It has become a common practice of everyone who thinks he understands the industry – or at least pretends to do so – to publish some key trends, predictions (or call it hypes) for the TV & broadcast industry. I do not want to come too late to the party and have collected some thoughts on what we can expect from 2022. I admit that I purposely waited with my predictions to see what other people publish: after all, part of the prediction game is to have one’s ears on the virtual train track and listen to what trains come down the prairie. Hence, I shamelessly let the other experts oracle about the future first. That offered me a smorgasbord of predictions from which I pick now what I deem valuable forecasts. I guess that is how your average fortune teller works his clients and aren’t we all a bit like that.

So without further ado, let us look into the crystal ball and “see” what 2022 might have in store for the broadcast & TV industry.

1) META Hype… and then what?

Everyone talks about META: what could it be, what must it be, what it shouldn’t be? What to expect, what to worry about, what to regulate or not? How will it affect us at large, how can TV make sense of it – and how entertainment will change forever. Lots of talking though. Little concrete action, however. Everyone speaks on a meta-level (sic!) about something that might initially only be smoke & mirror; strategically and hideously planted into all our minds by @META itself.

Meta will eventually push us to think in more real-life terms on what we make of it. One thing for sure: do not let Meta take care of Meta alone. It is in our all interest to have a closer look and control over what is going to be.

My own personal view: Meta can be an interesting growth opportunity for TV, namely in context of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Here we will see quite some great chances to finally bring these technologies more into the mainstream – and maybe even reinvent the TV experience. This is where also the whole idea of Web3.0 comes alive for TV and Broadcasting… but that is another buzzword that we yet have to fill with life.

2) NFT – another hype?

Ok, NFT is almost a close 2nd on the list of major buzzwords in 2021 and 2022. As with Meta, the proof of the pudding is in its eating. Lots of talk about NFT and some high-profile examples certainly. But will it be a short-lived hype or something that can be applied to TV over time and really bring some value? I am skeptical. But not to an extent that is pessimistic. Rather the contrary: I wish that NFT is successful and that it can become some type of payment mechanism for TV / Video consumption. My prediction: we will see some examples of proof in 2022. Especially in emerging markets and with niche content, the NFT payment can become a common feature. Let’s get the pudding started.

3) “Bundle Economy” – the new area of partnerships

A good pudding needs a selection of fine ingredients. It is the mix of them, that makes it a delicious feast. And so it is with TV & Broadcast. Content cannot survive on its own – it must be distributed. A platform alone is an empty vessel: It needs content to come alive. Web3.0 – yes, again, a buzzword – will be one of the “stovetops” on which such concoctions are cooked up.

I see a need for partnerships where content interfaces with infrastructure. As Rob Gallagher from Omdia demonstrates so colourfully in his post, some of the big streamers already look for such partnerships. This is becoming more true in some of the emerging markets in which these streamers want to enter or grow. Here they will rely on local infrastructure partners who allow access to networks, consumers, and payments.

Beyond that, the trends go towards subscription models of all kinds. Subscriptions work best when they provide lots of (perceived) value to the subscriber. The more creative an offer bundles different benefits, the higher the likelihood to create loyal subscribers. Hence, the need for partnerships that look beyond the current service offer and bundle it with non-typical products and services. This is what I call the “Bundle Economy” and I am sure we will witness some very off-the-beaten-track type of bundles this year.

4) Beyond Partnerships – who will merge with whom?

A prediction for a new year in the media industry is half as interesting if it doesn’t include some juicy gossip on who goes in bed with whom. I will not elaborate on this for this year though. Because I just don’t really know what to predict. Obviously, there are the usual suspects and they are described perfectly well in this article on CNBC.

My guess is that we see some mergers and acquisitions that no one had on its radar. Hence, I do not want to engage in the game of predictions this year. Based on what I said above about partnerships, I only would stick my head out so far to predict some pretty interesting M&As coming between infrastructure and creatives/content. That is where true added value could be created and synergies sparkle… I am happy to hear your thoughts, however, who such candidates can be. After all, I love some good juicy gossip about whom is with whom .

5) Creators drive Streaming growth – the Universe is expanding

Streaming Wars – a buzzword that I resent. I wrote about this in the past: do not call it a war! Streaming creates so many opportunities for content. It is a whole new universe. Many content creators have now the chance to bring their content in front of audiences. A chance that they did not have in the past. It is a positive development and not something destructive like a war.

In 2022 many more streaming services will launch. Traditional players will launch their services and newcomers will find their place as well. The universe is still expanding. While the big players will see much slower growth, lots of small players will emerge and will find their audiences. The growth of the streaming universe is similar to what we witnessed (well, if you are old enough and long enough in the industry like I am) back in the ’90s and around the early ’00s when digital TV was just starting. No wonder some now compare the streaming universe to what used to be Cable – as Accenture does.

This is where the Creators Economy (yes, buzzword again) shines and fuels the growth. The appetite for content is still huge and I predict will stay so for quite some time beyond 2022.

6) Content, Content, Content – do I need to say more?

In an extension of item 5) above, I want to elaborate just a tiny bit on Content! Yes, we are in a content-hungry environment. And that is good. It is in the end, why we are all in the media, tv, or broadcast industry: it is about the content. 2022 as the years before will be the year of the content creators. As more streaming services launch and as more video is being used the more content is required. A no-brainer.

What is even better: we see that content can grow almost limitlessly and that everyone can become a content creator. Some of the most interesting content comes these days from places that you would not have expected (did I mention – alert: buzzword coming – Squid Game?). If you want to bet on something safely in 2022 then it would be on content.

In particular, content that addresses diversity, inclusion, climate/ sustainability will be in demand; and niche content to address certain thematic interests and local tastes is the other winner. It is nice to see that we are entering a more colorful, equal, and appreciative content world.

7) Content with an Impact – the new crown jewel?

Let me dissect the content growth a bit and predict that certain content will be in specifically high demand in 2022. In my humble, but biased opinion, the following content theme will hit it big: content with an impact. Or how others describe it: content with a purpose.

The audiences are hungry for entertaining stories as much as they are open for a wider, deeper meaning. Netflix played this card so well over the past couple of years and heavily bet on content that celebrated diversity and issues of social justice. That is part of their success. Now others see the impact that content with impact can have on your bottom line.

For instance, ViacomCBS’s CEO speaks of the importance to create content partnerships with a purpose. The success of RevoltTV is also an example.

Audiences around the world appreciate content with such a message and we still need more of it.

8) FAST – how more content is being distributed

So how does all the content find its way to the audiences: I say via FAST very fast! Did I mention that I have been in the industry for quite a long time (since 1997 to be exact)? When I joined the TV industry the digital TV ‘revolution’ got everyone electrified. No other development since that time has seen a similar level of excitement like now the FAST type of TV distribution.

In 2022 FAST will grow globally with the launch of local services. While US based players (I say PlutoTV) have dominated the growth and stage, now is the time for local players. Besides them some of the established media giants will roll out services and maybe even some players, that we have not on the radar yet. Colin Dixon from NScreenMedia did some good predictions on what we can expect.

9) Broadcast is more than TV – The revival of Audio!

Finally, I peek a bit outside of my comfort zone: yes, I am a TV guy. But lately, I have become more interested in what is going on in the audio world. It is also broadcast after all. What happens here is pretty dramatic. Audio booms and shows growth that no one had envisioned before.

I would predict that you must consider an audio play if you are serious about being a media company with a wider approach. Next to streaming, I see here one of the bigger opportunities for traditional TV providers and an interesting way of packaging, bundling, and repurposing content. This is particularly of interest for news and factual content. So stay tuned.

Wow, as I look now at my list of predictions, I say we have a pretty awesome, exciting year in front of us. Lots of opportunities and positive developments to be ahead of us. And this is especially humbling if you consider the overall circumstances that almost the entire globe lives in: the pandemic is not over yet. The irony of it: the pandemic made many of these developments happen and excelled them dramatically.

And that is why I say as a final wish for 2022: stay well, stay healthy!