Media agency peers into crystal ball

If what M2 Universal is seeing comes to pass, there won't be any more mergers of TV, radio and newspapers, and the commercial viability of satellite radio will stall.

In its just-released ‘What’s Up for 2008′ report, Toronto-based M2 Universal makes the following informed predictions:


▪ It’ll be a watershed year for digital media as it achieves mainstream status and double-digit growth. Almost everything will have a digital extension.

▪ Search and social media will dominate the online media space.


▪ BDU/fee-for-carriage hearings in April could have a fundamental impact on the long-term structure of the TV landscape.

▪ Media ownership limits announced in January will put a huge brake on future media mergers in TV, radio and newspapers.


▪ The impact of the 3½-month Hollywood writers’ strike will extend into the 2008/09 conventional program schedule and beyond.

▪ There will be long-term audience decline, fragmentation and erosion in viewership to traditionally strong conventional program performers, and continued softening for conventional TV revenue and viewership.


▪ The viability of satellite radio as a commercial medium in Canada will stall in 2008.

▪ The short-term impact of Astral and CTVglobemedia ownership changes will be negligible, but a long-term impact on pricing and structure of private radio in Canada will be felt by 2010.


▪ Despite the hype, the mobile media industry in Canada will continue to struggle until Canadian carriers adopt flat-rate data plans similar to those of their US counterparts.


▪ The Toronto Star‘s move to modular and sectional pricing will be adopted beyond Toronto by end of year; if not, they won’t survive as a currency standard, regardless of the paper’s importance.

▪ Will Quebecor retreat from the English Canada newspaper market?

▪ How many more paid dailies will suffer the same fate as the Halifax Daily News, which folded on Valentine’s Day, when parent Transcontinental added a Halifax edition of the free commuter daily Metro?

▪ A few paid dailies will adopt the free commuter papers distribution model on a narrow-cast neighbourhood or subscriber basis by Q4.


▪ There will be a push to accelerate PPM rollout to TV beyond Quebec and to radio by early 2009.

▪ Newspaper, magazine and out-of-home will be pressured to move their audience research closer to the higher frequency standards set by electronic and digital media.


▪ Watch for a digital signage explosion, from in-store to mall concourses to expressways. A new look for Toronto street furniture from Astral will be unveiled by mid-year. Legal challenges from OOH companies and citizens to existing OOH structures and municipal bylaws will heat up, especially in the GTA and GVA.

US economy:

▪ A negative impact of the US recession on traditional Canadian media (newsprint, magazines and conventional TV) will be felt, especially in central Canada.