We are in an industry that constantly changes, evolves, adapts and often leads to adoption of new tech. It demands lifetime learning, curiosity, collaboration, creativity to succeed. That’s what I love about it.
So what will the media industry see in 2024?
My immediate thoughts? Let’s see where AI takes us. I am excited about the Summer Olympics – the men’s basketball team in particular. I dread a year of U.S. debates, nonsense, divisive talk and opinion trumping facts across North America leading up to the U.S. Presidential election. This impacts social media discourse and TV news. What’s going on with Canadian legislation regarding tech giants and consumer confidence? The cookieless reality will finally hit hard. Generative AI still has concerns regarding hallucinations/accuracy, privacy, copyrights and transparency.
Consumers are reclaiming their time, and it’s affecting media consumption.
Time spent with media, which had been increasing over the long term, has plateaued and even slightly declined. There are only so many minutes in the day: consumer fatigue, fragmentation and cost concerns are all accelerating.
There are a couple areas we’ve seen growth, and where we anticipate it will continue.
- Time spent with TikTok is the one platform showing dynamic growth, in user and time spent with exciting test in social shopping
- Connected TV has continued to see revenue growth as viewers shifted viewing to streaming services. FAST channels and smart TV penetration continue to grow.
Brand safety concerns are only going to heat up in 2024.
Lawsuits in the U.S. are bringing Meta, TikTok, YouTube, Snap to court regarding mental health issues and harmful content to teens and children. “Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens,” according to the complaint filed in the Oakland, California federal court. “Its motive is profit.”
The outcome of these lawsuits could mark a shift in how advertisers engage with these platforms, especially if their target audience is Gen Z and Generation Alpha.
The ownership concerns and data safety of TikTok persists and don’t seem to be slowing down.
X is a quagmire, where we’ve witnessed the current exodus of clients and agencies given antisemitic content. As opposed to this time last year when brands were announcing their exit from the platform, we are now seeing them just reduce their spend and presence on the channel quietly.
Time to put the metaverse on the backburner.
The metaverse is an idea ahead of its time – and it is on life support. Economic slowdown, the high cost of entry, the massive computing power required, privacy concerns have all combined to put the brakes on progress.
The rapid ascendance of AI (generative AI) has taken the forefront of energy, learning application and industry focus.
“Talent plus AI” will lead to agency (and client) wins.
Spurring conspiracy theories and dystopian scenarios when it launched onto the scene, to date I would argue that the impact of Generative AI has been modest, but it is finding uses quickly, broadly and our industry will be changed dramatically over the next 5 years.
AI has been used for some time now by programmatic and digital platforms but the ever smarter Generative AI can be used to do more and more , faster than it’s done today.
It can already do some of the tasks that agencies do—and it’s rapidly improving. It will enable employees to create significantly more output per hour which will lead to conversations about hourly rates shifting to value based pricing.
Today, it can do things for creative agencies such as: writing, image generation, video generation, audio generation, language translation, synthetic voices and content marketing creating personalized content quickly and at scale.
Media agencies can use AI tools to:
- Explore a multitude of channel mix options to strategically allocate media budgets
- Discover new audiences and create audience personas
- Conduct trend analysis and competitive monitoring
- Help analyze digital post performance
- Create social posts automatically from existing content
Everyone agrees CTV, Retail media and TikTok are “hot”, but look for new AI enhanced opportunities in voice search and social. One example is Google Performance Max as it now offers advertisers faster Generative AI-driven campaign creation, personalized targeted advertising, cost-effective asset production, quick testing and optimization of ads.
Agencies that test and learn will emerge as winners by training and upskilling talent to leverage AI technology – the power is in talent using AI.
X might not be the only popular social platform with a paid option.
Paid options, besides being a cash grab, have been instituted to provide verification and authentication to reduce bots and disinformation from social platforms.
As mentioned earlier, TikTok is testing an ad-free subscription model and Meta (both Facebook & Instagram) debuted a monthly subscription option for use of the platforms sans ads in the EU, EEA, and Switzerland. How long until a similar product makes its way to Canada? One would have to imagine soon.
Quality content will continue to win.
As I said earlier, consumers are media fatigued and time spent is actually plateauing or even slightly decreasing. What matters more is attention and engagement, relevance and impact – both short and long term.
Consumers will follow quality content and are still attracted to and share cultural media moments like we’ve seen with The Crown, White Lotus, and Barbie. Major sporting events like the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, Euro 2024, and major player milestones like Lebron James’ scoring record and Messi’s migration to Inter Miami FC.