1-2 Traditional Media
3. Online Media
4-5 Mobile Access
6 Top Stories
7-8 Broadcast Media
8-12 Social Media
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Media Predictions for 2010
Each year, Birnbach Communicates compiles an annual list of media trends
for its clients, who operate across a range of industries, including technology,
storage, security, unified communications, financial software and services,
healthcare, senior services, consumer, social networking, nonprofit and
education sectors. The trends help the agency's clients work more effectively
with the media, both at traditional and online outlets, including blogs
and social networking sites.
The following are among Birnbach Communications’ media trends for 2010:
print journalism will continue to be important.
- Even as the resources allocated to practicing it diminish -- fewer
print newspapers, fewer reporters at those print papers, and less space
in those papers -- yet traditional journalism conducted by newspapers
will continue to drive content across the web. A 2009 study by the Project
for Excellence in Journalism found though there are a lot more places
to find news online, "of the stories that did contain new information,
nearly all, 95 percent, came from old media -- most of them newspapers."
In other words, most of the news articles found online basically picked
up content from traditional sources, like newspapers, adding some commentary,
but not new facts.
2. Print newspapers and magazines will continue to struggle in 2010,
and more will consider shutting down or transitioning to online-only,
despite a (slower than we'd like) recovering economy.
- Although the number of magazines that shut down peaked in 2008, at
525, last year said goodbye to 360 magazines, including some major magazines
like Gourmet, Metropolitan Home, Fortune Small Business. Last
year also saw the deaths of major daily newspapers like the Rocky
Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer as well as dozens
of smaller papers. Large newspaper companies also announced bankruptcies
last year, and we expect more closings in 2010. There is some good news:
advertising pages may be increasing, according to Q1 projections, but
only by 3 percent. However, print subscriptions continue to decline,
and we expect newsroom layoffs to continue. The lesson: magazines from
big publishing companies and significant circulations were not immune.
Already, BusinessWeek SmallBiz announced (via postcard) that
its Dec. 09/Jan. 10 issue was its last.
2010 will be the year of online subscriptions as publishers of all kinds
are finding out that advertising-only-supported sites are not self-sustaining.
Charging user fees will allow these sites to survive. The implications
- Getting the price for online subscriptions will be important. After
all, Newsday.com spent millions to redesign its site to put a pay-wall
so it could charge readers $5.00 per week for access. In three months,
Newsday.com generated only 35 subscribers. In contrast, the Wall St.
Journal charges less than $100 for online access, with a discount for
- Publishers will consider a number of different plans, ranging from
a pay-wall which enables only paid subscribers to access content; a
metered system that allows readers to sample a few articles before being
asked to subscribe; premium access, in which many articles are free
but more important ones are available only to paid subscribers; and
a membership model like public radio.
- One problem will be that, despite new subscription platforms from
a variety of companies, from startups like Journalism Online (run by
Steven Brill) to potential solutions from News Corp., Google, Microsoft
and IBM. The challenge: if some publications don't charge, people will
gravitate to those free services.
- Online-only news outlets won't be immune to layoffs. They will find
out cutting out printing and distribution costs isn't enough to be self-sustaining
because they've given up a number of substantial revenue streams, too.
- Online subscriptions won't limited to online news content. Twitter
will unveil a business model that will likely be focused on charging
fees to businesses that use Twitter. Rupert Murdoch, who is an ardent
advocate of charging for online content, and owns a percentage of Hulu.com,
will push Hulu.com to offer its video library on a per-viewing and on
an unlimited basis. The same goes for some streaming music sites that
currently are available for free.
- Apple's iPad may make it easier for print newspapers to charge subscription
fees for online access. A lot of print media are designing new layouts
to take advantage of future tablet offerings. top
Mobile access will become increasingly important in 2010.
- With the popularity of (likely) iPad, netbooks, and increasingly powerful
app phones, Content will need to be platform-agnostic, including audio
and video, developed to meet the demands of several key platforms (and
not just the iPad and iPhone). It's not just newspaper publishers who
need to think cross-platform; it's all businesses, whether they're trying
to reach consumers or B2B customers.
5. In-flight Internet Access Will Take Off:
- We will see more in-flight Internet access in 2010 – by 2011; it
won’t even be something airlines tout as another reason to fly with
them. Lufthansa rolled out new service: web surfing from 30,000 ft at
$3/min. (What does it cost for tech support?) We can expect more conference
calls and emails, and flying cross country no longer means being unable
to respond to email. But battery life, additional sockets, and headphones
will be boom businesses. The rise of business videoconference calls
may increase the noise level, but not to the point of requiring talking
and no-talking sections. As with other aspects of high-speed Internet
access, though the Internet was established in the U.S., count on international
airlines to be ahead of domestic airlines in the type of services offered
travelers. (Coffee, Tea or Internet Access?)
6. The Top Dozen Business
& Technology Stories in 2010 Will Include...
- The economy, including the recovery, the housing market, auto industry
and the "new normal."
- The freelancing of the US workforce -- or how we'll all be contractors
or "perma-temps" in the future (especially given the jobless nature
of the recovery).
- Apple's iPad and the future of mobile computing and Apple's iPads
vs. cellphones vs. Kindle and other e-readers.
- Cloud computing and virtualization -- and yes, we know: they're not
the same thing.
- Health care reform. " Regulations.
- Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft and EMC vs. HP vs. Oracle.
- 3D TVs.
- The state of the media, especially print media, online-only business
models and online subscriptions.
- Twitter's business model.
- Location-based services and behavioral targeting by advertisers.
- Online privacy as social media, behavioral targeting, location-based
services and hackers combine to make it easy for others to access personal
This is not to exclude the other topics we've included in our 2010 predictions.
Video May Have Killed the Radio Star but Radio Will Continue to Survive
-- For Now
- But in two years, we may not be making the same prediction. Today's
kids do not listen to radio as much as previous generations did. They
listen to iPods, and soon, iPads. We believe that radio continues to
be important, especially during drive-time commutes. We think record
companies should continue to support radio stations because people still
first hear new songs on radio and then decide to download songs (or
buy CDs, if they're boomers) based on what they hear on the radio. But
because today's children are not getting in the habit of listening to
radio, and because today's homes are less likely to have radios other
than as part of a stereo system, radio stations are going to need to
find ways to reach and cultivate new listeners. That's where record
companies can come in, to their mutual benefit. Of course, radio may
survive during increasingly long commute times since more states have
enacted laws that prohibit texting while driving or require drivers
to use hands-free technology when using their cellphones.
The Decline and Fall of TV Networks Won't Happen in 2010...
- , but networks are definitely on the decline. Case in point: "The
Jay Leno Show" vs. "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien." In the end,
NBC has been shedding viewers, and no change of hosts or programs may
bring them back. It's not as though those viewers were sticking around
for drama at 10 p.m. on other networks. Most likely they were turning
to cable programs or on-demand offerings, TiVo, Hulu.com or the Internet.
Social Media Platforms will Survive the Recovery.
- Some critics have said that Twitter and Facebook did well during
the downturn because people had available time, either because they
had less to do or because they had lost their jobs. People will continue
to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media services but they might
not be updating their pages quite as often. Social media sites will
consider rolling out new ways for users to post and engage via multimedia
(audio and video).
10. Live Integrated
Real-time Interactive Multimedia Web Events Will Become More Common in
- Live integrated real-time interactive multimedia web events, which
combine live video, and offering the ability to post and read comments
on Twitter and Facebook windows, will become more common in 2010. Last
year, Bill Cosby conducted the first-ever interactive townhall to introduce
Cosnarati, a socially conscious hip hop group that he produces (http://www.ustream.tv/billcosby),
offering a live videostream with a real-time Q&A function and the ability
to post comments on Twitter and Facebook. The event gave users a number
of ways to interact with Cosby, and could offer a solution for network
TV -- if they can find a way to make money off it.
11. The Intersection
of Social Media and Traditional Journalism Will Be Increasingly Busy
- For example, while the Super Bowl continues to be the biggest non-holiday
event for which Americans gather together, and while people comment
on the ads as much as the games, advertisers themselves are looking
beyond the ads, often offering websites with extended versions of some
ads, driving viewers to their sites. Another example: Olympic sponsors
are changing their approach this year -- rather than having social media
simply an add-on to advertising and their PR activities- they are embracing
12. Online Credibility
Will Continue To Be Important.
- Online credibility will continue to be important, but new FTC rules
requiring bloggers to disclose the receipt of free samples, gifts and
cash payments will get confusing because many who don't blog are not
required to make similar disclosures. Currently, tech reviewers at newspapers
get free samples but don't need to disclose that fact (though Walt Mossberg
and others do…on their websites and blogs). Theater reviewers often
get free tickets while many freelance travel writers get all their travel
"comped." Yet the FTC does not require these folks to disclose gifts
unless they're bloggers. We actually think it makes sense to disclose
any type of relationship with an organization being discussed because
credibility is important for bloggers and non-bloggers. While it's good
to see a government agency understand the need to keep pace with technology,
we need clearer rules that ensure equal footing so that reviewers disclose
relationships whether or not their work appears on a blog or in print.
Tell us what you think. Did we get it right? Are we way
off base? Drop us a note at email@example.com.