Predictions: Media and Publishing in 2011

Last year's predictions are here.

And for this year .  . .


  • The Kindle will continue to dominate, but it will need to expand its offerings.  Look for further-expanded Kindle features in later 2011 with a super-deluxe version ready for Christmas.  This may be the last big push for Kindle independent technology before Amazon focuses on a far broader strategy.
  • eReader software will be everywhere, but the specialty devices will continue to be used for their special features, light weight, and comparatively low price.  People will also use eReaders for "non-download" reading more and more in areas like business reports, fanfic, etc.
  • There will be some moves in later 2011 to try and expand the formats eReaders display.  I'm not sure if this will work.  ePub and PDF are the likley formats, which will again raise the spectre of Adobe controlling publishing.
  • Amazon will continue to expand media services, or at least try to.  However some of their initiatives will be half-baked or confusing.
  • Barnes and Noble and Borders might team up to form a large, boutique, book chain that focuses on events, special deals, etc.  Basically the anti-Amazon.  They may make sure their resultant reader covers more formats, and might be a specialty tablet.  They will attempt to add many in-store features.
  • With eBooks, eComics/eManga, there will be some more experimental books done up as Apps (ala this Dracula one:  Many of these will be flash-in-the-pans or failure, but some will suggest new features, and in late 2011/early 2012 "what's next" will be a rallying cry for ePubishing.
  • Small press and self-publishing will continue, with more companies getting in on the game.  Talk of consolidating or merging some of the companies will spring up mid-to-later 2011.
  • Video online is going to be bigger and bigger, and "kill your cable" will become more and more likely.  In turn internet provides will battle for share over who provides the best service for streaming.
  • Various attempts at paywalls, subscriptions, and other monetization will be tried in media, eBooks,  news sites, and more.  A lot will fail – perhaps all.
  • Trust in news will continue to decline, especially for the network news.
  • News will continue to go local and online.  The Big Three News will become increasingly irrelevant and directionless.



  • I was going to predict that the biggest geekonomy story of 2011 would be the Kill Your Cable movement bursting into full flower, fueled by Google and Apple’s stream-to-your-television technology and increasing consumer frustration with cable-vs.-network tiffs like this fall’s Cablevision/Fox debacle.
  • That was, of course, before GoogleTV suffered a major setback – networks pulling their programming from the service, complaints about the technology itself, and ultimately, Google putting a hold on further built-in-TV releases of the service until they retool it. One of their main competitors, the BoxeeBox, was panned royally by Wired.
  • So Kill Your Cable has hit a stumbling block, but I believe that in the third or fourth quarter of the year, the companies involved will be able to retool, refine and strike the necessary agreements to get the ball rolling again. I predict that by the 2012 Olympics, a very good chunk of the audience will be watching the festivities not through a cable box, but through a streaming service.
  • And speaking of streaming? Apple’s long-delayed cloud music service will finally debut in the first half of the year. Now that an unrelated company is offering iTunes-based streaming, it’s pretty much forced their hand to make it happen.


  • Digital will be the word here, too, as magazine and newspaper companies will begin flooding the iPad with electronic editions to the point where it will seem a bit overwhelming – both for the staffers of the publications themselves and the consumer faced with an enormous variety of choices.
  • The ones that survive will be the publications that are able to make the smartest use of computers’ multimedia capabilities – and the winner may not necessarily be one of the big boys in the industry. Look for small and clever companies to rise and become the Zyngas of E-publishing – people who saw a niche and made the most of it.
  • Niche and genre fiction will continue to sell like crazy even as mainstream fiction sales flounder – especially in traditional print form. Look for the romance industry to continue leading the way as far as innovation is concerned, experimenting with different types of iPad books, including “enhanced fiction” with animations, music, video clips, etc. Also, my out-on-a-limb prediction for Harlequin: They will announce a line of male/male romance fiction by and for women by the end of the year.
  • The self-publishing revolution will continue, and a lot of self-E-publishing companies will spring up to help novice writers navigate the difficult world of multiple E-book formats (including some that turn out to be scams, leading to an erosion of trust in this sector of the industry).

Steven Savage