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Video entertainment industry carbon footprint ‘exceeds’ airline industry

The carbon footprint of the video entertainment industry has ballooned to exceed even that of the airline industry, according to research from Futuresource Consulting and InterDigital.

Erik Reinhard

The whitepaper, released today by technology research and development company InterDigital and written by Futuresource Consulting, claims the milestone has been achieved as a result of the “immense” carbon footprint of production.

With more than a billion hours of content being consumed on a single streaming platform every single day, 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, the Sustainability in Video Entertainment whitepaper claims.

Seeking to usher the video entertainment industry towards a more sustainable future, the whitepaper explores the reasons why the video entertainment industry must lead on positive climate action, set higher standards when it comes to energy efficiency and integrate solutions that mitigate energy consumption across the whole production process.

Among the developments and technologies that the whitepaper states are contributing to a more environmentally friendly production environment are: remote production; greater overall efficiency in the delivery of IP-based services; the rise of virtual production; and cloud-based solutions.

“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,” said Erik Reinhard, a scientist at 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.”

Simon Forrest, principal technology analyst at Futuresource Consulting, added: “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.

“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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