Long gone are the days when we used to look at the past years as a learning curve. Today’s era requires an observation into the future assets to predict trends and outcomes.

It comes as no surprise when we look at 6 upcoming future media trends that will shape 2020 and the way forward, most of which have been long anticipated.

Content streaming battles continue

With Netflix carrying the heavy weight of the battle, Disney, Apple and Comcast will enter the ring as the battleground expands.

The choices are becoming endless and consumers will pay whatever fee it takes to gain access to the biggest and most premium entertainment content library. This goes without saying, that there are new niche-oriented streaming services on the battlefield already that are also changing the landscape. The content video landscape has never looked more competitive.

Although consumers and brands are viewing this as a streaming war, these companies are actually aiming for different goals for each of their offered services. Their pricing strategies differ and so do their catalogs.

5G becomes real – what that means for the next gen connectivity

No it’s not a myth and it never was. 2019 happened and so did the hype for 5G. And although consumers thought that it may take some time to flip on the switch, it actually did not. By mid-2020, 21% of mobile subscriptions in the Gulf will be 5G connections and by the end of 2020 all MEA countries will have launched 5G. This is a huge transformation for such a short period of time and it is forecasted that by end of 2023, 26.8 Million 5G subscriptions will be present across MEA.

Audio streaming channels will become the new mainstream ad-content platform

Whether some brands believe in it it or not, the truth is, that the music industry is changing and increasing their user base by the day. YouTube has just launched its music streaming service by the end of September across the GCC and Lebanon.

Anghami is changing their tech offering by the day, Spotify is expanding in the region and Deezer is finally settling in. The truth is that music has become the most popular consumer category worldwide and not just in the MENA region. The amount of time spent, watching music content on YouTube has grown by 60% in the past three years.

There still seems to be room for new services to enter the market and current services to be acquired by others. To fully grasp this concept, music streaming can be compared to a similar market: video streaming.  Music streaming has surpassed physical plus digital sales of albums and singles, just as video streaming has surpassed cable and physical plus digital sales of movies and television shows.

Brands who believe in making an impact and connecting with Gen Y and Gen Z, have the chance now more than ever to partner up with music platforms to produce content that resonates. McDonald’s took a fair share of trying this out when they created their #SpeakSpicy campaign in collaboration with anghami artists. Similarly, Close-up featured a pioneering brand page and a customized playlist that reached up to 80,000 followers in less than 3 months and Bershka created their ongoing brand playlist on anghami that became one of the most favored playlists on Anghami. 2020 will be no different, with more and more brands jumping on the bandwagon and investing their funds in content creation.

Content and e-commerce will continue to go hand in hand

Fast growing ecommerce businesses are using content to their advantage. Some brands use it as a form of educating their consumers about why their product offering is different, while others use it for the purpose of increasing traffic, links and conversions. What that means, is that by 2020, the thin line between content and ecommerce will seize to exist. Content assets will be typically created as blog posts, resource pages or visual assets outside of the typical ecommerce product and category page architecture, however they will still be well integrated. 

There are more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide and this number is projected to grow at a rate of 25% year over year. No one can deny how crucial social media has become when it comes to promoting and distributing content. Leveraging social media in order to identify aspects like when your audience is most active or which channels they engage on the most, allows ecommerce brands to tweak things accordingly and to create an effective content marketing strategy.

Gaming platforms increase their presence

There are two new world trends that brands have started utilizing; one is music the other is gaming. Gaming has become the most profitable form of entertainment in the world with the industry split into mobile games, e-sports streaming, console purchases and more. Worldwide, the gaming industry is worth more than $140 Billion USD, while in the Middle East and Africa, the industry value is around $5 billion. Popular games such as Fortnite, Fifa, League of Legends, Minecraft and to name a few, have all been used as a form of brand integration platform, with brands utilizing these games to connect with the right audience to increase brand favorability. 2020 is set to be huge for the gaming industry, not just regionally, but globally as well.

Demolition of cookies

The third-party cookie is crumbling and 2020 will see its complete demolition. Safari, Firefox and even Google are increasingly blocking by default the use of third-party tracking cookies while regulations such as the EU GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act legally enforce the right to privacy. We are witnessing a form of anxiety across the industry with the fear of the unknown and traffic being unavailable for commercial devotions. A recent Google study suggests that without third party cookies, publisher revenues might drop an average of 52%.

It is safe to say that time flies as fast as technology is progressing, not to forget that consumer interest is changing by the day. There was a time when artificial intelligence, voice search and data-led marketing were just considered aspiring goals, yet here we are. Brands needs to remain relevant and consider investing time and resources in order to keep up.