Looking Back And Looking Ahead

The beginning of any new year is not only a time of looking forward and making annual resolutions, it is also a time of looking back. With both of those ideas in mind, I was curious to measure the prescience of some of the executives I interviewed back in 2009.

One of the important skills of a research executive is an ability to strategize and look ahead. What does the data show? What are the trends? What will be the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead?

Asked to predict the media landscape in the next five years, many of the executives I interviewed for this column back in 2009 are tracking rather well three years later.  Their predictions ranged from little-to-slow change to a generational adoption of cross platform and set-top-box data. Both cautious and radical predictions appear to be coming true: We are still negotiating on the same metrics developed years before, but are also expanding the range of platforms and the negotiation of certain data on which we buy and sell. All seem to be possible.  As we say in the media industry, stay tuned….



Here are some highlights of the 2009 interviews. Click here to see the full videos of  interviewees.

Artie Bulgrin (ESPN) : “Looking into the future, the consumer is in charge. ESPN is an integrated media company and more companies are focusing on integrated media value. My hope is that somewhere along the line we are able to develop an effective holistic  media measurement service that adds another layer onto the individual silos of measurement .”

Colleen Fahey Rush (Viacom Networks): “ Interactivity is something that we think and hope will accelerate. I think there will be more and more opportunities for people to interact with online content and I think that will go straight to the television as well.  Mobile will grow.  We are seeing this small universe of people who do consume video on their phone and this is something to keep our eye on.  And I think that online video will continue to expand.”

Richard Zackon (CRE) : “The time has come when data from set-top boxes will become part of the toolkit of media research. .. .We are going to see those data integrated to providers with a better overall understanding of television usage.  In addition, more and more media will be seen as cross-platform…. We can’t think of media in isolation any longer.”

Tom Xenos (Mediavest) : “ Mobile is going to become more important. There is a lot of opportunity there, but particularly video on mobile is an area that needs more exploration and will offer more opportunity.  The technology -- as phones develop and battery life becomes longer -- will support more video on cell phones. Those changes offer more choice. “

Beth Rockwood (Discovery): “ I expect to see a gradual move toward behavioral targeting which will be assisted by a look toward cross-platform behavior. As media and advertiser brands are more clearly defined, we will be finding more direct linkages between the two.  I also predict that there will be many things that do not change very much. While we get really excited about things changing, sometimes we get carried away by that. The timelines for change are often longer than we want to admit.”

Daniel Fischer (SolveItGroup): “Television will clearly continue to be the dominant medium. Young people may be in their ‘isolation mode’ watching on computers, but television will continue to be dominant and may even grow further across the next five years. “

Brad Adgate (Horizon) : “Place-shifting will become as important as time-shifting. People viewing content outside the home will be as prevalent as time-shifting. I think cell phones will replace PCs as the second screen. New enhancements such as GPS or the ability to watch live TV on a handheld will make cell phones more of an important device.”

Horst Stipp (NBCU, now at ARF): I think there will be an increased tendency for viewers to go to the smaller channels . And I also think there will be an increase in time-shifted viewing – people will use DVRs, VOD and especially online to watch television. It will increase in the proportion of total viewing.  I also think that what we used to call ‘television’ (characterized by a TV set and a couch), will still be possible but you will also watch tv on a computer online and on a mobile and you will take that totally for granted and it will be just part of television – not just for kids who grow up with it, but also for 60-year-olds.”

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