5 tech predictions for 2012



5. Content producers skipping the middle man

Zimedium called it on May 8, 2011. In a post titled My predictions for Internet TV and the future of Cable.

“I’d watch for more studios and content owners to explore options for skipping the middle man and becoming the means of distribution for their content.” (See story May 8, 2011)

Louis CK did it seven months later — this December — for his special Live at the Beacon Theatre. Instead of distributing the video through Netflix or HBO, Louis CK put it exclusively on his website. All fans had to do was visit his site, pay the $5 price and download the special. So how’d it turn out? Well, in 12 days, Lois CK’s DRM-free video download made a cool $1 million. And it’s still going

Louis CK’s special is only the beginning. In 2012, more will follow his model. Entertainers, content providers, even premium cable channels.

4. Customized Ads… Tailored to your purchases, browsing habits, check-ins and interests

Ads customized to your interests. Google does it best. Hulu’s already doing it with in-show ads and its Ad Swap feature. You can select what you like instead of watching what Hulu thinks you’ll like. Facebook does it. Facebook displays ads based on what fan pages you like. Foursquare does it too, by offering suggestions based on where you check in. Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley discussed the company’s Explore/Recommendation engine at LeWeb 2011 in early December 2011.

“We went through about two years of Foursquare where people thought that they were checking in for mayorships and points and badges. The check-ins weren’t just for the badges,” Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley said on stage at LeWeb 2011. Every time you tell us that you like to go to this sushi place, we get better about recommending you another place to go to. Every time you tell us that…you know a lot about this area of Paris or this are of New York, we know that you’re really familiar with that neighborhood. And we can suggest other things that you may not know about. Or we know when you’re in areas that you’re not so familiar about we can start offering things that help you out.”

Ads based on what you “like,” tweet, check-in, watch. Information you provide both voluntarily and data acquired based on your actions. Get ready to not hate the ads that interrupt your programming…at least not quite as much.

In 2012, Customized Advertising will be king. Whether you’re aware of it or not.

3. Video-game consoles becoming complete entertainment hubs

We called it an entire year ago, on Dec. 27, 2010. In a post titled When will PS3, Xbox, Wii incorporate Internet TV.

“…When will Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo enter the [streaming content] game themselves? Doing so would offer another bit of differentiation, another perk for owners of each console.

“Who will be the first to fully embrace streaming content or Internet apps?

“Because it’s going to happen, and whichever is the first to act will only begin the next trend in video games and possibly home entertainment as we know it.” (See story Dec. 27, 2010)

Xbox 360 introduced its revamped dashboard one year later, in early December of 2011. The new dashboard featured Internet apps including Netflix, Epix, SyFy, ESPN, Daily Motion, NBC News, Zune, YouTube and Live TV integration if you have the accompanying cable subscription.

In 2012, Xbox will roll out more apps and the rest will follow. It’s only the beginning. The future video-game console will be a complete media hub with dozens, possibly hundreds of channels and apps.

2. Entertainment on the Cloud

I hate the term “cloud storage.” Makes me think the cloud is only for backing up files. In 2012, the Cloud will become more than a backup service. Cloud for movies…music…pictures… and our movie libraries.

(I’m looking at my collection of DVDs and Blu-rays right now.) In 2012, our movie collection will extend to the cloud. Blu-rays already come with digital copies. How about a specially formatted “cloud copy”?

1. A BIG Netflix competitor

Through a few missteps in 2011, Netflix has enjoyed practically zero competition (or at least serious competition). Its maintained the largest number of video subscribers anywhere and built up its library of streaming content. Plus exclusive content on the way.

Zimedia predicts in 2012, one new company (or a service from a partnership of companies) will emerge as the biggest competitor Netflix has seen to date.

But it won’t be the death of Netlfix. In fact, few industries survive without competition. It’s good for business. It fosters growth, sometimes re-invention, and an improved user experience.

7 thoughts on “5 tech predictions for 2012”

  1. Nice work. A few comments:

    #5 I think that it is long overdue for the middleman to be cut out. It has already begun to happen in academic journals where people often have to pay both to publish and to even see their work once published. These guys are gatekeepers who often have axes to grind and who often take all the profit. Given the state of the art, I suspect they add little value.

    #4 I have already seen some pushback such people dropping out of Facebook because of the loss of privacy.

    #3 Apple will most likely join this fray with the long rumored Apple Television set. http://tinyurl.com/7qxhu8s They are masters at simplifying the interface. I suspect they will add games in the process. Apple is the North Korea of consumer electronics so we won’t know until they announce something and who knows if it is smoke. But if the rumors prove true, will they do to TV what they did to music?

    #2 Already, I bake bread with the help of the cloud.

    #1 Netflix and Best Buy both have the same problem — customer deafness. A recent Forbes article predicts the slow death of Best Buy because of it. My own experience there makes me believe Forbes is right. They could have written the same article about Netflix. If somebody comes along with a real customer focus such as King Arthur Flour has in the baking biz, Netflix is toast.

  2. Hey, Russell

    Thanks for the comment. You made some great points.

    The middle man will disappear in a lot of industries.

    I’m excited to see what Apple brings to the table (fruit table?) too. I’ve got an Apple TV box…and I think there’s a ton of room for improvement. Apple’s foray into the TV market will make things interesting. Will it become another Apple-dominated category?

    Thanks for reading.


    1. Hey, Jay. Thanks for asking.

      Let’s recap my Top 5 for 2012.

      5. Content producers skipping the middle man
      -Louis CK was the first, then others soon followed, including Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan.
      Result: Correct

      4. Customized Ads
      This was already happening when I posted this, but I thought it would continue to explode. I guess you could say it did but this wasn’t very revolutionary. Kind of a weak prediction
      Result: Weak

      3. Video-game consoles becoming entertainment hubs
      This was totally spot-on. In fact, I predicted this before any of the systems even had apps on-board.
      Result: Correct

      2. Entertainment on the Cloud
      Called this one too. Now when you buy a Blu-ray disc, it comes with a Cloud copy for Vudu. Other cloud services continue to expand.
      Result: Correct

      1. The next Netflix
      I was a little early on this one. Though Redbox Instant by Verizon launched in December of 2012. Could it be a fierce competitor? Time will tell. Amazon is also gaining steam with its Amazon Instant Video service. Other services could develop this year but Netflix has a strong hold. Exclusive content will really start to take over this year on streaming services. Watch for that.
      Result: Early

      Totals: 3/5

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