We have been consuming content and news for a very long time. For news, the journey dates back to newspapers, which used the visual senses, followed by radio, which relied on audio. Television, which converged the experience of viewing and hearing, followed.
The next wave of change took place with the emergence of the Internet, which completely disrupted the content ecosystem by enabling access to all forms of content on one platform. And today, we have smartphones that have crossed boundaries of communication and have opened access to all forms of content 24x7.
With 300 million smartphone users, mobile as a multimedia platform has already outnumbered TV and print in terms of reach. And in the next 10 years, we will see the number of phones with multimedia-content capabilities grow tremendously. This will usher in a new era of content creation and distribution, even monetization.
This has already started changing the scenario for conventional media, or content outlets, and we’re increasingly seeing newspapers, TV channels and even radio stations vying for a presence on smartphones. At the same time, a long tail of content creators is taking birth at a phenomenal pace, and it will have significant impact on the ecosystem, including the working style of large and traditional media players.
This changing landscape will also redefine what we mean by news. The explosion of content from across the world, and across media, will rapidly blur the line between what constitutes news and what does not. And one of the most notable changes, in my view, will be the different formats that will evolve for the distribution and consumption of content and news.
We all know that the attention span of people is decreasing continuously. So, the dynamics of content consumption too are going to change. Short-form content, easily consumable within a few seconds, will probably emerge as the biggest driver of consumption of content on mobile, something that never happened in the world of newspapers, radio or TV.
We can already see ample evidence of this in the mobile world. Starting from short 1- or 2-minute videos to 140-character tweets to memes to GIFs to 60-word news, short-form content has already started evolving, even dominating, the content space. What we have seen is just the beginning of a vibrant short-form content ecosystem that is expected to redefine the media and content industry.
One cannot predict the future, but it is certain that short-form content that is visual, easily consumable and shareable will rule the roost.
Azhar Iqubal is CEO, inshorts
This is part of a series of articles in Mint’s 10th anniversary special issue that look at India 10 years from now. The entire list of articles can be found here