New report reveals emissions of video entertainment industry

Futuresource Consulting and InterDigital also highlight the technologies driving improved sustainability standards in the video entertainment industry

A new report, published by InterDigital and Futuresource Consulting, has revealed the environmental impact of the video entertainment industry, and outlined recommendations to address the growing environmental concerns. 

Thankfully - as the case in countless global sectors - emerging technologies will play a pivotal role in ushering the sector towards a more sustainable future.

Large films, on average, generate 1,081 metric tons of emissions per production

As it stands, the carbon footprint of the video entertainment industry exceeds even that of the airline industry. 

The key findings of the report are as follows:

  • The carbon footprint for production of the average medium-sized film is 769 metric tons of CO2e. For large films, this is substantially higher, generating 1,081 metric tons per production.
  • An average day of filming generates more than one person’s annual carbon footprint, while an average hour of filming is equivalent to the carbon footprint of a return flight from London to New York.

So, as sustainability standards come under increasing scrutiny, the whitepaper Sustainability in Video Entertainment discusses how the content industry can make sustainable change. 

Developments including remote production, greater overall efficiency in the delivery of IP-based services, the rise of virtual production, cloud-based solutions, and environmentally optimised outside broadcasting (OB) trucks were all listed as key facilitators of improved green standards in the industry. 

For example, according to the report, going cloud native saves a significant amount of energy, due to the highly virtualised nature of production services. As a result, they are markedly more sustainable than conventional on-premise set ups.

“This paper comes at a moment when industry stakeholders are thinking about how they can get a handle on the industry’s carbon footprint, and in response, develop the solutions which are seriously needed to minimise the environmental impact of content creation, exchange, and delivery,” commented Erik Reinhard, Distinguished Scientist, InterDigital. 

“It reflects the industry view that more needs to be done within the video entertainment sector to measure and address what it can to achieve more sustainable operations for the video content we all enjoy.”

“The video industry is now laser-focused on increasing the sustainability of visual entertainment. From filming and content creation, through broadcast distribution and internet streaming, to consumer devices themselves, all elements of the delivery chain are actively improving efficiency,” added Simon Forrest, Principal Technology Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. 

“Yet there are continuous challenges: on current trajectories, global TV energy usage alone could increase 5% by 2026 as consumers upgrade to higher resolution screens and transition to 4K HDR video. So, there are clear opportunities for further innovation in video coding and delivery mechanisms to help mitigate this potential rise.”


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