Five Sure Bets for the Media Decade Ahead
Predicting the future is a slippery bet. Some things are more certain than others. For example Moore’s Law is one sure bet. Historically it has demonstrated unequivocally that the miniaturization of transistors (ie: computer speed and memory) will double every two years. So that one is easy. Smaller and smarter and faster will turn all forms of media technology into powerhouses of personal information and storage.
But let’s consider those things that aren’t graphically charted or calculated. Instead let’s look historically at those things that have mattered in the past, and will most likely matter in the future.
Bet #1: Content Matters. At a certain point, the infatuation with technology will slow down, and Wall Street will begin to invest in content building machines. Those machines usually involve innovative creative people. For example, Verizon now offers iPhone technology and an estimated 2.1 million more people will be using the Apple platform. As technological parity is achieved, the iPhone will matter more than how it is delivered. The same goes for terrestrial broadcasts (local and network), Internet, satellite, print, magazines, and film. Content delivers the audience in the end, and content will dictate the decade ahead.
Bet #2: Design Matters. Not going to bore you with the product elegance produced by companies such Apple, Nike, or Virgin. Instead I return to the premise that eventually, technological parity will be reached, and the most user friendly and ergonomically sensible products will win. That includes rethinking the design of your local evening news, or your top 40 radio station, or even the layout of the Daily News. Design must build upon on multiplatform synergistically integrated concept that blends ALL media forms into a “can’t live without” lifeline. If you think about it, most of the traditional media forms have just taken 40 year old design elements and pasted them up on the web. That won’t work in the next decade.
Bet #3: Technological Attributes Matters. Certain media technologies do things better than other media technologies. A 52 inch HDTV is more fun to watch than a 3 ½ inch cell phone display. It is easier to carry 12 books on my Kindle than to carry 12 books in my carry-on luggage. I can write a much longer, more polite, and more informative business email on my personal computer than I can texting on my iPhone. So in the decade ahead, those media technologies that have specific attributes for specific locations and uses will be those that survive. More importantly, media needs to focus on what they do best.
Bet #4: Getting Attention Matters. ADD is the code word for the decade ahead. As Moore’s Law predicts, consumers will be bombarded with faster and easier access to all media in the next 10 years. With their heads down, people will become media speed demons gobbling up headlines, entertainment, text messages, and social media by the digital boatloads. The extent to which you have content that grabs attention will be key. Take a hard look at your content. Is it nice to have or must have? Is it dull or sexy? Does it engage the user or bore them? Will it create a one shot visit, or a multi-shot visit? The battle for attention is the equivalent of Media WWIII.
Bet #5: Emotion Matters. In a world of technological equivalence, that content which moves the heart, will move the mind. Storylines that stir the soul, and create word of mouth, will drive the ratings, the page hits, and viral environment for success. Talking heads, journalistic dribble, poorly constructed websites, canned dj’s, and stupid mobile apps are history. This is the decade of personalites, story lines, and entertainment. The only thing that is changed is that we just have soooooo many cool ways to deliver it.
What do you think? What do you think will matter in the media decade ahead? Ladies and gentleman, place your wagers now.