The future is bright: Quietly’s predictions for 2015

What are we predicting will be the next big thing in 2015? Well, several things. Let’s cut to the chase.

2015 Predictions

By Quietly

Here are Quietly's industry predictions for 2015.

  • Journalism & Tech Will Get Along

    By Quietly

    Despite reports of overhauls and overthrows, the tech and journalism industries will get along this year as they work on the same page to understand product. It's already [working for Quartz. ](

  • Content Marketing

    By Quietly

    Publishers and brands will seek to buy content from other aggregated sources—like the Associated Press—and also freelancers. Content marketing will also be more people-focused in 2015.

  • Monetization

    By Quietly

    Paywalls and native ads will continue to work their magic. Google Contributor may gain traction—as users will pay a small monthly fee to not have any ads on screen. 

  • User-Generated Content Will Rise

    By Quietly

    Publishers will rely on messaging apps like Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp to build traffic and gain exposure. These sites will also be available to brands to publish content.

  • Shortform & Longform Will Marry Happily

    By Quietly

    More publishers will use shortform media to add to its longform reporting. But it will also combine the two to create complimentary readings and more. 

  • Longform Storytelling

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    Thanks to the success of the [Serial podcast](, more publishers and newsrooms will devote time, money and energy to investigative longform journalism.

  • The Power of Personalization

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    Publishers will compete with social media personalization by creating personalized home pages for its users. Using algorithms and editors, readers will be treated to completely customized content.

  • The Rise of ShortForm

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    Journalists, bloggers and techies will increasingly turn to video services like Vine and SnapChat to cover and distribute news, especially to its younger audiences. It will also become a platform.

The power of personalization

The future is in personalization, especially with content. It already is to a degree, with social media sites like Facebook monitoring what you click and read to suggest other related content (or sponsored posts you may like).

And this year, that personalization will extend to publisher’s homepages, which are in need of a makeover. In order to compete with social media timelines and algorithmic choices, publishers will adapt by making homepages unique to the user via a profile and and curated content. By signing up for an account or profile with a publisher, you’ll be able to arrange and select the content that appeals to you most, along with what the publisher recommends and promotes as well as sponsored content.

Of course, personalization will not only focus on algorithms, but curated content from editors. Netflix, for example, has the best recommendation algorithm in the world, but there’s still a content coordinator managing recommendations. An actual human! Publishers will turn to editors and technologists to curate content and sections.

Complementary to this personalization trend, 2015 will be the year of user-generated content, especially short-form user-generated content like Vines or Snapchat.

Short-form and long-form storytelling

Many publishers are using short-form media to enhance their stories, by adding on-the-ground tweets and vines and using list-based content. Short0form content will be used in other ways this year as more tech companies use their product as platforms. With Snapchat already launching its Discover platform this year for brands to publish Snap stories along with the rise of placing content on messaging apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, short-form content will be used on social media networks.

Long-form content is still alive and well though, and this year we will see more publishers devote time and money toward investigative journalism. Thanks to the success of the Serial podcast, more publishers will take a cue from BuzzFeed and devote more time to investigative units.

2015 is the year publishers will realize that long-form and short-form storytelling should be integrated instead of segregated. We saw publishers experiment with short-form by using summary lists and bullet points and other explainer card journalisms, and this year we’ll see them work together to package news differently across different channels. Perhaps once publishers officially adopt time-based metrics, we’ll see the rise of using both storytelling mediums to understand engagement.


How will publishers make money in 2015? They’ll continue to rely on paywalls—which worked in 2014—but local newspapers will reap the rewards (as aggregator sites can essentially take the work of a New York Times article blocked by a paywall and claim the lost traffic). They’ll also continue to build departments and teams to create sponsored content and native ads or even merge editorial teams.

There’s also an intriguing idea announced at the end of last year to use Google Contributor, which lets users donate a $1–3 monthly fee to view contributor partner sites without any advertisements.

We predict that publishers will turn to a version of content marketing, where they buy content from third parties, freelancers, and other blogs. This will be especially useful for publishers’ fledgling relationships with brands who want to use content marketing.

Industries will unite or die

Like in 2014, there will be many thought pieces about the “war” going on between Silicon-Valley tech and New-York publishing. This has already been highlighted with The New Yorker’s “King of Clickbait” article (which we’ve dissected here), and we anticipate the debate to continue.

But we predict that while there will be those articles—negative headlines sell, after all—the reality will be that the relationship is working far better. Look at The Washington Post, which is being transformed into not only a digital newspaper, but a global one. Or look at new publishers like Quartz, who have their developers and journalists working side by side in the newsroom. Big publishers will look to hire journalists and technologists in equal number, though there may be pay discrepancies they’ll have to work through. Mid-level or smaller publishers will still work with technologists, but go through third parties to develop and use software, analytics, etc.

As much as people may want to hear that these two industries are at odds, we’re optimistic that they’ll come to work together.

Wish list

In a perfect world, these things will come true in 2015:

  1. Apple’s Newsstand will die a painful and short death, freeing up publishers from Newsstand’s limited functionality.
  2. There will be more satire news shows. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight proved it could cover the news better than some news organizations. Although Oliver denies being a journalist, he’s certainly shown there’s an appetite and attention span to watch satirical investigative journalism for 30 minutes once a week.
  3. Video will change the game. As YouTube stars are gaining Hollywood agents and lucrative development deals, videos and video stars will represent content and brands.
  4. Someone will figure out how to monetize podcasts other than using “Mail Kimp.”
  5. Tumblr will stay weird.
  6. Wearables will be nothing more than a fad and ironically never be worn. Though, this may end up coming true!
  7. Visuals will dictate the success of mobile content. No more walls of text, rather short-form bits and visuals will break up long-form articles to provide a varied reading experience for all types of readers.
  8. Long-form and short-form will actually work together and to the surprise of publishers, readers will love it.
  9. Despite Facebook’s essential role in directing traffic to publishers, this will be the beginning of the end of Facebook until they modify their algorithm.
  10. Companies will recognize the importance of content to support their brand, giving writers jobs and giving readers valuable content.
  11. Instagram will realize that their ads aren’t the most targeted (who would choose to follow SportChek?) and will rethink the process.
  12. Publishers will get just as many likes on their social channels as your aesthetically gifted tween cousin.

Those are our predictions for 2015. Have any more for us? Want to let us know how right (or wrong) we are? Tweet us at @QuietlyApp and like us on Facebook for more insights on the publishing and tech industries.

Image credit: freddie jarrett via Flickr

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