Getting Digital: The future of news media

The media industry has never been as exciting as it is today. In fact, students are more likely to be employable, if they express a deep interest in digital strategy, so it’s definitely worth getting to grips with! Thanks to the growth of venture capital, great opportunities have been provided for young adults at contemporary technology and media companies, including Facebook and Snapchat. Super cool, right?

Platforms: The future of media

We are currently seeing a transition towards a platformisation of media, whereby media no longer have their own spaces online, or at least they are not valued as much as they used to be. This is due to the fact that the bigger platforms have become their publishers.

More and more people are engaging in content articles via social networks, with fewer people accessing websites; which is representative of the fact that platforms are in control. Many argue that print’s unique quality and feel will help to maintain their current position in media. The ugly truth is it will not. In 2015, there was a statistical decline in the average daily sales of national newspapers in the UK, with almost half a million sales being lost over the past year.

According to the McKinsey Global Media Report (2015), ‘the people likely to abandon print newspapers and print consumer magazines have already done so, and the households that have retained print subscriptions will continue to do so for now, effectively putting a floor on the print markets’. They further explain that over the course of the next five years, the ‘fixed and mobile broadband subscriber bases will continue to increase and many of the new subscribers will migrate from print to digital’.

In 2015, an innovation report at The New York Times proclaimed that the home page was ‘dead’, as social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter were directing users straight to their content articles. What is more, comScore’s smartphone data from June 2015 indicates that the top three apps on someone’s smartphone is where they spend 88% of their time. The first app is 50% and the second is 18%. News organisations will have a very hard time being one of those apps!

Asian Content Hubs

With the help of Asian chat apps, we now have an insight into how we will interact with technology in the future. On WeChat, you can purchase movie tickets, check in on your babysitter or even set up an appointment with your doctor. In the USA, one can use Facebook Messenger to request an Uber Taxi, without even opening the Uber app!

Chat apps are the heaviest users of the ‘push notification’; the strongest level of interaction we have available to us. The Wall Street Journal already publish a stream of content in Mandarin and English to WeChat, which you are able to subscribe to. WhatsApp is heading in the same direction. Imagine being able to subscribe to breaking news alerts inside WhatsApp and communicating with the publisher.

Many newspapers are starting to publish their content via social media. For example, The Washington Post now publishes 100% of their content through Facebook Instant Articles. So, next time you’re scrolling down your news feed, see if you can spot one!

Some Stats

  • Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion and WhatsApp for $19 billion.
  • Facebook now owns the top three apps on users’ phones.
  • Snapchat is boasting 7 billion views per month.

So there we have it, accessing news media online indexes almost as highly as streaming music, TV and movies and ranks higher than shopping, playing games or checking the weather. It should be noted that around 40% of US millennials are paying for news content in print, in digital or combined formats according to the American Press Institute.

Top tips

Don’t just have a Twitter account for the sake of it, understand how it operates, and how it may be used for news media. It’s important (and very rewarding) to teach yourself about technology and the internet, whilst you have the time to explore and broaden your knowledge! You’ll regret not doing so later on in life. So go on, learn how to take a good picture, to create a good video or to make good audio… there is so much to discover in the world of media!

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