Monday, January 12, 2015

You Won't Believe What This Fortune Teller Predicts for Publishing in 2015!

 Smart phones, not-so-smart publishers, and hot new trends: 24 crazy predictions for the new year

Media consultant
When glancing at my article in the current issue of Publishing Executive, I had a revelation: Now that one of the publishing industry's leading magazines had called on me for predictions, I’ve graduated from blogger to media pundit.

And then my heart sank as I realized I had violated a cardinal rule of the International Order of Pompous Media Pundits: In its six-plus years of existence, Dead Tree Edition had never published a year-end list of predictions for the coming year.

With 2015 already under way and prognostication being new to me, I scraped up 50 bucks – Dead Tree Edition’s entire annual research budget – and headed over to Madame Marie, a local fortune teller and door-to-door magazine saleswoman.

Here are her 24 startling (mostly) predictions about magazines, the three Ps (postal, paper, and printing), social media, and publishing in general for 2015. If some turn out to be true, you can be sure I’ll be writing “told ya so” pieces in the next 12 months. And you can blame the wrong ones on Madame Marie:

1) Postal rates will not decrease, even though the exigent surcharge is set to expire this summer. Not sure if that will be from a court order or Congressional action. When I asked Madame Marie to explain, she responded, “What, you think I have crystal ball or something? All I know is, don’t ever bet on government getting rid of a temporary tax or fee.”

2) More web sites will jump into the printed magazine business. But they will not be welcomed into the fraternity of consumer-magazine publishers because they won’t have bloated ratebases or sell annula subscriptions for $5.

A postal bankruptcy would be, like, a bummer, man.
3) Three-dimensional printing will grow almost as fast as the buzz about it. By June, ad agencies will start demanding makegoods if their clients’ magazine ads aren't printed in 3D.

4) USPS will announce a new strategic plan called Seven Six Three – delivering Amazon packages seven days a week, other parcels Monday through Saturday, and everything else three days a week.

5) If you think native advertising is bad, wait until you see foreign-born advertising.

6) Mark Zuckerberg’s new book club will spread like wildfire, until people start seeing spammy “sponsored” posts and photos of distant acquaintances’ new puppies in their books.

7) Despite a decent economy, the market for huge yachts will plummet as billionaires join in the new craze for tasteful displays of wealth – buying a daily newspaper. When I asked Madame Marie whether the newspapers would still struggle, she said, “If you have to ask how much money they will lose, you can’t afford to buy a newspaper.”

8) Congressional Republicans will try to push the U.S. Postal Service into bankruptcy to break the postal unions – until voters realize a USPS bankruptcy would turn Forever Stamps into Never Stamps.

BoSacks flyin' high: Our consultant's
source of inspiration and insight
9) Congress’ next attempt at postal reform will be putting USPS up for sale. FedEx and UPS will quickly say, “No thanks.” However, the idea of buying out the middleman will intrigue Amazon, until it runs the numbers and realizes that, with proper accounting for pensions and retiree benefits, the Postal Service would be profitable. And you know how Amazon hates profits. To console himself, Jeff Bezos will buy another newspaper.

10) Amazon will go back to working on delivery drones.

11) Wal-Mart will announce the development of anti-drone missiles that can be mounted on store rooftops.

12) A major publisher will redesign its web site, then realize the snazzy new look and upgraded user experience can’t be seen on smartphones, which represent 80% of the site’s visitors.

13) “Big data” will be so hot that tech companies will try to differentiate themselves with new projects involving “Really Big Data,” “Huge Data,” and “Massive Data.”

A source of insomnia -- and much cursing
14) Tablets will be linked to insomnia. We’re not talking about the recent study proving that using e-readers before bedtime disrupts people’s circadian rhythms and makes it hard to fall asleep. (That’s so 2014!) We’re talking about MediaVest, the ad agency that is refusing to pay for the portion of a magazine’s circulation distributed via tablet editions. As Madame Marie put it, while meditating on a 1978 copy of High Times with the BoSacks centerfold, “Magazine advertising executives will stay up all night wondering whether to grow a pair and tell MediaVest it needs a rectal-cranial extraction.”

15) With tight supply, rising prices (for now), and strong dollar, the U.S. will be the market of choice for manufacturers of coated paper around the world. Because of low energy costs and the recent shuttering of inefficient mills, North American producers will be able and willing to protect market share by cutting prices.

16) As usual, “that damned newsstand” will be a frequent utterance of magazine publishers. But in 2015 the phrase will refer to the long-neglected Apple Newsstand for marketing iPad editions of magazines. The regular newsstand system – the one that sells printed magazines – will actually register gains in 2015 after years of declining sales.
Google What?

17) The content-marketing bubble will burst when non-publishing companies realize how few people are viewing their content and that it's not generating actual sales. Some will find it more efficient to use -- perish the thought -- paid advertising.

18) Trying to ride the next big wave, a former content-marketing/social-media/SEO consultant will publish a book called How Publishers Can Profit From Chris Christie-sized Data.

19) Web advertisers will have a radical idea: Only pay for ad impressions that are seen by actual human beings.

20) Google will pull the plug on Google Plus. No one will notice the difference.
The next big thing in social media

21) The big news in social media will be a simple new app that lets people share their pain and disappointment by sending out messages saying, simply, “Oy!”

22) Magazine publishers will pour lots of resources into cool new ancillary enterprises that they will brag about at industry conferences. A few of these ventures will actually turn a profit.

23) Some magazine ads will still include QR codes. And consumers still won’t bother scanning them.

24) “Oh, one last thing,” added Madame Marie, still clutching her sacred copy of High Times. ‘Linkbait’ headlines designed to exploit people’s curiosity will take over the Internet. Even your blog will join the trend.” She’s already been proven right on that one.


Unknown said...

Sounds like we are in for a wild ride!

Anonymous said...

Please, PLEASE, let the prediction of "SevenSixThree" USPS delivery come true. If I only have to clean out the worthless crap that's left in my mailbox three times a week, at least that will mean I won't be swearing at all four days each week. I've tried everything to stop the junk mail that's actually addressed to me, but crap for "Our Neighbors at..." or "Postal Customer" or "Current Resident" keeps coming to every address. Now the USPS is offering Direct Mail, etc. that puts advertising mail in every mailbox without needing any address. You can't file a "First Class Only" order like back in the good old days. There's no way to stop it!! And if (when) they force us to use cluster boxes, we're forced to go out, down the street, or whatever, every day just to make sure there isn't anything important that might be stolen. Everyone, PLEASE--forget about world peace--pray for "SevenSixThree" !!!

Ed Fitzelle said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe anonymous wants to pay for all the unemployment/food stamps that the postal employees would make when they are either terminated or their work schedules roled back so much that they would no longer be able to make a living from their postal salaries.

Anonymous said...

I like "junk mail." It's good for recycling or a quick note when the phone rings.

My wife and I have a bin in the living room where all (quickly reviewed) mail of no interest to us goes. Then, it begins the quick trip through the recycle stream to become wonderful new paper once again!

Support the environment! Support recycling of "junk mail!"