Monday, 4 January 2010

2010 media predictions

So I'm a little late getting to the predictions party. Blame the endless new year revelry, blame the long trip back to Poland - but better later than never. It also gives me the benefit of 4 days in 2010 to see how things are panning out. In the topsy-turvy economy we live in now - things can change pretty quickly.

Making predictions is a great way of starting the year for sure - especially when one of your resolutions is to blog more. Its also a great way to end up with egg on your face when none of your carefully crafted predictions comes true.

Clearly much depends on how well the global economy recovers (or continues to recover depending where you are). Sir Martin Sorrell has used most of the alphabet to describe the shapes of recovery. In the BRICS its a 'V' shape, while in the UK we're looking at the 'L'. Lets just hope its not the dreaded double dip 'W'.

Ok to the predictions:

1) Lets start with an easy one. Facebook will surpass 1/2 billion users well before the end of 2010. There is some science to this one - FB was growing at 500,000 new members a day at certain points in late 2009. Might be hard to keep that number but I don't see it slowing down, especially when you consider the potential for growth in large yet relatively untapped markets like Poland.

As a result, more later adopters will be touched by more social media. Potentially making social media a channel to market as well as marketing channel.

2) The UK election (one thing I can confidently predict before June 2010) will attempt to ape the 2008 US election in many ways. Presidential style debates have already been signed up to by the 3 major parties and with an election date looming, the Tories and Labour will employ every social media technique known to man - and hopefully a few we haven't really experienced yet.

3) The FIFA World Cup in South Africa in June/July will truly see the establishment of internet TV as a mainstream channel. Given the number of afternoon kick offs and South Africa's timezone compared to Europe - WC2010 will see millions of football fans viewing matches from their work desktops, their laptops and increasingly from their i-phones. Commercial broadcasters, all under pressure need to ensure they monetise this channel to make decent returns on the huge rights purchase that a FIFA world cup represents.

4) 2010 will be the year that Rupert Murdoch's much discussed 'online newspaper pay-walls' will get properly road tested. Murdoch's boffins have been stratching their collective heads for some time but apparently they are ready to go in 2010. Whether it be micro-charging or subscriptions - time will tell where the public are willing to pay or whether 'free' is what we now expect. And its not just the News Int titles that are desperate to realise cash based on their editorial investments. The Guardian, whilst being one of the best read online newspapers globally, is losing money hand over fist in the UK and simply must get its model right.

5) Perhaps as I'm not a massive user - I still feel that Twitter has much more to do to go from media phenomana to media powerhouse (in Facebook terms). Twitter appaears to be a long way from realising serious revenues (from advertising) and some of its audience may be under threat if the benefit it has felt from big celebrity names tweet less and less (Stephen Fry's self-imposed exile from all things 'social' and Asthon Kucher's threat to move off Twitter in the USA). Some media rules are true no matter what the medium - celebrities interest people, they sell magazines/newspapers, raise TV ratings and bolster Twitter numbers.

6)In the UK we see 'legalised' commercial TV product placement from the summer. Will the 'new' format realise the 140 million pound boost to broadcasters fortunes that the Culture Secreatry Ben Bradshaw has predicted? While the debate continues as to whether product placement should indeed come in (ISBA have just released a suprise U turn and are now against the idea) it will take the belief of advertisers, patience of consumers and willingness of producers for even a small proportion of this ambitious target to be reached.

7) Apple will release another piece of technology that will become quickly adopted and will have the marketing community pondering how best to use the new 'tablet' for communication purposes. It looks like late Jan might be the date Steve Jobs takes the stage and reveals all. Suffice to say, it will look great and we'll all want one.

So that's it - I know 7 is an odd number but 5 seemed lightweight and frankly I couldn't think of 10.

Maybe I'll come back in December and see how these got on.

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