Published: 4 September 2020

The Future of Media: A New Framework for Valuing Content

Accenture forecasts that the global GDP contribution of the communications, media and platforms sectors, which include traditional and digital-native media companies, will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8% from 2019 to 2022, compared to a 0.5% CAGR across all industries. Despite this relatively strong anticipated growth, the industry is not insulated from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly global household expenditure on media and entertainment in 2022 is predicted to be 30-40% less compared to 2019, while global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to decrease 8.1% from 2019 levels.


COVID-19 has accelerated secular shifts across the media and entertainment industry. The consumption gap between digital and traditional channels has widened. In the US, the CAGR of time spent on media between 2018 and 2022 is expected to be +5% for digital channels and -2% for traditional channels. In China, the gap is widening more quickly, 8% annual growth for digital channels and an annual drop of 3% for traditional channels. Much of this incremental time on digital media will be spent on digital video and social media platforms. Since the pandemic began, 50% of Millennials and Gen Zers report spending more time on YouTube, 47% spend more time on Facebook and 34% on Instagram. Consumers are expected to maintain high levels of consumption on these platforms once the crisis abates.

These economic and behavioural shifts are accelerating transformation across the ecosystem. This white paper from the World Economic Forum Platform for Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture – the third in a series investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry – outlines long-term implications for the media ecosystem, including changes to industry structure, user experience, monetization and data practices. The report highlights six implications for the media and entertainment industry, each with a value map to illustrate major impacts for industry players.

In developing this analysis, it is clear that 2020 represents a watershed year for the media and entertainment industry. Consumers and advertisers are shifting to digital channels, expecting greater value for their time and money, and raising the bar for customer experience. Competition is intensifying and access to granular user data will be key for success. Business models are evolving to accommodate a new class of consumer creators and hybrid monetization opportunities. Platform companies are drawing increasing scrutiny from regulators. As these dynamics play out, a new framework is needed to understand how media companies will create value in the future.

Value map overview

Image: World Economic Forum

The media industry has always been based on concepts – intellectual property, cultural impact, talent – that, when combined and properly executed, create products that are highly valued by audiences. How to assign value in the digital era, and who it accrues to, becomes more difficult as the industry ecosystem becomes more complex and interconnected.

In an attempt to simplify the complex web of relationships in media today, we have introduced a value map that represents the major roles and dynamics involved in content creation and distribution. Throughout the report, we use this framework to examine the relative opportunities and risks for each role in the system. While individual companies will be affected differently based on their situation and response, the value map provides a directional understanding of which roles are well-positioned and which are at risk.

Overview of key implications

Image: World Economic Forum

Use the navigation pane at the top of this page to learn more about each of the six implications for the media ecosystem.

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