Industry Stories

Mission to Mars: New Frontiers for Media & Entertainment

On 20th June 1969, an estimated 600 million people watched the televised landing on the moon. Audiences saw Armstrong walk, while Armstrong and Aldrin planted an American flag on the rocky surface.

Fast forward to 2030

The world is eagerly awaiting the first manned mission to Mars. Unlike the baby boomers, Generation-I are not content with an enhanced version of a televised landing on Mars. They seek an immersive, interactive and imaginative experience. The challenge at hand for the media and entertainment (M&E) industry is to enable the participation of Population Earth minus 25 explorers in the event. How can 25 physical human forms and 10+ billion virtual human minds travel to Mars simultaneously?

The rapid development of technology and familiarity with this pace of technological evolution has ensured that Generation-I expect the M&E industry to stay in sync with their imagination. No longer are they happy with linear streaming and episodic content. The industry needs to respond by renewing existing offerings, adapting to a dynamic ecosystem, and introducing new viewer experiences.

Media and entertainment enterprises can stay relevant by managing production, distribution, monetization and support.

Content creation

Circa 2030: The onslaught of Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters on space exploration has ensured that a televised version of Mars landing is almost passé. What would impress audiences is his/her digital twin, who travelled along with the astronauts to the red planet. The digital twin experiences everything the astronauts do and the human counterpart gets a real-time view even from 249 million miles away. Not only can they have the same experience as the astronauts, each person through their digital twin can have their own individual experiences as well - they see what they want, do what they want to and go where they want within the spacecraft. Subscribers of premium content wear retinal cameras and haptic boots to experience gravitational force and walk on Mars. The mission breaks new ground in broadcasting and content delivery. Discerning viewers co-create content based on their unique interests. Significantly, they can choose between on-demand, catch-up and exclusive 'in it' experiences. Technology doesn't exist to do this today, but so doesn't a spacecraft that can undertake a manned mission to Mars too.

Progress in augmented and virtual reality will ensure that by the time man lands on Mars, all of us will have a chance to become a virtual astronaut. The key point is that by inventing technologies and a value chain for the Mars mission, media companies can revolutionize experiences today - imagine if what we elaborated above was possible today? What we could do with F1, Grand Slam and the Superbowl!


Circa 2030: Expecting content to be consumed in a specified set of devices in a pre-designated window of time is irrational even today. In order to be an effective content provider to Generation-I, distributors have to deliver 'here and now' content, while ensuring visibility across diverse viewer segments. Wearable technology, sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) generate data that provides insights into consumer behavior and consumption patterns. M&E companies should address the challenges in making the experience convenient and affordable by integrating diverse partner and stakeholder ecosystems.


Circa 2030: The Mars mission will open new revenue streams and business models across the media, entertainment and telecom industries. Predictive algorithms will enable brands to adopt smart product placement during the interaction of astronauts and viewers. Programmatic advertising will enable the display of relevant messages at the right time.

Media companies should quickly monetize content across platforms to overcome the short content lifecycle. However, increasing revenue from an existing ad inventory and content archive requires visibility into data across content consumption platforms. Digital natives look forward to non-intrusive advertising during media consumption. Accurate customer profiling and programmatic advertising will ensure proper allocation of ad inventory to the right customer at the right time, on the most appropriate screen.


Circa 2030: Gen-I natives personalize their experience based on preferences, local context and form factor. The media and content operations should support intelligent content discovery and incorporate mechanisms to recommend content based on the platform, context, and consumption pattern. The processes and systems of media service providers should be geared for multiple consumption points and unique content requirements of viewers.

Circa 2031: After travelling in space for 6 months, the Mars mission spacecraft has touched down. Media and Entertainment industry was able to give its patrons a unique immersive experience and Gen-I natives have begun to wonder, 'what next?'