‘The media’ or ‘your media’…what does the future of content delivery look like?
Ten years ago, when I started in PR, media meant newspapers and magazines but the growth of the term in my own vocabulary has now expanded to include online, digital, social, mobile, video and image led content. Yes, content. But the content I consume comes through so many different sources, newsletters, apps, mobile, tablet, email and there’s a huge emphasis on sharing among peers, but that’s what makes the evolution of media so fascinating.
Alongside media expansion we’ve witnessed the creation of new technology that perfectly supports the notion of anytime, anywhere consumption. The technology development trajectory has arguably been the most powerful and transformative effect on the media industry. And this, in turn, presents a HUGE challenge for brands and communicators because let’s face it, when your consumer is connected and wanting content in a form that suits them, you should be there, providing it.
Thankfully some of the same questions are being discussed, this week, at Ad Week Europe. Each year this event produces some of the most insightful, engaging and frankly interesting opinions about media that I’m aware of. Some of the biggest decision-makers in the advertising and media arenas run sessions, alongside a smattering of famous faces, to talk brands, business, advertising, communications, marketing and technology as the enabler.
One such session caught my eye, as the assembled panel spent an hour discussing predictions for the future of media. What drew me in was the notion that the media has become more democratic, almost diluted in some forms, with advances in technology meaning that more people can have an opinion and can consume media, more regularly. Equally, the once traditional media industry is clearly having to reinvigorate itself, think about paywalls and the personal touch to keep up with other complementary ‘news’ functions like Buzzfeed, Twitter and the big daddy of data, Facebook.
The internet has posed an interesting conundrum for media and content producers as consumers expect high quality, content, for free. So the visionary approach to media that have put their content behind a paywall is something that intrigues me. The fact is the stories behind the paywall are invariably in some way represented in other titles, outside of the paid for arena, but what does that mean for The FT or The Times online? Well clearly it means that they have a slightly different community from a few years ago, but one that is bought into their ideas and approaches. What the paywall debate shows is that there is no one size fits all approach to consuming media and infact, arguably, those providers know more about their readers, so can deliver a more tailored, bespoke service that is relevant to their audience.
Ultimately our future media will continue to evolve, but like today, in the shadow of technology. As consumers become more sophisticated in their use of technology, they will want to consume media not only in a timely fashion and on a device of choice, but as part of a community of likeminded people. The human intelligence / personalised approach will be very much on the agenda over the coming years and so I’d say that our future will be data driven, with the programmatic (intelligent software) space taking even more of lead than ever before. Whatever happens, the media evolution is an exciting one and something we will all clearly be playing a part in.