Ten Digital Media Predictions for 2010

Here are my predictions for the coming year. In 12 months time, let’s review what actually happened!

1. Reinvestment in Digital Media.

Based on a lack of investment in 2009, I think a lot of companies will see a website revamp, or a new product version appearing in 2010. This will be especially true of companies who chose to ‘cut corners’ in 2009, for example deciding to build their own proprietary CMS. This coming year, they’ll choose to re-engineer the same site using an off-the-shelf, or even open source CMS.

2. Lack of new products due to R&D being slashed in 2009.

I’m not sure we’ll see so many new Spotifys (Spotifies?) appearing in 2010, because of a lack of investment/R&D budget last year. Maybe we’ll see new stuff appear at the end of the year though. The exceptions will be anything from Apple, with the imminent launch of their iSlate.

3. A number of live events on YouTube.

Yup, live is where the value is. And Google know this. So expect some new live events appearing on the platform in 2010.

4. More Flex applications, less Silverlight.

Flex will succeed because the creative agencies like Adobe and not Microsoft. This might change in the longer term, but for 2010, expect to see some sites migrate into very funky (I can’t use the adjective flash here!) Flex applications.

5. SecondLife to further decline.

Yup, not many people are writing about SecondLife these days. My own personal view is that in the long term, the web will be accessible through a graphical interface probably not far off SecondLife, but for the next 5-10 years, the standard browser is very much here to stay. The LindeX (the market to sell real world cash for made up cash – quite remarkable really) is in a steady decline, and the data has been moved from publicly available to a free signup. Here’s the graph as of today. Next yearm expect the graph to be totally unavailable, or in steep decline. A shame, but some technologies are just too ahead of their time.

6. The UK to start accepting blogging at the same status as the US.

In the US, bloggers have almost the same status as journalists. That’s a bit of a sweeping statement, and my apologies to journalists who have had a turbulent couple of years, and an even bleaker future for a trade that’s totally unfairly undervalued. Anyway, in the US, bloggers are often quoted by journalists and news organisations, whereas in the UK they are dismissed by the news organisations. Of course there are some exceptions such as The Guardian, but in the main, most people think that bloggers are nerds/IT geeks. This is a view which Twitter & the term ‘microblogging’ has helped to change slowly, but by 2011, I expect to see some famous UK bloggers be quoted by the press.

7. Offline browsers make a comeback.

My view of the Internet is that the same applications are constantly being re-invented. Facebook is like a modern version of Compuserve (a nice clean, walled environment); Skype is ICQ on steroids; Spotify is Real Networks (OK, just sort of!); Twitpic is like a billion free image sharing sites; today I even stumbled across a ‘directory’ of Twitter users – and directories kind of died off a few years ago! I remember installing offlines browsers on my Palm V in the mid 1990s, which effectively downloaded snapshots of a website on to my Palm, for me to read on the way home. I had a similar application on a few early mobile phones. Expect similar applications on iPhones, Kindles and iSlates to start appearing, so that users of the Tube and other areas can read articles on the move, outside of an RSS reader.

8. The FIFA World Cup sees huge use of video over mobile & broadband.

Put it another way, if it doesn’t, expect to see broadcasters and mobile operators to pull out of mobile video for the foreseeable future. Expect some amazing stats for broadband use from Sky, ESPN & FIFA. In 2005 we were discussing a 10 deal for bandwidth that went into Petabytes, and everyone thought we were mad. Expect to see that word banded around a lot during the World Cup.

9. Expect ebooks to take off.

This has the potential for a huge market. I estimate football club programmes, concert programmes, manuals, etc. all to be available in ebook formats, either free or very low cost by the end of the year. It will be a mini-reinvention of MP3s…

10. 2010… the year of Web CRM

I have no idea why it’s taken so long for a vendor to come up with a Web based CRM system. Facebook Connect, Windows Live signin & Google Orkut are the main contenders, but does a major website really want to release their list of customers to be shared with Facebook, Microsoft or Google? No. There are CRM vendors who charge a ‘per user’ model – which is useless for a free sign up model. A number of the newsletter systems are extending into this area – with Traction probably being the most attractive. But if you want a standalone web authentication and single customer view with Single Sign On (SSO), who are the sub $50k vendors? Exactly. So expect to see new players start appearing here.

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