CES Media Trends: A Look at 2017 + What’s Ahead
On the early morning plane ride home from Las Vegas after yet another CES, I thought back to ways the show has changed since I first started attending in 2008, especially when it comes to the media. Certainly, the obvious media trends play out at big shows like CES – way less print, way more online and independent media, everyone looking for the coolest thing they can find. But this year there was a sense that covering CES for many media is a huge obligation and in many ways, a competition for the best, most comprehensive and interesting coverage.
For example, every major tech site had a large video presence. Broadcast – with producers and anchors from the major networks – used to dominate the video coverage from the show. But everyone from CNET to Digital Trends to TechCrunch had video both from the show floor and in their own booths and even created hashtags (#dtCES, for Digital Trends) so you could track their coverage from the event.
Even traditional broadcast folks are changing up how they cover the show; NBC 3 in Las Vegas stopped by one of our client’s booths for a quick demo and filmed a two-minute video for the station’s Twitter followers. Social media provides an interesting way for folks like that to get more content out despite being limited by broadcast time and availability. Manufacturers and media alike were using Facebook Live to showcase their booths and cool demos in real-time.
The emphasis on video – both for coverage and on social media – is one we should be paying close attention to for 2018 and beyond. Video coverage means you need to have a good demo – not just a good demo, a super interesting demo that delivers a compelling audio and visual effect for viewers. This is hard to do at CES if you’re not demoing a whole-body exoskeleton VR suit or a 3D printing pen. Smart home products suffer from tough to demo unless you’re going to build an actual home environment and hook up your gear other technology to show off some unique implementations. I mean, who hasn’t seen a smart bulb being controlled by an app?
Another huge trend was pre-coverage. By the time I got back to my room on the night of Wednesday, January 4 – the day before CES officially opened – I had already read several stories about the “coolest gadgets we’ve seen at CES so far.” What? How? I mean I know there is a media day, CES Unveiled and Pepcom Digital Experience! CES – all media-facing events designed to let manufacturers preview their gear ahead of the official show – but these have become almost a necessity for getting into the “cool tech at CES” stories, which start way earlier than show day 1.
Speaking of early coverage, we also heard from a lot of journalists and editors who wanted as much info as they could get under embargo ahead of time. This is always something we try to do ahead of a show in order to secure stories for the day the news hits, but this year it seemed EVERYONE was trying to write their coverage ahead of time, and just grab pictures and videos from the show floor. And this makes sense – the media are under a ton of pressure to produce at CES, so much so that it’s become a pretty exhausting and dreaded event for many. But when we think about media cadence and show news, it almost makes sense to ensure you have your news ready to go before Christmas – that way you get it into the hands of everyone who will take it before the holiday lull.
Of course in a perfect world, we’d all have our collective crap together before the holiday and the week before CES would be filled with reading books and drinking spiked eggnog by the fire.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
The trends around media coverage at CES are fascinating and certainly going to impact the strategies we implement for clients next year and for years to come. Until then, I’ll be trying to play catch up on the thousands of pieces written this year that I still have yet to read. Where’s that spiked eggnog….