The way we consume media has been changing for some years now. Divisive politics, data scandals, a global pandemic, new technologies and more have all contributed to drastic changes in the way we view, choose and consume media.
2023 looks set to continue this change. Here are the top five trends likely to change the way we consume media in this year.
1. Subscription services will have to diversify to survive
Subscription services came under a lot of fire in 2022. Between increased fees, falling profits and controversial crackdowns on password sharing, it’s safe to say that digital subscription services are feeling quite embattled.
That being said, subscriptions have continued to grow through 2022, and though that growth is set to slow in 2023, it’s unlikely to stop.
In order to get growth back on track, we’re likely to see subscription services diversifying and specializing. For example, streaming services could split into business-focused channels like TraderX, and family-focused channels like Netflix Kids.
We could even see subscription services introducing heavily personalized channels tailored to individual preferences. Music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music already offer tailored playlists based on user preferences and behavior. It’s likely that this kind of personalization will grow as 2023 progresses.
2. Media will have to work hard to rebuild trust with users
We live in a deeply divided world. Trust in traditional, digital and social media has rarely been lower. People are increasingly turning to alternative (and sometimes unorthodox) sources to consume media.
A lot of this is due to personal prejudice and/or perception of bias. People are increasingly turning to media outliers to avoid what they see as the bias of traditional media. In part, this is due to a legacy of scandals like the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook, and the proliferation of ‘fake news’ online.
To break down polarization and win back consumers, media channels will have to tackle this trust issue head on. This is no easy task, but it’s likely that approaches will include:
- Prioritising solid, provable facts over opinion
- Emphasising consent when taking customer data
- Being upfront and transparent about data gathering and usage
- Focusing on local issues that directly affect consumers
- Building diversity in media representation
- Listening to consumers about advertising and how it affects them
- Actively battling the spread of misinformation
3. Gen Z will wield more power than ever before
Gen Z are now a powerful economic force, and media channels everywhere are desperate to grab their attention. However, reaching Gen Z poses some problems.
Gen Z are very attractive for advertisers, but they consume media in very different ways to previous generations. For example, they tend to hang out on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, consuming media in short bursts from independent creators.
To tap into this market, publishers and brands need to reach them on their own wavelength. We need to talk to them directly, ask them what they want and learn the media formats they prefer.
Collaboration could be a big part of this move. In 2023, we could see a lot more audience participation in media than has previously been the case.
4. Ad tolerance will drop and drop
Tolerance for ads is at an all-time low - and that’s bad news for brands. Businesses have relied on media of all kinds as a vehicle for product and service promotion for a very long time.
The truth is that a lot of platforms have overdone it with advertising. Consumers are sick of having adverts thrust in their faces with every scroll, and of having to wait through lengthy product promotions before getting to the content they want.
They’ve been showing their displeasure by switching to ad-free services. Research from digital consumer research company Bulbshare shows that a majority of young consumers will happily pay to avoid ads. Nearly half of consumers use ad-blocker services, and a worryingly large number of consumers will actively leave a service that shows them unsolicited adverts.
What this means in practical terms is that brands can no longer rely upon media platforms to blithely and blindly promote their stuff. In order to get their message across to an increasingly resistant public, marketers will have to develop more nuanced and more acceptable ways of advertising.
One way to do this is to make sure that customers are seeing relevant advertising. Cause-led, authentic, relevant promotions targeted to specific audiences could be the way forward here.
5. Mobile apps will become a necessity for digital media
Mobile is fast overtaking desktop and television as the principal format for media consumption. It overtook print a long time ago!
So, to be relevant, media providers need to make their platforms as accessible as possible for mobile users. This means developing slick, user-friendly apps which can give people the media they want, whenever they want it, from their mobile devices.
These apps will need to be as accessible on small screens as they’re on large, and optimized for touchscreen formats.
What’s more, we’re likely to see an explosion in mobile apps for all media platforms, from the very smallest to the largest. Meanwhile, media publishers which already have apps will be constantly looking to improve and upgrade their offerings.
Pay attention to media consumption trends to stay ahead in 2023
It’s important to be alert to media consumption trends. They’re often both an indicator of the current state of the world and a hint of things to come.
By paying attention to media consumption trends, businesses can position themselves to reach the most important audiences, build their brands and maintain their relevance in the future.
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