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Media Predictions 2010

Media predictions from the TMT Predictions 2010 series


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Media Predictions 2010
Most of 2010’s media predictions are focused on the consequences of technological change — particularly digitization — and are shaped by 2010’s economic outlook. We address a wide range of topics, including demand for on-demand, online advertising, eBooks and eReaders, business models for recorded music, the integration of television and the Web, print’s monetization of digital, the relevance of the vending machine in a digital world, and the short-term prospects for 3D television.  

Linear’s got legs: the television and radio schedule stays supreme   

Most video and audio content will continue to be consumed linearly – that is, according to broadcasters’ programming schedules. Our estimate is that over 90 percent of all television watched and over 80 percent of all audio content consumed will be via traditional broadcast. Linear will prevail despite the proliferation of technologies, such as personal video recorders (PVRs), pay-per-view, on-demand television, podcasts, and online music services, all of which permit viewers and listeners to opt out of the broadcasters’ schedules.   

TV and the Web belong together, but not necessarily on the same screen    

Efforts to converge two of the biggest media distribution platforms — the Web and TV — will intensify in 2010. By year-end, more than 30 percent of broadband-enabled households are likely to interact occasionally or regularly with what they are watching on television through some form of computing device. However, we anticipate that the most popular approach to converged Web and television consumption probably won’t be widgets. Instead, a more pragmatic approach is likely to dominate: the combination of existing television sets and standalone browser-enabled devices such as WiFi-enabled laptops and netbooks, smartphones, MP4 players and portable game consoles.   

Music as a service rises up the charts    

Subscription music services should finally start to thrive. Granted, the track record so far has been poor, ranging from modest success (a few hundred thousand subscribers per service) to ignominious failure. In 2010, the number of paying subscribers — as opposed to individuals who simply register — should exceed 10 million for the first time. With subscriptions ranging between $40 and $180 per year, total revenues are likely to be small, at about US$100 million, especially compared with global sales of CDs ($14.4 billion) or digital downloads ($6 billion). But the decline of the CD is well documented and the medium is unlikely to see a renaissance. This opens a large door for subscription services.

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