Stay Ahead of the News Curve: 5 Visual Trends to Watch

Visual news trends

It’s become increasingly challenging to stay on top of the news business.

As technology continues to evolve, so does the way consumers view and engage with stories. Whether it’s breaking or soft news, there is an increased appetite for instant access to information that’s also visually stimulating.

Here’s a look at five visual trends to keep an eye on, if you want to remain competitive.

Mobile and tablet-friendly video

The trend toward mobile and tablet-friendly video isn’t new, but should continue to grow as the demand for on-the-go media increases. According to a Zenith survey, online video viewing will increase 20 percent from 2016 to 2017, driven by a 35 percent increase in viewing on mobile devices.

User-generated videos, from apps like Snapchat and Instagram, continue to draw large audiences. In 2016, Snapchat received 10 billion daily video views.

As of Sept. 2017, Instagram’s 800 million monthly and 500 million daily active users are spending more than 80 percent of their time in the app watching video.

Social media platforms streaming live sports

Last season, 10 NFL games were streamed on Twitter. This season, Amazon bought the rights to stream 10 games. Twitter’s NFL live streams averaged 265,800 views per minute last season.

Facebook also is beginning to stream live sports. The company is partnering with Fox Sports to stream live Champions League Soccer.

NFL livestream on TwitterOnline streaming vs. cable

Consumers are moving away from cable subscriptions and moving toward online streaming. According to a Fluent LLC survey, 61 percent of Americans still have cable in their households, but that number steadily is decreasing.

Online streaming services, like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, are growing in popularity. These services provide exclusive content to add subscribers. They also are investing in creating original content.

Will original news shows be next? With Neilsen now set to track viewership on Netflix, it’s not unrealistic to see these services exploring deeper partnerships with news networks or even venturing into their own live broadcasts.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual reality systems, like the Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE, were introduced in 2016 as innovative platforms for gamers. These platforms have stayed on course with a gaming-first focus, but some experts believe virtual reality eventually could open to different markets, namely news and sports.

Pokémon Go, a free smartphone app introduced in 2016, helped spike interest in augmented reality. More than 700 million people downloaded the app, which generated $1.2 billion in revenue in one year.

Since augmented reality easily can be consumed through smartphones, it has potential to grow in popularity. Look for interactive maps and augmented reality apps with audio functionality in the near future.

Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief with The New York Times magazine, believes there is a future for virtual reality and augmented reality in journalism. “It is capable of triggering a sense of connection between you as a viewer and the people or the events that are in the film, because you feel as if you’re present,” Silverstein said, in an interview with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The Washington Post recently launched an augmented reality story with 3D visuals and audio narration. The story gives visitors an in-depth look at the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Washington Post Augmented Reality

360 Video

According to a case study conducted by Magnifyre, 360-degree videos receive 28.81 percent higher views than normal views and double the viewers watch the video from start to finish.

360-degree video technology allows the viewer to control what they’d like to focus on during a live or recorded video. CNN is just one of many news organizations this year that is dedicating an entire team to creating 360 and virtual reality content.

Talk show host Conan O’Brien has used this technology for web-only exclusive content for his show, CONAN.

Look for marketing teams to start using 360 videos to promote products, too. This will allow consumers to view a product online in a way that feels like the product is physically in front of you.

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Anthony Vence is a Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire. He contributes to @PRNmedia and previously worked in the newspaper industry as a news and sports editor. He also works as a freelance photographer.

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