January 2, 2019 | Shaun Bremner
2018 was a transformative and a challenging year for publishers, with the industry seeing many regulation changes, digital advances and of course additional reader expectations.
We observed even more publishers shifting to a paid for news strategy, predominately due to the continued decline in advertising revenue and the overwhelming amount of news that is available for free. This shift to paid for news has led to readers expecting more from the publications they are paying for. They now expect an improved experience and the content to be more personalised for each individual reader.
Alongside this, the introduction of GDPR has made consumers more aware of their rights when it comes to proper data collection and usage. This has changed the way many businesses collect data and even forced some US publishers to put a block on European readers.
We have seen the development of emerging technologies being utilised by publishers such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Which is set to become more prominent in the digital world and in 2019 is predicted to start having a real impact on customer experience – data will prove to be the catalyst for further targeted digital transformation.
Mobile device usage continues to dominate consumption habits with readers demanding relevant engaging content on the go. Publishers are also interested in seeing how Apple’s purchase of kiosk software, Texture is going to affect them and the industry…
We have a wealth of digital knowledge here at PageSuite, so we asked our own digital experts to provide key predictions for the year ahead. Here’s what they predicted…
Nathan kicks off the predictions with an emphasis on personalisation, voice, AR and PWA solutions. He predicts continued growth in these four core areas as publishers begin to fully utilise the number of users who now own a smart voice device and the various emerging tech innovations.
Alongside this Nathan predicts that others will follow in Netflix’s shoes by killing in-app subscriptions on Apple hardware. Netflix has chosen to do this due to Apple taking 15 to 30 percent cut from each subscriber, which has been a point of contention between the tech giant and app developer – forcing users to sign-up via the Netflix website.
Ross predicts that 2019 should see continued expansion from the likes of AWS and Google in providing infrastructure and models that have AI and machine learning at their core. This will lead to organisations looking further into personalisation and using services for things like sentiment analysis to help with the processing data.
He also commented, that there will be a drive to leverage data sources from the Internet of Things (IoT) seeing more development in PWA and native Apps to help provide those time saving and useful services we all dream of.
We will see more and more integration (invasion) of AI in our daily lives, most likely in the more intelligent targeting of ads to us.
Next year will be all about personalisation!
Paywalls, content and audiences will all be driven by personalisation;
Paywalls will be far more dynamic, a step was already taken by leading publishing brands such as WSJ. Analytics will be key here as publishers will need to analyse which content increases a reader’s likelihood to subscribe, at which moment they’re more likely to subscribe and even looking at which device has the highest subscriber rate.
Content is key, especially with publishers looking to build more sustainable revenue models and reduce reliance on ad revenues. Publishers will be looking to deliver more personalised experiences and may rethink their current editorial packages across print and digital.
Audiences may become more ‘niche’ or new ‘brands’ will be launched so that publishers are able to create more valuable content and generate a more attractive commercial offering.
Ben forecasts that “broadly speaking more consumer magazines will look at driving paid-for digital content strategies & we’ll see continued consolidation of national and regional newspapers in the UK, US and other developed markets.”
“The digital giants will continue to grow, and recover from the recent Nasdaq pull-backs, so the advertising market will again be very challenging – but there’s potential for more data-usage scandals & fears over privacy to come from Silicon Valley – whereby publishers can focus more on the trusted & more transparent placement opportunities.”
Ben goes on to say “I think we’ll see more dailies moving to weekday digital-only & weekend print bundles – where our edition product can be utilised to provide a cover-to-cover digital experience, without the need for print (costs & distribution)… but premium subscribers will still want print on the weekend – with all the supplements etc in hard copy.”
“I can see our Edition also product being used for several new commercial ideas too – can see big US papers having evening editions to complement the popularity of ePaper in the AM. I can see spin-off brands & section-based subscriptions (like McClatchy sport – but also with Politics, Food & Business topics) utilising it – i.e. I can see it completely replacing ePaper for some papers, or used to attract a different audience to the ePaper altogether, and having as a stand-alone product. I can see it also being used to create value-adding digital-only content to help justify increased sub’s or cover prices, or aid retention – because as we’ve seen with Classic Editions and Digital Re-Plates with Newsday & CMG – the engagement levels are massive.”
Finally, he ends with “I expect a similar level of naysays predicting the death of the ePaper as we’ve seen over the past 12 years, which we look forward to compounding again, by virtue of the fact it remains important to a percentage of audience… which in truth, are often those, willing to pay the most to publishers.”
As of 2018, I will be predicting again a continued growth in mobile first, over and above desktop and tablet.
The main areas to compliment this would be:
5G for mobile
With the ever-increasing daily usage of mobile and advances in device technology, the launch of 5G to generate even more bandwidth to compel a user’s experience is a must for me, as well as a prediction of the possibility to arrive in 2019.
Having this greater availability would allow publishers to enhance their editorial and advertising content with even higher levels of richer media whether animated or video/audio based.
Publisher having the ability to convert content into multiple languages and have audio capability.
A particular favourite of mine that I’d like to see an increase, is utilising object recognition in content. Not just in publishing per se as an adaptable concept to any vertical market. The ability to hover over an image/piece of trackable content, to then open up a whole host of interactive options for a user, I would like to see being used to both create advancements in digital display advertising plus the creation of premium subscription content.
Thank you for reading our Director’s predictions if you have any predictions for 2019 leave a comment on this post!