5 important trends that will shape online publishing in 2023
5 important trends that will shape online publishing in 2023
As the world gets more and more complex, we all need access to good, reliable information. However, the publishers are facing a seemingly uphill battle to reach their audiences with coverage of current affairs. Is there a light in a tunnel?
Once again, we’ve taken a look at the most important trends, covered in “Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2023” published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Oxford University.
Artificial intelligence joins newsrooms
Let's start with the obvious elephant in the room. The ChatGPT tool has gained over 100 million users in just three months. The artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI has taken the world by storm. And although it promises it doesn't plan to enslave humanity in "The Terminator" style, it sparked some controversies.
All around the world, ChatGPT is used to generate text content. Teachers are worried that literature classes are becoming obsolete since students can ask their computers to generate essays. An American college used the engine to prepare a letter of condolences after a school shooting - which was met with a lot of well-deserved criticism. Journalists and content writers worry that they will be replaced by AI in newsrooms. Add the growing concern about deep fakes - and maybe the AI won't need to realize any known Hollywood scenario to destabilize and control the public.
At the same time, AI can be helpful. According to the Reuters Institute, around 67% use the solutions to some extent. The areas include
AI speech-to-text transcription
Personalization and content recommendations
Automating short text creation
Next year can bring further developments, including virtual news presenters, but also increased scrutiny from lawmakers concerned by free speech, copyrights, and other factors.
Also: a questionable sense of humor.
Social media becomes more unpredictable
There are two important factors shaping publishers' actions and strategies in various social media platforms: politics and user engagement.
Lawmakers crack down on tech giants
The conflict between social media platforms and lawmakers has been brewing for some time now. However, it seems like 2023 may bring some more decisive actions.
As of the time of writing this article, Canada is at odds with Silicon Valley giants, like Meta (Facebook) and Alphabet (Google) over the new law forcing internet companies to compensate news publishers for reproducing and profiting from their content. A similar bill was passed last year in Australia, where the government struck a deal with the platforms after a period of shadow-banning the publishers' content in search results and feeds. Now, Facebook and Google are fighting the new Canadian legislation using the same methods.
Meanwhile, the European Union introduced its own set of laws called the Digital Services Act, aiming for more accountability and responsibility for social media giants. Its implementation would mean the end of a self-regulatory approach to Silicon Valley companies, enforcing clearer rules about misinformation and harmful content.
It seems like we're reaching the end of an era of tech giants' lack of responsibility. The changes won't occur overnight, but the direction is quite clear.
However, it's not only the old giants facing obstacles. The relatively newer TikTok is also under scrutiny. This, of course, links to bigger issues of China's global rise and the rivalry between the world's superpowers. Still, the platform, addressed mostly to young users, has been found guilty of delivering misinformation on matters such as the war in Ukraine or various national elections. This, together with concerns about users' privacy, has led some countries to block the app or advise their citizens against it.
While governments claim they're fighting for more fair internet, and platforms insist on their self-regulatory practices, many publishers express concern that new laws may restrict free speech and limit access to information - especially in more authoritarian countries.
Shifting user engagement
A shift to TikTok is a fact - younger audiences prefer the fast-paced video formats over older platforms where their parents hang out. Currently, Facebook seems to be unable to fight the trend. Not to mention Twitter's problems with users being alienated by new policies.
That's why online publishers are following suit, focusing more and more on platforms other than Facebook.
The great exodus from Facebook and Twitter to new platforms ties in with another important shift. Online publishers are constantly looking for new channels to reach their readers. Ones that would be insular to the shifting policies on and towards great tech giants.
Tackling news avoidance
Another important factor that will impact the publishing industry - both online and offline - is a growing tendency for news avoidance. We're living through some seismic changes in the world, affecting the climate, politics, and economy. It's not particularly strange that some people decide to avoid news about depressing or complicated subjects.
According to the Reuters Institute, over 72% of publishers express their concern about this trend. At the same time, they're looking for new ways to attract the news-avoiding audience back into the loop. Some of the ideas are:
emphasizing their credentials and journalistic values to rebuild readers' trust
Q&A formats and explanatory journalism to promote a better understanding of complex issues, like climate change or big conflicts
adding more positive and inspiring stories
slow journalism - instead of a breaking-news-focused approach
Those solutions are content-related, but there are also some new approaches to revenue and channels we'll discuss further.
Switching to new revenue formats
Yes, the demise of the printing press has been a huge topic for several years, but in 2022, the number of titles giving up on physical copies grew significantly. The rising costs of printing went hand in hand with economic stagnation, which forced the readers to cut back on spending.
That's why publishers look for new sources of revenue. Apart from the rising importance of subscription models, there's much interest in:
new formats, especially podcasts, and other audio forms
display and native advertising
organizing special events
Founding from tech platforms will also play a role, same as one-time donations, microtransactions, additional funding from organizations and foundations, or other business activities of the company.
New, comprehendible formats
As we've mentioned before, podcasts and audio are expected to rise in popularity even more. It's a great way to build a deeper connection with the audience. And this factor is even more important given the unpredictability of social media platforms. Video formats will also come in handy.
Publishers are also looking for new ways in which they can present their written content. we can expect some new interesting ways for data visualization. Like the Greed Index used by CNN to display stock market trends:
Newsletters remain popular, especially when it comes to aggregating local news. They are relatively low-cost and easy to use. Given the plethora of available formats, their importance will not dwindle in the coming months.
News avoidance, uncertainty, and new challenges mean that 2023 will be a transformative year for the publishing industry. While reporting the best-researched, unbiased news is the crucial issue, their delivery should be smooth and uncomplicated.
With all the changes in the social media and tech environment, web push is an easy way to build your subscriber base and carry out informational campaigns in the ways most suitable for the medium. PushPushGo has been a go-to solution for many news outlets in Europe and around the world. The steady growth and easy procedures make them a great tool for every newsroom.
If you want to learn more about our web push solutions and their performance, download our report showcasing the publishing industry in 2022.
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