Syracuse Newhouse School Issues Emerging Media Tech Forecast

By The Myers Report Archives
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The Internet, digital, mobile, streaming and other technologies and trends have dramatically changed the news, advertising, branding and entertainment industries in the last 20 years.  A new report from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, officially out in September, warns media executives to fasten their seat belts and get ready for more.

The Media-Nxt 2017 Report is the inaugural compendium from Newhouse's Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship providing overview and additional resources on six emerging technologies that are already beginning to change the media industry, plus four other technologies that are not here yet, but are coming.

"So much is changing in the world of media: new creation tools and environments, new delivery and distribution channels, new devices for media consumption and interaction, and new business models," says Sean Branagan, Director of the Center.  "Because media is becoming a high-tech industry, both industry professionals and students of the craft need to move faster, jump in and actively shape the future of media, rather than just adapt and adopt."

The report was researched by a team of eight media-savvy graduate, undergraduate and PhD students at the school and edited by Aileen Gallagher, a former magazine editor and professor of multiplatform journalism.  This year's report focuses on six areas of emerging media tech: Virtuality (a term coined to encompass AR/VR/360 video), Machine Learning, Automated Image Recognition, Blockchain, Haptics and Conversational User Interfaces (CUI).

"We wanted to give a quick read to busy media executives so they can learn fast and be apprised of what's coming," Branagan said.  "Unlike other articles and reports on emerging technologies, ours stays laser-focused on media, breaking down the impact we think we will see in three main areas: news and information, entertainment and positioning (namely advertising, branding and public relations)."  All these media areas are represented by top-ranked academic departments at the Newhouse School.

A free version of the report provides the overview most media executives need to stay abreast of these business-critical technologies and is already available at a "landing page" at media-nxt.org.  A premium version includes a curated list of more than 30 early-stage media tech companies from all over the world designed to give media companies actionable information for embracing these technology areas, via a pilot project with one of these startups, through investment or even acquisition.  The premium version costs $1200 (with a 50 percent discount for non-profit organizations and Newhouse alumni) and can be pre-ordered at the mini-website, too.

Inspiration for the report and the overall Media-Nxt project came from Branagan's "Trendspotting in Digital Media" course, which he teaches every fall semester at Newhouse.  Over the course of the semester, a mix of both graduate and undergraduate students are exposed to concepts about futuring and new technology and become fully engaged in an ongoing conversation about the future of media.  Together, students, Branagan and several guest speakers discuss and discover what's real and meaningful, what's happening, what just happened and what might happen.  The course demands that these media students in all disciplines throughout the Newhouse School look at technologies fearlessly, talk openly about societal changes and movements, and unearth industry trends and tremors in media.  It requires future professionals to look at the media industry as anthropologists -- seeking answers, insights and meaning.

In 2016, former Coca-Cola marketing executive Tom Boyle (Newhouse alum '83) heard about the class and took an interest, funding the report's initial creation and design.  The report was researched and written in late spring 2017 and completed over the summer.

Branagan now plans to expand the program further by hosting Media-Nxt events and speakers, offering sponsored research opportunities for media and tech companies to work with Syracuse University technologists and Newhouse School researchers and provide a platform to help shape the future of media.

To download the 2017 Media-Nxt report and eventually learn more about the bigger program, visit media-nxt.org.

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