2017 was a bounce-back year for my predictions. After a dreadful 2016, 2017’s predictions were good considering how risky some of them were. With 2018 just around the corner, it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball and outline what I think is going to happen. As I have in years before I’ll be using some basic principles for the 2018 predictions.
- My predictions generally cover the marketing, advertising, and technology industry. On occasion, I veer into pop culture, politics or other areas that interest me.
- I try to avoid softballs. The mainstream media already takes the role of Captain Obvious.
- I never use any so-called “insider” knowledge. I simply state what I think will happen.
- Just because I think something is likely to happen doesn’t mean I want it to happen.
- Come next December I’ll grade myself. Every prediction I nailed gets 1 point, the ones I miss receive 0 points and a partially correct prediction garners .5 a point. Where possible, I look to avoid awarding .5 points.
With all of that out of the way, let’s get on with it.
- The Apple HomePod will flop. The launch delay was the first sign. The significant ground it has to make up with Google and Amazon are another. But, it will be Apple’s walled garden approach, combined with price, that will ultimately make it dead on arrival.
- The AT&T – Time Warner merger will not happen at all or will only happen if they choose to make significant divestitures.
- The contrast of #2 is that the Fox – Disney merger will happen without issue.
- This will be a big year for M&A, mostly out of necessity. I predict 3 large deals beyond the above, from lands of media, retail and CPG.
- Augmented Reality will plateau in interest and adoption. It was always a gimmick and the slow death knell of Pokemon Go is the tip of the iceberg.
- The concerns over Net Neutrality will be for naught. There will be at least 1 major initiative that shows how deregulation leads to innovation.
- Facebook growth slows, but Facebook the company continues to see enormous growth, buoyed by WhatsApp and Instagram.
- Tesla and Netflix will have down years. Netflix’s debt will be a problem for investors. That debt combined with continued growth from Hulu, YouTube, Disney and others will force changes. With Tesla, they will once again miss shipments, over-promise, under-deliver, but this time, it will catch up to them.
- Bitcoin and all its variants will see a massive fall off in valuation. This will happen as traditional monetary institutions continue their assault on Bitcoin and a massive data breach / hack / fraud / theft will take place.
- Robert Mueller’s probe will conclude and will yield nothing of substance. Substance will be evaluated as yielding something that would have grounds for an impeachment vote. There will not be an impeachment vote.
- There will be a backlash against the #MeToo movement when false accusations are made and found to have been made for political or corporate gain.
- Twitter will have a better year than Snap, as measured by stock price change.
- Amazon will face a large government inquiry. It won’t antitrust, but it will be something in that area.
- Three things will happen in the gaming world: Nintendo will have a bad year. They will struggle to grow with a walled garden model, inferior hardware and a poor understanding of how gaming works on phones. The uproar over EA’s approach to microtransactions for Star Wars Battlefront II will shape the industry at large. Specifically, there will be an effort to curb or eliminate micro-transactions altogether. Microsoft will announce the next evolution of the Xbox. This won’t be a minor upgrade like the “S” or the “X”, it will be the next generation.
- A major sports league will adopt technology on field to assist with calls. For example, FIFA will adopt replay or the NFL will add chips into footballs to determine if they break the goal line.
- Whiskey will have a down year, with gin and rum seeing a resurgence.
- Star Wars: Episode VIII, the Last Jedi will go down as the worst fan rated Star Wars movie, as measured by Rotten Tomatoes.
- Harley Davidson will introduce a mass-market electric motorcycle.
- A major motion picture will be released simultaneously at the box office and for streaming.
- There will be 5 states that will legalize / introduce recreational marijuana laws. The tax money is simply too good to pass up.
- Pinterest will IPO. It will be successful.
- The lesson from Mashable will be repeated. So-called “new media” companies, once considered darlings, will start to implode. I see bad years for Vox and Buzzfeed.
That’s a wrap. We’ll revisit this mid-year to see how things are shaping up and again at the end of the year to see how I did.