Media and Entertainment

Media and Entertainment

Industry Outlook

The digitization of content and ongoing innovations in technology will continue to drive growth and force changes in the media and entertainment industry. Publishers and broadcasters alike will continue to experiment with new revenue streams, particularly to reap the benefits from digital subscriptions and online advertisements. Overall, the media and entertainment industry is expected to grow to $825 billion by 2023, an increase from $717 billion in 2019, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report (PwC).

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted growth in the media and entertainment industry in 2020. Some sectors of media and entertainment fared better than others, though. For example, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the social distancing requirements forced the shutdown of live entertainment, but in turn increased the demand for over-the-top video and data consumption, meaning that film and television delivered via the Internet grew during the pandemic. On a positive note overall, the media and entertainment industry is still expected to have robust growth moving forward. As PwC describes it, "Although the shock waves from 2020 will reverberate for the foreseeable future, our forecast shows the industry's fundamental growth trajectory is still strong."

The rollout of the vaccine for COVID-19 accelerated in 2021 and the economy started to rebound. PwC foresees a "K-shaped bifurcated recovery" for the media and entertainment industry, with some sectors growing and other decreasing after the pandemic is contained. The media and entertainment industry overall will have 2.8 percent compound annual growth through 2024. Subscription video on demand revenues will surge, reaching twice the size of the box office in 2024. Advertising spending will grow more slowly than consumer spending in the next few years, and advertising spending on digital is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.8 percent through 2024. According to a report by Research and Markets, the global media and entertainment industry is expected to have compound annual growth of 13 percent from 2021 through 2026.

Mobile is continuing to grow and by 2023 is expected to account for about 81 percent (nearly $130 billion) of all online advertising, with mobile video advertising becoming three times the size of non-mobile video advertising, according to a PwC report. Television advertising revenue will have little growth in the coming years, about .3 percent by 2023, and radio advertising will have only marginally better growth by comparison, of about .7 percent (to $18.4 billion) by 2023.

The publishing industry continues to experience a decline in advertising revenue and drop in readership due to the increased availability of free online content. The consumer magazine advertising market is projected to drop from $15.6 billion in 2019 to $13.9 billion in 2023. A compound annual decline of nearly 3 percent is expected. Trade magazines will continue to recoup some of their losses through digital ad revenue, which is expected to grow from $2 billion in 2019 to $2.4 billion in 2023. Newspaper advertising will continue to decline, from $14.8 billion in 2019 to $12.3 billion in 2023; the newspaper sector will have a nearly 5 percent decline in compound annual growth rate in that time frame. Greater demand for online content on mobile devices, tablets, televisions, and game consoles will increase public exposure to news syndicates. These companies have adapted to the changing media environment by using online technologies that have made content less expensive to produce and faster and easier to distribute to customers.

The book publishing industry has had slow growth in recent years, with about 1 percent compound annual growth rate projected in the global book printing market through 2024. College enrollments are on the rise and demand for textbooks should be strong the next few years. The textbook sector is also bolstered by growth in online textbook subscriptions and download revenue. E-books are also expected to continue growing and online publications and services will offer the most opportunities for employment. According to a SelectUSA report, digital publishing is projected to comprise about 60 percent of all publishing in the United States by 2023.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that editors will experience a 3 percent decline in employment growth through 2028. Online media will offer some job opportunities but the continued decline in demand for traditional editing jobs in print newspapers and magazines will offset the overall employment growth in the publishing industry. In 2015, approximately 118,300 editors were employed in the publishing industry, and the BLS predicts that number will drop to 114,900 jobs by 2028. Writers and authors will also experience little or no change in employment growth through 2028. Writers, authors, and editors who are adept at writing and working online and on social media, with various electronic and digital tools, will have improved changes of finding work.

Broadcast television will continue to experience significant changes as television continues to be more interactive and customized for viewers. In the last decade, the mandated change to digitized broadcasting coupled with the recession diminished broadcasters’ revenue—the decrease in program spending led to layoffs and a decline in employment. The trend toward online viewership of TV is expected to continue, yet advertisers will continue to spend on TV advertising due to its ongoing effectiveness. Online TV advertising spend was expected to grow from about $5 billion in 2019 to $5.8 billion in 2023. Advertisers will continue to face intense competition to gain viewers' attention through various media and mobile devices. By 2023, there will be zero compound annual growth overall in the broadcast TV advertising sector and just .6 percent growth for cable networks, according to PwC. 

Radio and television broadcast announcers will have a 5 percent decline in employment growth, whereas broadcast and sound engineering technicians will experience faster than average employment growth through 2028, according to the Department of Labor (DOL). There are approximately 38,300 broadcast announcers and 144,300 broadcast and sound engineering technicians employed in the United States. Reporters and correspondents will have heightened competition in the hunt for work as employment for them is predicted to decline by 10 percent in the coming years. The consolidation of broadcast networks has decreased the need for experienced reporters, announcers, and technicians, and many will seek work in stations with medium and smaller markets, which means newcomers to the field will face more competition. Many radio stations are also relying on voice-tracking or “cyber jocking,” which enables announcers to pre-record their segments rather than airing them live. This reduces the staff needed during air time for editing material and doing other off-air technical and production work.

On the positive side, the growth of Internet radio stations may create new opportunities for broadcast professionals. Internet radio stations have lower startup costs than land-based radio stations, and it’s relatively cheap for them to identify and reach their target demographic and listening audience. The DOL also forecasts that the increase of national news and satellite stations will increase the demand for more local radio and television stations. As the DOL described it, “Listeners want localized programs with news and information more relevant to their communities. Therefore, to distinguish themselves from other stations or other media formats, stations are adding a local element to their broadcasts.” The increased demand for online news and podcasts may also create some new employment opportunities for media and entertainment workers.

The film industry will have moderate growth in the next few years. An increase in distribution channels for motion pictures and an expanding global market will be the key contributors to growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that producers and directors will experience about 5 percent growth in employment through 2028, which is about as fast as the average for all professions. Approximately 152,400 producers and directors worked in the United States in 2018; by 2028, the BLS forecasts 159,600 will be employed in the business. The public’s demand for more movies and television shows, and the increasing demand from audiences overseas for American-made movies, will heighten the need for producers and directors. Production companies are also experimenting with various methods for content delivery, such as online television and with mobile devices, which could open up more jobs for producers and directors in the future. Also, the growth of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, will increase the demand for television and film production workers and directors. More independent films are expected to be made in the next few years, and self-employed producers and directors will directly benefit from this, with job growth expected.

Film and video editors will also have excellent job opportunities in the next few years, with 14 percent employment growth through 2028. Camera operators will have 8 percent employment growth, with this growth potentially limited by the use of robotic cameras and the popularity of amateur film footage. Most job openings will be in Los Angeles and New York City. Competition for jobs will continue to be intense, however, as there are usually more people interested in broadcasting and motion picture work than there are jobs to fill.