Last year I went out on a limb here on MediaPost and made some predictions about media in 2012. Some have been highly accurate. Others have proved the maxim that predicting the future is a fool’s errand.
Here are a few that I got right:
“Look for social TV startups like GetGlue and Bluefin Labs to be very hot in 2012. I would not be surprised if at least one of these types of companies exits at a high valuation next year.”
In November, GetGlue was acquired by Viggle for $73 million.
I also predicted that one of the new tablet-based publications would fail.
“I don’t know if it will be News Corp’s The Daily, Aol’s Editions or some other upstart effort -- but I expect that, sadly, at least one of these new ventures will fold in 2012.”
This month News Corp announced that it would shutter The Daily.
I predicted that Facebook and Twitter would have more than a billion combined active users by the end of 2012. As of this writing, Facebook has 955 million and Twitter has 170 million -- so that prediction was correct.
I also predicted that 2012 would be the year of television – which seems to have been the case. Thanks to sports programming like the Summer Olympics, the presidential election, dramas like Homeland and complementary social tools like Twitter, the continued relevance of television in 2012 is a remarkable story. Now some believe that 2012 will mark the beginning of the end for the 86 year-old technology, with advertisers chasing the key 18-34 demographic onto other devices. But that really misses the point -- consumers consider it TV no matter what device it’s being viewed on.
Frustratingly, one prediction I got wrong was that Apple would release a TV in 2012. At the time I made the bold guess, Steve Job’s biography had yet to be published. When his biographer, Walter Isaacson, wrote that Jobs had “finally cracked” the user interface for television, I thought I was home free. Now the current view is that an Apple TV will arrive sometime in 2013.
Another thing I got wrong was the degree to which online media companies would consolidate. While Yahoo did buy Interclick after my predictions were published, a large-scale rollup of online media and ad tech businesses never came to pass. Perhaps the online media ecosystem will remain more complex than we ever imagined.
The biggest oversight I made last year was not mentioning the rise of programmatic buying and retargeting. I knew this was happening, and yet I said nothing on the subject. That was dumb.
There were two other predictions that I made that were in the original draft of my column that I removed at the last minute. The first was that Barrack Obama would be reelected as president. The second was that there would be no “double dip” recession. I felt strongly that the stock blowoff that happened in August 2011 would be similar to other mid-cycle economic corrections. Thankfully, I was right. But back in early October of 2011 both predictions seemed crazy, when publications like The New York Times were screaming that the end was near. I also didn’t want to come off as if I had a political axe to grind.
That I didn’t stick by my guns and publish those last two predictions was my biggest regret of 2012.