Forrester Predictions 2020

“Podcasts will be the next $1 billion media market,” says the market research company Forrester in its newly-released Predictions 2020: Media outlook. “We predict that the podcast market will explode in 2020 as more publishers build out their own podcasts to open a new revenue stream and advertisers continue to increase spend,” the report says. As a result, Forrester says podcast ad revenue could “easily” top $1 billion by the end of 2020 based on current spending trends.

Forrester Analytics’ Consumer Technographics data shows U.S. consumers spend more than three hours per week listening to audio content. Not only are podcast listener figures growing, but the report also points out the types of people who are consuming podcasts are especially appealing to marketers. It notes listeners are 45% more likely to have more than $250,000 in income. “Advertisers want to get in front of these consumers with lots of disposable income, and publishers want to deliver their content in new ways to continue making money,” it says.

Beyond podcast, the media industry is likely to see a “different sort of change” in next year than what it has experienced during the prior decade, Forrester analyst Collin Colburn says. “There will be an expansion, not contraction, of media players,” he writes in a blog post. “Overall, expect there will be more companies vying for ad dollars from brands.” Forrester also predicts more retailers will follow in the footsteps of Amazon and position themselves as advertising platforms. Amazon pulled in over $10 billion in advertising revenue in 2018, which Forrester says “woke up” other retailers who have traditionally competed against the ecommerce giant.

In terms of content, Forrester predicts a positive development for news junkies. “Local news will make a comeback and break a corruption story nationally,” its annual outlook says. “No doubt the 2020 presidential election will be a top national headline throughout the year. But we predict that there will be a big corruption scandal unearthed at the state or local level.”

It says local media outlets are creating new business models to survive and fill a void left at the local level by shrunken newspapers.

Among Forrester’s other predictions: a “streaming war” will erupt with greater competition in the video on-demand market, which it says could lead to a race to the bottom as the streaming giants will have to compete on price as consumers become exhausted by the sheer number of subscriptions they have to purchase to view their favorite shows or movies. The analysts also think the social media video network TikTok will hold off on an IPO—and it could even be the target of a buyout from another media company like Facebook, Snapchat or MySpace parent Meredith.