The media in 2018: predictions in an unpredictable age
Thursday, December 28th, 2017
Moving beyond the crises of 2017 our Edinburgh PR agency looks at green shoots and new opportunities
2017 will go down in history as the year that Trump blew into the White House, causing a stink and laying waste to accepted social norms – including how to treat the media.
Combined with a messy and complicated divorce from Brussels, an increasingly partisan landscape plus the threat of fake news, the press has been well and truly in a tailspin.
So offering up predictions as to how the ever-changing media landscape may shift in 2018 must appear futile.
However, here at Holyrood PR we’ve never shirked a challenge – and for the third year running have gathered up our musings on what could hit us in the coming year.
Voice Command Gets Louder
There’s a very good chance you received a voice-driven smart-speaker, such as an Amazon Echo or a Google Home for Christmas – or at least know somebody who did.
So with Apple joining the race later this year, it is hard to think that the three heavyweights have each sunk huge amounts into a market that is going to do anything other than take off – and transform our lives in the process.
Increasingly, these smart speakers will be the medium of choice and how many of us will receive our news and content. Publications already bumping shoulders on social platforms must now try to distinguish themselves on these voice platforms.
As a result, media titles will have to make sure that their on-demand “flash-briefings” are up to speed – as well as paying close attention to the growing popularity of podcasts and longer-form content of this nature.
Expect to see outlets boasting of their Echo and Home apps and trying to find ways of hooking in listeners and building brand loyalty – while hoping it will pay off with click-throughs to websites to learn more and please advertisers.
Businesses – and marketing and PR professionals would be well advised to stay on top of developments in voice technology, as that is the only way they will stand a chance of spotting and utilising opportunities.
Twitter’s Flying Again
One of the biggest ever changes to happen to the fundamentals of a social media platform took place in 2017, with Twitter doubling its 140 character maximum letter count.
What followed was a chorus of doom-mongering, the end of the platform was seemingly nigh once it lost its charming brevity.
Yet, early analysis is proving that the decision has turned out to have been a masterstroke, with the longer tweets garnering much more engagement, while the majority of tweets remained short and concise. This has avoided the widely predicted convergence with Facebook and shown that Twitter has not lost its USP.
While it is unclear yet whether relaxing the character limit has had much impact on the platform’s bottom line, we’d like to see the momentum continue into 2018 and for the platform rediscover its raison d’être beyond the outbursts of a certain real estate magnate.
Twitter should regain its position as the place where news breaks – and again businesses and the media alike should be thinking about how they keep in the mind of their public.
Printing Press Impressions
Last year, we predicted that a Scottish paper could follow The Independent in moving to an online-only platform, (although we covered our backs slightly by noting that this would be more likely happen closer to the turn of the next decade).
We’re still holding onto that belief, as further print circulation cuts continue the downward spiral, paired with dropping ad revenue.
As publications such as The Scotsman and The Herald endeavour to make online news pay, a stretched news-team must seek out good content from news agencies such as Deadline News and Press Association, trusted PR agencies and talented, reliable contributors.
For businesses the streamlined press provides huge opportunities, provided they can be savvy, trusted upon – and work with media professionals with their finger on the pulse.
It’s important to end on an outlandish prediction – otherwise we could be justifiably accused of playing it safe.
Although it is not yet likely to be all-conquering, we feel that robo-journalism is likely to become a term more widely known towards the latter part of the year.
At present, Associated Press (AP) is utilising advancements in AI to produce basic stories with a small amount of information inputted – and where it struggles to justify journalist time, such as with junior league baseball.
Since then AP has further developed uses of its robots with some seriously impressive outcomes, creating financial reports based off a set of figures – such as Apple’s year-ends report.
While in 2018 robo-journalism is likely to supplement human journalists, used as a time-saving tool, further down the line could see a blurring of the lines, with fewer on the desks providing the ethical and “human” touch while the AI carries out much of the time-sapping tasks.
Looking for a Scottish PR agency that can adapt to changing landscapes?
We’d love to provide your business with the best possible outcomes, by telling your stories to the world through the mediums likely to bring benefit to your bottom line – and your workforce.
Make 2018 a successful one, and get in touch with us on 0131 561 2244, or by using the form below:
Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.View Chris's Profile
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