new trends and technologies in digital media

At the Association of Balkans News Agencies SE annual conference in Istanbul, I presented 5 new trends and technologies in digital media.

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BYOP

A ‘build your own platform’ strategy allows media organizations to leverage first-party publishing tools to effectively attract, retain and engage users.

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At TRT World we’ve developed our own publishing and workflow management tools that will ultimately allow us to deliver a more personal experience to users across the various platforms in their life.

Peak media

Despite the availability of new platforms for consumption, daily time spend on tech & media will only see a 2% increase by 2021.

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As the number of devices and ways of consuming media increases in our lives, studies show that even if we have more channels to consume media, the amount consumed per day by any one person will remain relatively the same.

There are only so many hours in a day and only a portion of that can be spent on media. So what does this mean for a media organization? You have to look at it this way. If I only have 5 minutes of screen time per day from user X, how do you deliver a compelling enough first-time experience to 1) make them stay the product for the whole 5 min and 2) make them come back again for more, and 3) repeat that behavior often enough and consistent enough such that it becomes a habit.

In industry terms we can talk about next day, 7 day and 30 day retention but I want to put these concepts into a very common and basic terms that everyone can understand.

Media distrust

By 2020, digital distrust will peak. Gartner predicts the in just two years, AI-driven creation of fake content will outpace AI's ability to detect it.

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According to the Activate study, the most active social sharing accounts are 15% more likely to be a bot.

As noted in trend #1 BYOP, you have to build trust indicators into your own products and drive users to your owned and operated (O&O) platforms. Social is great for discovery, but for retention and engagement, push to your own platforms to nurture and build trusting relationships with the user.

What affordances can we use to educate and help users distinguish between an editorial news story written by our staff verses an opinion article written by a 3rd party as their own personal thoughts on a particular subject?

We will also have to look outside of our industry and learn from other platforms that have scaled trust, like Airbnb, for example. At TRT World and TRT Arabi, we have a author cards on opinion stories and will continue to improve on the literacy angle across our products.

Promoting membership in professional media associations such and introducing a concept of trust certifications may help combat distrust. At TRT World, we launched our first VR app on Oculus and the International Age Rating Coalition reviewed and assigned a permanent record of our app’s age rating. The same way IARC streamlined age classification, I can imagine a new type of body to classify or certify trust levels for media properties. TRUSTe badges are a great example from the past.

Omnipresent media

Everything is going everywhere, at the same time.

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Some say mobile first, some say AI first, or Voice first but everything is going everywhere at the same time. The future is omnipresence. According to the Activate study, media companies that have the largest audiences have a strong presence on multiple platforms.

Content and experiences will be seamlessly integrated and morph to fit the individual user’s context. At TRT World, we’ve experimented with this type of strategy for our Daily News Brief. First we created a really high quality listening experience as a flash briefing on Amazon Echo, with a strategy of delivering short punchy stories in 3-4 mins to an audience with an appetite for a morning news brief.

We spent months iterating on the core product and then executed an omnichannel strategy to reach the consumers of this type of news brief on all the devices in their life. Today, the daily news brief is available on Amazon Echo smart speakers as a flash briefing, iTunes Podcasts, inside our core news apps on iOS and Android as a native audio player, on trtworld.com through a web player, as an email newsletter, and as a daily message on Telegram and WhatsApp. In this example, we have a truly omnipresent experience, with the daily news brief being omnipresent regardless of the user’s physical context or location.

Voice

Over 1 billion devices now provide access to voice assistants, with usage in cars and phones exceeding usage on smart speakers.

15 years ago when I first started working with voice and audio, one of my biggest inspirations came from William Crossman, who predicted in 2004 the coming age of talking computers in his book VIVO, Voice-In Voice-Out - The Coming Age of Talking Computers. As one of the most powerful validations of my vision for a spoken future, I discovered and purchased VIVO after I had already invented my own Syndout speech-enabled publishing platform in an attempt to invent the future of voice.

Fast forward to 2018, and voice-enabled smart speakers are quickly becoming the new home phone, the new home computer and the all-new truly personal digital assistant (for those who remember the promise of Palm Pilot PDAs). We’re encountering a similar information storage and retrieval problem that the ancient Sumerians encountered over 10,000 years ago that brought about the invention of the technology of writing. As we approach peak media, I believe that going back to the original aural culture that predated writing will allow us to store and retrieve information in a much more efficient and effective way through voice. Microsoft has a speaker recognition API where you can authenticate using your voice similar to the way you train Siri or Google Home to recognize and respond to your individual voice.

Derrick Fountain