Trends Report 2018 – Are we ready for Generation S?

This report draws a portrait of the macro trends that are shaping today’s screen-based industries and analyses their potential impact on the Canadian TV and digital media industry. 

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The digital revolution is dramatically transforming all facets of our lives.

Every day, 10.5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook, 35 million mobile applications are downloaded and 1 million blog posts are published. In the first quarter of 2012, 8 million new .com and .net domain names were registered. The number of videos uploaded to YouTube in one month is greater than all of the programs that the three major U.S. television networks have produced over the last 60 years. By 2016, there will be more mobile devices in circulation than there will be humans on the planet.

This revolution will increasingly be shaped by “Generation S” – those currently under the age of ten, who will have never been without a touch screen, and are growing up with the ubiquity of the Internet, and instant access to information. This generation’s use of information and access to entertainment, education and monetary transactions, will be via a screen. They will consume media disassembled, engage in stories in a participatory way and most likely consume content recommended by a friend or an algorithm.

The impact of this revolution on the television and interactive digital media sectors is far-reaching as the sectors strive to adapt their competitive strategies and business models to take advantage of emerging technologies and changing markets.

By many accounts, threats and opportunities are flip sides of the same coin: trying to adapt to changing consumer habits both undermines current models and creates the basis for new ones.

There is no doubt that this revolution in all its dimensions requires a bold and imaginative response on the part of governments, funders of creative content and the industry. In many ways, the question at the heart of this issue is the following: Are We Ready for “Generation S”?

Six key trends

6 key trends are outlined in this document:

  1. Always on: As we enter the age of constant connectivity, making content available on all platforms remains a priority (i.e. hyperdistribution).
  2. Screen Convergence: How audiences now consume and engage with content requires that stakeholders rethink their content design and distribution strategies.
  3. Transmedia Storytelling: How TV remains strong in terms of audiovisual consumption and how it is well poised to influence other media by cross-sector collaborations.
  4. The power of many: The audience as active participant in financing, production and distribution of content projects.
  5. Monetization: Digital revenue generation is reaching viability through a growing apps economy and new Internet players are investing more and more money in original digital content.
  6. The Big & the Agile: The polarization of the content and funding ecosystems between giant TV and Internet players and smaller, innovative niche start-ups is creating a new ecosystem.
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