Three Digital Trends Reshaping the Media Industry

Millennial man using his smart device

The focus of this article is on analysing the most important consumer, technological, and ecosystem trends currently fuelling digital innovation in the media industry.

1. Demographics

The global middle class is slowly growing from just 1.8 billion people back in 2009 to the projected 4.9 billion by 2030 and with that comes the growth in demand for new media services focusing on premium content, education, convenience and video-on-demand, especially in emerging economies.

The emergence of millennials, which is the generation born between 1981 and 1997, has led to increased demand for technology service that offer memorable experiences and convenience, as well as instant access to content. They also expect security as a standard and cyber security solutions for businesses is seen as a hygiene factor. 

At the same time, the world population is aging, which is fuelling demand for health and wellness, education and entertainment services geared towards older people.

Finally, urbanisation is expected to contribute to the increase in demand for media offerings targeted towards people with busy work lives and commutes.

2. New Consumer Expectations and Behaviours

The shifts in the demographics are having a dramatic impact on the expectations that consumers have from media and how they end up consuming media, as well as their savviness and familiarity in navigating the digital world.

Changing Consumer Behaviours and Expectations

Younger generations are keen to consume content from throughout the world. Their expectations are focused on instant gratification, particularly the ability to access content on demand. Furthermore, as boundaries between industries blur, customers now judge their experience of a service not just against competitors in its own sector but also against the best services offered in other industries.

Editorial Content, Propaganda, and Advertising

Consumers today are increasingly savvy when it comes to identifying PR or marketing spin disguised as editorial content. As more Internet users turn to ad-blocking, marketers are being forced to change tactics and instead engaging consumers by either offering useful information or via storytelling.

Curation of Content and Delightful Experiences

Consumers truly appreciate having content curated for them, similar to what editors do with magazines. Native advertising platforms and clean mobile reading experiences are now reaching new and savvy audiences, enhancing user experience and letting publishers charge a premium to advertisers.

Trust, Privacy, and Security

Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that their daily lives are being transformed into data that’s subsequently analysed and monetised by third parties. Complicated and unclear privacy policies as well as customisation algorithms can easily make consumers switch to services that offer better data privacy and more transparency.

3. Ecosystem Challenges

Significant changes to the media sector landscape have been seen as the media industry adapts to the changing habits of its consumer base.

Startup Disruptions

Startups are blooming throughout the globe thanks to access to technology, talent, as well as a ‘change the world’ attitude, which is creating new businesses as well as lean models. Once this type of company has reached scale, it invests in raising the quality of content generated as well as offering new services, which puts competitive pressure on the traditional media companies.

Everybody can now become a creator of content. A diverse set of organisations and brands have now assumed the role of broadcasters competing for the attention of consumers.

Financial Accessibility

Creative people are finding new and innovative ways to fund new services and products. Creators of content are preferring to bypass traditional media companies and are instead finding innovative sources of funding such as crowdfunding platforms.

Work Transformation

Digital transformation will most likely have a substantial impact on employment, leading to redundancy in some job categories and increased demand for some highly skilled digital roles. As the workforce adapts to the digital economy, there will be likely a need for continuous learning to keep up with the pace of technological evolution.

Regulatory Uncertainty

Legal frameworks that surround intellectual property aren’t ready for a new generation of consumers of media that expect instant access to content from throughout the world. As a consequence, consumers are opting to bypass conventional means to access content, for instance, using Virtual Private Network services to access US Netflix in the UK.