OVERALL GRADE: B
There will be a high-stakes battle over whether consumers buy digital copies or subscribe to services to access limitless content without owning it. B-
I was right that consumers would be offered a plethora of digital content options-- Netflix is facing more rivals than ever, everyone from Amazon to Apple's iTunes, to Verizon and Redbox's new entry into the market. Even Google's YouTube rents movies. But 'digital lockers' to push higher-margin video sales instead of rentals? Those absolutely have not taken off. What's winning? Access over ownership.
Television and the Internet content will converge. B
Sort of. Internet-connected TVs become increasingly pervasive, but Google TV has still yet to go mainstream, and Apple has not launched an Apple TV. Consumers are using their TVs to stream Netflix or Hulu Plus. And they're watching more and more made-for-the-web video on mobile devices and computers. The idea of "TV" as limited to the living room TV set has disappeared, but there's still a distinction, albeit a shrinking one, between "Internet" and "TV" content.
Social media will grow up. A
Indeed it did, with Facebook's IPO. And hey, doesn't growing up come with some growing pains? This year was certainly about life getting pretty real for the likes of Zynga and Groupon. Meanwhile, the real 'grown up' in the social media parade -- LinkedIn -- has exceeded expectations in the past year.
Traditional publishing will rise from the ashes. B-
It hasn't quite been able to get off the ground. The explosion of tablets is promising for future e-book revenues, and we can expect publishers to find economies of scale. There was a flurry of M&A activity towards the end of the year, and there's more consolidation in the works as Rupert Murdoch looks for acquisitions to pair with the publishing business he's spinning off from News Corp. But Murdoch shuttering his iPad-only news venture, 'The Daily,' is a testament to the fact that digital-only publishing is still struggling to find its way.