nov 22

2006 Predictions Revisited

Believe it or not, I make a living as a futurist -- in the same way that nearly all of us (writers, entrepreneurs, bookies... Miss Cleo) bring home the butter by trying to predict what will happen next. The Prognosticating Class has become so large that you now can't click 'empty trash' on your desktop without a futurist falling out.

Last year was the worst -- I made 33 Predictions for 2006 in Media, Technology, and Pop Culture. It's time to look back and see how well I did. In fairness to myself, this wasn't really a true attempt at clairvoyance -- several of the predictions were just meant to be goofy. Oddly enough, those were the ones that turned out to actually be right.

Next month, I'll publish some predictions for 2007, but in the mean time, let's review last year's effort, with ratings of 0-10:

1) Netflix will be bought by TiVo, which will be bought by Yahoo....

Um, not so much. Score: 0.

2) Absolutely no one will buy Knight Ridder....

Oh boy, this is getting ugly. Score: 0.

3) NBC's new Thursday comedy line up will be a big enough success that tv execs will once again try to invoke the phrase "destination tv"...

Wellll...30 Rock is a hit, My Name Is Earl still does okay, and the relocated Office is stellar. But, well, no one is exactly shaking the presents under the tree at NBC this Christmas. Score: 5.

4) A new Pew study will reveal something about internet use that will be drastically over-cited by people who are reading this blog post.

See, that's me being funny. Score: 5.

5) David Chappelle will do something that makes everyone ask "why the hell did he do that?" It will be "brilliant," but "enigmatic and frustrating."

Tricked ya. That was written after he actually did "enigmatic and frustrating" things. Score: 1.

6) Showtime will pick up Arrested Development.

Um, yeah. Well, MSN picked up the reruns. Score: 2.

7) "Hello Katie, welcome to CBS."

Doy. Score: 10.

8) After a guest appearance on Veronica Mars, Amanda Congdon will sign a deal to host a new show on UPN...

Okay, wrong about Veronica Mars (how cool would that be?), and wrong about CBS and UPN... sorta -- instead, she'll be on sister company HBO. And ABC. So I get some points. Score: 7.

9) Book publishers will drop their silly little fiat and announce a triumphant partnership with Google Print.

Sorta yeah, sorta no. Score: 5.

10) Nonetheless, Google's stock price will slip 20% by the end of the year.

Can I get negative points? Score: 0.

11) Someone in Seattle or San Francisco will get beaten to death at a dinner party after saying the words "Web 2.0" for the five-trillionth time before the first course.

I can't prove it, but I'm sure this has happened. Score: 6.

12) 2005: the year of search. 2006: the year of mobile....

Maybe next year? Score: 3.

13) Current TV will start to show up in Nielsen. The numbers will be good, not great.

Well, not yet. But they got closer. Score: 2.

14) The break-up of Viacom will have unforeseen repercussions...

Maybe I should have kept them all this vauge. I was thinking something big would happen, but nothing really did. MTV got older, CBS joined the YouTube revolution. Score: 2.

15) Steve Jobs will announce a DVR.

Not quite. He announced iTV. But still... Score: 6.

16) iTunes will give in to record labels and adjust pricing such that songs will range from $.50 to $2.

This is getting painful. Does Zune caving to Universal Music count? Score: 1.

17) Sirius will double subscribers but it still won't be enough to pay Howard Stern's salary.

They started the year with 3.3 million and ended with over 5 million. So close. Score: 7.

18) David Letterman will announce his retirement.

I'm a moron. Score: 0.

19) Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, will launch in mid-summer, and will get surprisingly good reviews.

Hah! Score: 0.

20) Despite the L.A. Times' dismal failure, several media organizations will release successful wikis....

One word: wikiality. Score: 2.

21) Martha Stewart will quietly become a nobody. Donald Trump, however, will still somehow manage to remain famous.

Is this even measurable? Score: 4.

22) Mary-Kate and Ashley will return.

Shoot. Me. Now. Score: 3.

23) One person will finally figure out a cool use for Google Base....

I'm still not sure this has happened. Score: 2.

24) At the end of the year, the New York Times will drop Times Select. Soon after, will make Pipeline free.

You wish, blogger. Score: 0.

25) Despite some inspired ideas, Craig Newmark's new journalism project won't be a gigantic success, but it will inspire others sites that quickly take off.

What the hell happened to DayLife anyway? Score: 0.

26) News Corp's purchase of MySpace will yield a decent record label that has a surprise hit.

Mickey Avalon! Mickey Avalon! Mickey Avalon! Score: 9.

27) FBC -- Fox Business Channel -- will launch.

Pft. Score: 0.

28) Ten major cities will release city-wide WiFi.

I had to use the word major. Score: 3.

29) Fergie from Black-Eyed Peas will announce a solo album...

Rock out. Score: 8.

30) The New York Times Sunday Styles section will write a trend piece about the trend of trend pieces. It will then implode.

It didn't, but it still could. Score: 3.

31) Chuck Klosterman will announce he's writing new columns for Vanity Fair, Wired, and Modern Midwestern Living.

Well, he almost wrote some stuff for Wired. Score: 3.

32) makes a triumphant return as an "almost decent" blog.

Fuck yeah. Score: 10!

33) Anderson Cooper will claim he's the father of Katie Holmes' baby. A wicked paternity suit -- in which everyone refuses to take DNA tests -- ensues.

You wish, Andy. Score: 0.

Average score: 3.27. Before you get all schadenfreude on me, please consider that some of those predictions were intentionally outrageous. As will next year's predictions. Tune in soon...


not TOO bad. this is a fun exercise, though.

ps. I think you might have to deduct some more points for saying "30 Rock" is a "hit." Last I checked, it was getting beat by the CW.,0,1957498.story?coll=zap-tv-headlines

posted by adm at 5:03 PM on November 22, 2006

I think you were too hard on yourself with number 14. I don't think anyone forsaw the firing of Tom Freston. That was a pretty big deal.

posted by Jason at 8:42 PM on November 22, 2006

Yeah, that's a good point...

posted by Rex at 8:48 PM on November 22, 2006

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