December 30, 2016 Last Updated 9:25 am

New Year predictions lose their end-of-year charm when the future looks so ominous

This year was a challenging one, but the challenges that lie ahead may be tougher and more complicated than just what trends will emerge, or what M&A activity will occur

The end of the year usually brings with it the tendency for the media to publishing lists of predictions for the New Year. The end of 2016 is no different, and TNM played along thanks to the contribution from Andrew Levy, CSO and cofounder of Apteligent, who gave TNM readers his predictions for mobile.

But the fun of the game is missing this year, likely due to the prospects ahead in 2017. Who wants to be the one who gives a light hearted look at the year ahead then concentrates on the trivial when the real concerns among readers will be whether freedom of the press will be at stake in the New Year? Honestly, I don’t really care whether video continues to grow, or whether VR goes mainstream, if the real issue is whether publishing criticism of a government official could land you in prison.

Still, when enough people make predictions there are bound to be some smart ones, so you can get a sample of them below.

Photo: Happy New Year by David Yu used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

As for New Years’ Resolutions, those seem strangely missing this year, as if self-improvement is the last thing on one’s mind right now, rather than self-preservation.

But David Chavern, head of the News Media Alliance, gives it a shot the NMA website. Number one on his list is fighting ‘fake news’:

“We are going to fight even harder against “fake news” and the fundamental danger it represents to our society and to journalism. Bottom line: the answer to fake news is better appreciation for great reporting under the auspices of established brands,” Chavern writes.

Media Prediction Round-Up:

Forbes, Eric Jackson:

Five Predictions For The Media Sector in 2017

The end of net neutrality and mobile net neutrality. With the incoming Trump Administration, lots of the previous Obama Administration policies seem up for grab. One in particular affecting media and tech companies that seems ready to fall is net neutrality. Call it the revenge of the dumb pipes. Whoever is delivering content to you is now more likely to be able to change the tolls it charges to companies trying to get their content in front of you. That means companies like Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOGL) will have to pay more. This should be a boon to the Comcasts and Charters (CHTR) of the world. But, in an AT&T / Time Warner world, there is likely to be a lot more interest in mobile net neutrality, or what we have increasingly heard referred to as data data caps.

Adweek/Social Times, Kimberlee Morrison:

10 Digital Media and Marketing Predictions for 2017

Joe Zawadzki, CEO and founder of MediaMath, believes 2017 will be the age of attribution:

Marketers are signing up for outcomes, not inputs, inside of their own organizations, and they are increasingly asking the question of who watches the watchers, who grades the homework of a dynamic and diverse supply chain? Programmatic done right is attributed based on impact on true business goals, and it lets marketers see through channels and partners to the consumer behind all of those screens.

TechCrunch, Peter Csathy:

Top 10 digital media predictions for 2017

The distinction between media companies and advertisers blurs

Every brand can be a media company, because ultimately each brand tells stories. It’s just a question of how effective and engaging they are, and to what degree (Red Bull takes it furthest). More and more brands will go direct-to-consumer with their own branded content/content marketing that entertains in its own right (remember Dollar Shave Club, and its video that ultimately led to a $1 billion pay day this past year?). And, much like virtual MVPDs increasingly focus on personalization, brands will do the same across multiple touchpoints. Chatbots will increasingly rule the day, but wearables and beacon technology will also help here.

The Media Briefing:

TheMediaBriefing’s predictions for 2017

Chatbots are already pretty ubiquitous, and they’re only going to become more so over the next couple of years.

There’s been a predictable backlash when some have fallen short of the potential. Facebook’s vice president of messaging products Mike Schroepfer has argued, however, that the internet and apps alike both had some UX and quality issues in the first months of their existence, and that of the 33,000 bots now in use on Messenger, there are many that are beginning to deliver on the medium’s promise. He cites Burberry’s recently-launched bot as an example of how bots can help brands communicate with – and sell to – their audience:

“Burberry just launched a really well designed bot, it combines brand storytelling with an automated gift recommendation engine for the holidays, but if you want to chat with someone from Burberry they can help you.”

MediaPost, Thom Forbes:

What We’ll Be Talking About In 2017

Courts Weighing In On Liability
Perhaps the biggest surprise in 2016 with respect to social media law was the string of court decisions reining in the historically broad scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law the creates immunity against liability for Web site operators and bloggers hosting defamatory and other false information or content provided by their user community.

This is a key safe harbor from legal liability that has helped to fuel the remarkable success of U.S. social media providers such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, essentially immunizing these companies from certain legal claims arising from their hosting of user-generated content. My sense is that, with the increased media focus on “fake news” and online trolling, we will see even more court decisions in the coming year.

Also, we all know that privacy laws become more restrictive over time — but in 2017, I’m predicting that we’re going to see a significant increase in new and burdensome privacy regulations relating to subjects such as interest-based advertising on mobile devices, cross-device tracking and geolocation tracking.

– Attributed to John Delaney, partner in Morrison & Foerster’s New York office and a founder and editor of Socially Aware.

The Wall Street Journal, Steven Perlberg and Mike Shields:

The Biggest Media and Advertising Questions for 2017

What happens to Time Inc.?

There are no easy answers for legacy, print-centric media companies, even as they strive to diversify their revenue streams. The embattled Time Inc.–given its exposed state as a stand-alone, public magazine company—has become the poster child for the pain of digital disruption. Since print advertising is unlikely to make a huge comeback in 2017, will Time Inc. find a white knight buyer next year? Chief Executive Rich Battista said he expects more interest from third parties. Could Meredith Corp. resurface as a merger candidate?

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