Digital Trends to Watch: As the media landscape changes online, what can publishers expect to see in 2019?

Author:Mateos, Evelyn
 
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Nowadays, with so much technology available to us (and in the works), it seems like we are closer than ever to living the futuristic life the Jetsons once portrayed on TV--and this year will certainly follow suit as we see new technology trends gain traction or perhaps see old trends make a second appearance. It is important for newspaper publishers to stay on top of these trends and use them to reach wider audiences and engage readers. To assist them, E&P has put together a list of digital trends to watch as we move further into 2019.

(1) THE PIVOT FROM VIDEO TO AUDIO

In 2018, the rise of the voice assistant continued to gain traction from the previous year, with more than one in 10 U.S. adults regularly using a smart speaker, equating to about 34 million people or 17 million homes, according to the Reuters report "The Future of Voice and the Implications for News."

Last year, we saw more tech companies hopping on the bandwagon and others already in the race releasing more smart devices: the Google Assistant, Apple's HomePod, Amazon's 12 new smart devices, including the Auto Echo, and Facebook's Portal.

While Amazon already includes several news organizations on its news briefing feature called "Flash Briefing," there are still a few wrinkles to iron out if more newspapers are to hop on board and create personalized content for the platform. The Reuters report found that news publishers lack things, such as a clear path to monetization and data to guide development.

However, Google announced last December it would be developing an open audio news standard for the Assistant and partner with several media companies like CNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post. It is also putting out a call in hopes of recruiting other English-language publishers. Using the same technology behind the artificial intelligence on Google News, the Assistant will generate a playlist of stories based on the listener's interests.

With the rise of the smart speaker in the home, it is not surprising that news publishers have taken an interest in voice. With other legacy media companies guiding the way, it shouldn't be long until others follow their lead.

(2) TRACKING THE IMPACT OF STORIES

Patrick Butler, vice president of programs for the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), said recently in Nieman Lab, "News organizations have gotten very good at measuring things like impressions, reach, and engagement... What we don't do well is measure why our content matters."

In April 2018, ICFJ Knight Fellow and Brazilian journalist Pedro...

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