Looking back … first

December 29, 2008 by Dave Haynes

Every year around this time, because I seem to be one of a handful of people working instead of sitting on a beach or spilling into trees on a ski slope, I do a list of predictions for the year ahead.

How I do that for 2009, given the state of affairs, is a big question. Gimme a coupla days. Ahead of that, though, here’s how I did for 2008 (with the big qualifier that my generalities required no brilliance or psychic powers).

1 – More consolidation. 

Yup, we’re starting to hear and read more and more about similar networks blending sales teams and forming larger networks, while retaining some autonomy. I think you will also see more mergers of companies who are going after the same market. On the supplier side, several software companies were shopping themselves around in 2008 and that will really accelerate as these guys either find a buyer or fold tents.

2 – Outdoor is going to be the big mover (and spender) in 2008. 

Yup, Titan particularly in North America. In Canada, Pattison went from nothing to networks in elevators, office tower concourses, shopping malls and airport wait lounges.

3 – Price pressure on content production. 

Hmmm. I’m sure it is there, but I’m not sure prices have dropped. I am seeing more companies taking it in-house and also willing to take on external work at rates well below the pure-play content shops, but the quality gap will be noticeable. 

4 – The land grab will get tougher. 

Hmmm. Still seeing and hearing about retailers and venue operators doing deals that allow third-parties into their spaces on a revenue share basis. However, there also seems to be a tighter coordination between the venues and the networks. And we are also seeing more retailers just do their own thing, though the numbers are still miniscule.

5 – Measurement gets more important, and better. 

Yup. There was a big push in this area, most notably through OVAB’s efforts. We also saw some technology move out of the labs and trade show  booths and into the field, particularly face-counting technology uising biometrics.  

6 – Retail design starts coming into play. 

A somewhat feeble yup. It’s happening, but just barely. New store designs are starting to bake screens in, but it’s still rare and when it happens, a lot of it has that, “Hmm, where can we stick a screen???” taint ot it.  

7 – Ad sales aggregators get real traction. 

Hmmm. Both SeeSaw and Adcentricity have signed up a lot of networks but it still remains early days. And they don’t like the term aggregators, preferring to be known more as media planners for this space. 

8- The drive to standards. 

Yup, see 5

9 – Less bullshit. 

Miss. Still tons of it out there, and I can see why people do it. Public relations news is so automated now that just about any press release stuck out there gets regurgitated, without filtering, on what seems like countless portals and technology news sites. If you use Google Alerts, just watch how many times some press releases pop up. There is a near total absence of basic journalist practises, like fact-checking and objectivity, exercised on blogs, and portals and trade sites. A declaration of being the world’s largest is passed right on through. Silly quotes are not challenged. And unattributed, unchecked rumors get posted like news, under the seemingly twisted theory that first declaring something is just a rumor makes it then legitimate to publish. 

10 – More roadkill. 

Yup. There were some high profile failures like Reactrix, but anyone whose job involves building up a sales pipeline knows of a few big projects that have gone away and expansion plans for existing customers that didn’t happen because of the economy.

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