Carat's Top 10 Trends for 2017

18/01/2017

We have been producing trend reports for over 5 years, providing insights about new technologies and innovations and their implications for the media landscape. The new report highlights top trends and hot topics in the world of media and technology which are expected to grow in 2017 and beyond.

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Here is a short overview of the main topics illustrated in the report:

1. LIVE VIDEO

It’s been possible to stream Live Video within apps since early 2015, and in 2016 has become very popular on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere. While Live Video brings authenticity, it doesn’t need to be grainy and shaky. Live Video also doesn’t necessarily have to be “live”, it can be scheduled for later transmission, use multiple cameras and more.

2. SPORTS RIGHTS

Sports (and other) rights are becoming hotly contested, as global technology and media companies become interested in content that is proven to be popular. The new live video technologies allow sport to be streamed easily online.
Lower production and distribution costs mean that it is viable to screen more events; plus a global audience might make something economically viable, where a national audience wouldn’t.

3. WEB TV

It is getting easier to put video from the web and apps onto TV screens, whether through connected TVs, or via cheaper connectors such as Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. Young people already spend more time watching online video than broadcast TV, and this will accelerate. Web TV will provide a return path so that content can be more easily interacted with, for example making programmes shoppable.

4. BRANDED CONTENT

Branded content is not new – soap operas were created as regular shows paid for by FMCG brands, in order to allow them to reach audiences of housewives. However, what is new is that content is taking on a greater importance. There is now a more systematic focus on making more content for specific audiences; using the best partners to make and distribute it, retaining the rights, and even looking at ways of monetising it.

5. VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY

2016 was going to be the year of virtual reality, but the most popular content turned out to be augmented reality. Both VR and AR will continue to be very important in 2017, but in different ways.
Oculus Rift, HTV’s Vive, and Sony’s Playstation VR all came out in 2016, and with them came lots of games, ‘experiences’ and 360° videos. AR is becoming popular with luxury and fashion apps, as it allows people to try on new looks, or even make-up.

6. CHATBOTS

Chatbots are automated identities within messaging apps, set up to answer common queries and more. Together with other conversational interfaces like Siri, Cortana, Allo and Alexa (used in Amazon Echo), chatbots are a way of distributing content in a very targeted way, by answering people who have asked specific questions. Chatbots can now fulfil many tasks from answering frequently asked questions, to taking orders, to being a fun way to express the brand’s personality.

7. IDENTITY & VERIFICATION

We’re coming to a time when advertising is more about communicating to people you do know, rather than people you don’t. We’re also moving from probabilistic identity (you assume that these users on different platforms, online and offline, are the same person), to deterministic identity (you know that they are). Publishers and advertisers are trying to create a single ID for consumers across devices and platforms, online and offline, so that a user’s ID can be ‘recognised’ whenever they interact.

8. SPEED

Now that most digital activity takes place on a mobile device, speed of access has become a crucial issue. Google, Facebook and others are working on the architecture of pages and apps to ensure that they load as quickly as possible. The speed of digital is setting expectations in the real world. We are starting to see the seamless integration of online and offline. For example, the Uber you see on your phone is soon the Uber parked in front of you.

9. PROXIMITY

Proximity is becoming very important in marketing – not just location, but the proximity to other objects that may be moving. Bluetooth Beacons were a great hope of location-based marketing, but may be superseded by other technologies’ use of wifi instead of Bluetooth – when people try to log in to wifi they can be targeted. Out of home marketing is also changing rapidly. For example, a campaign for Santander was able to show a location-based ad to passengers before their trains were leaving the station.

10. SOFTWARE TO HARDWARE

Companies known for software and being online only, are starting to produce their own hardware products. The reason for this expansion is that they want products specific to their needs, that they can control every aspect of. Part of Apple’s success is that it controls every part of its own technology – screen sizes, memory, security – and now others also want this level of control.
Software follows hardware; just as the iPhone led to Angry Birds and Instagram, new devices will lead to new apps and opportunities.

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