Media outlook: 2010

This week, Folio: published “115 Magazine and Media Predictions for 2010”. A total of 22 magazine and media industry professionals contributed their thoughts on economic prospects, the future of e-reading, the decline of (purely) offline brands and the primacy of … lots of things.

Unfortunately, Folio: didn’t really edit the submissions, electing to order them by contributor rather than by theme. Maybe next year they’ll call me and ask me to do that work for them, but in the meantime, a precis:

Not surprisingly, those weighing in on revenue trends uniformly predicted flat to modest growth, although Don Pazour at Access Intelligence saw second-half revenues coming back to a select group of B-to-B titles “at an unprecedented rate”.

Growth of digital media was a given, and six of the seven responses that mentioned e-readers saw 2010 as the breakthrough year. Interestingly, F+W‘s Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, prolific tweeter, saw the mythical Apple tablet as “more horse than unicorn, becoming a major player in portable gaming but with minimal impact on publishing.”

The decline of purely offline brands was mentioned a half-dozen times, although almost as many mentioned some variation on “the primacy of content”. It felt a bit hoary, that “primacy” thing.

Less numerical: the most pessimistic view was contributed by Paul Armstrong, although a guy who tweets as @themediaisdying probably has to stay in character.

The most sobering prediction came from Chris McMurry, who felt that “corporate media will supplant traditional media as the leading information source for consumers. It is entirely possible that this has already occurred“. Okay, he leads a custom publisher, but still…

I found the contribution from Peer 39‘s Amiad Solomon to be intriguing, even if not wholly surprising: that data mining tools will provide new ways to monetize content.

And Samir Husni: I guess a guy who bills himself as “Mr. Magazine” has to be asked to contribute, but reading things like “the major shift will continue to be in the move from mass to class” just makes me cringe.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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