Originally published May 2013
Jack Myers book Hooked Up: A New Generation's Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Saving the World was named winner of the International Book Awards for Youth Issues, and finalist for Women's Issues and Popular Culture
In 1993 in my book Adbashing, I wrote: "I see four industries converging: computers, consumer electronics, telecommunications, and media and entertainment, to form a new a new industry that will deliver a wide spectrum of digital goods and services to businesses and homes." Today, I again see multiple industries converging, as the "internet of things" virtually connects everything and as even the human body becomes digitized. Within this decade there will be a metamorphosis of the advertising business and especially the production and distribution of TV/video content, as digital technologies combine with the age-old TV business. Within this decade, digital video and TV will coalesce into a single multi-layered landscape -- a single thriving and inter-dependent ecosystem. Print and out-of-home media will be digital and video-centric. Here are some of my predictions for how the digital ecosystem will emerge, what the future holds for content, how marketers, agencies and media companies will respond, and I'm adding some long-term forecasts for society, business and culture.
Send your predictions for the advertising, marketing and media business in next decade for publication and attribution in future reports to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes for the ten best predictions (judged by me) will include two Yankees tickets (Delta 360 Suite); lunch for you and two colleagues with me at Michael's or (if not New York) a restaurant in your city; an iPad mini; a Swatch watch; breakfast with a senior industry executive of your choice (subject to availability). You must be a qualified member of Myers Media Business Network to win. (If you're employed by a member company or have an .edu address, you're qualified).
The Digital Technology Ecosystem
· Google Glass will emerge as one of the most disruptive communications advances in history; while it may flounder at first, the initial technology will prove to be the Trojan Horse that ultimately leads to computer chips embedded in our bodies and communications devices worn as contact lenses. Voice and motion detection capabilities will be highly sophisticated
· Consumers will be walking/talking communications devices, digitally announcing their presence almost everywhere they visit, shop and attend, engaging on a selective basis with each other and with marketers 24/7.
· Wireless communications and data transmission will accelerate to speeds more than 100 times today's speeds within 18 months and to 1,000 times today's speeds by the end of the decade
· Portable and wireless devices will be always-on and powered by solar energy, battery packs renewed through human generated energy sources, and newly invented environmentally safe power sources
· Mobile, camera, computer will be interlinked and interchangeable
· Instant language translation apps will become a best seller
· 3D without glasses will become a TV standard, making all pre 3D programming antiquated and in need of an upgrade. Upgraded 3D versions of classic movies and TV series like Sopranos, True Blood, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead will recapitalize a struggling studio industry.
What's on the horizon in content?
· Google will acquire a leading TV network company along with several smaller content producers and digital marketing technology start-ups
· Netflix will accept sponsorships and co-branded marketing partnerships
· Gaming, music and sports will be a common universal connecting link and marketing priority
· TV networks and video content producers and distributors will shift to the Netflix full-season release model. Sports, film tent-poles, news and high profile reality series will stick with the current distribution model. Authentication technologies will become highly sophisticated, with detection of unauthorized viewing becoming downright 1984-like
· Networks will test and implement innovative strategies for introducing and promoting new series and, in this context……Mini-series will return to favor…..social second screen initiatives will reward viewers for tune-in on demand….. Gaming will become one of media companies' and marketers' most dependable media tools
· Variety entertainment in many forms will gain favor as marketers embrace the convergence of streaming and live events…..Video advertising will integrate instant response technologies that enable engagement and commerce targeted to sports fans, movie-goers, concert attendees and viewers of real-time events
· A user-generated TV series will become a hit without traditional studio or distributor support, will most likely be enhanced by crowd-sourcing, potentially funded by crowd-funding, and will incorporate multi-player real-time gaming. Sponsors will jump in just before the series fades into oblivion.
· TV networks/studios will acquire digital video content producers, gaming companies, technology start-ups and distribution partners
· As Sony splits its home electronics and content businesses, Samsung, LG, Intel and other home electronics manufacturers will invest in video content and distribution partnerships. At least two of these companies will emerge as dominant media industry forces led by Samsung.
On to advertising and marketing….
· As Google becomes an increasingly dominant force in the ad business by leveraging technology, search dominance and consumer data, both Apple and Amazon will emerge as major players in the advertising and marketing business. Direct partnerships between major marketers and these three companies will increasingly define the business landscape of the future
· Programmatic and automated media buying and selling will be essential to manage the growing complexity of advertising placement systems and technology. By 2020, at least 40% of reach and impressions based advertising across all media will be bought and sold programmatically. Almost all digital display, rich media and video ad inventory will be bought and sold programmatically.
· Marketers will continue to invest directly in content that is brand neutral, following the GE FocusForwardFilms.com model*
· While maintaining traditional awareness and reach-dependent advertising models, marketers will become far more knowledgeable about ad effectiveness and will adjust budgets on a real-time basis, consolidating spending with fewer large-scale media partners to simplify their communications. Advanced dynamic advertising insertion capabilities will create new models for ad insertion into on-demand programming, with minimal viewer loss due to fast forward.
· Multiple media companies will merge their sales forces and inventory and build sales side platforms to gain greater market efficiency and competitive effectiveness
· Marketers will proactively integrate their ad budgets with media partners who have sophisticated promotional marketing capabilities, with digital interactive capabilities at the core
· Real time consumer connected marketing – the battle for the last moment of attention before purchase – will be at the core of marketers' priorities
· A significant share of marketers' couponing budgets currently invested in free standing inserts, print and direct mail will move to digital, with consumers required to make only one click (or blink of an eye/wave of the hand) to accept and (in real time or at some future time) redeem them
· Marketers, agencies and media partners will enter into return-on-investment/performance-based compensation relationships
· A media company will be formed (and/or acquired) with funding from a consortium of marketers, enabling them to gain content/distribution ownership rights and revenues. As the economics of achieving concentrated target audience reach become cost prohibitive, advertising budgets will require dual return-on-investment from both traditional sales and media ownership
· The "Upfront" will continue in its present format for years but a second "Far Upfront" will evolve for presentation of marketing and promotional partnership opportunities that require 12-24 month lead time for development and implementation
And in the meantime, in society, culture and business…
· Internet Natives, the Hooked Up Generation born post 1991, will become sought-after employees and partners as they prove their value as employees, advisors, leaders and mentors
· Females will become increasingly influential in all aspects of culture, society and business, with more and more content and marketing targeted to them and developed by them. By 2035, the number of stay-at-home dads will surpass the number of stay-at-home moms.
· Diversity outreach by companies and organizations will become moot, as the percentage of young Blacks and Hispanics entering the workforce grows and as traditional barriers collapse. Companies that maintain these barriers will, themselves, collapse.
· Global marketing strategies will be essential as digital media make all messages globally accessible
· Africa will become a hot market for consumer product expansion, with mobile marketing at the forefront of enabling their economies
· Neighborhood-targeting will capture a growing share of marketers' attention, with concentrated focus on highly localized messaging opportunities
· Marketers will seek out partnerships and platforms that help underwrite and advance educational institutions, cause related groups and initiatives, human rights efforts, talent training and development, parenting and family programs, and community enhancement groups
· On a very personal note, I'm hopeful that in two decades we will look back at the political polarization of the first two decades of this century as an especially dark and depressing time in American history, when forces tied to the past battled to prevent the inevitable advance of the economy, culture, basic human rights and a globally connected free society. The price will be steep -- environmental and infrastructure decay, social upheaval, political morass, economic struggles, the long-lasting impact of war, the overall health of society, the failures of educational systems, the role and value of organized religion, and the repression of a great generation that fundamentally wants to come together for the betterment of society. But ultimately, the connected generations born to the Internet and technology will prove to be a unifying force that advances society to an era of economic security, relative peace and social progress. We can no longer prevent the advance of society than we can the march forward of technology. In the media and marketing business, we can enthusiastically embrace the future even as many of our colleagues yearn for an easier and less complicated, but also far less interesting, past.