In 2023 the media industry was marked by the rise of generative AI, an increased focus on privacy, sustainability and brand safety, and economic challenges. These changes also led to gains in innovation, advocacy and industry collaboration.
As we anticipate the new year, we asked leaders from media and advertising industry associations to share their thoughts about the past year, how global challenges will continue to impact businesses and what the industry should look forward to in 2024.
Here is who we interviewed:
- Sonia Carreno, President, Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada)
- Julie Ford, Executive Director, Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC)
- Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next (DCN)
- Derek Lackey, Managing Director, Response Marketing Association (RMA)
- Shannon Lewis, President, Canadian Media Directors' Council (CMDC)
- Bertrand Mossiat, Outreach and Development Manager, Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI)
- Simon Redlich, President, International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Certification and Chief Executive, ABC UK
- Dean Ridings, CEO, America’s Newspapers
- Jay Small, COO, Local Media Association (LMA)
- Fran Wills, CEO, Local Media Consortium (LMC)
In the first article of this two-part series, we asked industry organizations about the media industry’s greatest achievement in 2023 and the impact of AI technology in 2024. You can also read part two.
What do you think was the media industry’s greatest achievement in 2023?
Sonia Carreno, IAB Canada: The industry’s remarkable commitment toward innovation and experimentation. With GenAI eclipsing most of the conversations in the market, we saw stakeholders across the sector embrace these capabilities and explore how the technology might enhance products and services. Whether to streamline workflows and automate low-value tasks or to prove more progressive use cases like dynamic creative optimization or intelligent media units, the industry was all-in on the rush toward AI adoption.
Julie Ford, DAAC: Its ability to avoid being entirely captivated by the allure of AI, instead engaging in thoughtful discussions and initiating a swift exploration of privacy-centric approaches to these models. Many companies began drafting policies almost immediately and committing to responsible AI implementation. This demonstrated an understanding of the technology's vast implications and a proactive stance in addressing how to utilize it responsibly.
Jason Kint, DCN: The mobilization around generative artificial intelligence was incredible to witness in 2023. I was thrilled at the speed in which DCN members — all premium news and entertainment companies — actively jumped in to explore opportunities, risks and value exchange.
Simon Redlich, IFABC: The sheer volume of high-quality content produced was so impressive — and often taken for granted. From the dedication of those reporting and producing it to the logistics of making it all happen, it really is quite something. As the festive period approaches for many of us, we should keep in mind those forgoing time with family and friends to maintain that.
Dean Ridings, America’s Newspapers: 2023 was marked by a series of achievements. Local media continued to get more involved in advocacy efforts to protect and advance the industry. The announcement that Canadian news publishers reached a deal with Google for payment for news is a promising sign a similar agreement can be reached with the U.S. The Community News and Small Business Support Act (HR 4756), which helps support and protect local journalists, was introduced and has gained significant bipartisan support.
Jay Small, LMA: Besides simply surviving in a difficult socioeconomic climate, the biggest wins for local media are interrelated and extend trends from recent years: 1) continued advancement of collaborative news and business models across company and geographic bounds; and 2) continued progress developing journalism funded by philanthropy at all levels, from crowdfunding to major brands and foundations.
Fran Wills, LMC: Navigating disruptions in the online ecosystem — AI, consumer privacy, GA4, social media deprioritization of news — to name a few. There were so many changes in 2023 it makes your head spin. While there definitely has been an impact, many publishers tackled these challenges head on, adjusted and persevered.
What impact will AI technology have on the industry next year?
Jason Kint, DCN: Most of the events of AI tech will likely be incremental, which is consistent with AI’s development over the last decade. The action will happen with lawmakers and in the courts where everything has accelerated. Keep an eye on the copyright office, which may lean in with some much-needed guidance on applying the four factors of fair use in the copyright act to generative AI where abuses are rapidly killing off historical market value for journalism.
Simon Redlich, IFABC: Pretty much everyone in the industry is using or experimenting with AI to some degree. I expect, as with most technologies, we’ll find it’s great for some things but shouldn’t be a default choice for everything. It’s another addition to the increasingly powerful set of tech tools we can call on. It’s up to us to use them well.
Dean Ridings, America’s Newspapers: The quick rise of AI has provided challenges and opportunities for local media. The potential for misuse is considerably higher, but so is the opportunity to augment and further target content. Local news organizations must continue to explore how AI can make their existing teams stronger, but I don’t see it as a replacement for trained, professional journalists.
Fran Wills, LMC: It’s imperative that publishers learn more about AI and identify the positive and negative impacts it may have on their business. It’s vital to ensure content and intellectual property are protected while experimenting with how AI can be used to aggregate data, streamline processes and improve operational efficiencies. The key will be leveraging AI to benefit the industry while minimizing the risk.
Read part two to find out what our panel of professionals predict what’s next for the industry in 2024.