We’re calling it now: 2019 will be the year of new voices. In 2018, younger generations have been the force behind social movements and social change.
Gen Z, in particular, refuses to settle for the status quo — and they represent about 25 percent of the population. With younger generations being the driving force behind social media and digital trends, we can expect their behavior to support and drive home the inclusivity of different people, voices, and opinions in the media (and all other walks of life for that matter).
We’re used to seeing some variation in the stories of familiar characters — educated people or families that are relatively well off. We’re so used to these stories, in fact, that any well-told story that strays from the norm and manages to get seen by the larger population is instantly declared revolutionary or considered ahead of its time. To be fair, these adjectives are generally true for these less-common stories that “make it,” but should it be that way?
Recent trends in storytelling indicate that we’re no longer settling for simple variations of stories of the same personas’ lives. Independent media outlets like YouTube, Soundcloud, and Medium have opened doors for the expression of diverging opinions and little-known stories featuring unfamiliar characters. These outlets aren’t just popular among artists, but also among their audiences, specifically younger generations. Millennials prefer YouTube 2x more than television and 37 percent of the coveted 18-34 demographic are binge-watching on the YouTube.
Some mainstream media sources have caught on, and in the coming years, we’re expecting the media to provide even more representation of varying cultures and communities — and not just within the US, but across the world. We’re seeing more range in the people represented by characters in box office hits, more diversity in roles for shows and movies produced by streaming services, and even more range in the types of characters and cultures represented in national bestsellers. Some of note include "Black Panther," "Crazy Rich Asians," "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before," and "The Hate U Give."
These trends toward more authenticity and inclusivity have seamlessly made their way into Storyblocks’ creative community. When we took a look back at our search trends from 2018, we saw an increase in searches related to diversity, and we’re anticipating a larger demand for diverse content in 2019. On Storyblocks Video, searches for “African” are up 176 percent, “elderly” are up 121 percent, “Islamic” are up 185 percent, and “Asian” are up 49 percent, and that’s not even including more specific searches related to these groups and others. On Storyblocks Audio, searches for “Japanese,” “Arabic Instrumental,” and “African Vocal” among many similar searches are all up by more than 100 percent from last year.
Industry threats like Facebook’s privacy issues and fake news running rampant have made 2018 a tumultuous year. With the combination of thriving independent media outlets making our world a smaller place and the growing force of younger generations that are passionate about authenticity and inclusivity, we’re expecting creators and businesses to move toward authentic self-expression. Furthermore, the creators and brands that don’t embrace authenticity and inclusivity as a core part of their being will fall out of favor in 2019.
With authenticity being the driving trend of 2019, we can expect more creators with different backgrounds and points of view to enter the creative space and rise in popularity. New voices with different opinions will be embraced on podcasts and YouTube. Content showing off different cultures, lifestyles, and traditions around the world will not only be produced by amateur stock media contributors, but it will also rise in usage. We’re looking forward to growing and working with our team of contributors to source the content and be a part of the move toward a future of more diverse storytelling in the media.