Category Archives: Predictions

The Economy Did Not Cause Radio’s Problems

Joint Communications CEO John Parikhal was rummaging through some old cyber-files in his office over the weekend and came across an interview he did with legendary radio programmer Steve Rivers in 2005.

In the article, John put on his “hat” as a longtime media guru and futurist and shared some predictions about radio’s future, which clearly came true.

Asked what he saw as true “radio killers” between then and 2010 Parikhal (pictured) replied,

“The biggest killer of all will be current management, unless they: Stop dancing to Wall Street’s whip, institute formal training and recruitment, start surrounding themselves with smart people who challenge them, create cultures of formal innovation and begin to get serious about spot loads. Radio can control this. They can’t control [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs, the Internet or any other of the so-called “killers” of the medium.”

Parikhal says that while many in radio today are blaming the economy for the industry’s woes, re-reading what he said five years ago suggests otherwise.

“This was all predictable, long before the current economic crisis,” he says. “You could see it coming, yet irresponsible people — who didn’t want to invest the necessary time and money — caused terrible pain for so many in the industry.”

For a re-read of the full article, click here.

And what about some other past predictions? Here’s some more thinking from 2006 about the pending state of radio just prior to the economic ad rev meltdown.

As a reminder, here is what John said in September 2009 at this year’s annual NAB on how radio to get back its growth.

Media Trending: Spending Up, Usage Slightly Declining

Has media reached a new usage plateau? A new level of consumer saturation? What’s a new view of the future for media?

Private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) has released a new study forecasting spending in the media industry into 2011. The study found that while communications spending increased in 2006, consumer media usage actually dropped after multiple years of growth.

Total communications spending grew 6.8 percent to $885.2 billion in 2006. VSS predicts that in the first half of 2007, the industry will grow by 6.4 percent, making it among the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy.

VSS also predicts that Internet advertising will replace newspapers as the largest ad medium by 2011.

Meanwhile, media usage per person declined last year by 0.5 percent, according to their data, due to changing consumer behavior and the efficiency of digital media. VSS found that digital alternatives for news and entertainment require less time investment than traditional media. VSS predicts consumer media usage to stabilize this year and slightly increase through 2011.

Consumers are also moving away from ad-supported media, such as broadcast TV and newspapers. VSS labels options such as video games and cable TV “consumer-supported platforms,” and says their usage is increasing as time with ad-supported media decreases.

“We are in the midst of a major shift in the media landscape that is being fueled by changes in technology, end-user behaviors and the response by brand marketers and communications companies,” said James Rutherfurd, EVP and Managing Director for VSS. “We expect these shifts to continue over the next five years, as time and place shifting accelerate while consumers and businesses utilize more digital media alternatives, strengthening the new media pull model at the expense of the traditional media push model.”

If we have reached a new plateau of media consumption, it is worthwhile to take a look around the media landscape right now. Who has survived? Which platforms are still thriving? Still hanging on?

More specifically, take a look at radio. Good news…radio still operates with strength. It is simple, reliable, cost-effective and still is used weekly by 94% of the population. Radio has gone through tremendous industry change and competitive challenge from new media options…and radio still survives.

Is radio ready to rev it back up and go after the demographic it has nearly lost (teens) or the demographic it has turned away from (Boomers)?

Howard Stern and Predicting American Idol 2007

Howard Stern made some news this week, saying he wants to “kill” American Idol by “corrupting the entire thing”, hoping “to turn the talent competition into a farce and destroy its popularity.”

He’s backing VoteForTheWorst‘s campaign to keep Sanjaya Malakar, whom the New York Times called “the off-key, lyric-fumbling, elaborately coiffed teenager who is perhaps the most talked-about “Idol” contestant ever.

This is nothing new…Stern has commented about VoteForTheWorst’s weekly picks for the last three years. What’s different this year? Instead of just referencing it within Robin Quiver’s news segment, Stern’s gave the site’s owner an on-air inteview. This ramped up VoteForTheWorst’s web traffic, got lots of news services and blogosphere attention…and attracted Stern criticism.

In other words, fresh publicity, quickly attaching Stern to the #1 TV show in America.

Genius.

He has a much smaller audience now on Sirius compared to what he used to have on traditional radio…but he still knows how to place himself at the center of controversy and water cooler buzz. And his fans love him for it.

Does he want to “kill” off American Idol by supporting a part-time website run by a Chicagoland community college teacher? Of course not…it provides easy fodder for him to mess with year after year. And it gives him a chance to rub mainstream media’s nose in his crap.

If it’s not American Idol, Stern would be attacking some other #1 show.

That’s what he has done his entire career. Brilliantly, even if you don’t like his methods.

So Stern wants Sanjaya to win. Simon Cowell says he’ll quit if Sanjaya wins. According to an online prediction market website, Simon Cowell, American Idol fans and Freemantle/Fox executives won’t have to worry about that outcome.

InTrade.com has a freakish habit of (almost) always being right in their predictions. In the last U.S. election, the site successfully predicted the outcome in every state. In the Scooter Libby trial, Intrade successfully predicted the odds of a guilty verdict to be 70% (Libby ended up guilty on four out of five charges — or 80% of the charges).

InTrade’s success reportedly relies on the number of people who use the given “market”, however that market is defined. People “buy” and “sell” outcome “shares” online as events happen, tapping into the wisdom of the public.

So who does InTrade predict will win American Idol in 2007? (once on the site, click “entertainment”, then “American Idol”) As of today (April 1), 83% say a female will be the new Idol, not a guy. 50% say Melinda Doolittle will win the contest, with Jordin, Blake and Lakisha far-behind tied for second-place (14% of “win” votes each).

Only 3% think Sanjaya will win.

Yet, they also don’t think Sanjaya will get voted off this week; they think he’ll be sticking around a little while longer while Haley will be the one to get booted.

Will InTrade get it right? Maybe, maybe not. Sanjaya backlash could happen…or it might carry him all the way into May sweeps. The odds will change as the show’s dynamic changes…and Sanjaya may stick around for more farce value (hey, it is good TV).

Is Howard Stern behind Sanjaya’s staying power? Whatever. It’s TV. It’s American Idol. Howard Stern will still create news ranting against pop culture. Even though he’s on satellite radio.

related NYTimes.com article here (log-on may be required) or AOL.com article here