We used the powerful Nexis research database to track down expert predictions for trends that will impact the media industry this year. Here's a quick preview of what the Trend Report covers:
One year ago, the global Entertainment and Media industry was projected to grow at a modest 4.4 percent rate annually over the next five years, but six months into 2017, estimates were revised downwards to more anemic numbers. Reporting on the predicted stagnation—or potential declines—in media growth, Variety noted that even digital content—which has enjoyed unfettered growth in recent years—would experience a slowdown.[i] What else is in store for the media industry?
- ‘Fake news’ fuels a revival of investigative journalism. ‘Fake news’ was on our trend list last year for a different reason. As it turns out, the term ‘fake news’ bandied about liberally in 2017—so much so that it earned the ignoble honor as “the second most annoying phrase” in a Marist poll conducted late last year.[ii] But recent headlines regarding deliberate efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election by spreading fake news across social media platforms, have moved the term past annoying to worrying—and newspapers are proving that solid investigative journalism trumps fake news. Writing for Project-Syndicate.org, Bajinder Pal Singh said, “In the past year, newspapers staged a remarkable recovery by doing what they do best: reporting thoroughly and accurately on the most important stories of the day.”[iii] In fact, many major newspapers have seen a resurgence in subscribers—particularly for their digital offerings—thanks to deep-dive investigations reminiscent of Woodward and Bernstein’s efforts after the Watergate break-in. What can the media industry do to keep the trend going? The Columbia Journalism Review offered up a resolution for 2018: “Keep double-checking your work and confirming the validity of your sources. Keep fact-checking claims and fearlessly calling out misinformation and disinformation.”[iv]
- Social media ramps up transparency and content moderation. Investigative journalism isn’t the only area that has been influenced by the prevalence of fake news. Calling fake news an "existential crisis for social media," TechCrunch notes that the tech companies running these platforms are coming to grips with their own role in the spread of false or misleading information.[v] And based on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 personal challenge, we’re in for some changes this year. In a letter to the public, Zuckerberg wrote, “The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do—whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”[vi] He admits that addressing these issues will be a work in progress, but his comments and those of other social media leaders suggest that they will be working toward greater transparency and walking the tightrope between responsible content moderation and censorship.
Download the Media Industry Report to read about other trends, including the rise of artificial intelligence in the newsroom and the impact net neutrality could have on the industry.
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