media update’s Jenna Cook takes you through the stories that made headlines in February.

2019 is the year digital advertising becomes bigger than traditional advertising

The news: Earlier this month, eMarketer predicted that 2019 will be the year that digital will beat traditional. Now, we’re not talking ‘beat’ in terms of consumer preference or even ROI (although it may turn out to be more lucrative on those fronts as well), but we are saying that, for the first time in history, digital ad spend will outweigh that of traditional ads. #BigNewsAlert

Monica Peart, eMarketer forecasting director, says, “The steady shift of consumer attention to digital platforms has hit an inflection point with advertisers, forcing them to now turn to digital to seek the incremental gains in reach and revenues.”

Let’s break that down a bit: First thing’s first, Peart isn’t calling an end to traditional media – and in fact, we won’t see an end anytime soon because it’s still a highly lucrative industry. What she is saying is that, over the last few years, the media industry has seen a trend in the way people consume content – that trend is shifting in favour of digital. And if consumers are leaning towards digital, then advertisers need to follow suit in order to keep making money.

Why it’s making headlines: It would seem that digital ad spend surpassing that of traditional was never a matter of if but rather when. But the question the media industry should be asking is: Where does this leave us?

It’s no secret that print publications make most of their revenue through advertising, and if advertisers are becoming increasingly unwilling to advertise through traditional mediums, i.e., print, then how will the publication industry survive?

The answer may lie in embracing the digital age and turning to online content and paywalls, or it could lie in publications convincing advertisers to spend a higher portion of their traditional ad budgets on print. Whatever it is, we’re watching intently as the future of print media unfolds.

Google claims to be fighting misinformation, but is that enough?

The news: Google revealed its plan to combat misinformation at a security conference in Germany earlier this month. The information giant claimed to be ‘working hard in a number of areas, including using quality signals to help surface better content across its various divisions; Google News, Google Search and YouTube.

This comes hot on the heels of a scandal claiming that YouTube can be ‘used to forge networks of people engaged in exploitation of children’. Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. And it has caused many of YouTube’s biggest supporters – such as Walt Disney Co, Hasbro Inc and Kellogg Co – to put their advertising on hold.

Why it’s making headlines: Consumers, and advertisers, count on platforms like Google not to just monitor offensive content, but to also remove it as soon as it’s discovered. Why? So that they can rest safe in the knowledge that the content they’re consuming is not only true but ethical too.

Also, one has to wonder: if Walt Disney Co, Hasbro Inc and Kellogg Co are no longer spending their money on YouTube … then where exactly are they spending it?

Audible ‘news flashes’ are on the horizon

The news: While voice-activated speakers aren’t exactly new – hey Siri and Alexa – what is new is their potential to change the way people consume news. You read that right – change the way people consume news!

You may be wondering how this is possible Well, earlier this month, The New York Times announced that it’s seriously looking into launching voice-enabled products for these voice-activated speakers. One said product is called ‘The New York Times Briefing’.

Editor of voice platforms, Dan Sanchez, shares the idea behind these products: “You’re asking for news or for the weather in the morning while you’re brushing your teeth or getting dressed, and you may not have time to sit and listen to a 30-minute podcast, but you want something that’s quickly digestible before you go to work for the day.”

Why it’s making headlines: These voice-enabled products are a way for publishers to not only create another revenue stream (see point one), but also remain relevant in the fast-paced digital age.

As podcasting, and audible content in general, becomes a more acceptable and convenient form of trusted content, it makes sense for publishers to adopt the trend.

What are your thoughts on the prediction that digital ad spend will beat that of traditional advertising? Let us know in the comments section below.

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With digital media spend set to outweigh its traditional counterpart, there are a few things you – the journalist – should be familiar with. Learn more in our article, 10 Digital media terms every journalist should know.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy