• enlarge

Futurescape 2014Digital trends for this year

January 2014Shares

2013 saw greater engagement with social, mobile and video than ever before, with social sharing reaching new heights. The New Year will see mobile and social trends continue to drive technical, product and content innovation in 2014, with focus being on more visual ways of communication. At the forefront of this will be shareable news in the form of digital videos in journalism and interactive videos in the advertising and marketing industry. In the wake of Snowdon’s NSA leaks, we have been reminded once more of the potency of the digital communication; anything is possible and 2014 will see boundaries pushed as innovative ideas emerge in the digital realm.

Top trends on the up in 2014:

1. Multi-device and multi-screen future

In 2014 the number of mobile-phone subscriptions will overtake the number of human beings, according to the International Telecommunication Union. Growth will come from Africa and Asia primarily, with saturated markets in the west focussing on multi-device ownership: tablets, SmartPhone cameras, ultra-definition TVs and Wearables.

2. Android steps up
With 80% of smartphones and 60% of tablets now running the Android operating system, Android is set to become the primary platform for apps and commercialisation, overtaking Apple and iOS. Monetising content is set to take place increasingly through Android – with the majority of new app projects being developed for Android.

3. HTML5 on the rise
In a drive to enhance core responsive site offerings a number of news providers have committed to HTML5 for mobile and tablet in quest of more immersive web mobile experiences. A burst of creativity and innovative news app experiences is set to create richer and more immersive web mobile experiences.

4. Disruption of traditional viewing
The likes of Netflix, Google and Amazon will gain momentum in the creation of original programming, disrupting traditional ways of viewing. Last year’s release of House of Cards, exclusively on Netflix, bypassed the usual TV ecosystems and cable operators and may be a sign of things to come.

5. Social media bags the ads
With cable TV losing momentum in favour of digital it’s perhaps no surprise that advert expenditure has started to be relocated from TV screen and towards multi-screens via Facebook, Twitter and Google. The 60% of ad spend currently spent on traditional TV delivery are set to fall in 2014.

6. Multi-tasking…Media Meshing…
Whilst 49% of people already use tablets and smartphones at the same time as watching the box, 25% are participating in ‘media meshing’ - using social media, text or phone to discuss what they are watching. Social media will continue to boost live television in a big way this year. Dual screen activity, or ‘media stacking’, of course leads to fragmented attention – we’ll be dipping in and out of things more than ever before.

7. TV streaming
The TV isn’t set for redundancy quite yet despite symptoms of cable decline…Apple finally makes its big move into TV with a stream based video approach –reversing the broadcast led models of the past. Full integration with iPhone and iPad is on the rise, with Chromecast dongles, Apple TV and the Roku able to send video to TV screens.

8. The iWatch
Only one in ten consumers say they are interested in using wearable technologies, however with Apple’s stamp of approval this could change. The iWatch, for example would be the first major new product line since the iPad, taking advantage of the M7 motion co-processors. Sensors are central to the future of mobile, and Apple wants to be the key player.

9. New narratives
The collapse of narrative in journalistic stories and a rethinking of the value of standard news articles could lead to a shift to video story-telling and bite size content made to share. This combines with an increase in drones, such as the BBC ‘Hexacopter’. There is also a growing willingness for people to pay for digital news in place of traditional papers.

10. Interactive videos
Videos will take an interactive approach as part of the shopping landscape, engaging users and breathing life into the digital realm. Pharrell Williams showed the shape of things to come in his 24 hour interactive ‘Happy’ music video.

Software, companies and technologies you’ll have heard of this time next year include: Line, Xiaomi, 4K and Tor.


Author: Nic Newman
Nic Newman is Totality’s expert advisor on digital media. A digital strategist and former BBC Future Media executive, he is also a research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.

Editor: Sarah Moor