10 Predictions at the Intersection of Entertainment & Tech for 2020
Mancinelli’s 4KUniverse, 4K Linear Channels, Plant-Based Tech, ATSC 3.0, 5G, & more
Happy New Year! The year of the rat! In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples would often pray to them for children. I was born in 1984 — also the year of the rat. And here we are again, the year of the rat. It’s my year, right?
It’s exciting to start a fresh, new decade. Buckle up, here we go.
Diving right in…
- Brad Pitt. I think 2020 is the Year of Brad Pitt. Congratulations on winning the Golden Globe for your role in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I can’t wait to watch the movie again in 4K HDR on my 75" Samsung UHD TV. You’ve aged graciously my friend. Simply put, Brad is making a comeback, and this is only the beginning. He’s an unencumbered man. A free agent if you will.
- Star Trek Picard. The new Star Trek with Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Captain Jean-Lu Picard will further establish CBS All Access as an entertainment destination. Prior to debuting its first episode on January 23, 2020, the series has already been renewed for a 2nd season. A big win for ViacomCBS.
- Mancinelli’s 4KUniverse. Yup, that’s me and that’s mine. My prediction is that one of the Tier 1 cable companies in the U.S. starts carrying 4KUniverse. Either in a new 4K Tier (5 to 8 4K channels bundled) for an up-charge of $10/mo on your cable bill, or ideally, within Expanded Basic. 100% 4K HDR. General Entertainment — TV series, documentaries, sports and news. Let’s get to 20 million U.S. households this year, shall we? Cable hasn’t seen anything like it.
- AVOD. I have not wanted to make 4KUniverse available for free via an AVOD (ad-based video-on-demand) platform yet. Services like Pluto TV (acquired by ViacomCBS) and XUMO (doing big things with Samsung and the NCTA) are the market leaders. I do not see this model by itself being sustainable if the channel operator doesn’t have a large ad sales team. Makes sense for ViacomCBS, though. By the way, that one time I attended Boston-based trade show INTX was fantastic (circa 2016). It’s a shame the NCTA shuttered it.
- 5G. It’s sadly going to take spectrum away from satellite operators, but we shall see. It’ll be interesting to see how the FCC rules. Satellite and 5G should coexist and should compliment each other, not replace. 5G will be welcomed with open arms, because everyone wants it fast and wants it now.
- 4K Linear Channels. ‘4K’ became a buzz-word during 2014’s CES in Las Vegas. That same year, distribution company Mance Media had one of the largest, independently-produced 4K content libraries. Fast forward to February 2017, 4KUniverse goes 24/7 for the very first time on SES-1. Meaning, the 4KUniverse channel could successfully be delivered to any cable company headend via satellite. Distribution, tech, format, reach…check. Now going on 4 years, the U.S. cable operators still do not offer a single 4K linear channel within any of their cable packages. As of January 14, 2020, 50% of American TV households own a 4K TV set… and, with no 4K channels to enjoy. Most who own a 4K set think they are watching 4K content when they are not. (marketing issue? TV expert settings tutorial direct mailings?) Oh yea, that content issue has been solved, too. 4K content, check. 4K Linear channels will start coming into the fray in 2020, finally. 4K linear channels are already thriving in Europe and Asia.
- ATSC 3.0. NEXTGEN TV, as they are calling it, is a new chipset built into future TV’s that allow for higher quality video (4K Ultra HD), comprehensive companion metadata and immersive audio. ATSC 3.0 is the new FCC-approved broadcasting standard built on an Internet Protocol backbone. Sinclair and SK Telecom Korea just announced a joint venture around ATSC 3.0. This is exciting.
- Streaming. People will start to realize the cost of multiple streaming services, live sports, live news, and the fastest internet connection package (to support 4K streaming) looks a lot like the cable bundle. From a programmers point of view, I don’t care how you get my live TV channel. Via cable or through an apple TV subscription, it’s still going to be live with the ability to pause, rewind, and fast forward. Then, via our UHD streaming service, you can watch on-demand. To be nit-picky, 4K is delivered more efficiently via satellite to cable (no buffering issues), but if you have a 1 gig internet connection (up to 1 gig via ethernet / 100Mbps+ via wi-fi), the experience should be similar.
- Plant-Based Tech. I read an article recently about the Dippin’ Dots company going from bankruptcy to $330M in annual revenue by entering into new business segments. One such new revenue stream for the company was creating those white dots found in Beyond Meat burgers to hold the simulated fat. I predict more applications like this one will crop up in the plant-based / vegan segment in 2020.
- Political Ad Spend on TV will surpass $7 Billion. Just TV, aka, broadcast/cable. Between the Primaries and the General Election, Super PACs alike will unleash their war chests of advertising dollars to further their interests & candidate of choice in American politics.
Happy 2020 everyone.