Saturday, December 14, 2013

2014 Media Predictions


2014 is just around the corner and as 2013 comes to a close, it's time to make some predictions on what the state of media may be like by this time next year. Before we do that though......here's a reveal of some past predictions I made.

2012, I made these predictions on the506.com forums but they were a year ahead of schedule:

1. ESPN NBA studio adds a host (Sage Steele was named host of NBA Countdown)

2. Major ESPN talent heads to NBC Sports Network or start their own venture similar to Dan Patrick (Michelle Beadle hosted her own show which eventually was cancelled)

3. NASCAR moves to NBC Sports Network from TNT (Yes. NBC took NASCAR away from ESPN and TNT)

4. Showtime gets Pacquiao-Mayweather (Nope, but Showtime did sign Mayweather and as late as November of this year, Showtime execs have said they're going to try and make Pac vs. May happen.)

5. Fuel TV converts into UFC Network (Nope, but it is now known as FS2 and it is prominently dominated by UFC programming)

6. Oprah's network acquires another major talent to host a show, actually has successful ratings (Yes, Tyler Perry)

Here is how my 2013 predictions went:

1. Big East rights go to ESPN and NBC (KINDA. The American Athletic Conference rights went to ESPN, CBS through sublicensing and LiveU)

2. Catholic 7 rights go to FOX, Google/YouTube and NBC (KINDA. The New Big East rights went to Fox and CBS through sublicensing)

3. The BS Report begins a taped simulcast late night on one of the ESPN networks (KINDA. A lot more BS Report episodes are being recorded in video nowadays, but it's mostly for Grantland's YouTube channel although some of those episodes have also been seen on ESPN2, including an interview with Magic Johnson)

4. CBS Sports Network gets no boost from Super Bowl and eventually becomes a non-factor. Depending on economy it might even shut down. (NOPE. CBSSN has made improvements, recently acquiring "Boomer and Carton" as well as Big East, AAC and A-10 sports TV rights through sublicensing. They may not be as major as ESPN and Fox but they're here to stay)

5. CBS Sports Radio gives ESPN Radio a run for their money while NBC Sports Radio shuts down. (NOPE. CBS still doesn't have ESPN's reach and NBC has expanded it's talent roster which includes Brian Kenny)

6. Comcast gives up on NBC Sports Network. It doesn't shut down but no new major spending is done on it such as bringing major personalities to the channel or trying to acquire big league rights. (NOPE.)

7. NBA will renew rights with ESPN and TNT, giving TNT the Finals every other year. Google/YouTube also get some rights to help Turner operate the website and stream games on the Bleacher Report YouTube Channel. (NOPE. Never decided who won the rights)

8. Bleacher Report is renamed to something that makes it's identity more intact with Turner Sports or Turner Sports renames it's sports programming "Bleacher Report TV" (Yes. Bleacher Report segments are seen often on Turner Sports and CNN)

9. Dick Vitale and Charles Barkley will call a game together (Yes.)

10. Charles Barkley bluffs on leaving TNT but gets a bigger slate of TV specials and calling more games on-site, he also will get a spot on their baseball coverage (Yes/No. He has been calling more games on-site but it looks like he will leave after 2 years)

11. CNN moves Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett to daytime, keeps Piers Morgan at his timeslot, re-assigns Soledad O'Brien back to being a reporter and adds a debate show, a panel show and a comedian show. (Yes/No. Anderson has two timeslots now at 8 and 10pm, Erin Burnett is still where she is, Soledad left CNN and there's no comedians on the roster. BUT.......Piers is still at 9pm, CNN has a debate show "Crossfire", a panel show "AC360 Later")

12. Fox News moves to second place in the demo except for O'Reilly who stays #1 at everything. MSNBC is #1 network in the demo and CNN continues ratings struggles but improves from before. (NOPE. Fox moved around some talent to stay at #1 in the demo)

13. Current TV is acquired by ABC, uses channel space for new network with Univision (NOPE. Al Jazeera acquired Current TV)

14. ABC/Univision network does terrible in the ratings (UNKNOWN. Not much carriage)

15. Rihanna, Bon Jovi becomes a judge on "The X-Factor", Britney and Khloe leave while Demi, Simon and Mario stay (Yes/No. Rihanna and Bon Jovi did not become judges but Britney and Khloe did leave while Demi, Simon and Mario did stay)

16. "American Idol" will have good ratings...just not as good as "The Voice" (Yes/No. Idol did even worse in the ratings. "The Voice" did top "AI" in the ratings)

17. Oprah makes a play to come back to broadcast television while still participating in OWN (Nope.)

18. GMA and Today continue their battle, GMA is still #1 (YUP.)

19. George Stephanapolous becomes new ABC News anchor, Diane Sawyer retires but continues with interview specials, Josh Elliott takes George's place on GMA while Paula Faris, Dan Harris or Amy Robach take the news anchor chair on GMA (NOPE)

20. Ann Curry leaves NBC for CNN (NOPE)

21. Barbara Walters, Howard Stern and Al Michaels retire (Yes/No. Barbara Walters did retire. Howard and Al are here to stay)

22. Bob Costas becomes new temporary play-by-play for 1 season, next season who knows? (Nope.)

23. FOX relaunches Prime Ticket LA as Dodgers RSN which is operated by Dick Clark Productions, New Year's Eve show with Ryan Seacrest eventually moves to FOX as part of the deal (Nope.)

24. Apple makes a huge content provider acquisition. Maybe Apple buys Disney or Hulu? They need content for their new products. (Nope.)

25. ESPN turns ESPN Classic into SEC Network (Nope.)

26. New York Times is bought by somebody, most likely a foreign company or wealthy person like Carlos Slim.....becomes private (Nope.)

27. Bloomberg buys Financial Times although I wouldn't be shocked if Bloomberg bought NYT as well as branded their TV network with NYT (Nope.)


NOW.........here are my 2014 Media Predictions, which may be a repeat of previous predictions. This will be known as the YEAR OF CONSOLIDATION. 

1. BuzzFeed will be acquired. It'll be a competition between Time Warner and Yahoo. Time Warner wants to boost it's digital news content while Yahoo wants it's own Huffington Post.

2. New media will invest into the New York Times. I don't think NYT will get sold like WaPo did but I do think that they'll develop a major strategic agreement with either Facebook, LinkedIn or Google which will improve their digital product and legitimize a new media company's news product.

3. Bloomberg will consider selling it's TV network to go exclusively digital.

4. CBS News will partner with Microsoft to launch digital network. Microsoft just got rid of it's news deal with NBC and they're looking for content to broadcast on it's XBox platforms. A hip, modern news net which is powered by CBS but isn't modeled after CBS' programming will be launched and CBS News will host it's website on MSN.com similar to what FoxSports.com used to do.

5. CBS will consolidate with another media company. The most likely possibility will be CBS acquiring Sony's entertainment library and movie studio but CBS and Time Warner could also merge.

6. Time Warner Cable will be sold to Comcast. As part of the FCC agreeing to let Comcast buy TWC, Comcast will be forced to sell TWC's RSNs and cable networks to another company, which will most likely be Fox. Charter will also have to take control of some of TWC's subs.

7. Deadspin will be sold. A new media company targeting men such as MadeMan or Anthem Media Group may be willing to overpay Gawker for Deadspin even if it's not for sale. They can use it to promote a platform of theirs which isn't getting much traction.

8. Ann Curry will leave NBC. As has been reported already, she will either go to Al Jazeera America OR start her own production company. I wouldn't rule out a foundation helping her start a news venture aired on PBS or a random philanthropist who is fed up with the news cycle who decides to start an international news net with Ann Curry as the lead personality. 

9. Democrats aim to start their own Fox News-type outlet with Bill Clinton as the star. As weird as it may sound, I also wouldn't be shocked if Democrat supporters tried to start their own version of Fox News online or on TV with Bill Clinton hosting his own interview/talk show. Dems have always been jealous of Fox News and many don't see MSNBC as the answer. This could be the place where Hilary announces her run at the presidency.......that is, if it even exists this time, next year.

10. ESPN uses Olbermann more. I wouldn't be surprised to see Keith Olbermann calling some MLB games, doing some studio work for ESPN's MLB coverage and contributing more essays to SportsCenter. I'm just not sure if we'll see his TV show in the same place this time next year or if it'll exist at all.

11. Turner Sports will launch an 11pm sportscast on CNN. It'll be a panel show from the Bleacher Report and all of it's personalities discussing sports for an hour, live from New York with highlights placed in between the discussions. 

12. Piers Morgan changes timeslots, Bill Weir moves into primetime. I wouldn't be surprised if Piers moved to either the 12am timeslot or became a once-a-week personality on Thursday nights who went back to his craft of big interviews. I also expect for Bill Weir to get a top notch slot in primetime. 

13. George Stephanopoulos talks to CNN about replacing Wolf Blitzer as it's new face. Stephanopoulos is signed through 2014 with ABC News and he's the heir apparent to Diane Sawyer but he faces a "John Roberts of CBS" problem. The incumbent doesn't look like they're leaving anytime soon. 

Unlike Matt Lauer who was destined for "Today", it always appeared like "GMA" was only a pit stop to keep George busy before he took over "World News" although it looks like that pit stop has taken too long. CNN may look to George as an eventual replacement to Wolf Blitzer and could hand George the keys to "The Situation Room" and lead hosting gigs to the biggest political events covered on CNN while Wolf stays at 1pm. Don't be surprised if Fox News looks at George as well to beef up their political unit. (Just to clarify, I don't think George will LEAVE ABC but I wouldn't be surprised if he spoke to CNN about potential possibilities before re-signing)

14. Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer, Robin Roberts will all re-sign with GMA. Josh and Lara will also get their own show again.

15. "Today" will take over again as the top morning show. But the race will continue to be tight and the two shows will continue to volley the lead back and forth. "Today" won't dominate for too long but it will take it's lead back some time soon.

16. Natalie Morales will leave "Today". Tamron Hall will replace her while Robin Meade will also join NBC News. Morales doesn't seem to be a candidate for the top job at "Today" anytime soon for obvious reasons, so in the spirit of finding something new, she will head to ABC News to report for "GMA" and "Nightline". Meade will become a correspondent and recurring sub on the show who could potentially host the 9am hour after Matt Lauer leaves and is replaced by Willie Geist.

17. Fox will look at changing strategy of MyNetTV. Fox has renewed MyNetTV all the way up to 2015 but after that deal is finished, they are unsure of how they'll program their affiliates. One of two things will happen. Either, Univision will buy MyNetworkTV and program the network with English-language shows aimed at Latinos (something which Univision has hinted at wanting to do and which the original incarnation of MNT tried to do) or it will become a catchup network where you can catch up on some of the best shows from the family of Fox networks. It'll be centered around Thursday night NFL football (if Fox can acquire it) which will be simulcasted on both MyNetTV and Fox Sports 1.

18. Another sports TV network will launch. We're already aware of the SEC Network but we could also see another sports net get picked up by major carriers for the sports pack. Contenders include: Back9 Network, Fantasy Sports Network, truTV becoming Bleacher Report TV, an extreme sports network like "Emerging Sports Network", a sports documentary network, a sports agency (Relativity Sports etc.) or sports brand launching a network (Red Bull, Gatorade etc.)

19. Chris Fowler named as replacement to Brent Musburger, renews as host of College Gameday. Brent will still call primetime games but he'll move to ESPN2 OR he may just retire. Fowler and Herbstreit will be the new #1 PxP crew for CFB on ESPN/ABC.

20. Dan Patrick moves to NBC Sports Radio, Yahoo Sports ends partnership with Gow Broadcasting. NBC Sports Radio becomes a major audio component to Yahoo Sports' website while Gow Broadcasting will partner with SB Nation or Bleacher Report for a rebranding of their sports radio network. Dan Patrick will also have a managerial role as part of his move to NBC Sports Radio and Artie Lange (who is DP's fellow radio partner through DirecTV) will also move to NBCSR. Wouldn't be surprised to have Rich Eisen's podcast also featured on NBCSR on the weekends.

21. NBA rights - ESPN and TNT split NBA Finals, keep their respective nights. FS1 acquires 20-30 game slate from RSNs. ABC keeps XMas games, occasional Sunday game/playoff game. Some online broadcasts on Bleacher Report/YouTube. The NBA will aim to broaden it's product by bringing Fox into the picture as well as expanding the digital broadcast of it's games while also keeping it's incumbents. Would not be surprised if ESPN and TNT submitted a joint bid. If Turner were to somehow lose NBA rights though, I would expect them to go extra hard for the NFL Thursday night games.

22. NFL Thursday night games - NBCSN or Turner. My gut is telling me NBCSN. I think this deal will be a precursor to solidifying NFLN in more homes via Comcast. I also think NBCSN and NFLN will work on occasional joint broadcasts with talent crossing over on each network's programming. I wouldn't be surprised if Turner won (and if they do win, expect them to launch their own network) but my gut is telling me it's NBC's to lose unless Turner loses NBA rights and needs a replacement for it's sports programming. I wouldn't even be surprised if NBC used the package on it's broadcast network. As mentioned before, Fox could also win the rights and place them on FS1/MyNetTV to assure maximum potential reach but my gut tells me that this is NBC's to lose.

23. Big Ten rights - ESPN and Fox. The two rivals will bid together to keep NBC out. The only way Turner has a shot is if they somehow lose NBA rights. They will be seeking a replacement to keep their carriage fees high and this package could fit that category.

24. MLS rights - NBC and ESPN. ESPN needs more soccer inventory after losing out on Champions League, English Premier League and the World Cup while NBC fits perfectly because it has English soccer which can serve as a lead-in to the MLS on Saturdays.

25. Howard Stern will consider launching his own TV network

26. IHeartRadio will partner with AXS.TV to broadcast concerts live.

27. Viacom will try to convince Nick Cannon to launch a modern day UPN to replace "VH1 Soul", known possibly as "NCredible Network". It'll serve as BET for a younger demographic.

28. Fox will not renew "The X-Factor". It will become an online-focused competition on YouTube with a televised finale. I also wouldn't be surprised if Simon took a year off and then joined the cast of "AGT".

29. This year will mark the last season of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians"

30. CBS will buy AMC Networks.

31. Discovery and Scripps will merge.

32. Netflix and Hulu will be available on set-top cable boxes.

33. Starz will be sold. Netflix, The Weinstien Company and EPIX will be the chief bidders. Netflix can use this to acquire rights to Starz's library and preview it's content on TV while Weinstein can use the net as a base to expand into television production and EPIX can expand it's distribution.

34. DirecTV and Dish Network will merge.

35. Aereo will win in the Supreme Court, broadcast networks will bluff on moving to cable-exclusivity.

36. Katie Couric will replace Barbara Walters on "The View", while her daytime show will finally get cancelled.

37. Tim Tebow will become the face of the SEC Network and the SEC Network will have one of the best rated launches in cable history. Also wouldn't be shocked if his deal also came with a feel-good inspirational reality show on ABC or ABC Family.

38. Jay Leno will take a break and then choose between a CNN weekly talk show or a daily show on Fox in the Fall of 2014. A network like TVGN, AMC or A&E could also overbid for him in order to gain more relevancy in pop culture. Discovery or History could also give him a reality car-themed series featuring various celebs.

39. Changes will happen at "New Day". Either Kate Bouldan will be replaced by Michaela Pereria or Pereria will leave to go back to KTLA, being replaced by John Berman. Also wouldn't be shocked if Al Roker was offered a lot of money and a production deal to leave "Today" and move on to "New Day" to help increase it's ratings.

40. Michelle Beadle will move on from NBC Sports while continuing at Access Hollywood. Early contenders to take her services in the sports department include ESPN and Turner Sports which are both based on the east coast. I wouldn't be surprised if NFL Network was also a possible destination, but it's located in the west coast so that could stop that from happening. Another possibility would be to become the face of the WWE Network and host WWE-themed series which correlate with pop culture and other sports leagues.

UPDATE (As I come up with more predictions or become inspired by other's predictions, I'll post them here): 

41. Ryan Seacrest will accept another full-time job, will depart "American Idol"

42. NBC Sports will consider buying Sports Illustrated OR will further develop their partnership while also keeping their deal with Yahoo Sports.

43. Sinclair will be approved as the new owner of WJLA-TV and NC8 but will be forced to sell other stations. I also think they'll eventually start their own TV news network powered by hyperlocal news from their affiliates.

44. More scripted shows are coming. After the success of AMC, Netflix and the History Channel with scripted shows, there's no doubt that there will be more and more buyers clamoring for content. Expect smaller cable nets to try and acquire big budget scripted shows with big name stars even if it means overpaying. WGN America is definitely a network that comes to mind.

45. ESPN is slowly going to take over ABC. I think we'll start to see some signs of ESPN slowly but surely taking over all of ABC's programming. More ESPN stars will host ABC events or contribute to ABC News shows, more crossover between ESPN and ABC stars, more editorial control from ESPN, joint hires between ESPN and ABC, sitcoms written by and about ESPNers airing on ABC etc. We're going to start to see more influence of ESPN in ABC's programming. It's already started with the recent joint pickups of Nate Silver and Ryan Smith.

46. Changed my mind on Robin Meade. I don't think she's leaving CNN. In fact, I think she might be part of the solution on "New Day" or she may be added to CNN's daytime schedule.

13 comments:

Braylon Lee said...

I see robin meade going to abc news to be the news anchor for gma or Tamron Hall Also good afternoon America coming back with josh and lara. And good evening America on fusion.

Braylon Lee said...

And the x factor I stlll think it can be on tv. Just move the show to abc where they would get more promotion and gma will do a after party.

Braylon Lee said...

Get Shakira and usher they were on the voice an people liked them add beyonce and pitbull as judges/mentors on the x factor.

Braylon Lee said...

Plus a And get a audience mc who can get audience reactions on the spot or a backstage-on air, online and social media correspondent who could have Access to the Show and the Show’s Artists and Celebrity Coaches Throughout the Competition Via ABC.com and Social Media Engagement. The on-air show will also feature a “X-Room” where artists will talk with the correspondent post performance and engage with fans via social media.

Braylon Lee said...

And have LL Cool J as The In-House Mentor and for female in-house mentor jill scott.

Braylon Lee said...

"Today" will take over again as the top morning show. Not going to happen if they ever get back to number one they have a lot of work to do like enjoying what they do, not being fake, etc, etc.

Braylon Lee said...

Diane Sawyer should take over the view

Braylon Lee said...

also I could see abc news partnering with Huffington post for the abc news-yahoo-huffington post network

Braylon Lee said...

Buzzfeed will be acquired by abc news and buzzfeed will be used on gma during the 8am hour of gma and pop news.

Morgan Wick said...

*Fox simulcasting TNF on FS1 and MyNet: NO. Do you realize that
FS1 is in more households than either NBCSN or NFLN, it's just that the ratings have been crappy (but not really all that crappy) because nothing's been on? Do you realize that MLB playoff games will air on FS1 next year, with NASCAR and golf's US Open joining the year after that, all without MyNet simulcasts? Putting TNF on MyNet would obviate the need to put it on FS1, and would also defeat the purpose of putting it on FS1 to goose FS1 subscriber fees when people could watch it on free TV anyway. When's the last time anyone in the sports business has been concerned about "reach" anyway? (See: BCS/ESPN, Final Four/Turner, your own NBA Finals/ESPN/Turner prediction) Everyone just wants to chase the $$$.

I don't think Fox gets TNF but only because the synergy wouldn't be as good a fit with the existing NFC package, and I'm also not as confident of NBCSN getting it because I honestly don't think Comcast wants NBCSN to be big time anymore, given the lack of effort to get the MLB rights (they pretty much picked up the NASCAR rights by default when ESPN and Turner didn't want it) and public statements suggesting the strategy hasn't changed that much from the Jamie Davis/Versus days, they just want to pick up "underappreciated" sports.

I don't think Fox will put much effort into MyNet even if they do extend it into the future; I think at this point its main purpose is to keep someone from doing something more productive with its stations. I think you'll see some affiliate hops to the CW in a few years and that's it. It's low-cost programming that fills two hours station owners are too lazy and monolithic to fill themselves and that's all it needs to be.

*"CBS will buy AMC Networks, Starz will be sold." NO. These are just armchair speculations with no reason whatsoever to think they will happen other than "wouldn't it be cool if..."

*DirecTV and Dish merging: NO. They tried and failed once, what makes you think it'll work this time?

*I think if Aereo wins in court Congress will close the loophole (for that is what it is) that allows it to exist. I hope this whole thing opens people's eyes to how much the broadcast TV infrastructure has been treated like a red-headed stepchild by its supposed gatekeepers, but I'm not optimistic... unless people realize its great potential for a comeback in the age of the Internet, if the technology is right.

Jessie Karangu said...

Morgan Wick: That's very true. Content providers don't care much about reach but the NFL might.

And if Fox and NBC don't win NFL Thursday night games then who do you think wins?

AMC Networks fits perfectly with CBS' intentions to increase their cable offerings. They're the only successful independent cable company available which matches CBS' identity.

Starz hasn't done much and with this being the year of consolidation, either Netflix/Amazon/another online company or another TV network will find their movie rights for useful for their own property.

You make a good point about Aereo.

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