Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2023

February 16, 2023 - 3:39 am

Below is the article Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Smartcom Agency will summarize the possible development trends of the journalism, media and technology industries.

Other possible developments in 2023?

  • More newspapers will stop daily print production this year due to rising print costs and weakening of distribution networks. We may also see a further spate of venerable titles switching to an online-only model.
  • TV and broadcast news will be at the forefront of journalistic layoffs as audiences are hit by news fatigue and competition from streamers. More TV broadcasters will talk openly about a time when linear transmissions might be turned off. Netflix’s partial switch to an ad-based model increases the pressure further on advertising revenue.
  • In last year’s report we predicted an explosion of creativity in short-form video storytelling in youth-based social networks. This year we’ll see more publishers embracing these techniques while videos get longer in the search of sustainable revenue.
  • Expect to see a correction in the creator economy this year. While many individual journalism businesses that have been started on Substack and other platforms continue to thrive, the pressure of delivering to constant deadlines on your own is relentless, and ‘creator funds’ and similar monetary incentives offered by some platforms can’t be relied on to endure. Collectives and micro-companies could be a new trend for 2023.
  • It’s almost impossible to predict Elon Musk’s next move at Twitter, but there is likely to be an enormous gap between rhetoric and delivery as the complexities of running a creative and outspoken global community becomes clearer. Musk is likely to step down as CEO sooner rather than later and a further change of ownership can’t be ruled out.
  • Meanwhile Smart glasses and VR headsets, building blocks of the metaverse, will continue to attract attention, especially with Apple expected to join the party with its first headset. The addition of ‘legs’ to Facebook’s metaverse has taken eight years and billions of dollars of investment. The roll out of these wholesome avatars this year won’t win round the internal or external critics or make the concept any more relevant for journalism.

What will happen this year?

Haircut for print titles

Expect more newspapers to slim down editions, stop seven days a week publication, and even close print editions altogether. Regional and local titles seem most vulnerable (Newsquest in the UK has recently converted five regional titles) along with a host of magazine titles that have already moved to an online-only model. With fewer copies being sold, distribution networks are also weakening and expect some to follow the example of US publishers in leveraging the public mail or even starting their own delivery businesses. Green consumerism could add further pressure to move away from print.

Broadcasters experiment with more digital projects

The collapse of CNN+ last year suggested there is little future for stand-alone linear news subscriptions, but expect to see increased attempts to bundle on-demand and live news into streaming services. CNN is integrating ‘originals’ content with the Discovery+ offering and ITVX is putting updating news at the heart of its rebranded streaming service. Meanwhile public broadcasters, such as the BBC, have started to hint that they may need to turn off TV and radio transmissions over the next decade as consumers migrate to apps and websites.

What could happen this year?

Rows between platforms and publishers hot-up

Multi-year deals struck with publishers are starting to expire and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has reportedly said it will not be renewing current arrangements in the United States, leaving some publishers with a revenue shortfall of tens of millions of dollars.The tech giant is looking to make cuts in the face of weakening advertising and has a range of other priorities including investing in the metaverse. In the face of government pressure, it has threatened to pull out from news altogether, which would up the temperature in what has often been a fraught relationship with leading publishers. Meanwhile, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and TikTok are all rapidly growing their advertising businesses, competing directly with news media, and it is not at all clear that relations between publishers and these platforms will be any simpler than between publishers and the ‘duopoly’.

Publisher alliances aim to turn the tide

News organisations have long complained about big platforms taking much of the revenue but now the imminent demise of support for third-party cookies is threatening to make the situation even worse. Privacy-related changes threaten to reduce ad revenue further in the short term but are prompting publishers to start initiatives to collect their own (first-party) data that could be the basis for a more sustainable future. The Swiss OneLog system is now used by leading commercial publishers in the country including Ringier and TX media brands, as well as the public service broadcaster SRG SSR. This already accounts for around a quarter of the Swiss population with more growth to come.

Participating publishers say that ‘together we are stronger’ and that partnership can help them compete with platforms for attention and advertising. Portuguese publishers have been operating the Nonio common login for a few years and a similar approach is under way in the Czech Republic (Czech Ad ID). Unified logins or common identifiers can also allow participating publishers to share information about the browsing history of users – in an anonymous and privacy-compliant way – which helps them serve better-targeted advertisements and content, though that is not currently the plan for OneLog.

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Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism – University of Oxford

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