What looms large on the media landscape as we hurtle towards 2012?


MEDIA & MARKETING:Too nervous to make new year predictions ourselves, Media & Marketing asked eight people in the industry to gaze into their crystal ball for 2012 and tell us what they saw

1 A big 12 months for the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Helen Shaw, founder of media production and consultancy company Athena Media

“2012 will see the BAI play a far bigger role in media life and landscape but we should expect to see signals towards a new broadcasting Bill and a potential merger of the BAI and ComReg – the telecommunications and spectrum regulator in the coming years.

“The internet remains outside the scope of the content regulation and all future legislative developments are going to have to address that gap. The RTÉ/Fr Reynolds report will also define the conversation around RTÉ, whatever its determinations.”

2 Mobile commerce will triumph in 2012

Colm Grealy, chief executive of media app-maker Digital Reach Group

“Next year will see the emergence of mobile commerce, as sub-€50 smartphones will become the norm in the prepaid market. Finger-friendly shopping on mobile stores will replace much of our online shopping activity. Budget-conscious retailers will build stores in the web browser that work across all types of smartphones. NFC (near field communications) will accompany short codes and QR codes as marketers engage in creative ways to connect with customers, and rich media advertising formats delivered to smartphones and tablets will become a key part of most cross-platform advertising campaigns.”

3 A year of ‘doing more with less’ for regional newspapers

Deirdre O’Shaughnessy, editor of the Cork Independent

“I anticipate the regional market tightening further with a struggle to retain online presences, the abandonment of nascent hyperlocal operations and the exit of some big names from the scene, throughout the country.

“Hyperlocal has been a buzz word for a couple of years but it’s fast becoming clear that the market here is too small to bear it and I don’t see the few recent hyperlocal sites making any real headway. Most of them are run out of bigger operations and will be reintegrated as overworked staff do more with less.”

4 The continued rise of ‘social television’

Piaras Kelly, account director at public relations company Edelman and media blogger

“Social TV is an interesting trend to watch in 2012, with Apple rumoured to be developing an interactive TV. This builds upon other developments – such as those at Microsoft.

“The immediate opportunity is the incorporation of social media to increase viewer engagement. The likes of the WWE have begun to try to push hashtags as part of their regular TV show in order to get topics to trend and pull in viewers.

“New services like Zeebox have also sprung up, allowing users to interact with complementary content for whatever show they are watching at the time.”

5 A whirlwind year for digital marketing

Suzanne McElligott, chief executive of digital advertising trade group IAB Ireland

“There’s been a lot of talk about the pace of acceleration online, particularly in relation to media and I don’t see that abating. With that great excitement and progress comes major challenges. For brands, for advertisers and for people working in the industry, they might wish that the pace wasn’t quite so accelerated.

“There will be a move away from aggregate market and a switch from ‘we’ to ‘me’ marketing. Traditional mass marketing was about standing out from the crowd and shouting out repeated messages.

“We’re looking now at far more individualised messages.”

6 Tough times for print media, but the iPad will be its saviour

Jack Murray, managing director of digital media agency MediaContact.ie

“By the end of the second quarter, we will see some contraction in print media – maybe not a national newspaper, but at local level.

“On the positive side, I think the iPad is the device that will be the saviour of newspapers, and 2012 will see the conversion of people from smartphones to tablets continue at pace.

“I work in an office of 22- and 23-year-olds and the first thing they do in the morning is look at online media.

“You can decry the fact that young people don’t listen to Morning Ireland or buy a printed newspaper – or you can try and make a product for them.”

7 Big demand for marketers with skills in data analytics

Sandra Lawler, managing director of marketing recruitment specialist Alternatives

“Companies will be open to take on new people, but they will do it differently than before. They are looking for people who are very commercial and very focused.

“Digital has changed the landscape completely. Brands almost no longer own their brands, their consumers do.

“Marketing is more scientific now as well as creative: data analytics and customer modelling is something that companies are still struggling in and they are looking to bring in people who can do it.

“They want marketers not just with good research skills but with good insight-generation skills.”

8 Advertisers will continue to shift business to the UK

Pat Stephenson, managing partner of Boys and Girls advertising agency

“My hope is that Robbie Keane will score the winner in Euro 2012, driving the country to a euphoria never before seen and bringing back a massive sense of confidence. But aside from that I think it’s going to be a relatively tough year.

“One of the worrying aspects I think will continue over into 2012 is advertisers moving their business from Dublin to London – big advertisers like Vodafone and O2 are now operating their campaigns out of their UK agencies, and other companies have moved a large proportion of their business. Hopefully, that’s just a cyclical thing.”