As we leave 2017 behind, MTM’s team have been pondering the topics and themes we expect to be top of mind for media and technology executives in the next 12 months. We look forward to exploring these further in our work with clients in 2018, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to understand how these will impact your business.
1. Sport will lead the way for next-generation video services
In a big year for traditional sport, millions of us will be glued to big screens for the World Cup. But as viewing shifts to smaller screens, and as consumption becomes more entwined with social media, the definition of ‘premium’ sport content will evolve rapidly, as content providers and rights holders continue to innovate. Sport will once again be the home of innovations in service provision that will re-shape the wider media market.
2. Digital audio will deliver truly personalised advertising
For advertisers, audio has traditionally meant radio, but the growth in the consumption of both music streaming services and podcasts create powerful new opportunities for advertisers to target individual consumers. If you want to reach all those commuters glued to their headphones with a personal, targeted and relevant message, use digital audio.
3. Voice activation will be hot, but strategies need to be developed
With voice-powered smart speakers expected to reach over 55% of US homes by 2022, next year will be another year of growth for the market which is dominated by Amazon and Google. Taking into account the fact that many smartphones have some voice-enabled features as well, it will be increasingly important for brands to understand how this will affect consumer behaviour and for them to develop their voice strategy for information provision and sales in 2018.
4. News publishers will increasingly act as creative media agencies
Branded content arms at news publishers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are acting not only as creative media agencies but are also using data more effectively. This year, Kia hired T Brand Studio (a bespoke brand marketing unit of the New York Times) for a large, creative US campaign, which was a far cry from your standard advertorial. In the light of this, as well as a recent study by BBC Storyworks (BBC Global News’ branded-content arm) that revealed the results of quantitative studies to show branded content’s effectiveness, we expect other news publishers are looking at this as an area for growth in 2018.
5. We will see a more diverse range of voices in film TV
The power shift from white middle-class men to more diverse voices being represented on our screens seems set to continue in 2018, with strong and unyielding female characters in films like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and subtle multifaceted gay characters in Love, Simon.
6. VR will become more mainstream as new devices launch
A second wave of VR devices with impressive innovations are due to hit the market in 2018. More VR devices will be at an accessible price point and some will be standalone devices, removing wires and a reliance on a smartphone or PC. Oculus is planning on two releases in 2018; Go, aimed at the mass market, will be priced at $200 and Project Santa Cruz will be a standalone device due later in the year.
7. AR will become mainstream
Despite being earlier in its development cycle, it has now become accepted wisdom that AR is estimated to be more popular than VR, especially after the slower than expected uptake of VR technology. AR could go mainstream next year as the Apple and Google continue push the technology onto people’s mobiles. AR and VR also has the potential to combine into mixed reality; Magic Leap is expecting to launch its first consumer grade mixed reality headsets in 2018.
8. Digital subscriptions will continue to grow
This year, online subscription models have been even more popular for VOD, music, games and news publishers. This trend is set to continue with Netflix hoping to entice new subscribers with $8 billion of spending on new content in 2018. Spotify is also looking to build on the 50m subscribers it had amassed by July of this year and has announced partnerships with companies such as Capital One and Lastminute.com. Globally, it is estimated there will be a 20% increase in digital subscribers next year to 350 million.
9. AI will continue to attract investment
AI – despite being a vague concept – will dominate many conversations in the industry, though its application will impact all verticals. We’ve seen the UK government create a fund of £20 million for business who are working with AI and, according to a Deloitte study, 85% of businesses plan to use some of AI by 2020. AI will become table stakes for businesses hoping to survive.
10. Blockchain usage and development will continue
Blockchain’s popularity surged this year, with the staggering rise of Bitcoin. We’ve even seen Australia plan to launch the first exchange using blockchaintechnology. Blockchain usage is not confined solely to finance, and 2018 could be the year a blockchain application in media begins to go mainstream. Publiq, which launched in July 2017, allows content creators to distribute their articles using blockchain technology and receive payment immediately. We expect this trend to catapult blockchain technology’s development well into 2018.
If you would like to discuss any of the topics outlined above, do not hesitate to get in touch.