Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Almanac Review 2007

Well, the year is drawing to a close and it's time to look back on the predictions I made a year ago in my 2007 Almanac.

Mobile phones - will increasingly be used as both remote controls and as credit cards, but takeup of video services will be slow during the coming year; operators will have to offer 'all you can eat' packages including TV services to attract a reluctant public.

Spot on, I'd say. You park in central London now by paying by phone - video services have been largely unsuccessful on mobiles and 3 are offering comprehensive fixed price packages. Similar trends are appearing around the world. A good start, then.

Long form - the short form video will continue to have its place, but as users and services become more sophisticated, expect a new raft of more engaging content that suits advertising better than the three minute pre-roll.

Again, there is more and more longform and midlength content appearing on the internet. The short form video, usually in user generated guise, is proving to be a medium of its own. Another good call.

Online TV advertising - hurrah! Here at last! A number of online ad marketplaces for video advertising similar to Narrowstep's Adserver will launch during the year and media agencies will finally put sensible budgets against accountable delivery of their TV commercials. Oh, and the TV and New Media departments will finally realise that they need to talk to each other sooner rather than later.

Mostly right - indeed, many media agencies complain of a lack of inventory; marketing agencies still haven't quite figured out where internet TV belongs within their service mix.

Traditional TV panics - as ad revenues drop like lemmings traditional TV stations and operators will realise that they need to do more than pay lip service to delivery of their signals over IP and some will begin to see that this is a cost saving opportunity. Expect serious consolidation in the TV industry to continue apace around the world and the creation of more production 'supergroups' such as Endemol and Tinopolis.

Again, not a bad call. During the year the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five have all launched online services and most of them simulcast. However, 'panics' may have been too strong a word; the consolidation of the production industry in the UK continues apace.

Rights wars - online services will begin to compete with traditional TV services for mainstream rights using superior distribution powers and better community relations with their customers and viewers to leverage the inflated fees they will pay.

I got this one wrong - there have been many cases of traditional TV companies buying internet rights and then sticking them in the drawer to prevent their use online. The clout of online has yet to show itself for anything but more marginal rights.

Vlogging - hasn't quite caught on yet, but will do so increasingly during 2007 as technology makes it easier to Vlog.

The year certainly has seen a rise in vlogging and tools for vlogging such as Rawflow's Selfcast.

Acquisitions - expect far more M&A activity than even in 2006 as the latecomers try to catch up. Niche technologies will be at a premium.

On balance, this hasn't come to pass in a major way - more and more specialist startups have entered the market, although there have been some significant acquisitions such as theplatform's sale to Comcast and Cycling TV's sale to Jump TV. There's a way to go before true consolidation.

Rise of Flash, fall of Windows Media - OK, I've been predicting this for some time, but Microsoft has failed to engage with the creative community that largely produce video using Macs, and even though they're trying to make amends for stupid decisions such as not supporting WMP on the Mac, it may well be too late. (Oh, and MS still won't introduce a 64bit SDK for WMS).

Silverlight remains flawed and Flash Video now supports H.264. There are issues with Flash streaming still (see my recent blogs), but overall it has trounced Windows Media during the year. Top marks again.

Video Mashing - yes, video will be integrated in a far more interactive way with other web services. Scroll the map, click on the house you may want to buy and click to watch the video... As ever mad ideas that even I can't dream up will become the year's must see sites.

Hmm, there hasn't been a huge amount o mashing going on - this is one prediction that may have been too early.

Video on eBay - they have to do it, don't they?If 2006 was the year TV on IP 'arrived', 2007 will see it established as a professional, profitable industry, although revenues will remain modest before beginning to rise steeply in 2008 and 2009.

Nope, got that one wrong.

So, overall, not a bad performance by my crystal ball. Tune in early in January for next year's almanac.

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