Targeted content will also engage media consumers in future 

Future consumers will use media for entertainment, sensations and ways of self-expression. But quality will also sell.

The mediascape is in constant turmoil, and its reform is impacted by various social megatrends. Ten years into the future is hard to predict, but we can see some indications about the use of media in future - we just have to be familiar with the current young generation and the major trends in society.

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Research Manager Juho Rahkonen

“The most significant trend behind change is urbanisation. When consumption and leisure activities become more and more abundant, competition for our time will tighten. This will make media contents shorter and more powerful,” says Juho Rahkonen, Doctor of Social Sciences and Research Manager at Taloustutkimus, an independent market research company.

A great risk will lie behind the gradual fragmentation of contents, says Rahkonen.

“The load of fragmented information affects the brain, which has been scientifically proven. It can make us stupid and even push culture into the margin when we are no longer able to concentrate on extensive and demanding entities,” he says.

What today’s teenagers get used to, will matter a lot in future. If they learn to consume short and superficial contents, it will be hard to make a change in later years. This is a major responsibility for journalists and other content creators, says Rahkonen.

The role of social media

The future of media cannot be discussed without the social media dimension. Social media has a significant role in today’s media consumption, and it will probably grow in future.

Some years ago a social media phenomenon became relevant when a newspaper wrote about it. Now we are heading towards a situation when a piece of news in traditional media will only be relevant when it becomes a topic in social media.

“This trend can eventually lead to a situation where the information gatekeeper's job will move from professional journalists to amateurs and algorithms that will dictate which contents will gain popularity in social media,” Juho Rahkonen says.

Quality and community spirit still sell

In future, media consumers will seek sensations but save money: if content is offered for free, people will choose it. Contents subject to a charge will therefore have to provide real added value in order for consumers to pay for them.

Rahkonen believes that the media that will make it in future are those that really know their readers or viewers and manage to produce contents that precisely meet the needs of their target groups. 

The media that will make it in future are those that really know their target groups.

“No newspaper, magazine or service will succeed in future if they lack quality since the competition for our time is so dire.  But today and in future we have a need to belong while also emphasising our individual character. Media can meet this need by producing well-segmented contents of a high quality. This will enhance a new kind of community spirit and engage the readership.”

We should not forget that even after ten or twenty years, a large share of population will have grown up with slow media. They read the newspaper in the morning and concentrate on what they are reading. With such differentiation, it is all the more important to know your target group.

Date: 23 March 2016
Theme: Journalism
Text: Linda Pynnönen 
PhotosLauri Kröger, iStockphoto