Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Predictions Review

Every year this blog makes predictions about likely events in the year ahead. Sometimes we're right, sometimes we're spectacularly wrong, but more often than not it's our timing that's out.

So, let's see what came to pass in 2011...

1. The Status Quo - no, not another comeback tour for the three chord wonders, but a recognition that very little will change in 2011. The major battles have been fought and the incumbents have won. In the UK Sky, the BBC and Virgin remain dominant. In the US cable cutting will have minimal effect and Hulu will continue to trounce YouTube as a serious video portal.

8/10 Perhaps YouTube has done better than we predicted and new alliances such as the Amazon takeover of Lovefilm have created powerhouses. But overall, the incumbents remain dominant.

2. The Apps Have It - delivery of content will increasingly involve apps, or at least we based delivery presented as apps. The cost charged will be significantly lower than traditional charged, with 59p being the norm against £2.99 for rental or £9.99 for physical purchase.

8/10 The rise of the App has truly happened and even my dear old mum is watching S4C on her iPad (cyfarchion, mam!). Delivery is largely ad supported, so our cost analysis was a bit out.

3. Sky High - I agree that the Sky takeover of itself (well, what else is it ?) will be given the nod and I expect Sky to make a significant play for the broadband market in 2011.The fight with YouView should be interesting.

3/10 Oops, our crystal ball totally, well, ballsed this up. We discounted the effect that activities at News International would have on Newscorp's ambitions. YouView remains a concept...

4. The Beginning Of The End - the set top box is approaching its place in the great scrapyard in the sky alongside VHS players and HiFi units. The introduction of more tablets, mobiles and screens with built in browsers and computing power will begin to erode the market for these units and security will move from the living room to the cloud or the server.

9/10 The sales of connected TVs (or Smart TVs) are sky high and manufacturers like Samsung and Sony are making serious plays for the end delivery market. As we have long predicted, TV services are moving into the cloud.

5. H264 Dominates - it's over for VC1 and VP6 (or Windows Media and Flash Video as you might know them) - everything from Google indexing to iPhone delivery now requires H.264 and I think that no one trusts Google enough to adopt VP8.

10/10 according to recent studies, 80% of all web video is now MP4, and Adobe seem to have conceded defeat on Flash, which means the inevitable death of FLV as a format.

6.The Rights Levee Breaks - we've seen piracy threatening the video industry in a similar way to the effect it had on the music industry, but the main reaction to piracy has been complacency. As serious piracy begins to take hold, DRM will be back on the agenda and rights holders will be forced to take protecting their assets more seriously.

3/10 Unbelievably, rights holders are still complacent in our view and leaving the hard work to legislators and industry bodies. Things are certainly better than in the music industry, but it's not going to last long.....

7. The Condems Break More Promises - I'm struggling to think of a single Condem policy in the UK that hasn't seen backtracking - the promise to abolish OFCOM being perhaps the most significant in our industry. Now we're promised 100Mbps broadband. This is a fantastic policy and IPTV Times will track the implementation of this policy at every step. We'll especially keep and eye on its delivery in rural areas.

8/10 Univeral broadband remains a pipe dream and things are going from bad to worse in rural areas thanks to contention as more people use the internet. But proving that politicians are breaking their word is easy fodder.

8. Stagnation - this will be seen everywhere from the wider economy, where house prices will drop, unemployment will rise and the UK will fall significantly behind the Eurozone and the US thanks to its short sighted Thatcherist policies, to the general economy as the higher rate of VAT takes toll. Enterprise will be next to impossible since there is no financial liquidity for new and growing businesses. Failure rates for startup businesses will be equally as tragic.

2/10 Actually, thanks to the Condems implementing Labour policies, the ecomony has been surprisingly buoyant, but we think this is a timing thing and expect full marks when we reiterate this next year.

9. Social TV - Facebook is already the most important online service for video, only it's not video friendly and most producers don't know what to make of it. Expect a slew of new socially based aggregation services to launch and for more TV to become social rather than scheduled or on demand. Expect more and more TV consumption amongst the younger generation to be driven by friends rather than schedules.

7/10 The rise of Facebook as a platform must be keeping many Googlers at Youtube awake at night. Again, we were a bit early on this, but will carry over our predictions into 2012.

10. The Yanks Are Coming - yes, an ongoing prediction, as Universal and CBS channels appear on our schedules and Shed, and very soon, All3Media become US owned. Sky will soon be US owned, and Virgin is US listed. However, creatively there's little doubt that the UK will continue to export hit formats around the world.

7/10 Done and dusted, but All3Media proved too expensive and Sky remained independent, still, the US controls much more of the UK media business than it did at the beginning of the year.

11. Rights Platforms Become Marketplaces - the global content industry is highly inefficient and will in the next year begin a move towards content rationalisation. This should be good news all around and will certainly be the focus of my efforts in the New Year.

2/10 Too early. Online content marketplaces remain a theory, well at least until we at TV Everywhere do something about it!

As ever, it remains for me to wish the many thousands of loyal readers who follow this blog a happy and prosperous New Year. Thanks for your comments and support in 2011, and please feel free to add your own predictions as comments below!

Our Almanac for 2012 wil appear shortly.

Cheers!