Zapped to the future
With social gatherings on pause, social media platforms have become even more important channels for maintaining connections
It's usual in sci-fi movies to see things zipping into the future in split seconds. What's happened in 2020 is similar. Things that we expected would happen in another 10 years was at our door steps gaping right at us!
Media landscape or media consumption behaviour was no exception. While there were sweeping changes noticed at the press of the lockdown button, we need to be cautious of calling most of these permanent. So, there are changes that would stay permanent and changes that would take a quick U-turn once the pandemic is behind us. A recent survey by Ipsos indicates 50 per cent of people in UAE expect their live to change in many ways or completely, and 50 per cent don't as well. The largest cluster of population in their 25-34 years actually feel things will get back as before.
A singular change in media consumption behavior post-Covid is the emphasis on self. It is more than ever about "I decide on what to consume, where and when to consume it". There were increase in screen sales, be it TV, tab, laptop or mobile. Everyone wanted their own space. Homes turned into personal zones for work and entertainment.
Content by democracy (of, by and for people)
It was timed perfectly, OTT channels were already lurking around the corner for last few years, and with lockdown people buying into it has grown exponentially. Even though we hear of few names in reference to OTT but globally there are 270 OTT/streaming platforms. It's a concept whose time has come.
While social media was expected to grow, the format that has seen maximum growth are the stories and individual videos. A concept that snapchat started, then quickly adopted across FB group and made popular by Tiktok.
There are also indications that this will change the social media landscape where platforms that used to allow mass dissemination of content will give way to ones that allows individual to make groups and decide who should see their content.
Primetime as a concept will be unheard of, every individual will decide on the time they prefer to consume content. Content providers across all formats will need to get platform agnostic. Print will need to make digital and audio space as robust and active, radio will evolve to offer engagement on ground, podcasts and social options. People will eventually decide where to consume the same piece of content.
Every one will have a place
Co-existence for a purpose has always been difficult for humans to understand. When TV was invented we announced the death of all other media. Now digital is taking centrestage and we have announced death of other channels. Despite huge migration to digital during lockdown, the two most impactful campaigns since market opened are Talabat and Oasis water.
Talabat, which resides in digital space, has chosen to focus on Outdoor. When Facebook makes a statement it chooses print. What does these indicate, the purpose defines the media. Outdoor in its impact will always dominate a consumer's memory and print in whatever format will continue to push authentic news and profile that people trust. Consumers don't always know what they need and would want some information to guide them, digital unfortunately can help only when you know what to consume.
Consolidation of platforms
This is another fast-emerging trend in media. Media companies will want to provide end to end service and content from a single source. FB launched as a social media platform is today expanding to include short video and ecommerce options. Consumer loyalty and memory are short lived. We would see shakeups, mergers and acquisitions that will simplify media channel ecosystem.
Experience over convenience
Another emerging media in an unexpectedly short time is e-commerce that grew in the UAE from 34 per cent to 51 per cent during Covid-19. We expect lack of consumer experience on e-commerce will put breaks to it surge. We also see growth of 3D videos and VR videos trying to simulate real-life experiences onto digital space and an interesting media option in the future.
A big moment is expected in voice led search and a nightmare for marketing teams. Convenience to do things will eventually bring forward AI driven assistants like SIRI and ALEXA to do our jobs for us by voice command.
Last, but extremely critical dynamic, change is expected in the media targeting space. With the global movement in safeguarding privacy, there won't be any cookies or ids targeting. Web browsers will get control of identifying audience by interest and serving ads.
To conclude, these are interesting times and we will see interesting shifts and morphosis in media world. Our control is by keeping our ears to the ground, and expecting a multi-dimensional media order where each of the media will play by its strength.
Satish Mayya is Chief Executive Officer at BPG Max
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