Thursday, February 2, 2012

Birnbach Communications' Top Predictions for 2012, Part 4

Here's Part 4 of our predictions:  

Ongoing stories we’ll see covered in the media

  • The 2012 election, healthcare, taxes and tax reform, and job creation.  The candidates, the process, the election as horse race, Super PACs, the strength and weakness of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall St. movement (as well as the 99% vs. the 1%), and sometimes the actual issues.
  • The euro and euro zone economies and the debt crisis -- particularly troubled Greece and Italy and stable Germany and France -- and the impact of all of this on the US economy. 
  • Facebook’s IPO and its implications for the rest of the social media sector. 
  • The battle between Facebook v. Google+. (Interestingly, Twitter won’t be considered even an also-ran in this story.) 
  • The battle between huge companies. Apple v. Google v. Microsoft. Oracle v. Everyone Else.
  • The state of the media – because the media love reporting on their competitors as well as themselves. 
  • Online privacy will continue to be an important story. 
  •  Online reviews – specifically whether they are from real customers who have bought the product or whether they are positive phony reviews paid to counteract real negative reviews – will generate coverage. 
  • The economics and environmental impact of fracking, an efficient but controversial way to extract oil and natural gas from shale. We expect climate science and global warming to be issues during the general election, specifically when discussing regulations.
  • Net-specific issues such as net neutrality (the need to prevent broadband providers from blocking access to competitors), the e-tax loophole (in which e-retailers don’t require customers to pay sales tax, which gives Amazon and others an advantage over bricks-and-mortar retailers that do charge customers sales tax), and anti-piracy legislation (Stop Online Piracy Act aka SOPA and Protect Intellectual Property Act aka PIPA).
  • Cyberattacks on B2C websites. As more high profile sites get hacked, expect more reports that reinforce fear and uncertainty of online commerce. 
  • Cyberwarfare: the act of attacking one’s enemies by hacking. It’s happening on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the US media has reported that China is using cyberwarfare against the US, including corporate espionage, so expect it to spread elsewhere.
  • The rising threat of Chinese businesses, the Chinese economy and the Chinese military.
  • One story not likely to be covered for most of 2012: Tim Tebow. Not that his 15 minutes is up. Expect the media to regain its interest with the start of the next NFL season.

Let us know if you agree or disagree. And check back tomorrow for additional predictions.

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