I'm writing this article in the middle of April 2020, and right now everyone in the media is worried about COVID-19, and how we are seeing devastating drops in advertising revenue, but also massive growth in both traffic and subscriptions.
We could talk for a long time about these specific changes, but one thing to remember is that this is a temporary crisis, and so a bigger question is what will happen after all this is over? Will we end up with a completely different world, or will things mostly go back to normal? And what even is normal?
The short answer is that things will not change as much as people think, but we are seeing that some exciting trends are accelerating. So things that have already been happening for years are now suddenly happening faster.
But, in this very in-depth article, let's talk about this in more detail. What are these trends, and what patterns are we seeing, and how does that reflect on the future of media?
First of all, I want to stress that how things are going to play out obviously depends a lot on how we deal with this virus. How long is this going to last? Will we have a second outbreak because we start to ease restrictions too quickly (or because people start to ignore them)? Will we have another outbreak in the autumn? Will it come back in a mutated form next year?
There is also the question of immunity. Are people actually immune once they get it, or can they be reinfected? Right now, we think they can't, but we are not really sure.
And there are questions about a vaccine. We think we may have a vaccine by September (at the earliest), but it's very uncertain, and it's going to take a year or so to manufacture and distribute a vaccine to 7 billion people. But this assumes that we can find a vaccine, which we don't actually know at the moment. So what then?
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