Tech companies get aggressive in local

“The platforms will target audio, local news, and frictionless subscriptions as areas ripe for innovation.”

1. 2021 will be a turning point for local journalism — but not as we’ve known it. The relentless shuttering of local newspapers will continue, but in parallel a handful of tech-savvy mobile apps — Citizen, Nextdoor, News Break, SmartNews — will raise substantial funding and aggressively close out a process of creative destruction sweeping the industry, opening across all major American cities and encroaching on new overseas markets.

2. YouTube and Spotify will find themselves on a collision course as podcasting and video converge. Spotify will encourage its stars to follow Joe Rogan’s lead in shooting videos of popular podcasts but providing them exclusively to Spotify. YouTube will push podcast versions of its creators’ videos. Apple will start to flex its muscle, too, engaging more aggressively in the podcast-plus-video space, getting stars from Apple TV+ to spin off audio shows and creating a premium tier for podcasts.

3. Apple, Facebook, and Google will push the boundaries of news innovation, building on the launches of Apple News+, Facebook News, and Google News Showcase. This will force all major publishers to assess their relationships with the tech behemoths, and seek to negotiate deals that both safeguard and benefit their brands. The platforms will target audio, local news, and frictionless subscriptions as areas ripe for innovation.

Edward Roussel is the chief innovation officer for Dow Jones.

1. 2021 will be a turning point for local journalism — but not as we’ve known it. The relentless shuttering of local newspapers will continue, but in parallel a handful of tech-savvy mobile apps — Citizen, Nextdoor, News Break, SmartNews — will raise substantial funding and aggressively close out a process of creative destruction sweeping the industry, opening across all major American cities and encroaching on new overseas markets.

2. YouTube and Spotify will find themselves on a collision course as podcasting and video converge. Spotify will encourage its stars to follow Joe Rogan’s lead in shooting videos of popular podcasts but providing them exclusively to Spotify. YouTube will push podcast versions of its creators’ videos. Apple will start to flex its muscle, too, engaging more aggressively in the podcast-plus-video space, getting stars from Apple TV+ to spin off audio shows and creating a premium tier for podcasts.

3. Apple, Facebook, and Google will push the boundaries of news innovation, building on the launches of Apple News+, Facebook News, and Google News Showcase. This will force all major publishers to assess their relationships with the tech behemoths, and seek to negotiate deals that both safeguard and benefit their brands. The platforms will target audio, local news, and frictionless subscriptions as areas ripe for innovation.

Edward Roussel is the chief innovation officer for Dow Jones.

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