Four trends predicted in media and digital industry this year

26 January 2022
Glimpse of key technologies, innovations and developments in content industry

Media experts have predicted what users and providers can expect in the categories "Media & Society", "Enabling Technologies", "Content & Storytelling" and Business Model Innovation" this year, according to the nextMedia.Hamburg initiative. The following trends are just some of the examples.

1. Virtual and real communities

Developments in the media industry have always impacted social interaction and not just since the pandemic. However, it has highlighted the need for digital spaces and meeting places. At the same time, the need for analogous, physical encounters is also growing. Can virtual worlds and real communities go hand in hand?

A hybrid internet effectuates changes in terms of social contacts, how people work and are entertained. The key, however, is to ask: "How can we use the new virtual world to satisfy the deepest human needs?," said David Mattin of New World Same Humans. Communities that restrict themselves to the digital sphere will soon be left behind. At stake are shared values, actually talking to one another and not feeling isolated even online. Editors must adapt so that users can play an active role instead of simply consuming media content passively.

Virtual & Real Communities

Real-life gaming remains one of the main drivers of development. Although based on elements of computer games, the game itself plays out in real life. "It changes how people see the world. Real encounters and environments become part of the gaming experience and they enable local communities all over the world," said Dominik Schönleben, who works at the U.S. developer studio Niantic.

2. NFTs and tokenization

The "Enabling Technologies" trend category highlights technologies such as "Non Fungible Tokens" (NFTs) that could significantly change entire industries in future, according to nextMedia.Hamburg. NFTs are blockchain-based certificates of authenticity that can be used to transform digital content such as art, music or fashion into purchasable originals. The rights to the token remain with the creator giving them a new kind of independence.

"Tokenisation is becoming the glue between creators and consumers," said Amke Block, founder of Un1k-Art. Especially from the end consumer's perspective, NFTs enable new forms of participation and support, as so-called "community" and "fan" tokens can break up anonymous relationships, create proximity and open up creative opportunities.

Digital art - does the future lie in NFTs?

3. Climate literacy

Steadily advancing climate change remains one of the hottest topics this year. Sara Schurmann, a journalist with the Network Climate Journalism Germany,  predicts: "If we want to secure our livelihoods, journalists must point to realistic solutions and classify them consistently based on the latest scientific findings. That requires further training for journalists and an in-depth debate across the industry. The ZEIT weekly's new "Green" department and WDR's  "klima.neutral" (climate neutral) channel on Instagram experiment with various narrative strands and make complex topics visible and understandable using creative stories and posts. They are just two examples of the latest approaches to reporting on a sustainable climate.

4. Where is audio headed?

Audio will continue on its growth path, according to Jana Wuttke, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), and remarked: "Competition between the biggest players in the audio sector continues to increase with the podcast market in particular playing a decisive role." However, major platforms will probably determine the visibility of podcasts and the like in future. Apple, for instance, began offering publishers and podcasters subscriptions in June 2021 and Spotify only recently released its new "Megaphone" tool which allows users to access audio content for a fee and to activate a variety of analytical tools.

Technical innovations are also emerging, for instance, personalisation and the integration of listeners who discuss various topics with each other on livestreams such as Twitch. And there is plenty happening in podcast production as well, for instance, the "Cui Bono - WTF happened to Ken Jebsen?" show is to be made into a film.


What role will the podcast market play in future?

Sources and further information

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