The world is full of geopolitical tension, but globally societies are moving in a liberal direction on LGBT rights, with seven in ten agreeing that gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own life as they wish – even in socially conservative Russia the figure has moved from 31 per cent in 2013 to 40 per cent now.
At the same time, a complex, fragmented media landscape of competing claims mean that globally, 81% believe that ‘there is so much contradictory information that it’s hard to know who or what to trust’. This represents a core challenge to the media’s responsibility to inform and entertain.
The microtargeting of companies such as Netflix has brought in a new era of personalisation and curation of content. But will the end result be similar to our self-built echo chambers on social media, limiting entertainment’s ability to bring us together? In common with other businesses, content providers are facing growing pressure from stakeholders and the public to take a stance on socially divisive issues – making it more challenging for them to cater to a mainstream audience.
Balancing mainstream with niche presents new questions. For those who rely on advertising revenue, can niche, targeted content provide the same ROI as the broad reach offered by ‘hero’ shows? For content providers whose value proposition is quality, can providing breadth of taste allow the same quality control of content?
There are further questions around the role media plays in social cohesion through the provision of news, documentaries and entertainment. As we embrace the new content available in a shift away from broadcasters to online video services, does a more fragmented media landscape just give people more choice that ever, and what are we losing in shared experiences? We’ll find out in the 2020s.
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