The media industry is used to change. But 2020 may bring a different sort of change from what we have seen over the past 10-plus years as digital has disrupted media. The coming presidential election will make it difficult for brands to break through the political noise and catch the spotlight in 2020. But the biggest changes will have ramifications beyond the first year of the new decade.

Podcasts will be the next $1B media market.

Among our predictions for 2020:

  • Streaming wars will erupt. In 2019, we saw greater competition for Netflix and Prime Video as Disney+, HBO Max, and Apple TV+ emerged as potent competitors to the streaming stalwarts. War will break out among these giants as they vie for consumer attention and share of wallet. The result? Consumers will be exhausted by the sheer number of subscriptions they have to purchase to view their favorite shows or movies. This could lead to a race to the bottom as the streaming giants will have to compete on price alone. But we believe consumers will eventually force media conglomerates to start offering tiered service bundles that allow customers to choose the shows, seasons, or episodes they are willing to pay for.
  • There will be an expansion, not contraction, of media players. We are predicting that at least one up-and-coming social network will be acquired this year by a larger player. (See the full report for who will buy whom.) But overall, expect there to be more companies vying for ad dollars from brands. Expect more US retailers to follow in the footsteps of Amazon — whose ad business has already eclipsed $10 billion — and open up their own ad offerings. Walmart and Target are planning to roll out their own self-serve ad tools to brands by the end of 2019, and any retailer with more than 500 million unique site visitors per month will do the same in 2020.
  • Podcast ads will hit $1 billion in media spend. Podcasts are on the rise: MusicOomph reports that there are over 700,000 active podcasts today, while US consumers spend over 3 hours per week listening to audio content, according to Forrester Analytics’ Consumer Technographics® data. More publishers will look to podcasts as a new delivery point for their content and to draw more ad dollars from marketers. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimates podcast advertising spend to have topped $400 million in 2018, and we predict that number will rise to over $1 billion by the end of 2020.

Expect to see new research tackling some of these hot-button topics next year. If you have questions, please feel free to set up an inquiry.

To understand the major dynamics that will impact firms across industries next year, download Forrester’s Predictions 2020 guide.