The public’s expectations of the media industry have shifted greatly with the influx of technology. This growth in technology has provided more access to both live and on-demand coverage. Audiences are now consuming media and news, not just on their TV, but on all devices and platforms. They’re also consuming media in a variety of formats.

As a result, the challenges of mass media are difficult to downplay. The media is tasked with creating various forms of content. Media content needs to be strategically built to be consumed differently based on the device the viewer is watching it on. Content which works well in one format, such as long-form for television or Netflix, doesn’t necessarily work well on mobile or social where users expect more snackable content. Becoming mobile and social friendly is now a necessity to stay competitive and keep viewership strong.

Additionally, from a news media perspective, the public now expects constant coverage and news updates in real time. Media outlets therefore need to provide around the clock coverage and have professionals manning the news desk at all times. From a post-production standpoint for more entertainment-focused media, viewers also expect to have on-demand access to videos, shows and movies on all of their devices, and seamlessly.

The media is therefore tasked with providing access to important news information and analysis about the world, as well as top entertainment content, quickly and effortlessly for viewers, presenting media professionals with an array of challenges.

Media industry competition

Media providers and news outlets must act quickly and present easy user experiences in order to beat out the competition. When it comes to news, viewers want up-to-date coverage and will leave one media outlet for another if reports are coming in faster. When it comes to entertainment, they want easy-to-use interfaces compiled with a plethora of content to choose from on-demand. Netflix is leading the game due to its ease of use combined with its library of unique content.

To stay relevant, news outlets and media entertainment companies must continue to innovate and personalize their offerings to their viewers. They need to have clear social media and marketing strategies. They also are charged with meet necessary guidelines, such as those of the FCC, to ensure content is accessible to all viewers.

Trust and loyalty

With the influx of fake media and fake news available and making headlines, media outlets must also look to establish credibility with viewers. Misreporting the facts or misrepresenting what was said can be the end to a reporter’s career and hurt the network’s credibility overall. With politics more divisive than ever, networks need to be especially cautious and do everything possible to gain the public’s trust, and keep it.

This divisiveness has also led to unwavering followings, with viewers on the far-right and far-left remaining allegiant to the networks and news coverage that feeds into their personal values and political beliefs. Individuals who watch NBC, CNN and Fox News are likely choosing their preferred network based on its coverage and sticking with it. It’s harder than ever to gain new viewership or pull someone over from one network to another.

With so many sources available to cover the news, the same story is commonly presented from different angles and strategic viewpoints. Some of the time, the news is also allegedly said to be skewed to reinforce the network’s or its reporters’ agenda, which is a sharp contrast to the way the news it mean to be presented – fully unbiased reporting. When opinions are presented as facts, accuracy comes into question and the media may hurt the public’s trust of them. How can media professionals and networks therefore keep audiences’ trust, engage current viewers and attract new audiences?

Personalization and algorithms

Every individual’s social news feed looks different. All of the content displayed and stories and videos shown are personalized to them based on their interests and the past articles and videos they have consumed. Artificial intelligence is being used to create more personalized media experiences. All networks, social and online, are tracking what each individual consumes and suggesting the next article or video to consume as a result of this consumer’s behavior. They are using algorithms developed specifically to do this and predict what an individual will do next, as well as how to keep them engaged with their content.

The system has become so developed, that consumers often expect to receive curated recommendations for what to consume next. User expectations are that platforms like Facebook and YouTube should understand their interests and build recommendations based on them. The extent to which this violates a users’ privacy is a discussion evoking debate currently, with campaigns emerging to declare that data rights should be viewed as human rights for example. This topic was tackled heavily by two Netflix documentaries recently, The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma, which explore how the misuse of data and targeting can cross lines.  

The volume of information

Additionally, with more targeting and an endless array of recommendations being suggested to viewers, audiences can get lost in the sheer amount of media content available to them. Media companies are therefore charged with finding ways to stand out from the crowd and reach users who are inundated with suggestions for what to watch next.

However, these same media entities are charged with also contributing to the above by continuing to release more content to keep up with the unstoppable flow of information. They must therefore find ways to produce a steady flow of top notch content, but content that is unique and will resonate.

Yet producing video is costly and time consuming. The process of crafting a script or segment, executing it, ensuring it meets FCC regulations and allows all audiences to engage with it can be difficult to do at budget.

AI tools and software to help media

Artificial intelligence and automatic-speech-recognition (ASR) tools are often being utilized to help with the above needs. The last thing a media entity needs is to be faced with a costly lawsuit after it invests heavily in the creation of its content and pays talent fees to those featured within it.

One way these ASR tools are being utilized is to provide media professionals with transcripts of everything said. These can help to inform storyboards, daily news shows and also serve as legal, admissible proof when interviews with subjects come into play.

The media industry is held to the highest standard of accuracy and its professionals are tasked with delivering on deadlines quickly. With last minute rushes to cover news and release new content, media professionals can greatly benefit in tools tailor-made for their needs.

For these reasons, Verbit has customized its ASR to accommodate challenges in media industry processes. These challenges facing the media industry are met with media-specific transcription and captioning of news, talk shows, video interviews, movies and more. For example, our tools can identify speakers to help differentiate who said what when different individuals are speaking. Speaker identification can remove a once manual task to help media pros produce content more quickly.

Media can also benefit from the use of SMPTE timecodes, as well as utilize tools like Verbit’s which are designed to cancel out factors that reduce audio quality. Without these, it’s difficult to generate accurate captions and transcripts for videos.

Finally, in order to both meet mandatory FCC compliance in providing captions to all who need them, captions on videos are shown to help with retention and engagement of videos and media content.

These tools can help the media to attract the largest pool of audience possible. For example, captions can make or break the engagement of media for those with hearing impairments, those commuting who can’t watch with the sound or those who are non-native English speakers and who need an additional visual aid to properly follow along. For example, the addition of captions on international shows has allowed Netflix to garner new audiences to shows produced in different languages.

Overcoming media challenges in close

With a market that’s more competitive than ever, media challenges can be met and overcome by leaning on technology tools like captions and other personalization methods to help media outlets gain and retain audiences and scale their video views. Challenges in media and information searching will continue to evolve, so professionals must learn to evolve with them by incorporating more data, personalization and assistive tools in the process.

The challenges faced by print media will continue to grow in size and value with the greater implementation of data, tracking and reliance on digital devices. The challenges of print media are therefore very different from those of video producers and social media outlets in that they’ll need to re-demonstrate the value of print to their audiences due to their lack of ability to customize it to different audiences’ needs and interests.