The media tech future is evolving all the time, with new technologies transforming industries, none more so than media.
Predictions and trends in journalism, media and technology for 2019 from the Reuters Institute, in conjunction with the University of Oxford, allude to the imminent arrival of folding phones and 5G capable handsets, while artificial intelligence and virtual reality will provide new opportunities for both brands and media like.
Annual trade show, Mediatech Africa will showcase many of these innovations 17-19 July this year as it’s a high energy B2B show that brings the latest and best tech in the world of media and entertainment, to South African audiences. This year also sees the return of previous show highlights, like the Black Box and the drone cage; as well as new and original interactive areas.
However, the real media trend this year, is the pressure on platform companies to regulate the spread of fake news and misinformation “undermining democracies around the world”, as the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism puts it; as well as the protection of individual privacy.
There is no doubt the media industry is in crisis, and this has a knock-on effect on brands, which have to consider even more carefully where they invest their advertising spend and which media and social media channels to trust, when even brands are falling victim to fake news attacks.
In tech we trust
It will come down to more sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to broker more trust in information, both from media, as well as brands. I’m going to unpack five of the top trends:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI), is being seen as the saviour of journalism, in increasing personalisation, as mainstream media and brand relationships sour with social media. In the US, only 43% of the media industry still believe Facebook, YouTube and Apple News will be an important part of their strategy in 2019 (Source: Reuters Digital News Report). Both AI and ML will be used to support journalists and editors curate content and create better recommendations for readers.
- Podcasts and audio will form an integral part of the future of media, as people prefer to listen to the news and use voice and messaging services, rather than read. This trend is driven by smart speakers and voice-activated technologies. In South Africa, both newspapers and digital media sites launched WhatsApp newsletters this year; and radio stations are using their WhatsApp lines very effectively, playing user-generated content via voice messages on air and using it as a tool for quick, but effective, listener polls.
- High-Definition TV and foldable phones which are expected to increase screen size, provide additional opportunities for advertisers and content providers, showcasing beautiful, impactful, high definition content, as well as for larger mobile screens.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are not yet being used widely, but commercial applications are set to transform branded content creation as uptake increases and AR ads are integrated into programming and mobile content.
- Drone Technology continues to disrupt both the tech and media industries, including filmmaking, eventing, sports, reporting, advertising and entertainment. Who could forget the ABSA brand relaunch in 2018 with the spectacular, first of a kind in Africa, drone light show at the launch? Drone tech will continue to develop, improving photographic capabilities; mobility and stability.
*Mediatech Africa, the Media and Entertainment Technology Trade Show, takes place 17-19 July 2019, at The Dome, Northgate, Johannesburg. It intends to shape the way creativity inspires, innovates and delivers, and covers the following industry sectors: Broadcast TV & Radio; Sound Light Staging; Audio Visual Integration; Film & Video Production; Digital Media VOD – OTT; and Studio DJ Recording. Register here.
Simon Robinson is Mediatech Africa trade show director.
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