Trends & News

Social Gestures and Touch: Digital Media Mega Trends for 2012

iPad in action

When Pete Cashmore is speaking, the tech and digital media world holds its breath. Especially when he is presenting his forecast about something as far-reaching as digital media.

Again, Mashable’s trend-spotting CEO didn’t fail to create a buzz as he delivered his Mashable Media Summit 2011 keynote. No sooner had the event commenced, than it was already trending on Twitter under its hashtag #MediaSummit.

The conference, which saw leading professionals in digital, tech, marketing, sales, publishing and advertising converge on New York earlier this month, was set to define how technology is changing the media landscape, revolutionising media consumption and spurring the creation of new business models.

As, sadly, we were not among the lucky attendees, we kept a close eye on the summit agenda and were left more than impressed, especially when Pete Cashmore took to the stage to announce digital media’s trajectory and major trends for 2012. You can watch his speech here.

We were so inspired by what he had to say that we decided to rave about it in a dedicated blog post.

So here are the 8 major media consumption trends for 2012, as identified by Mashable’s CEO.

Mashable’s Media Trends 2012

1. Touch interface on all digital devices will continue to be a mega trend next year.

2. Magazines personalised according to users’ interests, such as Flipboard and Zite, and news aggregation apps, such as Pulse and Yahoo’s Livestand, will gain even more popularity but are expected to pose a big challenge to publishers whose content these apps aggregate as they won’t have control over the distribution.

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Pulse news aggregation app

3. Proprietary magazine apps based on a subscription model will proliferate next year as an alternative to news aggregation apps. With the launch of Newsstand for iPad and iPhone, users can manage their subscriptions from a centralised app. On the tablet front, Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire will continue to reign supreme as they have their own publishing platforms but new players will join the tablet competition.

4. Social gestures – with the introduction of Facebook’s frictionless sharing, whereby actions on the social network are automatically shared without you having to hit a button, 2012 will see more and more APIs based on social gestures. This is, however, a rather controversial functionality as not everyone would be happy for their friends to automatically see what they have read on the web.

5. TV will be everywhere – on all user devices, including one’s phone, laptop, and tablet.

6. As people become increasingly multitasking, second screen experiences will allow them to engage with the shows they’re watching on live TV by interacting, downloading music, etc.

7. TV and movie marketing apps will be a big player as TV shifts from a passive broadcast mode to an active, participatory experience.

8. Music will turn social – whether music producers like it or not. Evidence of this trend is the announcement made earlier this year that Spotify will be integrated with Facebook’s social gestures for a free streaming experience. Pete Cashmore, however, predicts that this will cause friction between digital music service providers and artists over copyright, with some artists pulling out of music libraries due to the potentially unfeasible business model.

Beyond 2012

Near Field Communication device

Beyond the above 2012 trends, Pete Cashmore shared what he was hoping to see, and we find some of these developments jaw-dropping:

  • The creation of more native apps working across all devices once HTML5 is rolled out
  • Apps integrated with in-car systems
  • Apple TV and centralised media hubs that accommodate all the media a user has in a cloud
  • Near-field communication (NFC) and Google Wallet app
  • More location-based news made possible via check-in APIs

And here’s our favourite:

  • Flexible displays – why be restricted to an iPhone screen or a laptop display? Pete Cashmore said he wanted to see displays that are “foldable, twistable, rollable, bendable” so that the user doesn’t have to be limited by hardware anymore.

Sounds like the future of digital media will be quite fascinating, indeed!

Which if the above trends inspire you the most? Share your thoughts with us.

Images: Matt Buchanan on Flickr; Sam Churchill on Flickr; osde8info on Flickr, Creative Commons

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