2013 was interesting. It wasn’t quite the pivotal year I imagined although I still hit about 50% of my predictions (and still reckon that Twitter/Google transaction was close). 2014 is going to be a maturing year, I don’t see many surprises but I do see a lot of consolidation coming down the line.
“I’d rather die enormous/than live dormant/that’s how we on it” Jay-Z (Can I Live)
I told someone in August that Snapchat would be mainstream within six months and we’ve reached that point ahead of schedule. 2014 is going to see a whole mess of chat apps. Fundamentally though, chat is just utility, the more important step will be what these platforms do next. The only chat app which successfully transformed into a bigger platform was Club Penguin. By the end of the year we’ll see some new potential additions to that category.
Facebook continues to lose kids but gets more valuable
Yes, that study
was flawed but it doesn’t change the fact that kids are leaving Facebook (we see it from internal SuperAwesome
data). Should Facebook care? No, not this year or for the next few. Parents (in particular Mums) are a far more lucrative ad market. The obvious long-term consequences remain though.
VCs become headhunters
The transformation of VCs from financiers to talent connectors continues. By the end of the year, all the top VCs will have a TP (Talent Partner) position.
Ad agencies start to compete for engineering startups
As marketing campaigns continue to grow in complexity (personal data and platforms), the big agencies (as well as the SIs in this space e.g. Accenture etc.) are going to get more technical with their acquisitions. Deals like Fjord (UI) are just the beginning. Watch for WPP and Omnicom/Publicis to get serious in 2014.
Consolidation in the kids space continues
This new generation of kids requires new channels, platform and content. Consolidation started cautiously in 2013 led by companies like DHX, Hasbro and Comcast. 2014 will see an acceleration of this trend (related prediction: it’s a make-or-break year for virtual worlds).
We see a breakout ebook app
I’ve seen a few startups getting close to this but I think 2014 is finally going to see the Clash of Clans for ebooks (in terms of success, not necessarily model). Most likely a specific title, rather than a platform, but certainly something which takes screen-reading to a different level of commercial success.
Apple becomes the biggest acquirer of 2014
As it tries to shore up its consumer and social stacks, Apple becomes the number one tech acquirer.
Rumours of a touch-screen MacBook emerge
After using the Chromebook Pixel, I’m convinced Apple have to follow it. Watch for the rumours in second half of the year about a 2015 launch.
Netflix acquires a major content production company
Given their production financing (House of Cards etc.), it’s only a matter of time before they step into the realm of production ownership. I think the real question will be their choice of category expertise (general versus kids).