The Changing Digital Landscape: Where Things are Heading

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Lee Rainie discusses the latest Pew Research Center findings about the state of technology and media in 2015 and looks at five major trends that will shape the media environment and consumer habits in the coming years. This is a presentation he gave at the recent Tencent Media Summit in Beijing, China.

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  • I am delighted and honored to be here today and I would especially like to thank Trista and Lois for helping me in many ways to be able to speak to you today.
  • This slide will make the point that digital media has changed everything about media and its role in the world:

    How people get media
    Where they get media
    When and for how long they use media
    Who shapes and influences their media experiences
    And
    The way media affects how people view themselves and their world
  • These changes have disrupted television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

    Now in American, most media companies have become digital companies. We used to ask questions about how people use different kinds of media like newspapers and television. But after 2012, we stopped asking those questions because they did not reflect how people think and how they act. They consume digital media when it comes from a traditional newspaper organization. They consume digital media when it comes from a traditional television organization And they consumer digital media when it comes from a traditional radio organization.
  • These changes have disrupted television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

    Now in American, most media companies have become digital companies. We used to ask questions about how people use different kinds of media like newspapers and television. But after 2012, we stopped asking those questions because they did not reflect how people think and how they act. They consume digital media when it comes from a traditional newspaper organization. They consume digital media when it comes from a traditional television organization And they consumer digital media when it comes from a traditional radio organization.
  • We also have found in our research that social networking/social media sites have become important sources of news for many Americans. A majority of users of Facebook and Twitter get news from those platforms.

    The big meaning of these findings is that people are now depending a lot on their friends to be their “editors” about what information is important. Their friends are “information gatekeepers” in much the same way that news editors used to be the ones making decisions for a community about what information is important and interesting for the community to know.

    In America this is a really important trend because citizens do not trust the government or news organizations as much as they did a generation ago. They are shifting their trust to their personal networks. Their friends’ opinions are the ones that often affect the products and services they buy, their political opinion, and even their lifestyles and personal habits.
  • Three digital revolutions have occurred in the last generation and each of them has affected the way people think about news and information. Also, each revolution has impacted the way people can participate in creating and sharing news. They do not have to depend exclusively on news organizations to tell them what is going on in their community or their province or their nation or around the world. They can discover much of what is going on by participating in media culture themselves – acting as their own broadcasters and publishers.
  • The first revolution that we at Pew Research documented involves the rise of the internet and high-speed broadband connections to the internet. You can see in this chart that in America, about one tenth of adults used the internet in the year 1996. Now 87% of adults use the internet. Most of them have online wired connections at home or they use a smartphone with an internet connection at home.

    The rise of the internet and the world wide web had a profound impact because they allowed so many people and organizations to make contributions to news and information through websites. This exploded the number of opportunities that people had to find the information that interested them.

    As the web became a part of people’s daily lives, they found ways to get to the news and information that mattered most to them and it meant that the power of traditional, industrial-era news organizations to shape news stories and the culture was diminished a bit because people had other ways to discover the information they cared about. As the amount of information kept increasing and increasing it also meant that new information intermediaries like search engines became important ways that people found the material they needed.
  • The second revolution involved mobile connectivity as people began to enjoy cell phones and then smartphones after the Apple iPhone was introduced in 2007.

    You see in this chart now that 92% of American adults have cell phones and 68% -- two thirds – have smartphones.

    The mobile revolution has been really important because it means people can contact others anytime and anywhere. They can get information any time they want as long as they have their phone. I like to say that phones have allowed data to become our “third skin” – our first skin is our real skin; our second skin is our clothes; and now our third skin is all the data, information, and news that is in the air around us and easily captured by the apps in our mobile devices.

    Indeed, phones have become so important to people that they treat them like another body part – as important to them as their arms and their legs!




  • There are a few more things to say about how these three revolutions – and the coming fourth revolution – have changed and will change the way people get news and information.
  • One of the most important impacts is that more and more people will get news and information on their mobile devices. In one study Pew Research did about web traffic to the most important news sites in America, we found that in 39 cases, there was more traffic to the news site from mobile devices than from desktops or laptops and only 10 sites had more traffic from fixed computers, rather than mobile computers.
  • One of the most important impacts is that more and more people will get news and information on their mobile devices. In one study Pew Research did about web traffic to the most important news sites in America, we found that in 39 cases, there was more traffic to the news site from mobile devices than from desktops or laptops and only 10 sites had more traffic from fixed computers, rather than mobile computers.
  • We also have found in our research that social networking/social media sites have become important sources of news for many Americans. A majority of users of Facebook and Twitter get news from those platforms.

    The big meaning of these findings is that people are now depending a lot on their friends to be their “editors” about what information is important. Their friends are “information gatekeepers” in much the same way that news editors used to be the ones making decisions for a community about what information is important and interesting for the community to know.

    In America this is a really important trend because citizens do not trust the government or news organizations as much as they did a generation ago. They are shifting their trust to their personal networks. Their friends’ opinions are the ones that often affect the products and services they buy, their political opinion, and even their lifestyles and personal habits.
  • We also have found in our research that social networking/social media sites have become important sources of news for many Americans. A majority of users of Facebook and Twitter get news from those platforms.

    The big meaning of these findings is that people are now depending a lot on their friends to be their “editors” about what information is important. Their friends are “information gatekeepers” in much the same way that news editors used to be the ones making decisions for a community about what information is important and interesting for the community to know.

    In America this is a really important trend because citizens do not trust the government or news organizations as much as they did a generation ago. They are shifting their trust to their personal networks. Their friends’ opinions are the ones that often affect the products and services they buy, their political opinion, and even their lifestyles and personal habits.
  • In addition, social media are becoming a news source that rivals other traditional sources. In American, Facebook is as important to political news consumers as local news TV station broadcasts, which for two generations have been the most popular source of news for Americans by a wide margin.

    And Facebook is more popular as a news source than cable television news stations and broadcast outlets.
  • In addition, social media are becoming a news source that rivals other traditional sources. In American, Facebook is as important to political news consumers as local news TV station broadcasts, which for two generations have been the most popular source of news for Americans by a wide margin.

    And Facebook is more popular as a news source than cable television news stations and broadcast outlets.
  • For younger users, Facebook is now more important than “local news” programs for getting news. That s different from older generations, which still rely more on local

    This is an important part of the trend because technology change is usually powered by generational change. We see in our data from around the world that teenagers and young adults are very eager users of digital technology. Indeed, in America, young people say their technology use is an important part of their personal identity and their generational identity. Whereas, some earlier generations think of themselves as defined by the wars they fought or the economic challenges they faced, younger people now think almost instinctively first about how important technology has been in shaping their view of who they are.
  • For younger users, Facebook is now more important than “local news” programs for getting news. That s different from older generations, which still rely more on local

    This is an important part of the trend because technology change is usually powered by generational change. We see in our data from around the world that teenagers and young adults are very eager users of digital technology. Indeed, in America, young people say their technology use is an important part of their personal identity and their generational identity. Whereas, some earlier generations think of themselves as defined by the wars they fought or the economic challenges they faced, younger people now think almost instinctively first about how important technology has been in shaping their view of who they are.
  • The same trend towards digital content applies to video. This slide shows some data about how many people now get news from online videos. It’s about a third of all Americans and half of those who use the internet.

    Many news organizations now find they get as much attention to their archived online videos as they get to their live programs.
  • The same trend towards digital content applies to video. This slide shows some data about how many people now get news from online videos. It’s about a third of all Americans and half of those who use the internet.

    Many news organizations now find they get as much attention to their archived online videos as they get to their live programs.
  • Of course, one of the main differences between internet information and information sources of the past is that the internet is very much a participatory media. Instead of Industrial Era media, in which one source broadcast information to many consumers, the internet is much more defined by one-to-one and many-to-many communication.

    It is not a one-direction platform where the flow of information is from a central source to consumers. It facilitates people being their own broadcasters and publishers. And they find this very meaningful.

    The data presented here show how many people share or repost the news they encounter, how many discuss online the news they see with others, how they post information and pictures and videos about news events they see taking place in front of them.

    This is very empowering and really changes political and civic life.
  • Of course, one of the main differences between internet information and information sources of the past is that the internet is very much a participatory media. Instead of Industrial Era media, in which one source broadcast information to many consumers, the internet is much more defined by one-to-one and many-to-many communication.

    It is not a one-direction platform where the flow of information is from a central source to consumers. It facilitates people being their own broadcasters and publishers. And they find this very meaningful.

    The data presented here show how many people share or repost the news they encounter, how many discuss online the news they see with others, how they post information and pictures and videos about news events they see taking place in front of them.

    This is very empowering and really changes political and civic life.
  • We have seen lots of change already, but a fourth revolution is at our door. The internet of things (IoT) will be major force in the coming years. The internet of things means that lots of devices become networked – smart appliances, smart rooms, smart cars, smart buildings – and there is more “intelligence” built into artifacts of daily life.

    When we asked experts about what would happen in the next 10 years, they predicted by By 2025, the internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and for ill.

    They thought the good benefits would include more convenience, more intelligence, and more connectivity. They worried about the impact of the IoT on privacy, about class divisions, and about whether government institutions could “keep up” and make wise policies about how these tools can be used.

    It will be a very challenging and exciting time.
  • So, the story in the Pew Research data about America are that digital technology revolutions have had major impacts on the way people get news and information, they way they share news and information, and the way they create news information.

    They like many of these changes because they can get information they like, they can participate in media culture, and their voices have greater power in civic life.

    At the same time, there are major challenges that arise from the explosion of digital information and the way people use it.

    One of the fathers of the digital world, Alan Kay saw much of this coming and argued that the impacts were not inevitable and unavoidable. He was hoping that people would create technology that would improve life and not create lots of new problems.

    He believed, as I have noted here, that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

    And with that hopeful message from America, I thank you for your attention and the honor of being with you.
  • The Changing Digital Landscape: Where Things are Heading

    1. 1. The Changing Digital Landscape State of the news media 2015 November 12, 2015 Lee Rainie (@lrainie) Director, Internet, Science and Technology Research Pew Research Center Tencent conference
    2. 2. Where people get media How people get media When and for how long they use media Who shapes and influences media experiences The way media affects how people view themselves and their world
    3. 3. In America these changes have disrupted traditional “industrial era” media institutions
    4. 4. Media are now personal, portable, participatory, and pervasive
    5. 5. Contents 3 digital revolutions have changed the news State of the digital news media 2015 6 Impacts on News and media 5 trends for the future
    6. 6. 3 digital revolutions have changed the news and information environment in America
    7. 7. 14 36 44 52 55 59 61 63 67 71 74 74 76 76 79 83 84 84 87 0 20 40 60 80 100 1996 2000 2003 2006 2009 2012 2015 Revolution 1 - Internet Users %
    8. 8. 18 25 31 45 59 66 73 75 77 82 81 83 84 85 87 91 89 91 92 11 19 27 37 43 44 50 53 55 68 0 20 40 60 80 100 Dec-00 Nov-04 Jan-08 Apr-12 Aug-13 Cell phone Smart phone Revolution 2 – Mobile Connectivity
    9. 9. 10% 76 7 65 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 Among internet Among all Revolution 3 – Social Networking / Social Media
    10. 10. State of the digital news media 2015
    11. 11. Network News: Fact Sheet Audience broadcast networks saw a positive audience picture in 2014. Economics two of the broadcast networks – ABC and CBS – improved financially in 2014, while NBC experienced a decline. Digital Audience received more visits via a mobile device than a desktop.
    12. 12. Digital News — Revenue: Fact Sheet Digital Ad Revenue Continues to Grow In 2014, $50.7 billion was spent on digital ads, including mobile, up 18% from $43.1 billion in 2013. Mobile Ad Revenue Grows Rapidly in Past Two Years In 2014, $19 billion was spent on mobile advertising, up 78% from the $10.7 billion spent in 2013.
    13. 13. Digital News — Revenue: Fact Sheet Total Digital Display Advertising Within digital advertising, display ads such as banners or video are where most news organizations make the majority of their digital revenue. Video display ad spending is growing at a faster rate than any other display category.
    14. 14. Digital News — Revenue: Fact Sheet Total Digital Ad Revenue by Company Five companies – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL – still generated 61% of total domestic digital ad revenue in 2014. Facebook continued to lead in mobile display ad revenue.
    15. 15. 6 Impacts on news and media
    16. 16. 1 - A Mobile Majority More and more people will get news and information on their mobile devices.
    17. 17. 1 - A Mobile Majority  39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers  At the same time, though, desktop visitors to these sites tend to spend more time per visit than do mobile visitors.  One segment of that – mobile advertising spending – showed sharp increases
    18. 18. 2 - Mobile and Social go Together Social networking/social media sites have become important sources of news for many Americans.
    19. 19. 2 - Mobile and Social go Together  People are now depending a lot on their friends to be their “editors” about what information is important. Their friends are “information gatekeepers”.  Citizens do not trust the government or news organizations as much as they did a generation ago. They are shifting their trust to their personal networks.  Their friends’ opinions are the ones that often affect the products and services they buy, their political opinion, and even their lifestyles and personal habits.
    20. 20. 3 - Facebook Now Rivals Legacy News Sources
    21. 21. 3 - Facebook Now Rivals Legacy News Sources  Social media are becoming a news source that rivals other traditional sources.  Facebook is as important to political news consumers as local news TV station broadcasts, which for two generations have been the most popular source of news for Americans by a wide margin.
    22. 22. 4 – There are Clear Generational Divides (Millennials are ages 18-34 …. Baby Boomers are ages 51-68)
    23. 23. 4 – There are Clear Generational Divides  For younger users, Facebook is now more important than “local news” programs for getting news. That’s different from older generations, which still rely more on local  Technology change is usually powered by generational change. Teenagers and young adults are very eager users of digital technology.  Young people say their technology use is an important part of their personal identity and their generational identity.
    24. 24. 5 - Digital Video and Radio News on the Rise
    25. 25. 5 - Digital Video and Radio News on the Rise  The same trend towards digital content applies to video. It’s about a third of all Americans and half of those who use the internet.  Many news organizations now find they get as much attention to their archived online videos as they get to their live programs.  Video display ad spending is growing at a faster rate than any other display category .
    26. 26. 6 - Consumers Are a Part of the Process (% of social media users who have …)
    27. 27. 6 - Consumers Are a Part of the Process  The internet is much more defined by one-to-one and many-to- many communication.  It is not a one-direction platform where the flow of information is from a central source to consumers. It facilitates people being their own broadcasters and publishers. And they find this very meaningful.  This is very empowering and really changes political and civic life.
    28. 28. 5 trends for the future
    29. 29. 4th Revolution on the way By 2025, the internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and for ill Internet of Things (IoT)
    30. 30. 1. Screens and data will be almost everywhere • More media encounters and media sharing • More advertising opportunities • More change in measuring “audiences”
    31. 31. 2. Augmented reality will bring media and data into real life • More impact for location awareness • More immediacy for selling opportunities • More worries about privacy
    32. 32. 3. Virtual reality will become immersive and compelling • More customized media experiences • More attractive product placement • More distractions and brain change
    33. 33. 4. Alerts will become pervasive and people will regulate their media streams more aggressively • More awareness of news and social networks • More community interactions • More stress and frenzy
    34. 34. 5. Smart agents and machines enabled by “artificial intelligence” will work alongside people as their assistants and “media concierges” • More self-awareness • More relevant and actionable-information • More changes in the way people work
    35. 35. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” -- Alan Kay (1971)
    36. 36. Thank you!

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