dec 29

Predictions: 2006

Are we there yet?

While everyone else tells you that 2005 was the year of disasters and chaos, I was too busy trying to figure out the cultural significance of Million Dollar Homepage and the E!'s Michael Jackson trial re-enactments.

Okay, it wasn't a great year, but at least you didn't hear anyone use the phrase "year of the blog" anymore. So just thank your lucky stars the whole friggin world didn't blow up, and prepare yourself for next year when it undoubtedly will.

And with that shot of optimism, I present my idiosyncratic mix of Predictions for 2006 in Media, Technology, and Pop Culture.

1) Netflix will be bought by TiVo, which will be bought by Yahoo. Since I obviously should be drawn and quartered for last year's prediction that Apple would buy TiVo, I might as well double-down on my bet.

2) Absolutely no one will buy Knight Ridder. C'mon, would you?

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," while the rest of us have no idea what network or time the shows are even on because our TiVo neglects to tell us.

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.

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."

6) Showtime will pick up Arrested Development. And then Showtime will announce a deal with iTunes in which the show becomes the first of its kind to have more viewers watching via portable player than on tv.

7) "Hello Katie, welcome to CBS."

8) After a guest appearance on Veronica Mars, Amanda Congdon will sign a deal to host a new show on UPN. That's Viacom-owned UPN, peeps. You know, CBS. So get ready for the Katie and Amanda show in '07.

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

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

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.

12) 2005: the year of search. 2006: the year of mobile. No, for real this time! The big change will be that carriers open up the deck to external providers. Why? Because Google releases the killer mobile apps that everyone needs. Seriously!

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

14) The break-up of Viacom will have unforeseen repercussions. Okay, that's vague, but I predict no less than three essays from about the failure of the split.

15) Steve Jobs will announce a DVR. That one's a no-brainer, but the big deal here is that iTunes video downloads will skyrocket. No wait, that's a no-brainer too. Fine, I predict...

16) iTunes will give in to record labels and adjust pricing such that songs will range from $.50 to $2. Oh hell, another no-brainer.

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

18) David Letterman will announce his retirement. Or at least I hope so, because right now it's like watching your favorite band from the '80s do a reunion show.

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

20) Despite the L.A. Times' dismal failure, several media organizations will release successful wikis -- this time, in areas that actually make sense.

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

22) Mary-Kate and Ashley will return. Where the hell did they go, anyway? Some upcoming indie film director will cast them in a "quirky New York film" with Parker Posey playing their mom. Gen-Xers suddenly realize they're the next Baby Boomers.

23) One person will finally figure out a cool use for Google Base, sparking over-use of the word "mashup" by Slashdot nerds.

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

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.

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

27) FBC -- Fox Business Channel -- will launch. Pundits describe it as "more fun" than CNBC.

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

29) Fergie from Black-Eyed Peas will announce a solo album. It will be Entertainment Weekly's worst album of the year for 2006.

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

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

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

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.

Note: I have zero insider knowledge on any of these predictions. And except for the last one, I actually believe them all, if only metaphorically in some cases.


Will you be my personal futurist, Rex? I predict you'll be intimately involved with predictions #8, #11, #33.

posted by Chuck at 4:15 AM on December 29, 2005

Can you post a link to last year's predictions? I think it might be this, although it's digital media-only and you actually predict that Apple won't buy TiVo.

posted by Dave at 8:36 AM on December 29, 2005

Hah, you're right, I remembered incorrectly. And I was wrong with about 90% of those predictions, so obviously you shouldn't trust anything I say.

posted by Rex at 10:43 AM on December 29, 2005

Nice predictions! I think Fergie already has a solo album in the works, though:

posted by lindsay at 11:10 AM on December 29, 2005

Ummm...Anderson Cooper plays for "the other team".

posted by Don at 11:12 AM on December 29, 2005

Ummm... so does Tom Cruise.

posted by Rex at 11:24 AM on December 29, 2005

these are good predictions, rex. maybe they won't happen, but they are well thought out and bold. ps. don't you think netflix would buy tivo before tivo would buy netflix? somehow that would make more sense to me. ps2. do you think Gawker Media will get bought, probably by Yahoo, even though, according to Nick, it will still be 9 years too early?

posted by adm at 12:53 PM on December 29, 2005

My city- sunnyvale- already announced they are going to instill city-wide wifi! We are the first city in the country :) yay sunnyvale

posted by Vinitha at 2:40 PM on December 29, 2005

Thanks adm. I think the right word for the neflix/tivo event will be "merger." And I do actually think that'll happen. As for Denton, I don't think he'll sell. He'll work out more distribution deals though, and that'll be big money.

posted by Rex at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2005

Can we get you to wear that black collar, shine a flashlight in your face...and sing "in the year 2000..." while making these predictions?

posted by taulpaul at 3:17 PM on December 29, 2005

That was wickedly funny.

posted by char at 8:58 PM on January 1, 2006

Slingbox should have made the list... TV from anywhere in the world... let the hacks begin.

posted by jeremy nyc at 2:55 PM on January 2, 2006

Taking Web 2.0 offline, a business will start Dinner 2.0 that creates a "platform" for like-minded dinner guests who bring their own food, prepare their own meals, and clean up after themselves. Dinners will be monetized with advertising on cocktail napkins.

posted by Ed Kohler at 10:40 AM on January 3, 2006

While Chaska may not be a "Big City", I'm sure Sunnyvale is a virtual metropolis, I don't think it's hard to predict 2 year old news..

posted by Wifi at 2:42 PM on January 3, 2006

I would really love for #33 to culminate with a prime time episode of "Maury" with Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, and Anderson Cooper. Fingers crossed!

posted by lips at 2:56 PM on January 5, 2006

I think Dave bought himself at least another year after shivving O'Reilly the other night.

posted by P at 8:01 AM on January 6, 2006

Aww c'mon, you're too rough on Letterman. His show and Craig Ferguson afterward are crazy-funny, and about the only late-nighters worth watching. I'd like to see Letterman move back to NBC and take Leno's job when he retires in 4 years rather than that dickhead no-talent Conan O'Brian. My prediction is that Ferguson will eventually move to NBC and take Conan's spot when Conan attempts to step up to fill Leno's shoes. Ferguson's the best that's happened to late night in 15 years. Love your site, it's permanently on my tabbed browser and the 1st I read every morning :-)

posted by JJ_C at 1:38 AM on January 8, 2006

I must set the record straight. I am the father of Katie Holmes baby!

posted by lee at 5:17 AM on January 9, 2006

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