5 Major Media Trends for the New Decade

Working on the frontlines of media, High10 has a unique vantage point on an industry undergoing a massive shift. As we step into the new decade, we’ve identified five major media trends that we think will have long-term impact on the way media is produced, perceived and consumed.

1. Nonprofit Models + Impact-Based Work Debuts

More and more for-profit media companies are launching philanthropic arms or pursuing impact-based missions. The underlying aim is charitable giving and creating a more purpose-driven company (something that ticks major boxes for workers, especially millennials), but there is also a benefit to the company. Aside from the standard donation, companies will double-down on investments, which is another major benefit. And of course, there’s the PR factor – charitable giving can result in positive storylines, reviews and recruitment.

Secondly, the shift to nonprofit models will continue as journalism seeks innovative and diverse ways of moving forward. In November of last year, Salt Lake Tribune became one of the newest publications to announce its nonprofit status. We anticipate more stories like this in 2020. It’s a not the newest trend, with companies like ProPublica and Grist, an environmental news nonprofit (and High10 client) already leading the charge. This is a trend that is going to grow in leaps and bounds in coming years.

2. Revenue Diversification Rules the Roost

It may be nonprofit status for some but for others it’s a continued reliance on awards, events and e-commerce as publishers and media brands seek a greater hold on the market and audience growth. Whether that comes in the form of paywall experimentation or live events, content is no longer the sole king of media.

For publishers navigating ecommerce, organizations like Whatsnewsinpublishing are breaking down a need to know and offering a guide for publishers making the leap, as explained by Digital Content Next.

The emergence of this page-to-stage trend will precipitate a marked shift, with live events emerge as not just a revenue-driver but a forum for breaking stories and creating content. High10 client Yahoo! Finance is already in the mix with its All Markets Summit.

3. Streaming Journalism

Streaming launches, snafus, subscription debates, and content hits and misses will dominate the media landscape this year. We anticipate news and media partnerships to become part of the conversation as platforms seek to pull in (and keep) new audiences. Quibi jumped on this trend early with an already-announced partnership with NBC News.

4. Immersive Storytelling

Immersive storytelling is about to take center stage. While already a continuing trend, we will see the full impact throughout 2020. Film, gaming and TV already use XR for engaging and entertaining experiences, and this year, traditional news reporting will continue to adopt it.

News organizations will amplify original journalism through innovative formats to create deeper empathy and understanding and bring readers closer than ever to news stories around the world. Instead of skimming over articles on immigration reform, for instance, with XR, readers will stand with the reporters at the border, see what they see and experience the story firsthand.

In 2019, top news outlets like Yahoo! News and TIME Magazine launched new XR initiatives to showcase groundbreaking visual journalism, and we expect to see more news outlets adopt XR to be at the forefront of immersive, visual storytelling.

5. Climate Change Coverage Heats Up

2020 will see a continued increase in climate change coverage, and the importance of it, from media brands worldwide. The New Republic, a High10 client, is already well invested in cataloguing and investigating the most important need to know information for readers.

With the 2020 election looming, the climate change conversation will continue to dominate and become a major factor as we head toward November. The Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation joined forces in 2019 for Covering Climate Now, a project “aimed at strengthening the media’s focus on the climate crisis.” In the summer of 2019, more than 170 news outlets were involved, and we expect that number to continue to climb. Publications need to develop a strategy now to authentically join the conversation already in progress this year.