How Does Attention Play in Tech & Media?

Attention discovery and engagementDiscovery and engagement are the two of the problems technology can helps us solve in the world of media. The framework above is a couple of years old, but still delivers on the basic premise that a good digital infrastructure gives us the opportunity to close the gap in understanding how what we say connects with what we do.

How does real time compound over time? With big data, we can now put in place a system to gain visibility into how internal and external data sets look, and where we fall off in terms of connecting intention with actual transactions. 

Evolution of attention

Activate has a Tech & Media Outlook update out — they outline 9 themes we should think about as we head into 2016. They say:

  1. The average American spends more time on tech & media than work or sleep
  2. Messaging will blow past social networks as the dominant media activity
  3. The next big winners in streaming audio are already (quietly) here
  4. The long-awaited cord cutting moment is still far off
  5. There is a “cable killer” coming, but it won't look like you expect
  6. e-sports & wagering will change the game in gaming
  7. Good luck getting rich in the app store!
  8. These companies are grabbing all the money in consumer tech & media
  9. One simple way to predict what tech & media players will do next to compete

The common thread among the themes is attention.

While marketers have long been preoccupied with getting attention, get traffic and convert it, media has long been more focused on keeping attention, become a destination.

Time on site is an example of how the Financial Times looked at attention, experimenting led to the ultimate entertainment franchise for Marvel, and continuous experimenting delivered improvements and growth for BuzzFeed.

Where attention goes, so does growth. This is not a zero sum game, however. Because of multitasking, Activate calculates the average American spends 31.28 minutes per day with some form of media — with video and audio taking the lion share to surpass sleeping time. 

Spending attention

The company says, “Over the next five years, the consumer tech and media industry will grow by over $500 Billion.” Growth is still possible and it can happen in just under a minute per month. Messaging is catching up with social media in usage, with WhatsApp and Facebook's Messenger in the lead:

Apps built on top of messaging enable users to solve broad problems; messaging becomes a hub for consuming content, playing games, and conducting transactions.

In categories like travel, personal finance, and career:

New consumer businesses are being built on messaging platforms — this will expand as messaging bots become more ubiquitous.

With 1.1m daily active users and 300k paying users Slack is leading in the app-enabled with bot integration category for the enterprise.

Digital audio has opened up opportunities for for adjacent, terrestrial and niche players. Will sound be bigger than video? In the 2011 Internet report, Mary Meeker said the next big thing was going to be those two big things on the sides of our head.

The tech & media world is evolving into a(n increasingly) unified stack. Activate says that “not surprisingly, all of the major players are trying to solve many of the same problems and attempting to play in multiple layers.”

Major digital media players

Large players will look to fill the gaps in the stack by buying independent ones.

Key Independent digital media players

Meanwhile, tech companies and upstarts are implementing overlay strategies. For example:

Slack’s unified search doesn’t just provide access to chat messages in Slack, but the contents of files in apps that are connected to Slack, overlaying productivity software in adjacent layers.

What these companies don't discuss, however, is that our ability as humans to focus on one thing instead of another gives us control over our experience and power to create well-being. Daniel Kahneman says that the Dalai Lama and Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology at Penn, would agree on the importance of paying attention. Many of the choices we can make are to discover pleasure in the little things, and feeling engaged in small acts of creation.

Regardless of how attention plays in tech & media, we are the makers of our own experiences. Attention is indeed not a zero sum game.


View the full report below.

Activate Tech and Media Outlook 2016 from Activate


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