Here's what a Trump presidency means for the digital media industry

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images.

While it will take time for the full implications of Donald Trump’s surprise win of the US election to become clear, we have provided a few potential impacts the Trump presidency could have on the digital media space:

  • Slowdown in media mergers and acquisitions. Over the last two years, the digital media industry has experienced steady growth in mergers and acquisitions. However, the trend could reverse in the near future. Trump has voiced opposition to large corporate acquisition deals such as the AT&T and Time Warner deal, and the Verizon and Yahoo deal, citing “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” This could impact players attempting to compete with already established giants (such as Google and Facebook) in the ad space, and media powerhouses (such as Netflix). Moreover, 56% of global deal-making executives expect Trump to exert downward pressure on M&A, according to a survey from Intralinks Holdings Inc., cited by Bloomberg.

  • Publishers could see increased levels of engagement in traffic. Elections drive spikes in traffic to media publishers, but what follows is typically an “election hangover,” or lower engagement as election hype dies down. However, given the unpredictable nature of this election, media outlets will likely have no shortage of news stories to drive clicks and readership.
  • Ad industry faces “wait-and-see” mentality. Much like what happened with Brexit’simpact on the UK advertising industry, an initial slowdown in spending could take place in the US. Publicis CEO Maurice Levy reiterated this notion yesterday, claiming that a Trump election would “likely be similar” to what happened in the UK, as many of their clients took a “wait-and-see” approach to ad spend, according to an interview with Ad age. Much like the financial markets, the advertising market reacts negatively to uncertainty.
  • A shortage of STEM workers should immigration policies tighten. There will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs and only 400,000 US computer science graduates by 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates cited on the White House website. This means that US graduates are on track to fill just 29% of these jobs. Filling these vacancies will require either a rapid acceleration in homegrown computer science talent, or a continued acceptance of foreign computer science talent into the country. There are around 650,000 to 800,000 H-1B workers in the US today, of whom an estimated two-thirds are in computer-related fields.

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