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Media trends for 2009

Media predictions from TMT Trends 2009 series


2009 is likely to challenge all of us. But while the media sector is expected to be buffeted by grueling macroeconomic conditions in the year to come, we should not forget that the need for the media sector to inform and entertain us remains fundamental. In short, while global growth may be cyclical, the need for media is and will remain constant.

Television rediscovers its self-belief

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Is there a silver lining to a recession? The answer might be yes if you are in television. Viewing hours tend to increase in tough times as consumers stay at home; indeed, in the latter half of 2008, average viewing hours were already rising. Digital switchover may boost viewing even more. Professionally produced content is now reasserting itself over user-generated content, both online as well as broadcast. Overall, in 2009, viewing is likely to rise by 30 minutes per week per viewer. So now may be a good time for television to put some distance between itself and other media, with the strongest players investing in content, contracts, and updated infrastructure. To help weather the down economy, television could also make the case for a general easing of product placement bans. Television should ensure its advertising impact is given credit by tracking TV ads that drive online purchases.

Mobile advertising finds it meaning

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With global advertising experiencing double-digit decreases and the coming year promising an even tougher economy, mobile advertising's time may have come. More able than ever before to carry advertising, mobile phones are at their most ubiquitous—and there is a more mature understanding of what mobile can and cannot deliver in advertising. In 2009, a growing number of campaigns will use the minimalism of mobile to powerful effect—modelling themselves on one of mobile's most successful campaigns to date—the U.S. presidential election's use of text messaging. Advertisers should work harder to create campaigns that are targeted for mobile and work within its limitations. And carriers can help by becoming more uniform in terms of screen resolutions, computer processing units (CPU), OS, and so on. Mobile advertising will really take off when advertising can be sent to the entire mobile community with a single click.

Reinventing mobile television

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Mobile television is perennially predicted as “about to take off”. But while television pictures on phones may one day be commonplace, that day is unlikely to occur any time soon. With a disappointing performance in 2008, despite high-profile events like the Olympics, many mobile television initiatives are likely to be shelved in 2009. However, mobile devices and services can still play a valuable role in the wider television market—content companies just need to take a wider view. Not only can the mobile phone be used to program digital video recorders (DVR) remotely, but they can also order on-demand programming. Broadcasters could send suggested shows, trailers, or reminders of a  series' new season—with consumers recording a program with a click of their phone. And by integrating mobile capability into set-top boxes, televisions could even allow viewing information to be relayed automatically to measurement bureaus.

Other media trends

Putting print out of peril may require stopping the presses
Declining advertising revenues, increasing costs, and a dismal economy may all combine to place severe pressure on the print media industry in 2009.
3D becomes an obligation, not an option, at the movies
Movies will need a “must-see” factor to get audiences to open their wallets in the coming year—and that factor might well be 3D.
The growing cost of free online content
The public's fifteen minutes of online fame could fast be receding, given the rising costs of storing content.
Rising stars take on the megastars
After years of spending lavishly on top concert artists and sporting events, the public may no longer be able to afford to see the biggest stars in the best locations. Tightening sponsorship budgets mean there's even less money to bankroll extravagantly staged tours or purchase hot new players.
“Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, listeners”: the dawn of WiFi radio
Internet radio could take off in 2009. With nearly 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide, two-thirds with broadband access, online radio's addressable market could grow by 20 percent next year.
The markets get anti-social with social networks
Social networks with their millions of users have been the toast of new media in recent years—despite their inability to fully monetize those users. But a harsher financial outlook in 2009 combined with contracting online advertising will likely bring this free ride to an end.
The rise of malvertising and its threats to brands
Advertising is the revenue engine for the Internet—but advertising networks online have increasingly become an easy target for criminals. Placed on trusted, well-trafficked sites, false ads—or “malvertising” — can lead to stolen data or infected computers.
Media Predictions. TMT Trends 2009

About the research

The 2009 series of predictions has drawn on internal and external inputs from conversations with member firm clients, contributions from DTT member firms’ 6,000 partners and practitioners specializing in TMT, discussions with financial and industry analysts, and conversations with trade bodies.

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