MARKETING TO A NEW-MEDIA GENERATION: The Digital Future - Technology is evolving rapidly. So, how could it have changed our lives by 2010? Five industry experts give their predictions



Content will be key in the new-media world in the next ten years. All users of new media will want to access content through one destination, regardless of the device they use to get to it. As well as obtaining it centrally, people will want everything customised for them, be it financial dealings, shopping, travel, news, entertainment or leisure.

Half-a-dozen internet companies will prevail though to 2010. If you look at the PC world, 20 years ago most people would have put their money on IBM being the most dominant force but a software company, Microsoft, won out. So the winners in new media could be the telecoms operators, television companies, cable operators or portals.

People will also have more control in choosing what they receive and what they don't. Creative will have to become much cleverer because consumers will be able to select what they view in a way they've never done before.

Marketers have always said that half of their advertising doesn't work but they don't know which half. They will soon know exactly what works.

Children nowadays don't learn how to use new media. They just use it, just as we used to watch TV without having to learn how to watch it. They will expect advertising that targets them accurately and the technology will enable us to deliver that. Mass-market advertising might stay in some very refined areas such as the sporting world in the form of sponsorship.

English will be the dominant language of new media. Global chatrooms will be in English. Local products that exist only in non-English speaking countries won't have a hope in hell.

New media will not polarise society. TV has not polarised the haves and the have-nots. The bulk of Sky's penetration is outside affluent areas.

Advertising will generate revenue, rather than consumer payments.

Everything will be transmitted through sensors rather than sockets, plugs and cables. Watches and other portable accessories will carry sensors.


The PC is never going to be a mass-market device, by which I mean it will never achieve 50 per cent penetration. Instead, the future lies with digital TV, which will reach about 93 per cent of households by 2010.

About 85 per cent of TVs will be interactive.

Interactive TV will be like a three-layered cake, within which you'll have the programme, then the supporting interactive content you can play around with, then the supporting commercial content. The split in our regulatory system dividing editorial from commercial content will remain because consumers will want it. They won't want to be dumped into Pepsi-land so there will be clear signposting in the interactive world.

By 2010, the conventional idea of targeting will be dead. As a brand owner, you will have to start communication with consumers through anonymous conventional mass advertising, albeit with interactive bits, and then invite somebody to come and have a conversation about it. As a result, mass advertising is going to be about a conversation rather than a message saying: 'we're great, look at us.' The tone of voice is going to change.

It's going to be more like the Tango ads. It's going to be about attitude, about sucking people in and making consumers feel wanted as part of a club.

At the end of the decade, cable interactive TV will be slightly ahead of satellite. At present, you can't make a single interactive TV ad and screen it on different platforms. I don't think this is going to be a mature market until this happens and I don't see it happening in the first half of this decade.

There will be video-on-demand hard-drive boxes that are part of the TV, storing 800 hours of video content by 2010. It won't quite replace the video but it will be a common household device.

Mobile internet access will accelerate very quickly in the second half of the decade, overtaking the PC around 2007. Social mobile users want something they can stick in their pocket and still have a decent picture, which will drive us away from the existing phone design towards a clamshell-type design that opens up to optimise the screen size.

By 2010, we will see so many cheap devices around that anybody who wants some form of online access will have it. Those who don't will be those who don't want it rather than those who can't afford it.


Online access technology will reach about 70 per cent of UK homes in ten years' time. This figure will be roughly the same for most of Europe. Those that are online will have multiple access points but a section of society will be hugely disadvantaged and lack access. Access will no longer be predominantly through the PC.

In only three years' time, more people in the UK will interact through their television than through a PC.

By 2010, interactivity will, primarily, occur through mobile devices.

People will have five to seven different devices for different occasions, including a clunky one, which might be a personal organiser, and a watch or other accessory to fulfil the need to travel light.

There will also be lots of other interactive devices such as screen fridges and intelligent bins, which will help plan grocery shopping, which accounts for a huge chunk of people's disposable income.

The idea that we all want to make viewing appointments over our TV through video-on-demand is flawed. There is a real problem of media industry insiders projecting what they do on to other people. Small sections of the population really value their time and want control over their TV watching, but these are mostly light TV viewers. Heavy TV viewers will still want someone else to plan their TV for them. TV will continue to be a shared experience, where most people prefer to watch the same programme at the same time.

In the next decade, advertising will morph into programming. There will be interactive ads in which you can become involved with the characters and decide how the ad ends. Brand recall will improve. Traditional advertising will suffer because advertisers will see a direct line to making money.

Gameshow quizzes, which are cheap to produce, will also become more interactive.

The family can join in, press buttons and, maybe, win low-level prizes such as next month's cable or satellite subscription.

People will still have a small portfolio of their favourite brands. That portfolio may be smaller online because, unlike the physical world, there's no packaging or sales staff to reinforce a purchase decision. It is harder to get people to try something for the first time online, so branding will become even more important.

Big corporate companies, which tend to have much sounder business models than dotcom start-ups, are at an advantage. Unlike the dotcoms, which are after a fast profit, they can afford to sit it out for the four or five years until those business models turn profitable.


In 1970, there were 100 people for each computer. The latest estimates suggest there are now 50 billion computers and six billion people.

By 2010, there will be 100 computers for every person on the planet.

More than 40 per cent of people in Europe are now over 50. So, if you assume that the youth market is the most valuable, you're preventing yourself from reaching more lucrative markets.

With an ageing population, there are more visually impaired people, and around 30 per cent of people in the US - the most digitally developed country - can't use a PC, either through lack of literacy, or numeracy, or a disability. That number will be higher by 2010.

We can use technology to overcome barriers between now and 2010 and include disadvantaged people more. This isn't being soft and charitable: if everyone is involved, it creates a much bigger market. The most obvious mass medium for the blind is the radio. The first generation of digital radios are being designed, and people that are blind won't be able to use them.

That's not a technological issue, that's terrible design.

If marketers cling on to old notions of what marketing is about, we'll end up designing products that exclude sections of society.

Targeting people by age is going to be the wrong marketing tactic. People will join online communities and clubs based on lifestyles and interests, in which age is only one of a number of factors. Marketing by 2010 will be 'tribal', so companies will need to be seen to be driven by certain concerns, such as being green or kind to old people.

As people are better educated and live longer, they're no longer prepared to follow the herd. People are becoming very cynical about politics, media and journalism. Groups whose support has declined least are affinity groups. Churn rates for, say, football clubs or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds are very low.

The legal implications of entering into contracts in multiple territories in the e-world will put more stress on marketers. For example, data protection in the UK and in Germany is translated very differently. I would encourage marketing people to ensure they have good relationships with their legal people. We're in danger of not giving enough legal training to marketers to equip them with the skill-sets to cope in five or ten years' time.


Technological convergence will take place over interactive digital TV. Consumers have an inherent comfort level with television, which will make it the main access point. We'll see a complete integration of technologies. Online access at home will be through an infotainment console, combining the PC and the TV.

The challenge is how you display text for a PC as well as a TV environment.

People will value short and concise text.

There is no reason why this information can't be delivered orally. Advancements in voice recognition are becoming increasingly important and the technology will become more mainstream. The value of human interaction is still key and the spoken word is still very valuable.

There will be a mix of oral communication and text, especially in the service sector. The human voice helps to create an emotional attachment to a brand, making acceptance more likely. If an organisation such as a bank can have a voice in your home, it will have an immense advantage.

Bandwidth will be a moot point by 2010. The concept of download time to store things will start to become irrelevant. We'll have such thick fibre-optic cables that this information will be transmitted and stored instantaneously.

The high street will still be important. Shopping and seeing brands in a physical space is as important as the product because people crave human interaction. Online shopping will be used to save time.

In the new-media future, bigger brands will be the winners. Smaller brands will compete in specialised and local-level places. For example, rapid-response e-commerce delivery services in cities are a fantastic service but companies offering this may well eventually become franchises of the bigger boys.

The sheer amount of content has already contributed to optional paralysis.

Ninety per cent of consumers visit only a handful of sites. In the future, brands will have to be very clear about their online value propositions.

If you can win consumers in the next three to five years, you'll be well placed for the next ten. Today's youth are tomorrow's decision-makers, so companies need to win their hearts and minds now. If they don't, they will fall by the wayside or be swallowed by a conglomerate.


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