Media Executives Share Their Predictions for 2020

The media industry has seen some things this decade. As have consumers. We’ve watched the rise of technology and new platforms from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube—and now, TikTok.

It’s been an era of disruption, particularly in terms of the maturation of social media. So, what’s next for the media industry? We put the question out to media executives—here’s what they had to say.

Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

Neil Vogel, CEO, Dotdash:
The same thing will matter in the 2020s that mattered in the 2010s or the 1950s. If you create and deliver high quality content and you can connect the right person to the right marketer message at the right time, you will have a great business. The mediums may have changed, but the principles and disciplines of the last 100 years of media are exactly the same—whether it’s a print magazine, a broadcast network, a social network or online publisher, those who can deliver quality audiences with real intent to advertisers will win.

Cory Haik, chief digital officer, Vice Media:
The disruption will continue in the next decade, as the models and mechanisms that support media production and consumption continue to change.

There are some interesting trends emerging, leading us to more premium offerings and consumer curation. If we turn to our users to guide us, it’s clear that some of the future of storytelling are formats natively built for mobile. This doesn’t mean just taking an article and making it performant on the phone, or making sure your video player loads on mobile. It means producing our journalism in formats that our audiences are spending the majority of their time in: Stories. Think Google AMP Stories, Snap, TikTok, Instagram and the like.

Motion graphics, narrative, video, mixed media, interactivity and the like are all the things that go together in this story form. At Vice, we’ve set up our 2020 strategy to reflect this as a legitimate story form with a seat at the table—we will resource and produce articles, videos and Stories. And as monetization becomes mature, we fully expect to continue to invest.

Catherine Levene, president/chief digital officer, Meredith:
Expansion of video and audio. Wider 5G network deployment has the potential to further fragment the consumption of video and impact traditional TV advertising at scale. Consumers will be able to get the content they want not only from the apps and networks that exist today, but also OTT from the browser on TV or any device. More content will be created from both studios and individuals. Media companies will need to find ways to aggregate meaningful audiences, personalize experiences and track across a much more complex ecosystem.

With regard to the proliferation of audio content and experiences, more and more people are going to want hands-free convenience for daily tasks. This will impact search, news and information, storytelling and even activities such as cooking. In fact, 71% of Meredith women cook with screen-equipped smart speakers.

Heather Dietrick, CEO, The Daily Beast:
If the 2010s was about social media disruption, which for publishers amounted to the dissolution of brand affinity in favor of the algorithms and the disruption of the relationship with the audience in favor of traffic growth, the 2020s will be about media owning its relationship with the audience, building brand devotion and leveraging loyalty.

Pam Wasserstein, president, Vox Media:
The 2020s may offer a course correction to some of the trends of the last decade such as fake news, generic content and chasing scale for scale’s sake. After this onslaught, audiences are hungry for relationships built on trust, and they are willing to pay where they perceive sufficient value. Quality and brand differentiation will be critical in developing these ties with consumers; we will all have to work harder to ensure that our product is worth paying for directly.

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