John Battelle: Media-related Predictions for 2009

John Battelle is one of the foremost thought-leaders on the tech-driven transformation of business and our world.  He's founder and CEO of The Industry Standard, co-founding editor of WIRED magazine, and the founder and CEO of Federated Media.  He has been providing his annual tech predictions for many years.  He recently posted his predictions for next year in on his blog in a post titled Predictions 2009.

Here is a summary of his online media predictions for 2009, with my thoughts/comments.

1. Macro economy:   Battelle says that we'll see an end to the recession with the economy beginning to grow again by the end of the year. 

  • I think this is a little optimistic.  I am thinking that the recession is going to last longer.

2. The online media space will be hit hard by the economic downturn, but looking to the long term, the web is where people are spending their time, the web will be where marketers spend their money.

  • Battelle is a leader in the online industry, so he is watching this space like a hawk, I am sure.

3. Google will see search share decline significantly for the first time ever.   Battelle says Google is going to go through growing pains and he thinks they will have a hard time making the transition to a big company and big brand, mainly for cultural reasons.   He says their biggest problem will be in diversifying their revenues.

  • The stock decline prediction is fairly safe, but I have a feeling that Google can continue to transform themselves into whatever they eant to be.

4. Despite #3 above, Google stock will soar in by Q3-4 of 2009, mainly because demand will pick up, and when demand picks up, it's like rain on a field of newly sown wheat. This after the stock tanks when the first half of #3, above, becomes apparent.

  • Another safe prediction.   What goes down, must come up is not what you would normally think, but with Google, I do expect their stock to do just fine by the end of the year.

5. Tied to #3 above, Microsoft will gain at least five points of search share in 2009, perhaps as much as 10.

  • This is a rather bold prediction.  I doubt it will happen.

6. Yahoo and AOL will merge.

  • If it happens, it will be a good thing for both companies.  The both have had a great ride since they were founded, but they both need to reinvent themselves.

7. However, in the second half of the year, Microsoft will buy its search monetization from the combined company.

  • I guess if #7 happens, then his #5 might have a chance….but I would put this at low probability.

8. Apple will see a significant reversal of recent fortunes.

  • Battelle says this will be tied to branding issues.  I can't see how a company like Apple that has so much going for it now could have a 'significant' decline.

9. Major brands will continue to struggle with the best way to interact with "social media."

  • I'd agree that for the most part, the old 'stogy' brands are having a tough time figuring out how to play with social media sites.  This is nothing new.

10. Agencies will increasingly see their role as that of publishers. Publishers will increasingly see their role as that of agencies.  They need each other.

  • Agree…all caused by the transition to online media.

11. Twitter will continue its meteoric rise. The key is the community and the conversation that community is having.  By the middle of 2009, the integration of Twitter's community and content will become commonplace in well-executed marketing on third party sites.

  • I have played around with Twitter a little bit, but it has not really taken a hold of my daily activities yet.  Perhaps I need to give it another try.

12. Facebook will do something entirely shocking and unpredictable. I am not certain what, but it won't have a "status quo" year.

  • As with Twitter, I have only played around with Facebook just a little, preferring Linked-In to Facebook.   I do agree that Facebook will need figure out how to continue its rapid growth by attracting new users.  Look for new features designed to attract both an older and a younger demographics.

13. Lucky #13 is reserved for my eternal mobile prediction: 2009 will see the year mobility becomes presumptive in every aspect of the web.

  • Finally….it took to #13 for Battelle to mention mobility.  While I agree with the movement towards the mobile web, I don't think the economic situation will allow consumers to embrace the mobile web as much as Battelle does.

14. Lastly, I promise, I will have sold my book and will be hard at work on it. 

  • Must be nice to be so popular that you can sell a book before you write it.

You can read his full blog here Predictions 2009 along with a review of Battelle's previous years predictions