Editorial: 2012 is just around the corner

By Dom Serafini

Have you set your agenda for 2012 yet? What do you mean “what’s the rush” ? 2012 is only eight years away. Do you remember MIPCOM in 1996? Isn’t it like it just happened yesterday? It was only eight years ago when the Riviera wing was introduced; paranormal show X-Files style invaded the Palais; MIPCOM gave up on The Man of the Year Award; in France the book “La Tele: 10 Ans d’Histoires Secretes” was all the rage; the rush to digitalize was on worldwide; in the U.K., Greg Dyke at Pearson shelled out $264 million for Grundy and Silvio Berlusconi was up and running in politics...

The year 2012 will be a busy one and it will be here even before you realize it and then, again, you’ll be scrambling for the dates to take that vacation you’ve been planning since 1996.

Just imagine: The XXX Olympiad could be held in Paris, New York, Moscow, London or Madrid. Also in sports, there will be the European Soccer Championship.

In 2012 Rupert Murdoch will be a young 81, Kirk Kerkorian 95 and Sumner Redstone only 89, but that will not matter at all because, according to the Mayan Calendar, the world will end on December 21, 2012 due to the Izapa and the galactic alignment. But, it could be on the 22, because 2012 will be a bit longer than other years since it’s a leap year.

On the other hand, I really don’t know how accurate this Mayan Calendar is, considering that it also predicts that a “sixth world” will begin in 2012 and includes the following changes: “The world will have gone beyond technology as we know it and beyond time and money,” and that “our DNA will be reprogrammed,” with the undoubted grin on messieurs Murdoch, Kerkorian and Redstone’s faces.

However, 2012 will bring the increasingly blurred distinction between politics and Hollywood to the next level. HBO is launching a new reality series entitled Candidate 2012, which will follow a young American on his/her path to the 2012 presidential election. California already has its Governator…

The year could also mark the time when Senator Hillary Clinton will be elected as the first female President of the United States of America. Then, we can all look forward to limits on media ownership being slowly restored, thus new companies will be popping up everywhere; broadband will have achieved parity with cable-TV; terrestrial TV will be fully digital and digital tuners will have replaced a good number of set-top boxes. It’s when digital technology will really reduce production costs, and fighting piracy will finally target duplicating shops and bootleg distribution, and no longer just Internet downloading. With DTV, analog frequencies will be relocated to WiFi that, used with a special chip, can hop from channel to channel and will render bandwidth capacity irrelevant.

By 2012, the Six Sigma management tool will improve its 3.4 mistakes-per-million opportunity (a 99.999666 percent accuracy) to be widely used outside General Electric (GE used Six Sigma especially to make sure its satellite use was being maximized).

It is predicted that, by 2012, prediction markets will fully develop all their potential. Even today, prediction markets produce advance forecasts that outperform the natural alternative to polls. Prediction markets are used to make predictions about specific future events. For example, since 1988, the Iowa Electronic Market (www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem) has been running markets designed to predict the outcome of elections, box-office receipts and earnings reports.

But the real question is whether or not predicting the weather is part of the prediction market’s realm? Then will the “weather weenies” (as the Weather Channel fans are called) have another source for more reliable data?

Unfortunately 2012 will not bring good news to Oprah Winfrey’s fans, since Oprah is renewed only up to the 2011 TV season. Finally, on a cautionary note, 2012 is when batteries on the market today will expire.

Dom Serafini