment industry trends of the year and what to expect in the new year. 2015 will be remembered for the prevalence of niche music hubs, like Tidal and Apple Music.  These were music streaming services that were not only extremely popular, but helped generate money for the music industry and their parent companies.

Late last year, Geoff Deweaver, self-proclaimed digital disruptor and trend hunter, predicted the growing shift to music streaming. “There will be more competition from Apple, the leader in download sales as it gets bigger in the streaming business and as Yahoo, Google and others also migrate into this space.”

Social media also remained at the top during 2015 and is forecasted to play an even bigger role in people’s daily lives in the future. From pay buttons to tailored advertising, social media is certain to remain dominant. “The prospect of combining viewing habits with social media, location-based services, and other technologies is opening new vistas for media targeting,” media expert Gerald Belson said in an interview with Deloitte.

Belson went on to explain that advertising online will have the opportunity and capability to be as individualized as the advertiser and customer want them to be. Greater customization is also being implemented by entertainment companies that are aiming to provide customers with programming designed for individual interests and viewing habits.

Toronto’s G. Scott Paterson, a media executive and technology entrepreneur, sees the future of entertainment as a chance for viewers to become more engaged with the things they love and things they are curious about.

With the emergence of Big Data analytics, the entertainment industry will be able provide seamless integration across a variety of platforms. This will not only allow viewers the chance to enjoy sporting programs, movies and TV shows anywhere, it will also make additional and supplementary content readily available, Paterson explained.

G. Scott Paterson also believes 2016 will be the year of the consumer, as media suppliers and entertainment companies scramble to provide users with the content and programming they want in order to retain their business.

The U.S. media and entertainment industry is the largest in the world and currently adds $598 billion to the United States economy annually. It’s projected that over the next two years that number will grow to $723 billion dollars annually, as a result of trade with Canada, China, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. “One clear trend dominates every media marketplace in 2015; the consumer as a key player and influencer in the digital economy – a trend that ITA anticipates will strengthen greatly through 2018.” This from The International Trade Administration.

A recent interview by Australia’s Business Review asked 23 of the country’s top media executives their predictions for the coming year. While the executives all remained eagerly optimistic, they were also realistic about the challenges media and entertainment companies of today face. “The most significant issue facing the country is managing our economy in an increasingly global marketplace.” said Seven West Media’s Tim Worner. “Barriers are dropping through innovation and technology.”

The survey also asked each of the 23 survey participants their thoughts on emerging disruptive technologies which are predicted to play a large role in 2016. Each executive said they didn’t fear disruptive technology and in fact embraced it. One of the more poignant responses came from Tracey Fellows, a chief executive at the REA Group, who said, “I don’t fear disruptive technology. Every time a new technology emerges, it brings with it the opportunity to look at how we can create value for customers and new experiences for consumers.”