News & Tech contacted key media executives and industry players for their 2019 predictions. Our insiders spelled out the technology and changing trends they see on the near horizon. Take a look at their prognostications

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RickOConner

Rick O’Connor Chief executive office and president, Black press ltd.

Rick O’Connor

Chief executive office and president, Black press ltd.

N&T: What tech trend are you watching for 2019?

The practical use of AI in our industry. I believe the use of AI will grow this year and useful applications will begin to emerge

N&T: What's your biggest business prediction for 2019?

I see significant revenue growth in two areas. First, with video, both in terms of internet and out of home and second with more “face-to-face” (events, both commercial and reader-oriented) type of advertising. I also see print starting to flatten out, particularly at the local level, because it still works as an advertising medium, done properly with effective circulation

N&T: What regulatory or government moves interest you?

In Canada, the federal government has established a fund that is based on tax credits for editorial wage expenditures for news media organizations. While the details have yet to be put in place, this has signifi cance for most journalism-based organizations such as ours. We had originally lobbied as an industry to create a level taxation playing fi eld with companies such as Facebook and Google, who receive favorable treatment compared to established Canadian companies. However, the evolution of this fund will have positive signifi cance to Canadian news media companies and assist in the improvement of the business model.

N&T: How do you see media's evolution with social media in the near future?

Certainly we are paying more attention to the use of social media and are incorporating dedicated positions within our staffing structure this year, both in terms of influencing the outcome of advertising campaigns as well as alerting more social media users to our content. Additionally, we are using social media to attract more people to participate in our face- to-face events

BrentLow

Brent Low president and Ceo, utah Media Group

Brent Low president and Ceo, utah Media Group

N&T: What tech trend are you watching for 2019?

Everything mobile. We must, must keep our minds open as consumer behavior is constantly changing.

N&T: What's your biggest business prediction for 2019?

2019 will be the beginning of the end for print. Daily newspapers have run out of pricing gimmicks and cost cuts, as evidenced by 3Q18 fi nancials (most public companies lost money) and the fact that print newspapers’ lack locally generated content. Very surprised to read newspapers owned by public companies that have zero locally written content in several days’ newspapers each week. Newsrooms have been gutted. The highly fi xed costs of printing and delivery are not sustainable. We will start to see signifi cant newspapers eliminate print in 2019.

N&T: How do you see media's evolution with social media in the near future?

Evolution? It is here and has been here for several years. However, not certain where it goes from here. Hard to predict with the instability and fragmentation of social media. Exactly what will defi ne “social media” in 2020

BrandonRosen

Brandon Rosen Chief Revenue officer, Site Impact 

Brandon Rosen Chief Revenue officer, Site Impact 

N&T: What tech trend are you watching for 2019? 

Artificial intelligence. Voice powered devices, smart speakers running Alexa, Google Home embedded in TVs, lightbulbs, etc. Artificial intelligence will go beyond a device responding to your search or query, but will allow the device to learn, to become “smart,” to know exactly what you’ll want. Marketers will need to adapt to this new medium. This will reshape search engine optimization, as search is shifting to conversational and long-tail searches, and the opportunity to once show your dazzling creative or artwork will realistically be replaced with a smart device telling you or describing to you the advertisement it believes you would be interested in.

N&T: What's your biggest business prediction for 2019?

Media acquisition growth continues to explode. 2018 will be remembered as a stellar year for media. In June of 2018, AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner, later that month, Disney won the battle against 

Comcast to acquire 21st Century Fox. These were just two purchases that helped to make up the record $322.5 billion in media M&A in the first half of 2018. And the momentum continued into Q3.

We expect the trend of tech and telecom fi rms buying media firms to continue. Making the lives of advertisers and marketers far more challenging and less predictable.

N&T: What regulatory or government moves interest you?

Data regulation is coming. In 2018 Facebook was no stranger to privacy and security concerns, there’s the ongoing debate as to how much infl uence the likes of Google and Amazon control in our everyday lives, and big tech companies will no doubt be under further scrutiny that will likely affect all those companies mining, refining and storing our digital data. Some important questions will likely be asked and hopefully answered: Who should be the ultimate gatekeepers of our digital data? What role should automated decision-making play in our everyday lives? 

In 2019, we are likely to see proposed regulations and legislation that are either too restrictive or don’t take into account that science and tech are in constant motion. It’s unlikely that in the U.S. sweeping new rules, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, would pass. That said, the process will likely prove to be an expensive and time consuming undertaking for big tech companies

N&T: How do you see media's evolution with social media in the near future?

Social media still provides an essential chance to connect to customers and serve them, however, most companies are missing the opportunity due to an outdated focus on content vs. conversation. Brands, marketers and media companies alike are “welcome” in the social media space, but are urged to remove the “hard sales pitch.” A friendly, conversational brand voice tends to appeal to social media users. And most consumers want brands to be accessible — especially when they have a customer service problem. 

As social media continues to evolve, successful brands, marketers, and media companies will need to adapt their strategies to accommodate an ever-changing audience. Keeping track of the latest technological and consumer trends has been and always will be paramount. 

Edward Casson

Edward A. “Trip” Casson, III Chairman and Ceo, Southern lithoplate

Edward A. “Trip” Casson, III Chairman and Ceo, Southern lithoplate

N&T: What tech trend are you watching for 2019? 

IoT, AI, robotics and VR cannot completely replace the impact and intrinsic value of a human journalist nor printed products. Looking for exciting innovations to paywalls, integrated print/mobile subscriptions and local coverage, while employing the aforementioned technologies to “deliver” integrated online and printed products. 

N&T: What's your biggest business prediction for 2019?

Thirty-seven percent of millennials read a printed newspaper within the past week, according to a recent APTech/PRIMIR study, “The Evolution of Print in the Cross-Generational World of Information Media,” yet only 10 percent claimed they were newspaper readers. Watch for an increase in niche print products targeted to convert more millennial and Gen Z-ers to timely readers.

N&T: What regulatory or government moves interest you? 

The Section 232 aluminum tariff has been a tough battle in 2018. We remain actively engaged and hopeful that the exclusion process will be honored by our leaders in Washington.

N&T: How do you see media's evolution with social media in the near future?

Newspapers are the “most trusted” source for news and information over all other media, excepting only friends and family, according to the APTech/PRIMIR study. Newspapers will morph from the analog caterpillar to the integrated butterfl y by solidifying their position as the most trusted source both in print and online. 

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