Storytelling will be at the Heart of Entertainment’s Future

July 10, 2014

As the rapid evolution of technology continues to bring our world closer together and make things once relegated to the realm of science-fiction part of our daily lives, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, believes that great storytelling will remain the core guiding force for the future of entertainment. Iger recently penned his thoughts in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, emphasizing a tried-and-true wisdom: audiences are fundamentally attracted to a good story that is well told.

“[W]e gravitate to the universal stories that bind us—tales of adventure, heroism and love, tales that provide comfort and escape. Great storytelling still remains the bedrock of great entertainment.”

Storytelling has been central to the lives of human beings for as long as we have existed, but today innovative technology is enabling storytellers to reach new depths of creativity and entertainment that were unimaginable only a few years ago. And while seeing a film in a theater creates a meaningful viewing experience that is second to none, audiences are now enjoying these stories in more environments than ever before.  Central to these new environments, according to Iger, is the growth and rising impact of mobile entertainment:

“Mobile storytelling, and mobile entertainment, will dominate our lives, and offer rich, compelling experiences well beyond what is available today. Where someone is will no longer be a barrier to being entertained; the geography of leisure will be limitless.”

Iger’s forecast for mobile entertainment is already a reality rapidly underway.  New technologies allow consumers to enjoy the films and television shows they love at an unprecedented convenience. And audiences are responding. A recent Adobe report notes that online video consumption across mobile devices is at an all-time high, with 35.6 billion global online video starts in Q1 of 2014. And the share of video consumption is spread across all devices from smartphones to tablets and gaming consoles.

The film and television industry continues to leverage technology to offer the best possible viewing experience to audiences.  In this way, Iger elaborates on what the sum of this forecasted boost of creativity and innovation will generate:

“To start, the 20th-century concept of ‘one size fits all’ no longer applies, as innovators around the world create tools that allow us to customize entertainment and leisure experiences to fit our own tastes and schedules and share them instantly with friends, family and an ever-growing digitally connected global community. In short, we are creating what I like to call technology-enabled leisure.”

While Iger’s “technology-enabled leisure” holds boundless potential, predicting how all the moving pieces will come together is difficult. And yet, Iger knows one thing for certain: the future of entertainment will remain committed to storytelling.

Or in Iger’s own words, “Just like it always has been.”

Pictured Above: Disney’s “Planes: Fire & Rescue”