Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the predictions time of the year, and some are better than others

The holiday season is wonderful, but it's also the time where bloggers, editors, pundits, psychics and all of us slightly- to completely-uninformed people issue predictions about what is going to happen in 2010. I just read a few of the predictions for 2010 from Danny King of Video Business, and I had a few, uh, disagreements.
TiVo's logo, a smiling television setImage via Wikipedia


Image representing Roku as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
For example, King thinks that it's a foregone conclusion that Amazon will buy Roku. Not very likely, given that the Roku set-top box was designed by Netflix and was originally supposed to be a Netflix-branded product. I'm sure that Netflix still has first dibs on the product, and perhaps on Roku itself. He also predicts that Tivo will be sold to Best Buy. Huh? Tivo is turning into an audience- and advertising-research company; Tivo's DVR sales and market share continue to decline, and Best Buy buying the company wouldn't change that. I think that both companies will end 2010 as independent entities, but if I had to come up with likely purchasers, I'd vote for Cisco for Roku and Google for Tivo.

SAN RAFAEL, CA - AUGUST 14:  The RedBox logo i...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
He also thinks that Redbox will do a deal with Starbucks, but only if they come up with kiosks that do digital downloads (to thumbdrives or SD cards, I presume.) Starbucks tried it with music and it didn't work, so why would they think that it would work any better with video? My personal opinion is that the digital download kiosk model being pursued by Blockbuster and MOD Systems will be dead on arrival. Why would I drive to Starbucks to load a video onto a thumbdrive when I can download it over the Internet to my PC or stream it to my Netflix- or Amazon-equipped set-top box or Blu-Ray player?

Another of his predictions is that NCR will drop out of the video kiosk market, just after the company acquired DVDPlay; his logic is that NCR is number one in ATMs and doesn't want to be number two in video kiosks. True, they don't want to be number two--that's why they purchased DVDPlay and partnered with Blockbuster. There is certainly room for more than one company in the video kiosk business, and I think that NCR will stay in.

I've learned not to make end-of-the-year predictions, because too much can happen too quickly to anticipate. I will state a hope for 2010, however, and that is that the economy recovers, so that the millions of people without jobs can find work, and the millions who are underemployed can find full-time work and better opportunities. I hope that you have a happy holiday season and a healthy, loving and comfortable 2010 for you and your family.

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