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Dave Morgan has written a commentary of what he sees the news industry will become by 2020. It got me thinking about the convergence of traditional news channels, social media and consumer generated content, as well as the continued blurring of lines between advertising and content.

It’s a topic I enjoy, and to add to the conversation, I have tried to summarise the key trends that are emerging that I predict will change the news landscape forever.

1. Availability and content format
Until recently, you needed the production resources of a television station to create high quality content. With the continued advancement and affordability of recording tools, as well as the emergence of content sharing applications (such as Youtube, Flickr etc), content can now be created and shared in very good quality by more and more people.
It’s no surprise that a recent study shows that newspapers are starting to include video on their web channels, which highlights the convergence of content mediums.
Pictures from mobile phones are increasingly being used by traditional news networks to enable greater reach as well as faster reporting. At the same time, consumers are recording and sharing more and more content about their own experiences, using a combination of media devices including cameras, videos, audio recorders as well as writing content on blogs and editorials. This is providing huge volumes of content that is driving changes to what and how news is produced.
Although tacit knowledge or non-explicit communication channels will still exist, by 2020 almost all conversations will exist in explicit or digital form. This doesn’t mean that water cooler conversations will stop, but the summaries of the opinions expressed will be recorded and available in digital format. We can already see this happening today on discussion forums, and social networks where conversations include the same topics as our news services such as political, sports, finance, and social.
This means that both the source of news content can come from these channels, as well as reactions and discussions.

2. Publication process
Already many traditional news services are changing the process for capturing content, and well before 2020 most if not all content will be captured in digital format. This is enabling huge advancements in both timeliness of delivery as well as efficiencies in the production process. Forget the daily newspaper, news in 2020 will be updated every 5 minutes delivering thousands of stories from and to nearly any place on the planet.

3. Consumption devices New devices will continue to emerge that will enable us to consume latest media news when ever and where ever we are. Will this finally kill off paper based news? The paperless society prediction is still a way off, but will be a reality by 2020. Advances in digital devices are already helping to provide the ability to consume content in improved ways, that as well as addressing th environmental concerns of paper, will finally surpass the current paper medium in ease of reading. Add to that 5 advantages for consuming content on a portable lightweight reading device
– multimedia content (not just text and images)
– a feedback channel which in turn drives more conversations online
– timely information (not just a daily news, but updated every 5 mins)
– location aware (get information related to your exact location)
– personalised format (get only the news you want)

2. The rise and divide of niche
As the availability of content continues to amass, consumers will start to fill their consumption capacity with topics of interest to them at the expense of more general topics. This trend will see niche content categories both grow and then sub-divide into more and more niche categories in line with the demand.

4. Consumers become journalists

The ease of creation, enables consumers to do what we have always been doing since we sat around the campfire. That is, have conversations. But these conversations will connect consumers like never before and in turn continue to fuel niche social networks on just about any category.

5. Trust
Who do you trust for content? Cynicism and mistrust of brands and corporations have grown in the last few years and evidence suggests that
Trust sources are moving to “not for profit” organisations, as well as PLU’s (which is my 3 letter acronym for “People Like Us”). Where do we find People Like Us? They will be members of the same social networks as us highlighting a genuine passion as well as extended knowledge of the network category. These influencials will continually be rated by their peers to verify their status levels. iKarma is an example, which is attempting to become the central store for personal and company reputations. Trusted Opinions, which is focused on movie reviews uses a clever visual navigation of what you friends and friends of friends are saying to provide a movie rating based on the trust of your network.
7. Personalisation
Content subscription will become something of an industry. Media companies, software vendors, and electronics companies will try to provide unique selling propositions for their own specialised content services. Already evident in music applications such as Pandora, and, these services will become the aggregators and alerting services for the thousands of content categories. They will be simple to use, they will learn what you like and dislike and will continue to enable opportunities for more and more people to join the conversations.

8. Conversational Advertising

And what of advertising, how will it join the conversation? Most of the niche social networks will be sponsored by the brands that are trying to engage those categories. However, they will be there to listen, engage and solicit input from the true brand owners who will reward those brands with timely research, innovative development ideas, and also become evangelists to spread branded communications to others.

In summary, content will continue to grow and deepen in niche, driving more global social networking groups who will attract commentary from all parts of the globe, ensuring that news in 2020 will be totally different from what you see today.

Epic 2015 is a short video which explores the history of media and it’s changes from 1998 to 2015.