Here are the ones we think significant for 2020. In some cases, the trends below will have a paragraph of explanation and in other cases, just a headline is enough.
1. News fatigue. We typically stay away from making predictions about politics but as the election gets closer, Americans are likely to feel overwhelmed by hourly news notifications on their phones and Fitbit or Apple Watches -- the term we've seen is "ringxiety" -- to the extent that they will shut down and look for content that will distract them. There will also be a contingent who will be more motivated to seek out updates but we haven't identified a clever term for them. We don't think there will podcast fatigue in 2020 but that could come, since the glut of podcasts, no matter how compelling, does not yet seem to be abating.
2. Short news cycles. In a recap of news from 2019, an article mentioned the longest government shut down that ended Feb. 2019. But so much happened in 2019, that a bunch of us in the office had forgotten about the shutdown. Shorter news cycles mean that a lot of news that would have once been significant and memorable gets forgotten as we get hit by more recent news.
3. "News deserts" will continue to grow as more news outlets cut back the amount of news they produce, lay off staffs, reduce the number of days they print, etc. News deserts were once limited to rural communities but now large cities are feeling the loss of some outlets.
4. Fake news and disinformation will continue, probably increase in 2020.
5. The credibility of news media is under attack. For marketers, reaching customers while they are overwhelmed by disinformation/fraud and when the media is not seen as credible (whether on the right or left), will become harder and more complicated. This is not a political stance. The point is that marketers are going to need to find more effective ways to reach customers at a time of fragmentation and low trust.
6. Social media will continue to undergo scrutiny and it won’t look good.
7. Cord-cutting will continue to attract the media's attention. With so many streaming services, cord cutting won't be cheap but will be a bit easier due to TVs that make it easier -- but not yet seamless -- to binge on the shows you want, regardless of which streaming services you subscribe to.
8. Most tech reporters at newspapers will continue to focus on FAANG: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.
9. Elon Musk and Tesla will continue to attract undue amount of media attention.
10. Driverless cars still won't be ready.
11. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality still won’t be everywhere.
12. Blockchain and bitcoin will continue to get media coverage but most consumers still won't have much contact with bitcoin and won't understand how Blockchain affects them.
13. Corporate boycotts & consumer boycotts will continue. Corporate boycotts are when companies pull their ads from specific shows, hosts or networks to protest something said or done.
14. 3-D content and 3-D printers will still not be as popular as they are cool.
15. Student debt and healthcare will continue to be big issues.
16. Climate change will be an issue. Especially in the wake of the wild fires in Australia and elsewhere.
17. Drug pricing will continue to get a lot of attention.
18. STEM will continue to be important.
19. More small colleges will merge or close. Nearly 20 small private colleges in New England have shut down in the past five years, and we expect more as education goals evolve due to declining enrollment and resulting budget problems. There’s also more competition for better-known colleges. Expect more colleges to emphasize career readiness. (Probably because the cost is so high, it’s hard to justify pursuing fields that don’t lead to a career.
20. The future continues to look cloudy – as in cloud computing.
There certainly are more ongoing trends. Let us know us know if you think we left out anything significant. If you want more detail about some of the trends for which we did not provide detail here, check out our blog, where have mentioned some of these quite a lot.
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