My Research Predictions for 2010

Over the past year I have been interviewing prominent researchers in the media industry. One of my favorite questions to ask is “What are your three predictions for the next five years?” The range of answers I receive is fascinating. (You can watch all these interview videos on my blog

So as I turned the page on another year, I began to think about what my predictions would be for just one year ahead – 2010. Here are five of them, in no particular order:

1. Set top box data measurement will take a giant leap forward in terms of acceptability and usability.

I don’t think I am taking a big risk here with this prediction. The past year has seen several new organizations and affiliations launched with the purpose of helping formulate a basis for set top box measurement. Some of these new committees have already started to create standards, metrics and protocols to better facilitate usage. 2010 will be the year that these advancements take root and become part of our research tool kit.

2. What we measure will change.

As more data granularity becomes available through the internet and set top boxes, more detailed data will become available. New metrics will be created resulting in a more official transition away from standard age / gender measurements as the industry standards for posting purposes. But the full transition will come when the standard posting systems are updated to be able to accommodate the new terminology and metrics.

3. The Print industry will revitalize through the internet.

Currently business looks fairly dire for many print publications and newspapers. Many have closed or cutback in the past year. But as this year progresses and consumers adopt the various range of tablets, kindles, smartphones and handheld devices etc, there are opportunities for magazines and newspapers to not only survive this technological change but, if embraced, thrive once again. By expanding their range of platforms to include video and audio, we might see profitability return sooner rather than later as the ad make improves and some forms of paid content services take hold.

4. Subscription radio will remain on life support.

I-Tunes and apps like Shazam and Pandora have enabled cell phone users to create their own playlists and “radio stations”. Downloadable podcasts bring personalities to one’s own device. And these devices can be easily played anywhere – at home, in a car, on the street. So I think that subscription radio will continue to have a difficult year in 2010 because consumers have many flexible options to explore new music and then create personal, individualized listening formats. However, just like print, listener-supported and commercial radio could strengthen if they can expand into the internet and offer platform expanding features to their sites like video and text.

5. The decade of consumer revolt has begun.

Some researchers believe that the lessons of the Great Recession will be short-lived. But I think that just like the Great Depression formed life long purchasing patterns for that generation, our Great Recession has caused a seismic change in our attitudes about acquisition and money management. Today’s economic victims will become tomorrow’s savvy (and thrifty) consumers. And these revised purchasing patterns will last through the next decade. Companies that can provide goods and services that speak to this new attitude will thrive. And conversely, those companies that are perceived to be unfair to consumers (through over-charging or poor service, for example) will suffer. My advice – companies should make customer satisfaction a meaningful top priority.

What are your predictions for 2010?

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