9 Feb 2011

Media Week Trends Forecast 2011

Media Week published their predictions for 2011 recently in the form of 10 key questions.

1) What do I need to do about the iPad?

The FT is quoted as saying: "Every client wants to do something on the iPad but they aren’t quite sure what,". Impressive as the iPad is, UK penetration is forecast to reach just 10% by 2014. Admittedly this is more than the combined average daily sales of broadhseet newspapers right now but maybe a better question is how you can exploit tablets in a commerically viable way? This post from the ThoughtGadgets blog might help answer that question for you.

2) What’s next for social media?
Everyone is rushing to find ways to monetise their social media (or, for the majority, their Facebook) strategies. But what if social media (the clue's in the name) was purely a social tool, not a money-making one? Measurement tools are still in their infancy in this medium but how many real conversations are actually taking place between brands and their consumers? No-one wants to talk to brands, they want to talk to people. Talk about brands maybe, but not to them. Maybe brands should stop thinking about what value they can get out of these online communities and start thinking about what value they can add to them instead. Maybe then the conversations taking place about those brands will trend more to the positive.
3) Who owns all that data?

All your data are belong to us. Media owners and Advertisers are drawing battle lines in this area with media agencies sitting in the middle. Perhaps a more constructive discussion in this area would be around how media owners can add value to this data by turning it into useful information (providing the who, what, where, when of it) and agencies can then turn this into knowledge (the how) and understanding (the why) to help clients spend their advertising monies more effectively. Then we might avoid a clash of priorities and get to the win:win:win outcome that will benefit all parties.

4) How important is privacy?

We've all had the slightly eerie experience of being followed around the internet by adverts for cheap flights to London, or new digital cameras (or, for some of you, something far more disturbing). The opportunities for targeted advertising in the online arena are legion. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook certainly thinks we need to "get over" our attachment to online privacy (well, he would, wouldn't he?) but brands need to be careful not to create a backlash. Behavioural re-targeting has it's place only as long as it's useful to the consumer.

5) Will social media and TV become one?

Wired magazine predict that "The next billion televisions will be internet-connected" turning TV viewing into a more social experience. But isn't it one of the more social activities already? Just take the amount of chatter around Eastender's most recent depressingly shocking storyline. Online, offline, in person it was the talk of the steamie. Will internet enabled televisions make such a significant difference to how deeply UK culture is penetrated by TV especially givenThinkbox recently showed that the average Briton is now watching more than 4 hours of TV every day. Or will it just replace the need for the laptop on the knee while watching Corrie?

6) Are paywalls working?

Time will tell but with so many free news sources out there it's hard to see how generic content can generate income. The days of allegiance to a single news source, whether that be a newspaper or a television station, are numbered as people tend now to surf from source to source to get a more balanced viewpoint. Perhaps there's a market for specialist and in-depth journalism but with day-to-day news finding you (via Facebook, Email etc) not the other way round there doesn't appear to be an obvious rosy future for fire-blanket paywalls.

7) Will this (finally) be the year of mobile?
We've heard this every year for the last five but the emergence of truly useful location based services could really see things take off in this medium as advertisers are finally able to exploit the one defining difference that mobile provides over other internet access points. Recent news that Orange and T-Mobile are to offer contactless payment via mobile through Barclays later this year also suggests that the convergence of technology could spur mobile on to greater heights.

8) Is there untapped potential in local media?

While the Government might see opportunity in Local TV it's hard to see how this could realistically be a viable media channel. However, with S1 and STV fighting it out in Scotland online for local online presence could there still be a way for local newspapers to rescue themselves from what appears to be near terminal decline? The rise and rise of Groupon with it's local offers strategy also points to a further localisation of online activity and, given the increasingly targeted online advertising opportunities this is a space to watch with interest.

9) Can digital outdoor supplant press?

Bit of an odd question this one. JCDecaux claims: "You can probably reach more people using digital outdoor than by using all the quality and mid-market newspapers." There's no doubt that great strides are being made in outdoor advertising innovation (not before time) but will it ever have the capacity to replace the loyalty consumers feel to "their" paper or give the in-depth analysis that a newspaper carries?

10) How big a deal will the Olympics be?

While there's going to be immense competition for outdoor space around the Olympics, a lot of this is going to be snapped up early doors by the official sponsors. As every year, the really interesting action is going to be around what the big brands who aren't sponsors do to capitalise on the event without running afoul of the legal minefield that now surrounds hi-jack activity. With so many new media options in the digital and mobile arena 2012 is going to be an interesting year in media.