From highly-anticipated launches, re-launches, and experiments in native advertising, here’s what we’re dying to know in 2015.
Can Serial: Season 2 Possibly Deliver on the Hype?
The podcast sensation of 2014 has secured enough funding for a 2nd season of true crime addiction. No word yet on what the central mystery will be, but whatever it is will have to deliver on some pretty lofty expectations on the back of the much-lauded first season, and even then it may suffer some backlash. Either way, it’s refreshing that a podcast can occupy such a large space in pop culture.
What’s Next for The New Republic?
Following a dramatic meltdown that saw droves of a senior editorial staff leave the magazine in protest at the end of 2014, Chris Hughes, Guy Vidra and the remaining staffers try to pick up the pieces. Have they completely lost the plot? Or will their experiment as a “vertically-integrated, digital media company” begin to right the ship?
OK to Cut Cable Now?
“Mad Men,” the show largely credited with ushering in the “golden era of television” during the noughties, doffs its fedora for the final time this year, making 2015 an official changing of the guard, with digital platforms like Netflix (“House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black”) and Amazon (the Golden Globe-winning “Transparent”) taking up the mantle of must-see TV. And with the news that both ESPN and HBO will begin offering web access to their content as standalone subscription services this year, there’s more reason than ever to explore life after cable.
Can Audiences Expect More “Pop-up Publishing” in 2015?
The good version of native advertising. As the practice gets more sophisticated, look for more brands and publishers to collaborate on experiences like Thrillist & GE’S Lunar Footprint, which bring whole sets of content experiences to users rather than one-offs, a marked shift from even a couple years ago.
Is The Huffington Post Going Legit?
Big things are in store for HuffPo this year. It turns 10 years old in May (hard to believe, I know), and with its AP contract expiring in 2015, the publishing heavyweight will source its news all by its lonesome. Purely in-house editorial, a bigger international team, and a redesign are all on the books. The end of an era for a site that climbed to fame on just about everything but its own content.
How Exactly Will Infobitt Work and Should Publishers Be Scared?
Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger’s news site is set to launch this year and it’s a grand experiment, pledging to “do for the news what Wikipedia did for encyclopedias.” Cryptic, no? You can currently sign-up to be a contributor and await further instructions.
Is Microsoft Throwing in the Towel on Internet Explorer?
Microsoft is building a new lightweight browser codenamed “Spartan” that is expected to launch with Windows 10 in 2015. Word on the street is the browser will feel similar to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox (which have decisively eaten away at IE’s market share) and will include new features like Cortana integration and “inking” that allows users to mark-up web pages and send them to their friends. Though IE is expected to survive Windows 10, it seems Microsoft is conceding that the beleaguered web browser may not be part of the long-term future after all…
What’s Next for Music Distribution?
On the one hand, Thom Yorke reportedly made somewhere between $1M and $6M distributing his 2014 solo outing through a BitTorrent “bundle.” On the other hand, U2’s deal with Apple was worth something in the range of $100M for the “free” Songs of Innocence. One was a coup, the other a career nadir. Go figure. All of which is to say it’s the Wild West in the music industry. Expect to see more artists tinker with the model, with more consistent results.
Can Anyone Challenge VICE?
Of all the media companies trying to challenge VICE’s grip on millennial audiences, newly-backed Woven Digital and their burgeoning video empire may be in the best position to succeed. If acquiring UPROXX, that most bro-centric of sites last April wasn’t enough to raise eyebrows, reaching 5 million users a day in the most coveted of audience segments should do the trick. If you’ve never heard of them, that’s OK. You will.