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Predictions 2007: Media and Technology January 4, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

All media should be multi-media. One brand, one audience, multiple channels, multiple receivers. Optimize programming for each, fine-tune revenue models likewise, but drive traffic across all. Cross-promote. This is The Law.

Repeat every year.

Three or four of JupiterResearch’s core 2007 themes work well as a framework for my own personal schtick annual predictions. I’ll stay away from “online effectiveness” and “the maturation of the online population.”

Social Media and Marketing

Social media and marketing is huge, but I don’t believe we’ll see a new MySpace or YouTube in 2007. In fact, we might not ever. Those two companies may be sui generis, if that’s legal grammar. Check this out: when we surveyed what applications teens would be interested in accessing on their mobile phones, MySpace nosed out e-mail and IM (each with about 27%) right after ringtones, wallpaper, graphics at 30%. YouTube rated 12%, about even with search, though half the share of music downloads. “Other social networking” got 5%. That’s branding. Still a big challenge: defining “engagement” metrics, and what, other than entertainment media, can really market on social networks. We’ll solve both those this year. But social media will remain quite fragmented.

Thriving in the Three-Screen World

Is it convergence, or divergence? 2007 will show what kind of video works on a small screen, and probably shake out some business models. I don’t think much mobile video will be subscription or PPV, so that must mean it’ll be ad-supported. (Or purely promotional.) Uh oh. And no one will pay for consumer-created video on any platform. I’m with Joe, we’re going to see more fragmentation in online video, and the best near-term business might be infrastructure, not beating YouTube or the portals as a general-purpose destination or programmer.

Mobile Marketing and Media

Finally, real content and real marketing will actually gain traction in the US. Someday, mobile SEM will be huge, but not in ’07 (search guys and YPers are still working on that local thing….) No really big bucks in either mobile media or marketing this year — unless you count SMS voting as marketing — but real traction. Stealing an idea from former colleague Alex Goldman, I think there’s a really good chance that the New New Thing — in terms of a new media company that makes it — will come from mobile. Might happen in ’07, but that would be pushing it.

The Great Search Build-Out

Search will be more than the way we find things online, and the biggest driver of online marketing. It’ll reach its greedy paws into branding (primarily as a tool to assist more traditional campaigns). Google and Yahoo are already taking their marketplaces and algorithms off-line, but that’s not going to result in $$$ in 2007. But it might answer the question of how they can be media companies without having any traditional media. Traditional media’ll just have to deal.

Like last year, I’ll name some Non-Events for 2007:

– Blogs. Ha. Remember blogs? Yes, social media can be huge without blogs mattering much, in terms of broad readership or ad dollars. Buzz feeding & measurement, now that’s another story…
– Niche social networks. Yeah, there will be some. It’s only natural — we all have multiple networks in the real world. But will any of ’em be big bidness? Doubtful. Just think, could they raise any VC if they called themselves “Geocities 2.0,” instead of “MySpace for (insert favorite audience subset)”?
– Over-the-air music downloads or music phones. (At least in the US.) OTA downloads will be measured in tens of $ millions, not hundreds. But 2007 is not forever…If I had to predict, I don’t think we’ll see an Apple phone in ’07. We’ll know real soon.
– Long-tail content conquering blockbusters. It’ll never happen. Not this year, not ever. It’s clear you can make a business out of hits plus the tail. But only the tail? I haven’t seen it yet. And if you’re in the tail, rather than the aggregator of it? That’s what we call “amateurs.” Or “fans.”

Requisite Flippant Management/Merger Predictions

– I’ll try again. Tivo will get bought this time. I still like Apple or Amazon best (or Netflix?), but how about Nielsen Media as a dark-horse? We still need TV measurement breakthroughs.
– Yahoo needs Wall Street respeck, but more important, it needs off-line media (see above). Unfortunately, so does Microsoft, and it’s still DOJ-gun-shy. Also, I just can’t see any of the big lugs (Disney, Viacom I and II, NBCU, Time Warner, News Corp.) pulling the trigger. Sony? Nah, too many of its own problems. Likewise, I’m too chicken to predict that Stringer’s out. It is a Japanese company, after all. Nobody gets fired.
– Who gets Dow Jones? WaPo? NY Times Co.? Yahoo? Nah. News Corp.

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