The Annual 2004: And finally ... some predictions for 2005

1. In a classic clash of the titans, Rupert Murdoch will slash the cost of Sky+ in a pre-emptive strike to thwart Bill Gates' attempt to persuade consumers to replace their TVs with home computers, cunningly fitted with PVR technology. Commentators predict Sky+ will be in every home by the end of 2005.

2. Acres of newsprint will be devoted to doomsday predictions of the death of the advertising industry as PVR take-up rates soar skywards, just as London house prices plunge back down to earth.

3. The so-called "PVR Effect" will trigger a wave of mass redundancies in the ad industry. In a bid to minimise the impact of forthcoming age discrimination laws, agencies will lay off all staff younger than 25 or older than 35.

4. Following the collapse of its readership in the wake of industry-wide mass redundancies, Campaign will relaunch itself, still with the new design but this time as a free-sheet.

5. Westminster City Council will announce plans to combat the rising problem of litter in Soho Square caused by mountains of discarded copies of Campaign by applying to court for Anti-Social Behaviour Orders against the recidivist editor, Claire Beale.

6. Ofcom will be forced to take back control of broadcast advertising regulation from the Advertising Standards Authority (Broadcast) as its finances collapse. The "PVR Effect" means that 0.1 per cent levy on broadcast media generates just £13.56 for the whole year.

7. As the "PVR Effect" triggers a collapse in funding for new programming, Ofcom will announce a relaxation in the regulation of programme sponsorship. The Magic Roundabout will be sponsored by Kendall Tarrant, Who Wants to be a Billionaire? by Sir Martin Sorrell, and The Sopranos by Smith & Wesson.

8. Panic will ensue when London unexpectedly wins the bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012. In order to plug the funding gap created by the indifference of advertisers, Mayor Livingstone will announce plans to sell off naming rights for various London landmarks, with Trafalgar Square becoming the Renault Roundabout, Buckingham Palace becoming Fcuk House, and Marble Arch becoming McDonald's Arch.

9. As Channel 4 is sunk by the "PVR Effect", and keen to avoid handing a public service broadcasting monopoly to its sworn enemy, the BBC, the newly re-elected Labour Government will announce plans to donate £300 million to a new PSB channel to be launched by its stalwart supporter, Richard Desmond.

10. Procter & Gamble will fire Grey Advertising, due to concerns about the future viability of TV advertising. Ed Meyer will lead a management buy-out of the agency from WPP for £2.56. As rumours spread that the impact of PVR may have been exaggerated, the newly independent Grey will successfully pitch for all P&G's global business. Chairman Meyer will promptly announce his intention to sell the agency and retire.

- By Brinsley Dresden, Lewis Silkin.


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