2012 Will Be The Year of Television -- And Other Predictions

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?

3 comments about "2012 Will Be The Year of Television -- And Other Predictions".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, October 17, 2011 at 2:28 p.m.

    In reading your comments and predictions, you believe social media will be strong and getting stronger. This I disagree. Social media will be around but the growth will slow and even decline. We see and hear this from our large membership. We further see great search numbers from Google in the quarterly reports repeatedly. This alone is telling me that people are still looking for companies, products and questions in search and not social media.

    Last, social media feels more like Yahoo, AOL, ICQ chat rooms of the late 1990 and early 2000. There are few chat rooms today. They have been replaced by text message and message boards.

  2. Therran Oliphant from xAd Inc., October 17, 2011 at 4:03 p.m.

    Very interesting article and digital media prognostication. My predicitons:

    1. Social Media will be case driven, meaning it will be used as a means to a specific end. There will be less (though still plenty) of useless use of social, instead people will ask for recommendations, try to answer questions from their friend base and engage with brands for "insider" benefit.

    2. Location/Context Aware services grow in media share. Everyone keeps touting the year of mobile, but never discuss how mobile devices are used. Often, they're used to connect, find and learn about an environment as people travel throughout their day. This, will be where marketers find mobile growth.

    3. Video with interactive components will gain in popularity. Engagement, not just click-through is becoming a more relevant metric, so it would behoove marketers to input interactive components in video.

    4. Finally, we'll figure out the measurement issue online. With more clarity around privacy compliance, we'll start to get around the issues of tracking and privacy. This will allow for transparent analysis of campaigns, profiles, and eventually sales.

  3. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, October 19, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.

    Haven't I read most of those same predictions for the past five years?

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