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Cars will be the next theatres: the upcoming media revolution

How will media entertainment look like in 10 years from now ? How will autonomous vehicles transform our in-car experience and drive our need for media entertainment ?
I attended a presentation given by Michael Zink, a Vice President at Warner Bros, that provided an outstanding overview of some disruptive concepts that may become reality in the future. In particular I was very interested (and somewhat puzzled) by the perspectives given of the in-car experience. In today’s article I’m discussing the human need for entertainment, how our habits have changed with smartphones and what the future of entertainment may look like once that autonomous cars are available.


Human beings love to be entertained and they are information foraging animals

Who would doubt that humans like to be entertained ? In their book “the Distracted Mind” Adama Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen have applied the Marginal Value Theorem (MVT) to the human brain, showing that our information foraging habits and the avoidance of boredom tend to make a switch tasks easily.
In the age of smartphones, tablets and the like, our natural appetite for information leads to our being connected everywhere on multiple devices which greatly increases the quantity of information produced an the quantity of information consumed. Look for instance at the graph below which represents the time spent consuming media. As you can see this volume keeps increasing because we are ultra connected (that’s the yellow part of the graph).

Here are also a few stats showing how much data connected cars produce. In the future, 5G will allow autonomous cars to generate way more data. Cars will become the new data hub.

We have therefore 3 converging trends that indicate that cars will become the new playing field of media companies :

  1. humans are information foraging animals
  2. our habits have been changed by smartphones. Being entertained has become an essential need an being distracted a trait of a large percentage of the population
  3. autonomous cars will free up time and at the same time will become a new platform for entertainment

How autonomous vehicles will change the way we spend our time

Autonomous cars (if they ever exist) will be a revolution in terms of mobility. All stakeholders of the car industry are getting ready for this revolution, including Faurecia, one of the biggest 1st-tie supplier of this industry. Patrick Kohler, its CEO, gave in a recent interview on French radio some very interesting insights on customers’ expectations in terms of mobility. In particular he cited a survey indicating that 45% of respondents wanted to use the time freed up by autonomous cars as they wish. This will give birth to new use cases :

  • additional working time
  • entertainment
  • take care of themselves

While Faurecia (and others) will work on the equipment needed to make this possible, others are already working on the content that this future equipments will be diffusing and are presenting astonishing prototypes.

Cars will be the next theaters

The vision proposed by content creators will certainly change the way we spend the time in our cars.
Look for instance at this famous virtual reality experiment entitled “Field trip to Mars” that anticipated what in-car entertainment may look like.


While “Field trip to mars” may look like a distant dream, other prototypes are being presented that look more feasible. At the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Intel and Warner Bros presented a BMW X5 equipped with a next generation of car entertainment equipment.

There is one thing you can be sure of: our need for entertainment will keep growing.

If you want to continue the discussion and share insights, drop us a message and we’ll be happy to contact you back.

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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