The Creative Industries has been experiencing significant disruption for nearly 20 years now. Music was one of the first, Napster and later Spotify, took on the industry giants. Digitising video production and distribution saw the convergence of television, new media and film and the introduction of OTT services, such as YouTube and Netflix, that continue to challenge traditional consumption models. Advertising has also moved to digital channels, upending the agency model.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and amplified these shifts in consumer behaviour, pulling forward digital disruption and creating industry tipping points that wouldn’t have been reached for some years. For those working in video production, it has also accelerated latent trends. During lockdown, we saw reporters working in duvet clad cupboards, vision mixers in garages, editors on the kitchen table, filling schedules that were empty after the summer’s sport was cancelled. This was not how remote production was supposed to be – but it proved that it was possible. And perhaps more significantly, all this happened without 5G.
So where do we go now? Much of the promise of 5G depends on the low latency, high bandwidth features including realtime AR/VR and virtual environments that are now delayed by 6 months and will emerge over the next 18 months. So, even if consumers have access to 5G and 5G devices, some of the most exciting applications may have to wait for a while – or will need to be deployed in tightly defined locations like stadiums or studios.
This time last year, we thought that the technology would lead the cultural shift, but COVID has turned this around. The shift in mindset has happened. We are working to the limits of the available network, and we are ready and waiting for 5G technology. While we wait, the sector is building tools and the business, operational and regulatory models that we will need when it arrives. 5G has the same promise, but COVID has meant we are approaching it in a different way.
Thanks for reading,
Claire Harvey - Chair, Creative Industries Working Group