Revisiting 2012

Photo credit: Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Below are the fearless forecasts made in December 2011 by a number of leading Dutch media practitioners on the changing media landscape in the Netherlands. The article was originally written in Dutch, which I translated and submitted as one of the requirements for my DEVC 206 course two semesters ago. We are now heading to a new year and similar articles are, for sure, already in the offing. Anyway, I thought of re-posting this article to know which predictions did come true in 2012 and to give readers a glimpse of media developments in a “wired” country like the Netherlands.  Here it is:

Bert Wagendorp, columnist/reporter, De Volksrant
Everything [that began in 2011] will just continue in 2012. I see more and more train passengers no longer reading the free newspapers; everyone will just be tinkering with their iPhone or iPad. And I see those piles of newspapers in train stations gathering dust: the end of the free newspaper is near. I also notice that I myself am having too little time for all the information coming my way. I have given up on TV, I just turn it on when I want to watch back a program. I’m awaiting the arrival of Internet-TV, one that can flash all the information I need on the screen. You feel the revolution on this terrain forthcoming, it’s just a matter of when it’s finally breaking out. I’m not that up-to-date with all the technological developments to predict that. As far as the newspapers are concerned, “we” will further focus ourselves on in-depth news, interpretation, and analysis. The newspaper will further develop as a medium for highly educated group of readers: the “elitization” of the medium can, I’m afraid, no longer be stopped. Radio is the medium of the future, for sound remains the preferred means of communication to tell a story.

[Update: A gratis daily newspaper, De Pers, has indeed folded up and television sets with Internet connectivity have become the norm. Mainstream newspapers have fully embraced the Internet by offering digital versions of their products, while maintaining the print editions for their remaining subscribers.]

Marc Stubbe, chief commercial officer, Sanoma Media:
Short deadlines, just like in 2011, will be the order of the day in 2012. This is possible because  all these mobile gadgets have made us on-call 24/7. To ask someone to write a column in the afternoon and expect it to be finished in the early evening will therefore become the most normal thing in this world. Technology is developing fast, sometimes too fast for many. Digital media have grown from niche to market leaders and now dictate the pace.

Ruud Hendriks, media, IT and telecom entrepreneur, adviser, speaker :
The crisis will push more and more people into bargain-hunting. eCommerce will grow tremendously. The biggest advertising medium for 2012 will be online, as well as via the television. Partly because of the arrival of iPad 3 and iPhone 5, newspapers will get more blows and will find it hard to keep their heads above water. The tech world will further develop and will produce more startups.

Willem Albert Bol, media manager at Vodafone:
The media landscape of 2012 will not be really different from that of 2011. The same trends will go on, but at a faster pace in the coming year. The most dominant development remains the digitalization of all media. Therefore not only online and mobile, but digital television, digital radio, digital outdoor. What I personally find interesting is the mix of digital and traditional, making use of the best qualities of each one. Since 2011, the touchscreen experience provided by mobile phones/tablet has also been a growing phenomenon in television sets. I’m curious if this will go on in 2012.

Erwin Blom, Expert Trendwatcher of the Year awardee:
The Internet is an assassin. Figures for the giants of yesteryears are caving in. On YouTube, individual creators are earning a lot thanks to the millions of subscribers who like their films. Anyone can just start his or her own live channel online, for which neither network nor cable is needed. And writers are directly knocking on Amazon’s door to offer their wares directly. Just a pair of examples that will characterize the trend. 2012 is the year when every link in the chain will have to prove his worth more than ever. For if that doesn’t happen, he will be cut away from creation to consumption.

Wouter Hendrikse, general director, HUB Publishers:
What has long been going on for a substantial period of time, the conversion of media, will accelerate in 2012. What we see – partly based on our day-to-day experience – is that other media forms are looking for connection with hitherto estranged sorts of media. Radio is rubbing elbows with print, print with television, online with events, etc. Cross-pollination, that is. And this process has its impact especially on the commercial route. Publishers and other media companies should lose no time to go into this, partly because of the enormous possibilities. For standard rate cards of long ago are no longer enough. Advertisers expect a lot more, they expect other concepts. Stand-alone printed pages are actually no longer sold, it’s about the total concept. Funny is that the market is asking us, preferably together with the creative bureau, to act not as as an enterprise but a creative unit. And if that’s not possible with a bureau, then we have to solve it ourselves. From creation to implementation, to execution. This, too, is a clear signal of a converging media, a process that we have to follow with great interest. Publishers and media owners should actively embrace these endless opportunities. More creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in 2012, please.

Piet Bakker (photo), professor Cross Media Content at the School of Journalism in Utrecht and Dr. Peter Vasteman, assistant professor at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam:
Since the beginning of the 1990s newspapers have been losing ground, first to TV and later to the Internet. Although there seems to be some substitution, the main reason seems to be that coming generations use the media that they grew up with as their media of preference. This was TV in the 1980s and ’90s, the Internet in the 1990s and in the 21st century, and the mobile phone in the last decade. Generations that grew up with newspapers still treat this medium as their medium of preference. This explains not only why newspapers have problems reaching the younger generation but also why they still have a firm foothold in the Dutch society.

News, not only in newspapers, but also on TV, are still very popular. The national daily 20:00 o’clock newscast NOS Journaal often has two million viewers or more, and is usually in the top 10 of every day’s best-viewed programs.There is no shortage of people wanting to read, watch or listen to news.

Internet penetration – or to be more precise broadband Internet penetration – is very high but has not yet resulted in a total shift in media use. This could happen, however, when new generations grow up and take over in numbers from the older ones.

[The last item is not part of the main article. Click here to visit the source.]

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