Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 -- My Predictions -- My Vision for Video

Okay folks -- here are my digital media/video predictions for 2012. With these, I will try to be amongst the first to give his or her "two cents." And, feel free to give your responses, rebuttals, rebukes, refreshing thoughts, re-anything in the "Comments" to this post; note, I originally posted this a couple weeks back, but am posting again now before most of you ride off into the sunset for the rest of the year:

(1) TV Re-imagined. Long-time readers know that I have always expected Apple to release an all-in-one flat screen TV — think of a large-screen beautiful iPad on your wall — that will be called "iTV" in order to distance itself from Apple's current Apple TV "hobby." Apple's goal will be to re-think the living room experience to be, well, more of an "experience" (rather than simply a "dumb" TV); that means that, yes, it will be a beautiful and aesthetically appealing piece of hardware. But, it will be much more than that. It will aim to seamlessly marry that beautiful hardware with its underlying services, much as Apple was uniquely able to effectively do originally with the iPod/iTunes to transform the music business and overall consumer music experience. Apple's ultimate goal is to sell more hardware of course — using software and services as the Trojan Horse. And, Apple will be able to command higher prices — higher margins. There will be no doubt on this one. If Apple builds it, the Apple faithful (including my wife, Luisa) most certainly will come!

(2) Tablets on Fire. Apple's iPad will continue to be the #1 tablet, but Amazon's Kindle Fire will be closing in … Fast, fast fast (it already outsells the iPad at Best Buy); and, "Amazon Prime" will begin to significantly challenge Netflix, as more and more of us are introduced to Prime (via Amazon's brilliant Kindle Fire maneuver) and, accordingly, begin to watch premium video content on Amazon's hot new tablet. Interestingly, Amazon's strategy is completely reverse from Apple's. Amazon will use its hardware (the Kindle Fire) as the Trojan Horse to sell more services (premium video, etc.) -- and, of course (and most importantly) to enable mobile shopping. Anytime. Anywhere. That's why Amazon has a leg up over virtually every CE company — Amazon is willing to take a significant loss on its hardware sales, because it is gunning for long-term continuous purchases of goods and services. Brilliant Amazon. Absolutely brilliant!

(3) Battle for Your Living Room. Not to be outdone, Google will continue its massive push — and billions of dollars in investment — into the premium video and "TV" world. Google covets the living room experience — again for very different reasons than both Apple and Amazon. For Google, it's all about advertising of course — and monetizing video via ads is Google's next great frontier. That's why Google will stop at nothing. Google will even begin to take on the cable and satellite providers head on by offering full programming via the Internet initially in select markets. With these behemoths (Google, Apple) battling for a seat on your living room couch, smaller players like Roku will be faced with tremendous pressure to be swallowed up (or simply disappear). Expect significant consolidation in 2012.

(4) Personal Video Breakthrough. But 2012 won't be just about premium video content. As a result of massive growth of smart phones with easy HD video capture anytime and anywhere, your "personal video" -- intimate family and friend video memories/keep-sakes that you do not wish to share with the world on YouTube — will be, for the first time, easily archived, managed, shared and played back securely on any device and at any time (including in your living room and on the big screen) — and with HD quality intact. Companies will begin to significantly monetize this personal video opportunity in the latter half of 2012. Remember, family video memories are perhaps THE single most valuable possessions we have … These are snippets of your life that can live on forever …. You can do much of this via our partner Shutterfly already. But expect more ....

(5) HD Video Enabling Ecosystem Growth Explodes. As a result of these and other forces, the demand for HD video enabling services will grow exponentially — and video workflows will move at scale into the Cloud, beginning to seriously challenge legacy hardware providers.

Those are my holiday thoughts, predictions. Let me know what you think -- write a comment -- I will respond to each one. Or, send me a note directly to my attention at bizdev@sorensonmedia.com