A trip down Memory Lane…to 2014

As the year starts to wind down, many of us will be thinking about what might lie ahead in the next 12 months.

Predictions about the future can make compelling reading, but I’m always surprised why we seldom go back and see how many of the last set of predictions came true.  If we did, we would quickly realize that predicting one year ahead or many years ahead is actually incredibly difficult to do.  

One massive event that I’m sure was missing from the many media previews of 2013 was the irony of digital media suddenly taking an interest in the newspaper industry, namely Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post (as well as a handful of other notable newspaper acquisitions and investments).  While Bezos has yet to show his hand in how he might disrupt the newspaper industry, Amazon did catch nearly everyone off-guard with their plans that could potentially disrupt the shipping industry by starting a Sunday deliver service in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as London.

One could argue that Digital taking an interest in Newspapers is not too unusual.  After all, 2013 has been more of the same – lots of disruption everywhere.  Not surprisingly, the headlines in the media gravitate to key media players causing that disruption.  This brings me to a timely segue – the memorable EPIC 2014 video, which centered around the predicted merging of Google and Amazon into Googlezon.  

The 8-minute video, created in 2004, was presented from the ficitional viewpoint of the Museum of Media History and explored how popular news aggregators such as Google News could combine with now ‘taken-for-granted’ Web 2.0 technologies such as blogging, social networking and user participation in news reporting.

Not surprisingly, many predictions in EPIC 2014 did not come true.  However, the overarching trends in the video were right.  That’s quite a feat given how difficult it is to accurately predict what might happen 10 years into the future, and then harder still when we are thinking media.  For example, back in 2004, two media giants of today had only just begun: Facebook users existed only among Mark Zuckerberg’s peers at Harvard University and Netflix was still shipping out (many) DVD’s, ultimately leading to the downfall of a former giant, Blockbuster.  In terms of current-day essential media devices in 2004, the first iPhone was still three years away, as was the first Kindle, and the first iPad still another three years later.

Still, the video is well worth the watch, assuming you have an idle eight-minutes to spare before the oncoming rush of holidays.  While many forecasts don’t come true, it’s fun to predict: what are your predictions for the media industry in 2014?