Sunday, 24 January 2010


Who starts trends, and what makes them cool?
Are trends unstoppable forces reliant upon market conditions and normal human intuition, or are they the products or trailblazers and pioneers?

In my experience they are neither. Trends are usually the products of entrepreneurial and enthusiastic go getters. Or as I like to call them, charlatans.

The media industry is like a youngster who will sign up for any pharmaceutical trial for any meagre injection of cash it offers. Chop off a limb and study the results? "OK". Live with rats for a week for £30 – "sure thing". A trial addiction to Heroin? "Sounds harmless".

Let’s not go into any of the real issues that beset the media industry – 3D TV, micro charging for online content, channel fragmentation. Sticking to the ‘trends’ is much more fun.

Who decides what the trends will be? Websites looking to make a buck from a report they’ve created which is loosely based on research? Industry websites desperate for acclaim and audience? Or media bodies looking to generate revenue?

Well . . . all three. But of course, they share a common goal. Industry acceptance. These ‘experts’ insist that ‘next-besting’ or ‘glocal-isation’ will be big in 2010 yet these concepts exist outside the realms of reality. Anyone with a publisher or relevant audience can create a trend based on their expertise or intuition. With a few carefully selected examples at the end of the year, these can be ‘proved’ too.

Our industry is too quick to pat itself on the back by discovering these trends.

And what is your predicted trend? I hear you ask. Well, I won’t profer any. Unfortunately, even the Charlatans don’t listen to executives.