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Predicting the Unpredictable 2024

This time last year I was asked for my predictions, and I felt the situation was pretty impossible to forecast.  Having thought that was the end of it, you can imagine my delight when I was asked to do this on an annual basis. I was tempted to copy and paste from last year such are the similarities, but I have been told that it is not acceptable, so here we go…

Firstly, I can say with a degree of smugness that I was right, 2023 proved to be filled with a large spoonful of uncertainty, but I under-estimated the size of the spoon. As 2023 ends, and we head towards 2024, it looks like we are heading for even more uncertainty in the short term.

With the continued conflict in Ukraine, we can now add the uncertainty caused by the developing situation in Gaza, which will affect the global perspective.

From a UK perspective, we have continued challenges not dissimilar from 2023 – high interest rates, (although these have allegedly peaked), rail strikes which show no sign of abating, and the increased taxation. Added to this is the prospect of a changing government, or at the very least a General Election to contend with.

The first half of 2024 looks pretty doom and gloom, and whilst not technically in a recession, there is little growth predicted, so we are as good as in one. From a media point of view, it mirrors this. TV Broadcast revenue is predicted to drop again (0 to -5% y/y), albeit this could be worse were it not for the growth in VOD. Subscription VOD will also grow with the emergence of Amazon Ads, and Disney now playing in this space. My view is the first 5 months of the year could be restricted in terms of media growth, but then there could be some light at the end of the tunnel in relation to the large sporting events across the summer. Key trends are:

  • The attack on the traditional TV market revenues will continue, with Outdoor TV, Cinema, Connected TV, and Subscription VOD all sharpening their claws for another round of in-fighting.
  • Content continues to be king. The Euros football tournament (June/July) and the Olympics (July/August) could provide a catalyst to growth, attracting additional revenue into the summer space where it did not exist in 2023. These events will help the Outdoor TV market, as viewers look for the combined attraction of the event TV programming but also wanting to benefit from the warmer temperatures that the summer offers.
  • This is more a hope, but there is a need to speed up carbon-efficient means of delivering media, or at least offsetting carbon emissions to help protect the planet. We should be putting legislation in place to make this a pre-requisite for all media companies to play their part.
  • Media inflation may rise again, and the issue of reaching a 16-34 Adult universe via TV will become increasingly challenging (outside of Love Island, and a couple of other key programmes).
  • Assuming my prediction of a contracting market comes to being, Broadcast messaging will be become more rational than emotional as brands revert to price as a call to action. However, as a juxtaposition to this, I believe there will be a secondary level of increased personalisation to messages.
  • Going by the Global Future of Media event I attended in October, I was right with my prediction that measurement is one of the key points on everyone’s agenda. This will continue into 2024, and I believe C-Screens will be able to take an active part in this debate.
  • I am sure there be even more buzzwords / topics in the next 12 months, and AI will have taken over the world (to the extent I will get ChatGPT to write this for me next year.) As it currently has not, I will continue in this analogue fashion.
  • Last year’s final prediction of Crystal Palace getting into Europe did not happen (shock!), but I will keep repeating it in the hope it may one day come to pass. I like to dream. See you next year!

By Steve Chambers | Commercial Director