Media Observation – Predicting Media Patterns

Have you ever tried herding cats? Or chickens?

That has nothing to do with what I’m talking about, really. It’s just kind of funny to picture you trying.

Predicting media patterns is more like predicting the weather than herding feline livestock.

When one predicts the weather, it is often possible to predict within about a day or so what will happen, based on common cloud patterns and the current seasonal weather events. The temperature, the humidity, the air pressure, the local geography, and the wind and cloud patterns all are factors in knowing what weather is coming.

It’s the same way with predicting media patterns, which can range from foreseeing what digital devices will make their way into common societal use, to guessing what television programs or commercials will be successful.

Demographic locations; local, national, and world economies; excitement and interest; peer pressures within a given demographic; trends and popularity; these are just some of the many factors that apply to predicting the future of media-related patterns.

Some of these patterns are, to say the least, unpredictable. How, then, can one try to measure them to make an accurate prediction.

Are the weathermen always right? Of course not, and it’s often that way with media predictions as well. Surveys of public opinion, studies of statistical trends, and other methods can often give a moment’s glance at the situation, but sometimes everyone is in for a surprise. What is scheduled for success five years from now may never take off. What is said to be ridiculous has occasionally broken the prophecies of those who ought to have known better (the telephone, modern movie with sound, and automobile have all been in this category near their invention).

What predictions can you make about different media outlets, devices, or genres? I’d be interested to hear your ideas.


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