Back to Insights

Designing for the Now and Next: Carat’s media predictions for the year ahead

January 3, 2024

As we kick off 2024, there is a lot to look forward to. The upcoming Winter Olympics carry the promise of restoring a feeling of global unity, the looming resolution of the SAG-AFTRA strike hints at an influx of innovative and groundbreaking content, and AI's advancements hold the potential to make media more personalized and valuable. However, we remain cautiously optimistic as we head into a year of major elections across the globe, and the increase of consumers relying on news from social media combined with the rise of misinformation is causing a major trust crisis.

Consumers are entering a redefined media terrain where they are taking greater control of their circumstances and well-being, reevaluating their relationships with brands, and seeking reassurance and empowerment, while major media franchises and platforms are innovating to create more purposeful content that enriches consumers’ lives and meets their evolving needs.

 Looking ahead to 2024, five themes emerge:

1. Overstimulation in the attention economy

People are more connected than ever, and at the same time feel overstimulated. As consumers strive for more calm, a storm of major events – like the US election and Paris Olympics – will emerge and overwhelm their content cues, and as such, consumers will be more deliberate with how they spend their time in media.

 2.The diversification of entertainment

 Even as data improves targeting capabilities, consumers are embracing content that enriches their worldview. The diversification of content platforms and sources, matched by an increase in global content consumption, will give rise to an entertainment landscape that is more representative of diverse voices and stories.

3. The sports landscape modernizes

Massive changes in media consumption have the sports industry making moves. Historically reliant on TV viewership, major sports organizations – including the NFL, the Olympics, and the NBA - are drastically evolving their approach to engage modern audiences on their terms. 

4. The online safety crisis

As we head into an election year of global consequence, media is facing an increased trust crisis. With AI exacerbating the spread of misinformation and social media under fire for its negative impact on mental health, experts and consumers are re-evaluating some of their media relationships and calling for more protective measures.

5. People seek greater control

With massive, collective issues facing consumers today, people will use media to gain greater control over an uncertain future. Whether it’s through the lens of mental health and well-being, financial security, or the health of our planet, consumers will expect media and brands to help them regain control.

Carat’s annual media predictions for the year ahead explores pivotal factors shaping consumer behaviors and how brands can get involved.

Download the report now.

Cheers to 2024!