In 2018, the press was able to relay massive political events in Armenia to their audiences.
There are already first signs that show that the media is changing in the new situation. The demands, expectations and competition have changed.
What can we expect for 2019? How will the media change? What trends of development will emerge? Our partners talk about this.
Tigran Hakobyan, RAU member
I think that in the coming year, television and radio companies will be exposed to the impact of two key factors. The first factor is the Velvet Revolution which liberated broadcasters from the shadow government of the authorities ad enabled them to freely implement editorial and broadcasting policies. And the second is the digitization of all types of media, carriers and content, which significantly increases the number of TV channels and programs offered to the consumer, and aggravates competition. If four years ago, no cable carrier had a private TV program (all were either foreign or domestic broadcasting programs), today’s cable carriers already broadcast 31 TV programs of their own.
Therefore, the broadcasters whose group, real or shady owners will ignore the “digital” factor and the “doors” which opened up in the face of electronic media after the events in May, will lose the audience and advertising revenue sooner or later.
I think that in 2019 there will be significant changes in the field of electronic media. Changes will be made in the Law on Television and Radio that will reflect the rapid changes in digital media and the democratization process in the country. I do not exclude that one or two TV companies operating in the digital multiplex will refuse the license next year. The positions in the market will strengthen for those TV and radio companies that produce quality, unique and demanded content. And they have already begun. Several radio stations broadcast online program imagery, a policy of interactive programs are being carried out etc. Some TV companies offer specialized, so-called “standalone” programs to the audience with cable networks.
In short, rapid changes, media socialization, the ability to act in the conditions of freedom of speech, interactive television and radio, diversity of television programs and competition for the audience; these are the trends and tendencies for 2019.
Karen Harutyunyan, Civilnet editor
Several media outlets, as well as social media, have greatly contributed to the movement and revolution in 2018. Media outlets reporting on corruption, abuses, and misconceptions for years on end have been walking with the revolution.
In 2019, the media will challenge the revolutionary government to keep its activities under an alert and transparent magnifying glass.
Many civil society and media outlets are in power. The media should not be shy about the fact that some of its pieces have appeared on the other field, and it must fulfill its traditional and important role.
The mass media which was sponsored by the former authorities have been added to the field. They will continue to exploit the government’s activities by all means, serving the interest of their owners. It is important that independent and healthy media counterbalance such information and “fake” news with honest and impartial news.
Nikolay Torosyan, PanArmenian website editor
I have both positive and negative predictions. One of the positive trends is that TV companies will seek to enter the internet space to compete with “classical” online media, which will ultimately benefit the consumer.
And the negative forecast or my fears is that 2019 will be a year of fake information, manipulation, unofficial websites, unknown Facebook users and pages. Already today we can see how some forces, taking advantage of the majority of society, using completely unclean methods of getting information, can successfully mislead and trigger scandals. This tactic will be maintained and will develop, making people turn against some, including conscientious media and journalists.
Suren Deheryan, Ampop.am website editor
I think 2019 will be a transitional year for local media. I mean, there will be changes that are directly or indirectly linked to the political situation in Armenia in 2018 and the expected economical changes in 2019. At the same time these changes will also be made due to the developments in digital technologies.
Competitive media will be those that take the new demands of their audiences into account.
It will be a difficult year for the media. Especially those media that have had stable financial support during the time of the previous authorities rule.
Although major players in the media sector are apparently trying to influence the old rules of the game, they are of a temporary nature, because they have low efficiency and are costly. Everyone needs to find time and review their work, taking into account external and internal challenges.
This great mass of fake users will fall sharply, but false news will be an urgent problem in the media industry.
I look forward to the liberation of TV, the transition of more quality online channels towards TV. I look forward to the growth of specific media projects. I look forward to more effective, open and transparent cooperation between journalists, civil society and government agencies to create more quality, clear affordable and useful content, which our audience deserves.
Gayane Mirzoyan, Urbanista.am website editor
The important trends in Armenian media in 2018 are largely related to the April revolution in Armenia. The acting government, continuing to use traditional tools of communication, Facebook live broadcasting, Telegram channels etc., affects journalistic content delivery formats. Moreover, Facebook live has also begun broadcasting on TV.
Interest towards fact checking will continue to remain relevant. Rapidly developing political events in Armenia have created this demand.
This year, interest towards major multimedia formats has increased in Armenian media, which gives a deeper insight into the topic and involves the readers in the story.
One of the largest and global trends in 2019 and during the next few years will be the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the media. Experts call it not a trend, rather a whole new era that allows for the creation of automated news. Such news is already being used by the Associated Press, Forbes, ProPublica, The Los Angeles times and other media outlets. However, the use of Artificial Intelligence brings with it not only new approaches to content creation and consumption, but also new ethical and legal issues.
Artur Papyan, RFL/RE Azatutyun Radio
The coming year will become a period of adaptation to the new situation created by the political changes of the past year for the Armenian media. The media has a task to find its new place and role in the media market, to be rearranged and to find a new voice. Such dramatic changes are particularly harsh for established and large media. At the same time, opportunities are being created for smaller, more dynamic and innovative media.
In the context of news content, it is expected that the interest will increase towards more narrow, thematic news, and the broader consumers will become increasingly oriented towards the audience, the journalist, the independent meda. In other words, the audience will focus more on their favorite hostess or journalist regardless of what media outlet they are representing.