I was recently asked what next year has in store for the media advertising industry. Predicting the future is a fool’s errand, but my gut is telling me that if 2011 was the year of mobile, then next year may be the year when television gets the limelight. Here’s why:
Apple TV arrives. The big product announcement of 2012 could be that Apple is getting into the television business. This would mean that televisions will truly be part of our digital media ecosystem, interacting seamlessly with Apple’s other devices like the iPhone and iPad.
The Apple TV of my dreams will have a Siri-enabled voice interface that makes finding, recording and watching your favorite television shows a breeze. This will solve perhaps the biggest problem with TV today, namely that there is so much content that it is often hard for consumers to discover it. Apple TVs would also include a front-facing camera for making FaceTime video calls to friends and family, further embedding television into our lives.
TV ad tech arrives. In 2012 it will finally be possible to serve television ads based on household data to over 15 million homes. Also, thanks to companies like Simulmedia, marketers will be able to target audiences on TV much as we have been able to do online. In 2012, television advertising will join the 21st century.
Social TV gets hot: 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.
TV buyers expand their reach. You know the world has changed when TV buyers say that television should just be called video. No matter where it is watched (TV, online, tablet or mobile) the advertising in television programs will largely be bought by TV buyers. This is one of the reasons why the GRP will become a more common metric online.
Outside of television, I predict that there are going to be many more fascinating developments next year, including:
Magazines go tablet. Time Inc.’s decision to distribute all its magazines through the iPad starting January 1, 2012 will be a smart one, helping to ensure that the company is still around decades from now. I also expect other magazine publishers to announce far-reaching plans for tablets in 2012. With over 25 million iPads in market, there’s enough scale now to support established titles.
Conversely, new tablet publishing ventures will 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. Unlike online, where the cost of entry is low and driving traffic is relatively cheap, we’re going to see that tablet media demands a level of brand awareness and production quality that only established publishers can deliver.
Social dominance. The social networks will be dominant in time spent online. By next year Facebook and Twitter will have a combined one billion active users making and curating content for free. It will very difficult for the big portals to compete in this environment.
Online consolidation. 2012 will be the year when we’re going to see the VCs and private equity companies make big deals happen, some of which will be shocking. With some of their investments growing long in the tooth, many of the older, banner ad-driven businesses will begin to consolidate. Big ad networks may merge with portals or with each other.
Media agencies remain vital. A never-ending supply of media options and technologies, along with steady growth of television, will make agencies more vital to marketers than ever. Over the past decade, agencies have proven their ability adapt to client need by adding services like search and social media. The media agency investment in services, technology and people will continue.
Those are my predictions. What do you think will happen?