Reports: COVID-driven innovations in tech, media and telecoms

Two new reports reveal Covid has driven innovation across the media and telecommunications landscape and how telco brands need to respond

Across technology, media and telecommunications, innovation is being driven by the global pandemic’s economic and societal impacts, resulting in intensifying growth in video, virtual (VR) and cloud technologies.

According to the latest Deloitte Australia Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions report, both enterprise and consumer technologies, from 5G to the cloud and virtual reality, will continue to offer opportunities to the worldwide business ecosystem. Deloitte Australia telco, media and entertainment leader, Will Castles, said while some technologies followed expected growth patterns, the pandemic has created unprecedented technology acceleration, fundamentally changing how we live and work.

“All of the trends this year were shaped to some extent by the global pandemic, accelerating change by years in some areas and throwing up some interesting curveballs in others, and creating significant new challenges and opportunities in 2021 and beyond,” said Castles.

In particular, telehealth is expected to take off in Australia and is expected to exceed the global average for telehealth adoption with more than 10 per cent of Australians regularly using telehealth services in 2021.

The Deloitte report also predicts Australia will be in line with global trends, with VR, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) sales growing by 100 per cent in 2021 over 2019 levels, as well as an increase in sales of software and services related to this technology. Women’s sport is expected to account for up to 25 per cent of total broadcast sporting hours by 2025, responsible for the vast majority of growth in total sports consumption and in new consumers of sport.

Deloitte Australia also predicts there will be an increased level of consolidation of athlete data platforms and associated services for Tier 1 sporting organisations as larger players look to broaden their capabilities and breadth of offerings.

Telecommunication advertising innovation

The drive for telecommunications innovation will also necessitate a change in brand narratives and advertising by telcos. COVID-19 demonstrated how dependent the world is on good, fast and reliable Internet connections. While this has seen more people migrating online, the challenge is for telcos to refocus on communicating brand narratives to mass digital audiences.

“Telecoms companies have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic, shifting our lives online and keeping us connected to entertainment, work and commerce,” said Zenith global chief strategy officer, Ben Lukawski.

Looking at telecommunications advertising in Australia, it is expected to see a slow, but steady growth, according to Zenith’s latest Business Intelligence - Telecommunications report. It is forecast to reach US$314 million by 2023, compared to US$365 million in 2019. Globally, Zenith predicts telecoms ad spend will grow 4.7 per cent in 2021, 4.4 per cent in 2022 and 4.3 per cent in 2023.

Locally, as with other markets, digital advertising will rebound more strongly than other media channels, with spend expected to near pre-pandemic levels by 2023 to reach US$217 million, compared to US$224 million in 2019. Telco brands spend less on digital media than average (49 per cent of their budgets went to digital channels in 2020, compared to 56 per cent for the average advertiser), but digital advertising is also the only channel in which telecoms adspend is increasing.

Looking ahead, Zenith forecasted telco brands will increase their digital adspend at an average rate of 5 per cent a year between 2019 and 2023, and by 2023, digital advertising will account for 54 per cent of all telecoms advertising.

“Their challenge is to go from being unsung to being acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts. The spread of 5G and the reality of our new-found virtual lives give telecom brands the opportunity to move into the limelight,” Lukawski said.

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