Seven thoughts for the New Year

Larry Jordan#

Author: Larry Jordan#

Published: 01 February 2015

by Larry Jordan Issue 97 - January 2015 It is my favorite time of year - a time of resolutions and predictions. Resolutions are fun. They showcase all the things we would like to have happen in the New Year - provided they don\'t take too much work on our part.
While resolutions are personal, predictions are a group sport. So, after another year writing about our industry and talking with the key movers and shakers, here are seven trends I expect to dominate our thinking in 2015. 1. Hardware and software will continue to become more powerful and more affordable. This mean budgets will continue to contract as clients perceive that high-quality work is, somehow, cheaper because the tools are cheaper.
Creative folks need to realize that budgets will continue to contract for the foreseeable future. This means that to combat "bottom-feeder pricing\" we need to clearly understand and clearly showcase what makes our skills unique to our clients. However, something I\'ve learned is that what we think is a unique strength and what clients think is a unique strength are rarely the same. The more you talk with your clients, the more good ideas you\'ll learn from them on how to market yourself.
To a UK company, your ability to speak English is a given. To a Chinese company seeking to broaden their market in the UK, your ability speak English is something they will pay extra for.
It used to be said that the key to success is: "who you know.\" While clever, this has never really been true. It isn\'t even "who knows you.\" The secret is increasing the number of potential clients "who know what you know.\" You may be known as "good old Bob.\" But, "Bob\" isn\'t going to get nearly the same amount of work as "There goes Bob - he\'s an absolute After Effects wizard!"

2. The trend to online delivery of just about everything will continue to accelerate. If you are not conversant in the web, you will be left behind. The new frontier is streaming live and recorded media via the web direct to the consumer.

Consumers are inherently lazy. It is becoming harder and harder to get them to go places and do things when, with a few keystrokes, just about anything can come to them. Businesses are not far behind. The rate of change today in any tech-related industry is so great that no one has any time to waste. Anything you can do to save your client\'s time and decrease their stress will win you work.

3. For better or worse, production and post will revolve ever more tightly around The Cloud. Corollary: Hacking will only get worse. Security and privacy are, essentially, dead once something moves to the web.
On the plus side, creative teams no longer need to be located in the same geographical area. This means that you are competing with the world, not just the guy down the block. Broaden your marketing. Leverage social media. Think globally - work locally.

4. Broadcast TV and cable are not going away, but more and more high-quality programs will make their first appearance on the web. Corollary: Making sufficient money to support high-quality programming via web distribution won\'t happen in 2015.
Use the web to build an audience, then leverage that audience either via web-based subscription, or traditional cable and broadcast distribution. Provided you\'ve got the money to fund the start-up, the web is a great programming test bed.

5. The line between production and post-production will continue to blur. Companies will increasing seek to provide both production and post services through acquisition and expansion. Corollary: Small companies are more likely to survive than big ones because they can respond faster to industry changes.

6. Industry change will continue to accelerate. Manufacturers are desperately afraid they will miss on the "Next Big Thing.\" Except, they don\'t know what it is until it\'s here. So, to be safe, they are moving in all directions at once.
This means you need to plan on faster obsolescence of core products. It isn\'t that your tools will stop working. Just the opposite, in fact. Gear will last longer than ever. But the rate of change will obsolete the technology long before the equipment itself stops working mechanically.

7. A major developer of video editing software - who\'s name begins with an "A\" - will release a major new upgrade during 2015. OK, so that\'s a gimme. But there\'s been a lot of hand-wringing this year that [insert name of company here] is giving up on the market because they haven\'t updated [insert name of software here] for the last two weeks.
Development takes time. Much though we would like major updates to our software every week, that just isn\'t possible. Currently, Apple, Adobe, and Avid are all releasing major updates several times a year. That amazing track record is faster than anything we\'ve seen before. I expect the rate of change in key media software will continue to accelerate.
The key point I want to make is that everything we didn\'t like about 2014 is about to get worse in 2015. On the other hand, everything we liked about 2014 will probably continue.
As media professionals, we have two options: give up or gear up. If you are someone who is most comfortable when everything around them is stable and steady, then media is the wrong industry to be in right now. Because "stable\" is a word that no longer applies to our industry.
Survival rests in constant learning, constant marketing, constantly seeking new ways to do things. The key is to bring your clients along with you. Enable them to keep up with the market and their customers and they\'ll provide you the money you need to continue to grow and learn.
Increasingly, media is a team sport - the industry is too vast for one person, even one company, to track accurately. Our industry has long been one of relationships and partnerships. That has never been more true than today. Partner with people who know what you don\'t. That way, you both learn from each other.
2014 was an amazing year - both good and bad. I fully expect 2015 to be the same - only more so.

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