2010 Media Predictions

Monday, December 28, 2009


When it comes to media, Los Angeles is the ultimate company town. LA writers who follow and report on the media, have a unique perspective on trends and what we should expect. The LA Times’ Joe Flint is no exception.

In 2010, we ahould expect another turbulent year.

Newspapers: Nearly 150 newspapers in 2009, including the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and even the Christian Science Monitor stopped print editions. Some, including the latter two, live on in Internet-only distribution. It’s probably safe to say 2010 will be even more brutal. At this time next year, odds are most of you will read our 2011 predictions on a computer, smart phone, e-reader or tablet. How we’ll get you to pay for it is another question.

Movie Studios: The financially ailing Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) will be sold. Even relatively successful movie companies like Lions Gate Entertainment and Summit Entertainment could be next. And, after years of old-media giants eyeballing video game publishers, 2010 might be the year they snap up a few.

Jay Leno: He will be gone from prime time. Averaging fewer than 6 million viewers a night, his 10PM show is doing poorly — so poorly that it’s spilling over and pummeling the still-important 11PM newscasts of many local NBC affiliates. As a face saver, NBC will cite future owner Comcast’s “commitment to quality programming” in declaring its return to one-hour drama shows in the hour.  Less obvious is what Leno or NBC will do next. Conan O’Brien has yet to show that he can fill Leno’s seat. But bumping O’Brien off to bring Leno back to late night would cost NBC $40 million in penalties. That might actually be a small price to pay in the long run; otherwise, don’t be surprised if Jay bolts to ABC.

Hulu will start charging viewers: Hulu, the free video site owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney, will require people to pay to watch its content. This will cause a rift internally as Hulu CEO Jason Kilar resists switching to a pay model, and leading to his exit. But will viewers agree to pay to watch Hulu’s content? Most cable TV providers offer a cheapo or even DVR for viewers to record programs they missed. So will viewers embrace a fee service from Hulu? By 2011, Hulu could be gone forever.

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7 Responses to 2010 Media Predictions

  1. Tiny Dancer says:

    Jay at 10PM is sad and unwatchable.

    Plus, I will never forgive NBC for pulling Southland for Leno. The series had all the makings of a top notch crime serial and I was hooked by the excellent stories and acting.

  2. Tiny Dancer,

    Good news about Southland.

    TNT will air the 10 episodes NBC had in the can and abandoned in January.

    I liked Southland too. Maybe TNT will order more of the series if enough of us watch it?

  3. Mauigirl says:

    Regarding Hulu, I haven’t watched it much myself. But if we decide to get rid of Comcast to save money, Hulu might be my only opportunity to watch certain shows I would think. I might be willing to pay for them. For the amount of TV we actually watch it would be cheaper to pay for the few things we want to watch than to pay for the Comcast service.

  4. Bill Hussein O'Reilly says:

    People still watch TV?

    I watch porn and sports.

  5. libhomo says:

    Leno is a Gopper jerk.

    I predict the corporate media will suck as moch next year as they did this year.

  6. Paul says:

    What leads you to believe Kilar is opposed to a pay model? I spoke with him this summer and learned that it has been part of the strategy from day 1. (“Think about HBO. If your mission is to deliver all the world’s premium video content–which ours is–then you’ll never be able to do that with only a free mode. HBO will never be free.”)

    I believe Hulu will use a hybrid model, offering limited content for free (like the current model) and offering additional content for subscribers.

  7. If Hulu carries non-NBC content for $$$ and they charge a low subscription fee, they could do ok. But the fee has to be really competitive and the content has to be broader. I don’t have a tv, so I might consider it if–big if–they carried something I like. That said, I’m waiting for BBC America to start offering their programs online. I think they do it in the UK. I’d pay a reasonable fee for that.

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