Last week at MTM, we held our first executive seminar of the year, looking at what we think 2019 has in store for the media industry. This inspired MTMers to pick their own favourite trends for the year ahead. Here are just four to share with you…

Voice will transform how people access content  

With home assistants at the top of everyone’s Christmas list, Deloitte Global predicts the industry for internet-connected speakers with integrated voice assistants will be worth $7 billion in 2019. Voice is increasingly becoming a natural behaviour for consumers.

Although 2 in 5 adults are using voice search at least daily, our ScreenThink data currently suggests the usage of voice for TV viewing remains significantly lower. But the demand for voice is growing among consumers and technology is developing to enable this. Sky Q customers, for example, are beginning to adapt to voice control as Sky reports more than 10m voice requests being served each month. MTM among others predicts that in 2019 voice will finally take off in a TV context and be transformative in how people access content. And according to the latest report from the Reuters Institute, 78% of publishers also agreed that voice-activated technologies will have a significant impact on how audiences access content.

Screen time will become more mindful

“Great technology should improve life, not distract from it” – Google’s commitment to digital wellbeing. 

In 2018 companies such as Apple and Google recognised the potentially harmful impact of the internet and ‘designing for addiction’. As a result, they are now refocusing their products to support a more mindful use of screens. They are creating tools to increase users’ understanding of their own tech usage, helping them to restrict or limit their usage by tracking screen time use, providing limit notifications and scheduling breaks or downtime. In 2019, we hope to see more people realising the benefits of stepping away from their screens as a new study finds reducing social media use to 30 mins a day improves wellbeing.

Premium sports content will become more interactive

MTM Sport’s experts also predict an engaging year for TV sports consumption, as interactive content becomes more important than immersive content. New services making live sports more interactive – such as Facebook’s Watch Party and Eleven Sports’ Watch Together – are allowing friends and family in the same online space to watch live action at the same time. In 2019, we also expect to see more use of the 2nd screen and broadcasters experimenting with additional data feeds running alongside live sports events.

Big deals will dominate once again as media companies look to scale 

2018 saw some seismic moves in the media sector with the merger between Disney and 21st Century Fox finally cleared by US regulators, Discovery Communications buying Scripps Networks to combine two major US TV companies, and Comcast winning the battle for the acquisition of Sky.

Potential 2019 deals could see Apple move into Hollywood by purchasing Sony in an attempt to catch up with Netflix and Amazon’s streaming services. Or, Amazon looking to connect with younger audiences through an augmented-reality shopping experience by acquiring Snapchat. In Europe, meanwhile, as the advertising partnership strengthens between RTL and ITV, 2019 could see local broadcasters involved in further merger and acquisition deals as they seek to compete with global rivals such as Netflix.