Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wall St. Journal & Boston Globe Validate Biotech Bubble Trend

The validation is coming in fast and furious regarding our biotech bubble prediction. We said:
Stock market and the biotech bubble. 2014 will be marked by concerns about the health of the stock market. Of the different sectors, rising biotech shares will generate growing concern of a biotech bubble. That concern will affect all parts of the industry, especially startups as VCs start getting nervous about their portfolios. Implications: There’s not much publicly held companies can do – except, as a Forbes reporter once told us, have you company “do better…and boost its share price.” We just think it’s important to understand how editors allocate their resources (reporters’ time and the outlets’ news hole).
The Wall St. Journal validated that with an article, "Hot New Biotech Knows Roller-Coaster Feeling" and the Boston Globe validated it with "After boom, 2014 repeat for biotech is uncertain."

We know that talking about bubbles can take on a certain air on inevitability, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. We hope we're wrong in this case.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Validation from NY Times about Privacy and Security

"Stop Asking Me for My Email Address" and "Tech Security Upstarts Enter Fray" by Nicole Perlroth (@nicoleperlroth) at the New York Times are just two more examples of coverage that validate our predictions about ongoing interest in privacy and online security. 

Apparently the security market for software itself will generate $67 billion.

These are two themes that will continue to generate coverage over the rest of the decade. As self-driving cars (SDC) get ready for prime time (is it time to retire that phrase? -- probably), expect privacy and security to focus on new issues related to cars, like in this recent Times article: "The Next Data Privacy Battle May Be Waged Inside Your Car." There will be privacy reporters concerned about the ability to track other people's cars -- whether you're joining them at an event and want to know where it is or when they're getting their or if you're stalking them -- and security reporters concerned about the ability to hack and take over someone else's car. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Was This the CES that CES Needed to Be?

In our annual forecast of marketing trends, we said this about CES:

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been eclipsed by South By Southwest (SXSW) but both need a breakout show in 2014. Last year’s CES and SXSW were not as successful in generating buzz as in prior years. The problem with the last two years of CES has been its focus on the latest TVs – at a time when people are more likely watching TV on their tablets than on a “TV set.” (Also Apple does not participate in CES.)

Based on articles like Nick Bilton's in the New York Times: "Disruptions: At CES, a Big Stage for Big Dreams but Fewer Surprises," that CES 2014 did not quite deliver on the excitement and buzz. Here's Bilton's recap of CES 2014:

But in some ways, this year’s show was a far cry from the shows of old. CES has been around since 1967 (it was held in Manhattan until the late 1970s), and over the years it has been the place to spot some real innovations. In 1970, the videocassette recorder was introduced at CES. In 1981, the compact disc player had its debut there. High-definition TV was unveiled in 1998, the Microsoft Xbox in 2001.
This year’s crop of products seemed a bit underwhelming by comparison.

Ouch if you're CES.

For companies considering CES 2015 to launch new products, you may want to think of a different strategy. This is at least the second consecutive boring CES (which we predicted last year, too). For the news programs that are thinking about sending their weathercasters to the show next year, you might encounter turbulence because highlighting cool, must-have tech is apparently getting harder. 

The one exception that could help next year's CES (as it did this year's): wearable tech and devices that are part of the Internet of Things. (I know we sound self-aggrandizing here but we are trying to track which predictions we got right or wrong, but we predicted wearable tech and the Internet of Things to be big in 2014. Our usual tone is not so self-congratulatory.)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bonus Prediction for 2014: Olympic Coverage

We left out one topic in our list of general news stories in 2014. It's the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which run from Feb. 6th through Feb. 23rd.

There will, of course, be a lot of coverage building up to the Olympics, including stories about somewhat obscure sports like curling (see "Curling: How Hard Can It Be?" in the Wall St. Journal). There will also be a lot of ads featuring Olympic athletes (including from employers showing how great they are to work for -- especially if you're an Olympic athlete) or Olympic-themed story lines. After all, the Olympics aren't just about world-class athletics and peaceful competition among countries. The games are also a world-class marketing opportunity.

We can also expect a lot of coverage of Russia, including its anti-gay laws, the security protecting the Olympic village, and the state of Russia today, its economy, its freedoms, and more about Vladimir Putin.

We probably have no excuse for omitting the Olympics -- except that we expect coverage to end on Feb. 24th.

Let us know if you think we missed anything else.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wall St. Journal Validates Our Privacy Predictions

As part of our measurement process in looking at our annual forecast, we keep track of how we do -- did we get things right? Did we miss things?

As part of the ongoing news stories we think will generate coverage in 2014, we picked privacy along with cybercrime. The ever-increasing numbers of Target customers affected by the hackers -- well, that unfortunately validates the cybercrime story angle.

But the Wall St. Journal, which closely following the privacy story over the past two years, continues to think it important to understand the crossroads between marketing and privacy. The latest article validates our privacy prediction. Check out "What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You; Businesses Use Sensors to Track Customers, Build Shopper Profiles."

So far, looks like we're doing well in terms of our forecast. Of course, we did not identify a scandal involving the Christie Administration and traffic shutdown on the George Washington Bridge so we do miss some big stories.

Let us know what you think about privacy, cybercrime or any other trend.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bitcoin Already a Hot Topic in 2014 -- Validates Another Prediction

In our annual trends and predictions, we identified Bitcoin as being a hot, ongoing topic in 2014.  We said:
Bitcoin and cashless payments will continue to generate interest. We’ve seen a rise in interest in bitcoins, and it appears bitcoins may be on the edge of going mainstream. We don’t think that will happen in 2014 but we do think the topic will get discussed.
But more retailers are evaluating whether or not to accept Bitcoins for payment, and already there's been a lot of coverage about bitcoins: such as:
And those are just within two hours of when I was writing this post.

We still don't think most consumers will pay with Bitcoins in 2014 but more retailers will announce they accept it for payment in 2014 -- as a way to highlight their being on the cutting-edge.

Meanwhile, we also saw another story prediction get validation. In our list of ongoing tech trends we identified cognitive computing, led by IBM Watson, to score coverage. Here's a recent Wall St. Journal article: "IBM Struggles to Turn Watson Computer Into Big Business;Revenue Is Far From Company's Ambitious Targets."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New York Times

In our annual look at general news stories that will get covered by the media, we identified two story-angle predictions that have already been validated:
  1. More interest in workplace diversity. Spurred by SNL's hiring of two black women comedians (at press time SNL had not hired any black comic/actress this season but we expect they will hire two black actresses), we think there will more attention paid to diversity in TV shows and movies, and that this could lead to a larger discussion about diversity in the non-celebrity-filled workplace. 
  2. Growing Hispanic influence. This is a demographics story, one that will get mentioned a lot in the run up to the midterm elections, especially if immigration reform gets discussed.
The first prediction was validated by articles like "‘S.N.L.’ Hires Black Female Cast Member" when SNL hireed Sasheer Zamata, "a young sketch comedian who has been performing in the New York area for the last four years," according to the Times. We expect more coverage when Zamata makes her debut. We continue to think SNL will hire a second Black comedienne. Further, we think the media will continue to ask questions about on-screen diversity. 

Also, earlier this week, the Times reported on a "New Agency, a Spinoff, Will Aim Its Message at a Hispanic Audience." We continue to expect to hear more about the importance of Hispanics as coverage of the midterm elections cranks up.

Please let us know if you disagree with any of our predictions for 2014 or if we missed something important.