Making predictions about anything is always dangerous. But hey, it's never stopped an economist or a politician!. Here's my big tips for 2014 on Perth's media and marketing scene.
1) Bloodiest battle of the year: Seven News v Nine News
Yep, its on…with two veteran newsmen and their teams of merry men and women out for the 6pm ratings crown. Forget about waiting until the official ratings period begins, it has already started. Shaun Menegola made good use of the huge ratings leg up from the WACA test to give Nine its first taste of ratings success with hour-long bulletins, plenty of "live and exclusive" and a good splash of overnight promo time. Seven hate losing and Howard Gretton is as good a newsman as you will find and with Mario D’Orazio already spitting blood over the loss of a promos director it is only going to get uglier. (You dirty rat!) The old adage of former Seven News Editor (and my predecessor in the job) John Rudd comes to mind: Hack, slash, kill, destroy!
2) More news.
Yeah, well…I mean longer running local news bulletins. There is no question that the main digital stations are going to be serving up longer news bulletins and more live and local coverage. For the life of me I have never understood why Ten decided to cutback their local news capacity all those years ago. Look around the world: When pay TV starts to bite and viewers have multiple platforms for sport and movies the only thing that local networks have to fight back with is News…and lots of it. (Oh yeah that and the odd cooking, dancing or singing show).
3) Merging newsrooms
Seven News chief Howard Gretton and West editor Brett McCarthy are not long back from a world tour of joint newsrooms. By mid next yearish, Seven will be broadcasting its nightly news and Today Tonight from the West’s Osborne Park building and the TV lad and laddettes will be rubbing shoulders with their inky print mates. (Now there’s a culture clash if ever I saw one…) Newspaper journo’s with make up? It’ll never happen… What this DOES signal is an even closer relationship between the two news powerhouses of Perth.
4) Paywall wars
It has been interesting watching a one local newsite owned by Mr M go down the paywall route. Rumour has it that the West.com.au has enjoyed a swift upswing in hits while its Murdoch opponent has struggled as punters rebel. Paywalls are a tough gig in countries like Australia with powerful public broadcasters like the ABC and BBC. I suspect this is what drives the News Limited V ABC stoush.
5) Digital bites…finally.
It’s been talked about for a long time and I think the digi-heads did cry wolf a bit too soon but there’s no doubt that the big switch is on. Traditional media is seriously struggling and big money is starting to swing into online and digital campaigns. I’ve got a client with a campaign starting this month that we estimate will be 70% viewed on mobile devices. Around town there are a lot of Gen X marketing teams struggling to convince their baby boomer management to make the switch. (Where’s my telly ad and my 6 x 4 they shout from the board room). My advice to the Boomers: Walk into a café or go on a bus and check out the number of people glued to their iPhones, galaxies or whatever other tablet they tap…even better – check out your kids at work and play. The days of the HMV telly driving the marketing budget is over.
6) And one more...
My final big prediction for 2014: Companies that understand communications is a facilitator of great relationship building based on trust, respect and integrity will continue to stride ahead. Those who insist on just blasting stuff out and not stopping to consider what their audience wants from them…well, 2014 might signal decline. If it hasn't started already.
On that cheery note: Have a great Christmas everyone – Idiosyncrasy will be back in 2014…and watch out for the book. Yes I am defying the digital trend and bringing out a real paper publication..with cartoons that you can write all over and spill your coffee on. Cheerio.