Commentary

3 Key Trends Expected To Impact The Media Landscape

From connected and addressable TV to augmented reality and esports, demand for personalized content hit an all-time peak in 2018. The media will continue to grow and innovate, as consumers seek more personalized and relevant content experiences.

Those who ultimately package and deliver this content will also evolve, opening up an increasingly deeper understanding of consumers.

This sentiment and the following three associated trends will define the 2019 media landscape:

1. Identity will eclipse the cookie

As the experience economy continues to provide free, specialized, app-based subscription services, consumers are becoming more comfortable sharing personal information in exchange for valuable, customized services.

What does this mean for brands and advertisers? The short answer is this: In 2019, identity will eclipse the cookie.

A greater availability and understanding of personally identifiable data is allowing marketers and media companies (in a privacy-compliant fashion) to connect the dots with consumers across every single touchpoint. That means smarter, more connected and personalized experiences from brands, content and experience providers. 

No doubt there is likely to be more regulation, which may seem cumbersome. But in reality, it will, over time, improve the relationship between people, data and the companies that use it to create concierge services.

This wealth of identity-based information lessens the importance of and reliance on digital cookie measurement, making it highly likely businesses that once thrived on leveraging cookie data, but can't make the leap to identity, will struggle. 

Look for the rise of companies that leverage identity vs. the cookie and a more personalized brand and services ecosystem benefiting from true personalization.

2. TV Keeps on Keepin’ On

Much to the chagrin of many pundits, 2019 will not tell the story of TV’s demise. It will remain a central character in a story of fast-evolving connected household entertainment.

Sure, there are some big, new players on the block. The decline in traditional-bundled TV subscriptions and ratings, along with the rise of new streaming over-the-top content providers — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, skinny bundles, and “virtual MVPDs”  — have challenged legacy ad-supported, linear TV business models.

But let’s be clear. The most progressive legacy TV companies aren’t sitting on their hands.

Unlike past legacy industry sectors that held on too long to old business models, they’ve been evolving their programming, distribution, data, advertising and subscription business models almost on pace with consumers’ rapid adoption of new technologies and services.

Remember one thing — where you watch amazing content.  On your TV, tablet and laptop – the best available screen at the time, but still largely inside the home. There are new and fast-growing players and new distribution models, both ad-supported and not, and we consume it across more screens.

 But folks, it’s all still TV.

The media industry often assumes the growth of something new must always result in something long-established being knocked off the pedestal. I see an expanded and ever-changing ecosystem that’s created something more personalized, more relevant, and better in almost every way, for both consumers and marketers.

2019 is the year that everyone, including the media industry, embraces that.  

3. From Unbundling to Rebundling

The power of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) is their ability to bring quality content and choice to consumers at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, in this age of increasing personalization, what once was considered a value is now considered a tax.

That's given rise to the new “skinny bundle” (Sling, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, etc.), and the constantly evolving a-la-carte models available today.

At the same time, audiences are slimming down their cable bundles, adding more new-world streaming programmers to their personal lineup, which has placed the onus of aggregating and discovering content on us. With all the established and new streaming services popping up every month, the connected living room is lifting our monthly bills right back up.

In 2019 and beyond, what was old will become new again.  A new-world type of “operator” will emerge that bundles together all the best of linear/live, streaming, subscription and ad-supported content.

Using Amazon Prime as the model, rather than free shipping, along with your content, some of them might just bundle in a free trip to Disney or Universal Park, a new iPhone or your monthly software or wireless service.

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