The media, broadcast, and digital publishing industry is undergoing a period of rapid transformation, driven by technological advancements, shifting consumer preferences, and evolving regulatory frameworks. As the boundaries between traditional and digital media continue to blur, industry players are adapting and innovating to stay ahead of the curve. As we approach 2024, several key industry trends are likely to have a significant impact on media organizations, content creators, and consumers.
The Shift from SVOD and Linear TV to FAST TV
Subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services have become a dominant force in the entertainment industry, with platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ having millions of subscribers worldwide. However, a new trend is emerging in the form of free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST TV). FAST TV services offer a similar viewing experience to SVOD, but they are supported by advertising rather than subscription fees. This shift is being driven by several factors, including consumer fatigue with having to manage multiple subscriptions and rising subscription fees as well as the increasing availability of free content. This trend is likely to continue, as SVOD providers compete for subscribers in an increasingly crowded market. While linear TV is still the number one way to consume content in many countries, “FAST, advertising and AI will play a big role in how we watch Linear TV in five years time.”
iOS 17 Privacy Changes Impacting Measurement of iOS Apps
Apple’s iOS 17 privacy improvements are making it more difficult for app developers to track user activity and measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. These changes are having a significant impact on the media industry, as many companies rely on advertising revenue to support their operations. In response, media companies are exploring alternative methods of measuring ad performance and developing new advertising formats that are compatible with the new privacy settings.
AI-Powered Insights for Content Creation and Analytics
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way media organizations create and distribute content. AI-powered tools can be used to generate content ideas, optimize headlines and metadata, and personalize content recommendations. Additionally, AI can be used to analyze content performance and identify trends that can inform editorial decisions. AI tools are being used to automate tasks such as content curation, ad placement, and content personalization. AI is also being used to create new forms of content, such as AI-generated news articles and personalized video clips. AI is not only transforming the way content is created but also the roles of content writers and editors. AI tools can help content creators produce more content faster, while also providing insights into audience preferences and engagement. However, AI cannot replace the human touch and expertise that content writers and editors bring to their work.
AI-Based Content Scraping Tools and Their Impact
AI-based content scraping tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it easier for websites to copy and republish content from other sources without permission. This trend is raising concerns about copyright infringement and the potential for misinformation to spread. Media organizations are taking steps to protect their content, such as using watermarking and copyright notices. In the digital space, organizations are taking steps to block AI crawlers from scraping their content and using it for search engines’ generative AI summaries.
From what we know today, blocking AI crawlers will not affect SEO and will not prevent content from being used in Google’s generative AI summaries (aka SGE, aka Search Generative Experience) on the search engine results pages. To do that for Google Search, publishers will need to block the Google crawler (Googlebot). Nothing on a site will be crawled, and it will affect visibility in the organic search results.
Our current recommendation is to block every AI crawler bot that can be blocked to prevent content from being scraped (stolen). Some news organizations are currently exploring collective bargaining to charge large language model tools (LLMs) to collect their data.
The Rise of VPPA Class Action Lawsuits
The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) is a U.S. federal law established in 1988 that prohibits the collection and distribution of video viewing histories without consumers’ expressed consent. In recent years, there has been a surge in VPPA class-action lawsuits against media companies and streaming services, alleging violations of the law. The recent wave of lawsuits targets companies that have used Meta’s pixel code on their websites and have allegedly shared video viewing information with Meta, a third party. Plaintiffs’ lawyers brought up different definitions under which any website with video content can be treated as a “video tape service provider.”
These lawsuits have the potential to significantly impact the industry, as companies may face substantial financial penalties and reputational damage. As there is no clear consensus in courts, companies need to continue taking steps to minimize VPPA compliance risk, such as working with consent management tools, providing explicit opt-out or opt-in consent, removing advertising pixels from video pages, or tracking video viewing information with server-side technologies.
The media, broadcast, and digital publishing industry is constantly evolving, and new trends are emerging all the time. By staying informed about the latest trends and adapting their strategies accordingly, media organizations can continue to thrive in the face of change.