A year and a half ago, Ifra’s Where NEWS? project set itself the ambitious task of attempting to paint a comprehensive picture of all the factors which will influence media consumption in the coming five, ten and fifteen years (www.ifra.com/wherenews). This is done through the commissioning and publication of research reports from leading European institutes.
The latest report covers one of the most difficult aspects to predict; the non-technical drivers affecting society, media itself and individual preferences. This area is influenced, for example, by the sudden appearance of trendsetters, which may rapidly change the media consumption preferences of certain groups, subcultures or individuals. Examples are MySpace, the iPod and wikis.
The report, “Drivers of change in media channels” is the sixth to be published as part of Ifra’s three-year research initiative Where NEWS?, which has a budget of over Ã¢â€šÂ¬1 million. The new report was commissioned by Ifra and researched and written by the Department of Media Technology and Graphic Arts at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm.
The authors identify seven major non-technical driving forces which will lead to changes in the media communication systems. The report also deals with the possible effects of these trends on media channels. The seven key trends include consumer generated content, ubiquity and mobility, commoditisation of news media and content aggregation and search.
Prof. Nils Enlund, one of the authors, explains what newspapers can learn from the research underpinning the report: “The main lesson is probably that newspapers must be sensitive to and aware of changing attitudes and widespread conceptions in society in general and in trendsetting subcultures in particular.”
Immediately preceding the report on non-technical drivers of change, Where NEWS? Report #5 was published, the second in the series to cover broader economic and societal changes. The report, “Economic and selected institutional framework conditions in Northern America and Europe up to 2020”, was written by IWG Bonn (Institut für Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft), as was Report # 4 on socio-economic and demographic trends.
The new report focuses on issues such as trade, employment, environmental regulation, media legislation and education. It identifies some main trends, including continued globalisation, increased environmental regulation and deregulation in legislation covering media.