Digital Publishing
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Five key media tech trends from 2017

FIPP begins 2018 with a look back at five of the key media tech trends that impacted the industry most significantly in 2017.

Advertising shift

It’s no secret that the global advertising industry suffered a tough year in 2017 with WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, IPG, Dentsu Aegis Network and Havas all posting little or no growth for the year. What we saw instead was a recalibration of recent digital advertising trends, where programmatic and retargeting exchanges in particular lost a lot of the allure they had amassed in recent years.

In August, we spoke to Grupo Abril about how the Brazilian publishing giant was achieving revenue increases by decluttering ad inventory. More recently, changes made to Apple’s retargeting regulations led to an open letter from the US advertising industry warning that the updates had the potential to ‘sabotage the economic model of the internet’. With the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into play later on this year, and a Facebook and Google duopoly now itself coming under increased scrutiny, the changing advertising landscape could present further opportunities for traditional publishers.

The great video myth exposed

‘Pivot to video’ is a phrase that became indicative of Tennyson’s Kraken in 2017. Having roared into media consciousness at the beginning of the year, it had quickly died on the surface by the end of 2017, and already become the subject of ridicule somewhere in-between. The trouble is that many publishers, perhaps spurred on by the enviable viewability and click-thru rates reported by Facebook, began to place a heavy emphasis on video content. But as we first asked on in August, when you’re sitting on a train at 7:30 in the morning and struggling to pull out a 3G, let alone an internet signal, is this really the easiest way of consuming the morning’s news?

Considering this trend more recently and more eloquently as part of NiemanLab’s Predictions for Journalism 2018, Susie Banikarim, editorial director of the Gizmodo Media Group, highlights that “even ad buyers are realising video isn’t some panacea”. From a year that saw Mashable sold off for a low price, new media companies like Vice and BuzzFeed undergo significant contraction, and more recently the much-hyped Videology company put up for sale, it’s an important lesson in managing the incorporation of emerging trends without betting the farm on them.


One area that saw tremendous growth in 2017 was voice. Now, you can’t turn on the television without seeing a commercial for the Amazon Echo or Google Home. In May, eMarketer reported that 35.6 million Americans would use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month throughout the course of the year – a jump of 128.9% on 2016. It’s a tangible trend that has sparked the imagination in wider Artificial Intelligence capabilities, and has longsince seen Hearst create a tangible voice team.

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