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10 big trends impacting news and media

March 21, 2018 | By Rande Price, Research Director—DCN @Randeloo

Consolidation across the media continues in 2018 as does business decentralization according to the Future Today Institute’s 11th Annual Tech Trends Report. This year, the Institute identified 225 trends and examined how these changes and new technologies might impact the marketplace in 2018 and 2019.

Here are 10 trends that will affect the news and entertainment media:
  1. Natural Language Generation (NLG): a processing task where computers generate the language humans use in a different situation. NLG can rewrite content for all different types of readers. News organizations can create different versions of the same story for different audiences based on educational and reading level. The facts (data) remain the same but the vocabulary would be modified based on each of target audiences.
  2. Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR): an investigative journalism technique. Reporters find public records and documents to mine. Using machine learning algorithms can analyze the data to help find hidden storylines.
  3. Voice interfaces: Siri, Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa and others will soon offer more than one set of facts and opinion on a topic. There is emerging research into using voice interfaces to help professionals understand different sides of a discussion or argument.
  4. Audio search engines: These are essential as podcasts continue to grow in popularity especially as a new platform for news commentary. Several companies are working to off audio in a searchable manner.
  5. Niche publications, podcasts and digital content and AR: Augmented Reality integrations are expected soon in these different content offerings.
  6. Software as a Service: in this licensing and delivery model, users pay for on-demand access. Offering access to systems that automatically generate reports using news organizations’ archives and databases can create a new revenue stream.
  7. Immersive storytelling: Storytellers started producing stories built specifically for immersive environments. Publishers are experimenting now with POV storytelling templates and story formats specifically developed for new technologies.
  8. Fake news: While Facebook and Twitter promise to curtail bot-generated content operations on their platform, fake news continues to spread. Unfortunately, in 2018, little success is anticipated. In fact, as social media companies experiment with improved ways to stop the spread of fake news, more problems and potentially more fake news stories continue social platforms.
  9. Limited-edition news products: these offer an opportunity to provide audiences with temporary podcasts, newsletters, chatbots, and text messages about topics like weather events, big sports games and elections. They also provide a unique opportunity for revenue, audience engagement and data collection.
  10. Historical preservation: Efforts to protect and safeguard historical digital news records are growing. Identifying the policies for record retention and backups needs to be addressed as an industry.

Several of the trends identified suggest new opportunities to drive change and increase revenues. Publishers that lean in to these possibilities can transform trends into growth.

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