Mapping Zimbabwe’s Digital Future

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | iZiviso Global Editor At Large

HARARE, Zimbabwe – TRADITIONALLY in the Zimbabwean market, the entrenched nature of local media operations, have meant innovation has not been as rapid as it could have been.

Among the Zimbabwe top media players, there is very little that has been done to effectively harness the power of a more sophisticated approach to operating online based more and more on insight and data.

The pace of technological development is certainly unprecedented but there are a few key themes that are likely to inform the market in the immediate future.

Video has the potential to be the big game changer of our time. Short form is progressing at a natural pace, but it’s live streaming that I see as the next big revolution. If you look at the ways sports rights are being handled in the US at the moment, a real niche has been carved out to integrate online with existing cable content rights.

Mobile remains interesting and there is certainly a great deal of opportunity for publishers and advertisers to leverage technology to engage more competitively. As mobile becomes the primary device for accessing the internet the way in which we think about online itself will change, the challenge is to make sure there is balance between current and developing platforms.

Social media will continue to be a base platform for many people’s online lives, and whilst Facebook, Twitter and Google + will retain their dominance, the rise of niche networks is interesting. Pinterest started as a specialist network for women in Mid-West America and has now gone global, I think we will start to see more of these special interest sites come up in the next twelve months.

Gamification is another key area to watch, particularly around education. There are some fascinating developments happening in this space where the idea of educating and developing new ideas in a format that is familiar and intuitive to young people is producing some remarkable results.

Underpinning all of these however is the rise of big data. The ability to target customers in increasingly sophisticated ways based on insights into real time behaviours and preferences will increase yields and performance in ways that will have a direct knock on to all platforms in the near future. In this climate context of delivery will remain important, but increasingly will be only one of many factors leading to improved performance.

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