Cultural Predictions 2014

In the Chinese calendar, 2014 will be the year of the horse, which, I suppose, means it will gallop by even faster than 2013. So before 2013 comes to a close, it’s time for my prognostications.
I’m also interested to learn what your predictions are, so we can meet back here in a year and see how we did, collectively. Add ’em in the Comments below, OK?

Cultural Predictions 2014

By the end of 2014, we will grow weary of these buzz phrases, despite their relevance: “Big Data,” “The Internet of Things,” “Native Advertising,” “Real-Time Analytics, “Worst Congress Ever.”
Black will be the new black. It’ll come back as a fashion color. Yep, basic black.
Google Glass will fade to oblivion, and smart watches will be everywhere.

Samsung's Galaxy Smartwatch
Samsung’s Galaxy Smartwatch

Movie studios: Two of them will have major management house-cleanings next year. That’s up from the usual one gigantic shake-up every year or two. But it’s been a while now, so 2014 is the year some executives get ramped out, and others get ramped in.
Sony Pictures will be sold. Google, Amazon and Netflix will be the lead bidders. I’m betting on Google, and I hope they keep Sony Pictures Classics intact, as it is one of the last great distributors for truly independent films.
DVDs will be declared emphatically not dead. Their revenue will flatten out at a consistent $20 billion per year.
The VMAs will offer a spectacle that sets media tongues wagging, to the extent that everyone will forget the word “twerking.”
Despite its protestations that it will never sell its art collection, the Detroit Institute of Arts will quietly agree to let the city sell a few of its valuable paintings as a gesture of support for Detroit’s bankruptcy troubles. In this way, all sides will save face and avoid costly litigation.
Netflix will experiment with premium services and a la carte pricing to compete with iTunes.
iTunes will experiment with subscription movie/TV service to compete with Netflix.
Top YouTube Channel content providers will seriously reconsider their relationship with YouTube, and wonder why they are building Google’s audience and not their own. Some will defect.
Al Jazeera America reports from Arizona on a recent broadcast
Al Jazeera America reports from Arizona on a recent broadcast

Al Jazeera’s ratings will climb in the US, as American audiences demonstrate they actually want a TV channel that offers news. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News will try to respond, but their credibility will have been so damaged by years of non-news, fluff and partisanship that viewers won’t embrace their changes.
Search will be edged out by Push. For example: instead of you asking Yelp where a restaurant is, Yelp will remind you that it’s time for lunch and, knowing your preferences, tell you where to go.
More big brands will embrace their media driven-selves. Leading the way? Yahoo under Marissa Mayer, who signed Katie Couric, and Condé Nast under Dawn Ostroff, who is turning a stodgy magazine empire into a media-content dynamo.
Two more of the Big Six (now Big Five, soon to be Big Four) publishing houses will merge and try to convince readers that it will create more choice.
Local will be in. All politics is local, and so will be all data. That means micro-brands and deep niches will increase their presence in audience and consumer mind-share. Location-based marketing will explode.
Adverts will be out. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter will face user revolts over  “social spam,” the intrusive panoply of ads social media networks will offer.
Guillermo del Toro will finally get a chance to make a movie that rivals Pan’s Labyrinth in awesomeness. He’ll go back to his lower-budget roots, and filmmaking will be the better for it.
A page from Guillermo del Toro's sketchbook reveals designs for 'At the Mountains of Madness'
A page from Guillermo del Toro’s sketchbook reveals designs for ‘At the Mountains of Madness’

Video will continue its ascent. Video has quickly become the predominant way we communicate. Brands and advertisers will pick up on this, becoming more adept video storytellers and collaborating with more powerful creative artists for truly entertaining content. But wait: they’ll face competition from everyday people, who are making and sharing video content that is even more relevant and compelling.
Mobile will cross the tipping point, with a surprise for mediated experience. Mobile data users (that’s us, when we use smart phones and tablets), long on an upward trend, will hit critical mass. Then we’ll see people using data-driven mobile to do something positively retro: get together in public, in-person gatherings, and turn their devices off. Connecting with other, like-minded users and having face-to-face encounters will drive people to rethink other, more ubiquitous 21st century lifestyle choices: maybe some of us will even arrive on horseback.
Those are my 2014 predictions… what are yours?
Top image: Okami-Year of the Horse by secretsheik under Creative Commons license

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