Trends in Two Minutes is a monthly bulletin of trends hitting businesses across
Asia-Pacific with a focus on marketing and communications. 
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Videogames: The Next Content Game Changer

Over the past seven years, the value of the global videogame market has grown by approximately US$70 billion. Once considered a niche pursuit, the widespread proliferation of smart portables has seen gaming embraced by a much wider audience – with the majority of today’s gamers being casual players enjoying a handful of hours of leisure time on their smartphone each week. Asia Pacific, meanwhile, currently represents the largest gaming market in the world.
In 2019, the industry is poised to expand even further. Two of the world’s largest tech brands have recently unveiled major gaming platforms and industry reports suggest the world’s largest entertainment conglomerate is being courted for similar investments. Coupled with the recent launch of the first major gaming retail platform since 2003 and the massive growth of videogames as spectator sport (covered in a previous edition of Trends in Two Minutes), it’s a sector clearly on the cusp of disruption.

The major outcome of this disruption will be entire new channels to both understand and access new and existing audiences. Not unlike video and audio streaming platforms ten years ago, videogames currently represent a wealth of largely untapped potential data and access points for brands and communicators – be that through sponsorships, partnerships or other initiatives. And, given subscription TV streaming only surpassed traditional viewing last year, opportunities for brand investment remain ample.

Going Off Road: Are We Leaving Cars Behind?

In 2018, two different scooter-share start-ups received billion dollar valuations. In 2019, global automotive sales remain in a state of flux. In China, currently the world’s largest automotive market, cities like Guangzhou and regions like Shandong are embracing bikesharing and testing autonomous highway vehicles while major domestic brands are describing the ridesharing model as potentially ‘unsustainable’.

With the launch of air-taxis further transforming the landscape, it’s becoming rapidly apparent that the era of owned cars as a default mode of transportation may be drawing to an end.Typically, evolutions in transport have been framed in terms of transformations of standard automotive models – electric or autonomous cars, for example, or ride-sharing. But, a combination of factors (climate, generational shifts) may create a different future.

For today’s brands and communicators, the key takeaway is to be mindful of how strategies could be transformed by such changes in infrastructure. A quarter of all podcast listening, by way of example, occurs either in the car or on public transport. Roughly 85% of British motorists surveyed listen to radio. If transport shifts to a different model, media consumption is likely to be similarly impacted – including the evolution of new transport communities and specialist groups.  

The Rising Fight Against Deepfakes & Disinformation

In April, China escalated their ongoing fight against fake data with proposed legislation combatting the rise of deepfakes – highly sophisticated, AI-generated false images almost indistinguishable from genuine photographs or videos. In May, Singapore passed similar legislation designed to combat fake news on social media.

Across China, Asia Pacific and the world at large, governments and businesses alike are uniting in a renewed battle against disinformation, platform hacking and fraud. In addition to governments like China, Singapore and Australia unveiling new legislation, multiple social media brands have begun taking direct action to more aggressively limit hate speech, conspiracy theories and similar abuses on their platforms. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is committed to building a global coalition for the cause.

The impacts of these developments are widespread and numerous. With AI and Machine Learning likely to breed more sophisticated deception efforts as they evolve, brands and communicators will need to cultivate proportionate data literacy and countermeasures to ensure they’re delivering truly effective strategies. Similarly, new policies and legislation may alter much of the media landscape brands leverage to connect with stakeholders. 

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