Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Birnbach Communications' Top Predictions for 2011, Part III

Here's Part III of our predictions. Here are links to Part I and Part II.

  • Traditional media will move to stable, if fragile, footing as the economy recovers – but they can't relax. The worst may be behind them, based on the reduced number of traditional newspapers and magazines that have either shut down or shifted to an online-only business model in 2010 as compared to the prior two years. But the old ways of doing business won't survive the "new normal" because even with a recovery, media properties will never again see revenue at the 2007 pre-recession levels -- unless they innovate and find more ways to generate revenue aside from traditional ad sales.

    That means finding a way to charge for online content on the revenue side. That also means fewer staff and resources, perpetual deadlines and multichannel content.

  • Live integrated real-time interactive multimedia events – we used to call those events "TV shows" – will become more common in 2011.

    Producers will seek to combine active social media with passive viewing on one screen. You won't be limited to just voting for a contestant on a reality show, you can also comment on everything about the show. Hate Ryan Seacrest? Now you can let everyone know. The difference is that in 2010, you had to comment on Twitter or Facebook. In 2011, you'll be able to comment next to the action, and be able to interact with others on one screen as opposed to watching your TV and typing away on your computer. (Bravo has already embraced this approach, according to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, "For Bravo, One Screen Isn't Enough.")

  • Hybrid will be the overused word of the year, followed by mashup and "curation."

    The word "hybrid" is no longer relegated to plants or, more recently, cars. The continued popularity in the business world for cloud-based computing and virtualization -- and yes, we know: they're not the same thing – will also drive businesses to want to maintain some control of their data and processes onsite, in their own servers, leading to a hybrid approach, for example.

    Mashups used to describe the combination of two songs (on "Glee") or two musical styles, but can be used to describe anything that combines elements of two different things.

    As used in 2011, curation does not have anything to do with healing. Sometimes known as "digital curation," the term generally refers to the concept of a website that offers information selected and maintained by an actual human (who might be known as a curator if this were a museum), not by an algorithm. In newspaper circles, this person used to be called "editor."

Let us know if you agree or disagree. And check back tomorrow for additional predictions. Next up: Tomorrow, Top 12 business and technology stories for 2011.

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