A new report is shedding light on how artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other digital technologies are set to define the development of entertainment industries through 2022.


The report, published by ABI research comprises analysis of 35 trends that experts predict will be influential on technology markets, and 35 other trends that will not, despite their attraction of huge speculation and commentary in recent months and years.

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, said: 

“The fallout from COVID-19 prevention measures, the process of transitioning from pandemic to endemic disease, and global political tensions weigh heavily on the coming year’s fortunes.

“This whitepaper is a tool for our readers to help shape their understanding of the key critical trends that look set to materialize in 2022 as the world begins to emerge from the shadow of COVID-19,” Carlaw added.

“It also highlights those much-vaunted trends that are less likely to have meaningful impact in 2022,” Carlaw continued.

What’s in store for the New Year?

AI & ML boom

According to the report, the role of AI and ML in the media & entertainment industry will increase significantly in 2022, with revenue forecasted to surpass US$ 9.5 billion in 2022 when video ad tech is included.

Due to competitive pressures from direct-to-consumer services, it has become a necessity for incumbents (i.e., pay TV operators, broadcasters) to reduce costs, limit churn, and extract as much value from existing customers. AI/ML’s role here will increase to better target households with promotions, automate more workflows, and better secure the operators’ content and services.

AI/ML is also set to play a growing role in the ad tech space to improve personalisation and contextually aware advertisements and serve as grounds for differentiation. This is especially critical following changes to third-party tracking devices (i.e., Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and third-party cookies) and increasing focus on privacy. The corollary of these trends is that the ad market will not suffer as severely as some had feared due to the changing privacy landscape.

What won’t happen in 2022?

The metaverse will not arrive fully formed

The “metaverse”, despite all the headlines and investments, is not predicted to arrive in 2022 or, for that matter, within the typical 5-year forecast window. It’s still more of a buzzword and vision than a fully-fledged end goal with a defined date of arrival.

What we have today is a number of tech companies building their version of a “metaverse,” but it is not fully interconnected, does not yet widely employ open standards, and certainly has not fully embraced Extended Reality (XR)—all tenets of the metaverse vision (some would also add the crypto economy to the list, which is also not in place).

However, this does not mean that all this talk about the metaverse is premature, rather the tech industry will continue to lay the foundation and build toward a metaverse future. It may take the better part of a decade before that “completed” form of the metaverse begins to take shape, but there will be plenty of opportunity between now and then.

When the ecosystem does arrive, it may transform the way we live our lives and, in the process, generate tremendous opportunities for a host of technologies, including 5G/6G, edge and cloud compute, XR, and AI/ML.