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Tech of the decade: how the 2010s changed sport and entertainment

Tech and Innovation Entertainment

Posted on December 24, 2019

4 min read

The 2010s haven’t just changed the way we talk. They’ve changed what we talk about. Everyone now has a show; a channel; a niche that’s specifically catered to thanks to an explosion in content.

This piece is part one of a three-part series on how technology shaped the last decade of our lives. You can read more about the tech of the decade here.

In 2010, Netflix – then a DVD postal business – was already the last word in streaming, with nine million users streaming content over the ‘net, and it’s only grown since then. And as 4G enabled video streaming to smartphones on the go, the reach became pervasive. The 2018 Internet Phenomena Report from Sandvine showed that Netflix consumed 15% of the global internet bandwidth sending HD content around the world.

Of course, Netflix isn’t the only streaming service standing as we flip the calendar over to 2020. It’s now joined by more macro- and micro-services than we can count. Research from the Swinburne University of Technology found that Aussie consumers have seven major heavyweight streaming services to contend with. Telsyte meanwhile found that 43% of Australian households currently have at least one streaming service in the home.

Streaming moved from the movie and TV industry onto music with its disruptive effects changing the way artists release music for their fans. Mixtapes now reign supreme as so-called “album-artists” are left grappling with a medium not suited to their style of release. Curiously, the 2010s brought with it the rise of streaming, the death of the compact disc and the resurgence of vinyl as one of the primary consumption methods for music, going to show that the classics never really die.

Sports have also been affected by the scale of change brought forth by the 2010s. When we gazed forward at the miraculous 2020s way back at the start of the decade, we imagined a future of entertainment that was very different to what eventually materialised.

In 2010, for example, we heralded the arrival of the 3D HD television. With several pairs of proprietary glasses bundled with every set, sports fans crowded around to watch sports broadcasts leap out of the TV and into the living room. Literally.

Sports broadcasters in Australia and around the world experimented with 3D broadcasts, with golf; ice hockey, and even extreme sports. Australian broadcasters sent the State of Origin 3D in 2010, as well as the FIFA World Cup with promises of additional content to follow.

But as 3D TV sales flagged, viewership fell and the cost of licensing additional channel spectrum added up, the eye-popping experiment was abandoned in favour of the content wars. Sports channels are now carved up and offered to users on a subscription basis so that viewers can get the best of exactly what they want.

Offerings like Kayo and even our Live Pass channels mean that fans can get closer to the action than ever before with high-resolution streams dripping with data at a much lower cost. And thanks to the proliferation of fast 4G and even 5G networks from Telstra, you can see your favourite team in more places than ever.

Innovations in technology such as the commoditisation of the smartphone and the dramatic reduction the cost of sensor gear means that sport is more high-tech than ever. Cricket now comes with cameras and sensors that map every angle of a ground; soccer comes with goal-line technology for pinpoint accurate scoring; the NFL comes with an array of gadgets designed to improve the flow of play.

The future of sport is looking bright thanks to our 5G network, too. We’re currently developing a VR sports experience that can transport multiple users (able to interact with each other) inside a live sports event. Live entertainment experiences can also benefit from 5G thanks to real-time augmented reality services for fans. Imagine an AFL game where the crowd can track their favourite athletes and get the stats and trivia that sports fans thrive on, live through a mixed reality experience.