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Anybody can remember what happened last year. But remembering what’s going to happen next year? Even Google fails. But that’s never stopped us.

Remembering Things FutureThis year we’ll see a lot of trial activity in on-demand advertising, perhaps even some limited commercial introductions. But targeted advertising can’t get really big in 2010, given the relatively low distribution of EBIF and tru2way boxes out in the field and the lack of a standardized, industry-wide implementation for managing/selling/placing/distributing/delivering ads. Conditions won’t be right for all of that until the end of the year – if then.

A beer company will create an ad that does not involve boorish, idiotic behavior, and yet is still funny. It will die of loneliness.

A CHAMPION WILL RISE
A champion will rise in the industry, someone who will advocate for some way that service providers can safely host applications that any old thirdparty developer throws out there in a … well, in some sort of a market for applications, or … or an app store, if you will, some place where customers can just go and download them. Just because that would be hard to accomplish doesn’t mean your customers, many of them infatuated with their iPhones, will fail to complain that they can’t do the same on their TVs.

NBC will remain at the bottom of the ratings. Do not even think of giving Tony Danza or Ted Danson another sitcom; that path will not lead to success. It will not lead to leapfrogging Fox.

Sometime during the summer lull, somebody is going to recall that the number of IPv4 addresses is getting depleted even faster than anticipated, and they will sound the alarm that unless some way to deal with the transition to IPv6 is adopted right quick, it’s going to mean chaos. Whatever the fix is (we’re betting on a number of fixes that can be used in multiple combinations), cable will implement it (them) in a tizzy at the last possible moment. Let’s just say we remember 7/07, and we recognize a bunch of procrastinators when we see them.

Motorola might finally split into multiple companies. Maybe. You know, depending on things. For instance, if the stars align, like, just right.

CAN YOU HEAR ME YET?
Somebody somewhere will announce a way to make phone calls with a handset on mobile WiMAX networks – maybe directly, maybe through something like Skype. And sometime in the first half of 2010, a handset will be promised for the last half of the year, or more likely the first quarter of 2011. Cable wants mobile telephony, but the question is can the back office software handle it? If yes, cable gets some semblance of mobile telephony in 2011. If not, 2012. Unless you’re Cox, in which case you’re already well into a rollout.

Home networking will continue to have the potential to become a multibillion-dollar industry. It will continue to actually be a multi-million-dollar industry. There are just too many moving parts and too many constituencies who think they can do it without bothering to coordinate (let alone cooperate) with everyone else.

LOVELY RITA YOU AIN'T
Time Warner Cable will attempt to reintroduce metered usage. If it stubbornly insists on mapping service tiers to current usage levels, it will fail again. Comcast will successfully introduce metering because the vast majority of its customers won’t get anywhere near Comcast’s 250 GB metering cap, so they won’t care if their usage is metered. The question is if – once Comcast habituates its customers to metering – it can make the metering meaningful. But that’s a question for 2011.

Despite President Obama’s broadband stimulus, despite the latest version of the FCC’s interest in broadband connectivity and competition, and despite all of the attention AT&T and Verizon have earned for their TV services, in the upper left-hand corner of the country, the competitive environment is little changed from what it was six years ago. Because Qwest lacks the resources to be similarly competitive, by the end of 2010, the competitive environment in its territory will be little changed from what it had been seven years earlier. And, once again, no one will buy Qwest.

ALMOST AS GOOD AS CHANCE
We were something like 5 of 10 with our predictions last year, depending on how you count. If we break .500 this year, someone’s going to have a heart attack, so as a preventive measure, we expanded our non-cable predictions. Yes, we called the Yankees in the World Series last year, but even we’ll admit that was a fluke.

This year, let’s go with Milwaukee over Anaheim in seven; in the NBA, it will be Boston over L.A. in six; D.C. United over Seattle in the MLS; and for Nascar’s Sprint Cup, we’re picking Jeff Gordon. Somewhere upwards of 200 people will consider themselves extremely lucky to find hotel rooms in Vancouver, Wash., at the end of February but will wonder where the Olympics are hiding.

Lady Gaga ends up with at least two Grammys, though Taylor Swift gets Best Album. Only somebody required to pick the Best Picture Oscar will try, and I’m not, but I’m calling Gabourey Sidibe for best actress. And if those guys from Juniper participate in the “Battle of the Bands” again, my money’s on them.

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