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Media predictions for 2017

It's been a year where hopes rose over Facebook's metrics, only to be dashed a couple of months later, where migration to mobile dominated, where chatbots rose in popularity and VR took audiences to places and spaces they'd never been before. Over the last 12 months, we learned about the evolving use of mobile, algorithms, the blight of #fakenews, and opportunities for collaboration punctuated the digital space.

This year, we asked two of our FIPP Board members for their forecasts for the year ahead.

Here's what they had to say:

Yves Bougon, president and CEO, Hearst Fujingaho Co., Ltd.

Yves Bougon ()

Picture credit: Naoto Hayasaka

What are your predictions for 2017?

This will definitely be a very tough year for all publishers! In Japan, the gap between the winners and the losers of the digital transformation will widen. More innovation is needed, more investment in digital infrastructure and platform are required, more digital expertise and people are necessary; etc., so it will become very difficult for the traditional publishers to catch up unless they realize they have to change drastically their business model. After 2017, the old world will be gone forever.

Are there new ways of storytelling you are exploring for 2017?

Of course. Storytelling through new tools and platforms like video and social content; storytelling through interactions and on-ground engagement with more and more live events; storytelling through new topics and features like sport, health, environment and social issues. These would be important ways to re-connect with our customers.

Will new platforms be the way to go? And, are any on the way out?

There are always new platforms coming, and old ones exiting. This is the new order… But we’ll keep on creating and distributing high-quality and reliable content. This is our long-term strategy, which doesn’t rely only on catching up with the latest digital fad.

Is this the year digital revenue catches up?

Our digital revenue has been growing at a rapid pace since 2010 for E-commerce, and 2014 for digital advertising. Currently, one third of our revenue comes from digital related businesses, and we aim to make it 50% by 2020. It’s definitely catching up!

Will Facebook and Google continue to dominate? Are there any solutions to that, that you see?

In Asia, there are other dominant players, and Facebook and Google are not the only ones. Recently, the Japanese mobile operators have been looking for good content, and are proposing win-win schemes for publishers. They’re plenty of opportunities in the market, and it’s not limited to a duopoly game between FB and Alphabet. Our solution is to diversify our digital revenue stream as much as possible. 

Get in touch with Yves.

James Hewes, lead consultant at Soho Consulting

James Hewes ()

What are your media predictions for 2017?

More of the media businesses that haven’t yet fully embraced digital will go to the wall or be sold. Higher volume of transactional activities as publishing businesses continue to re-organise their portfolios.

The relentless pressure on Facebook to accept that it’s a media business will become too great to bear and they will take some real concrete steps towards accepting this, maybe even appointing an Editor-in-Chief. Similarly, the pressure on Facebook and other digital platforms to embrace open, standardised measurement will start to bear fruit.

Apple will jump into the content business in a big way, potentially even announcing plans that see it out-spend Netflix and Amazon (although this is my riskiest prediction!)

The debate around transparency in the advertising agency industry will fully break into the open, probably in the US market. TimeInc is ‘in play’ so I would expect them to be acquired at some point in 2017; same with Twitter.

Are there new ways of storytelling you are exploring for 2017?

Not any new ones as we’ve not really fully exploited existing ones. In terms of what’s there at the moment, video will continue its relentless drive towards pre-eminence for all content producers. We’ll probably do some experiments with VR, too. 

Will new platforms be the way to go? And, are any on the way out?

It’s really hard to see beyond Facebook for digital platforms. There might be some new ones worth experimenting with, perhaps some of the Asian market’s chat apps would be interesting. Twitter seems to be having a tough time at the moment and it really doesn’t seem to be driving a lot of traffic for most people so I suspect it will continue to decline in importance.

Is this the year digital revenue catches up?

In terms of share of adspend relative to importance? In a word. No. There’s still a huge gap, partly because marketeers haven’t caught up with the new reality of how people spend their time and partly because of the lack of innovative solutions for mobile advertising

I can only really see that gap coming down significantly if there’s a major innovation in mobile, something that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon yet

Will Facebook and Google continue to dominate? Are there any solutions to that, that you see?

Yes. No, no solution in the short term. Longer term, it really needs the publishing industry to come together and lobby those companies with a single voice, working with other similar organisations to ensure that all content creators (and marketeers etc..) are talking to them with a unified voice. Don’t see any sign of that though!

Get in touch with James.

Do you have a forecast for 2017 you'd like to share? Get in touch with Jessica.

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