Thursday, January 6, 2011

Report Card for Our 2010 Predictions, Part I

Last year was a pretty good one in terms of the predictions we made for 2010 and what actually happened. Far from a shellacking, in fact.

Here's our recap.

  • Although signs were pointing in the other direction, we predicted that print journalism would continue to be important. And that was validated, in part, by Bloomberg's announcement that it would start publishing editorials in across its media empire, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek. If print isn't important, Bloomberg would not have purchased BusinessWeek (in 2009) and would just publish its editorials on a blog.

  • Print newspapers and magazines continued to struggle in 2010, just as we predicted. In July, SFNblog reported that 18 papers had shut down or stopped publishing a print version. That's a drop in the bucket compared with 2009's 109 but shows ongoing struggles. In the same article, SFNblog reported that "s of May 2010, there have been more than 1,797 job losses or buyouts in newspaper companies in the country."

  • We predicted that 2010 would be the year of online subscriptions, and very quickly publishers like the New York Times,, Boston Globe and others began announcing that they would be establishing online subscription access to their content. Within days of posting our prediction, New York Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena wrote, "Some News Outlets Ready to Try Charging Online Readers." Other developments on the road to online subscriptions included Rupert Murdoch's plan to establish a paywall for Times of London; an article in (""Creeping Towards Ubiquity: the Pay-for-Play Traditional Media is Striking Back, Winning Some Small Victories Over Digital Free-Content Rivals"). AdAge wrote about the challenges when some sites charge for content and others don't ("New Test for Paid Content as Competing News Sites Remain Free").

  • Mobile access did increase, as predicted, thanks to the iPad.

  • We predicted that in-flight Internet access would take off. While more flights have in-flight Wi-Fi, we may have overstated things just for the pun of it.

  • We got a lot of the business and technology stories right, including

    1. Apple's iPad was one of the biggest stories. One story we did not predict was the huge growth of Google's Android platform – though we did predict a battle between Android vs. the iPhone.
    2. The 3-D TV market was a big story, with lots of post-CES coverage about the latest technology in Forbes, the Times and many other outlets (wondering if it would save the networks) and lots of coverage at the end of the year (wondering why 3-D didn't take off as much as expected.)
    3. We predicted the media would focus on corporate battles like Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft and EMC vs. HP vs. Oracle. We were right about Google vs. Apple (especially Android vs. iPhone). But did not anticipate Oracle vs. SAP or Cisco vs. H-P. Forbes validated this prediction with "The Battle of the Tech Titans," published in its April 12th issue.
    4. The economy certainly was covered, and there were lots of mentions of the "new normal," as we predicted. Also, health care reform and regulations were major themes.
    5. The state of the media, especially print media, online-only business models and online subscriptions still generated coverage – can no longer call that "ink" – but not as much as in previous years. Twitter's business model did get a lot of pixels.
    6. Cloud computing and virtualization got plenty of business and trade coverage in 2010 – and will continue to do so in 2011.
    7. Location-based services and behavioral targeting by advertisers did get attention last year – and will continue to do so in 2011.
    8. We said that online privacy would be an important issue as social media, behavioral targeting, location-based services and hackers combine to make it easy for others to access personal information. The Wall St. Journal agreed with us – and ran an extensive, ongoing series about privacy entitled "What they know."
    9. The freelancing of the US workforce got covered in the New York Times ("Recession Adds to Appeal of Short-Term Jobs" and "New Job Means Lower Wages for Many") and Newsweek ("The Vanishing 9-to-5 Job: How the recession is accelerating a cultural shift in the corporate world toward more flexible workdays").
We'll provide additional items tomorrow.

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