American Marketer


8 top tech trends for media to watch in 2012

January 20, 2012


By Kunal Gupta

Mobile is poised to revolutionize media less than a decade after the desktop Web demolished long-established business models. What role will mobile channels such as apps play in media’s future?

Below are eight technology trends we expect to see this year based on the activity generated by media companies and publishers. One major trend: expect mobile to become the starting point for many experiences.

1. HTML5 powering the mobile app economy

More apps will be built using HTML5 to expedite and streamline the development of mobile experiences.

The move to HTML5 will allow for companies to leverage existing Web design and development skills, as opposed to finding a mobile-specific skill set.

2. Seamless media consumption experience cross-device

Taking a page from Amazon’s Kindle Sync concept, publishers will need to enable users to “start reading” on one device and “continue reading” on a second or even third device.

Enabling a seamless experiences within a media brand cross-device, whether it be the desktop, tablet or smartphone, will drive engagement and repeat usage.

3. Apps powering the desktop media experience

Microsoft, Mozilla, Google and Apple are all expected to launch experiences, through new operating systems or the browser that enable an app-centric view of the desktop. This will present new distribution, engagement and monetization opportunities for media brands.

4. Social channels for media consumption

Media brands today primarily leverage Facebook and Twitter for discovery, which is working quite well.

We believe that there is an opportunity for media brands to distribute content to enable users to consume media within these social channels. The Washington Post social news reader in Facebook is an example of this.

5. Personalized media experience for consumers

Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, Google Currents, Twitter and Facebook are all using data and analytics to recommend media content for users within their respective ecosystems. We can expect to see more publishers enable this feature to increase user engagement.

6. Mobile advertising hits the tipping point

Ad agencies and media planners are now including a mobile component in almost every campaign and the size of the mobile spend will increase significantly this year.

The winners will be those brands with consistent traffic and the most compelling ad experience on a small screen where there is limited real estate.

7. Mobile traffic passes the desktop

Traffic from mobile and tablet devices, whether it be from apps or the browser, will approach or pass traffic from the desktop.

Mobile will be the starting point over the desktop for many use cases for consumers hungry for media, including weather, sports scores, breaking news and social channels.

8. Privacy legislation may slow adoption of new technology

As governments and regulatory bodies catch up to the evolution taking place in behavioral ad targeting, auto-personalization of content and other intelligence-based services, concerns around privacy and user controls will be top of mind for brands, publishers and developers.

Kunal Gupta is CEO of Polar Mobile, a Toronto-based platform provider for digital media distribution and monetization. Reach him at