What is described as the “staggering” disparity between the energy demands of emerging consumer devices and immersive video experiences has spotlighted the need for more environmentally sustainable choices across the video entertainment industry, according to a joint study from mobile and video technology research and development company InterDigital, and market research firm Futuresource. They suggest that sustainability will define businesses of the 21st century and require consumers and businesses to embrace sustainable practices to offset the growing carbon footprint of the video industry.
The pair’s report, The Sustainable Future of Video Entertainment, analyses the energy demands of the video entertainment industry, from the production, delivery, and consumption of feature films, video games, and other video experiences, and examines emerging solutions to mitigate the environmental impact across the video value chain. The findings suggest that sustainability must be integrated into all aspects of the video entertainment industry, from research to manufacturing to supply chain and logistics, to be most effective.
“This has been the year of video, as the world’s circumstances have aligned with a ubiquity of consumer devices and more time spent looking at our screens,” noted Henry Tirri, CTO of InterDigital. “As our dependence on these devices and experiences grows, so too will our impact on the environment become more consequential. Through InterDigital’s cutting-edge research, development of video standards, compression solutions, and more, we’re doing our part to stay on top of the industry’s growing carbon footprint and develop solutions for a more sustainable future.”
Limited awareness of the environmental impact of video and consumer devices, and lack of access to more sustainable choices, are often cited as key factors driving the video entertainment industry’s growing carbon footprint. The report highlights several statistics for the video industry’s staggering energy dependence, and emerging sustainable solutions, including:
The report suggests that the video entertainment industry still faces barriers to achieving sustainability, including a lack of knowledge of the video entertainment industry’s carbon footprint, the assumption that sustainable practices are prohibitively expensive, and the relative absence of regulations and standards to monitor the industry’s carbon emissions. Despite these challenges, the video ecosystem has also pursued new efforts to achieve a more sustainable future. These efforts include government programmes, such as the European Green Deal to encourage sustainable energy practices across industry sectors, as well as industry certifications such as EnergyStar to reduce greenhouse gases and inefficient energy use. At one end of the video supply chain, device manufacturers have begun to pursue more sustainable manufacturing and device recycling, while innovations in user interface design give consumers the power to choose more sustainable viewing options.
“The data in this report highlights the importance of continued technical progress in streaming, networking, compression and device technology, but also the need for individuals to make responsible choices,” added Tirri. “For instance, an individual watching an information broadcast on a 4K TV can lessen their energy footprint by almost 40 per cent simply by choosing to watch the content in 720p – and even more by choosing to watch it on a tablet or their smartphone. With the awareness that studies like the InterDigital/Futuresource study will bring, individuals will be empowered to understand and make those choices.”