Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 looks like it could be a nice rebound year for media... as long as the real world doesn't interfere, that is

What is the saying about "may you live in interesting times"? It is considered to be a curse, or course.

Well, these certainly are interesting times.

Waking to see what the latest news was this morning I noticed to, seemingly contradictory stories about oil prices. OK, TNM does talk about world events occasionally, but never commodity prices.

But the stories were, in fact, not contradictory: U.S. oil prices were down, but "Brent" oil was up. Brent refers to North Sea oil. That oil is more subject to events in Europe and to the supply issues involving European countries. With Europe in a deep freeze, and with the Iranians threatening to cut off oil to Europe in retaliation for sanctions, oil there is rising in price – especially in comparison to U.S. oil.

It may seem might a minor thing to many, but it is simply a sign that things are not going very well over there.

That's when my thoughts returned to the media world.

For the fast few years (for many, the past decade) media professionals have been looking for their fortunes to turn around. 2007-2008 was a wild ride that really caused a lot of pain. So each of the past few years media pros have been wondering if the next year would see a rebound in things important to them such as ad pages.

This year looks pretty good so far. The economy in the U.S. appears to be improving (slightly), with unemployment taking a dip (though still high). Compared to Europe, things are certainly looking good so far.

Election years are often up years, I hear – though my own memories of election years since 1992 are that they are often mediocre ones. But analysts have been pretty optimistic about the chances that 2012 will be a good year for the economy in the U.S. if, and here is the point, if external events, especially in Europe, don't derail things.

Greek protesters today display their displeasure with German demands for further austerity measures.

So what could happen? An oil disruption? A war? Strikes? Revolution?

If you've read the headlines this morning you know that other than the last item the others are certainly threatening to occur.

There is not much one can do about any of these if you are a media professional. So maybe it's best to simply not check the NYT website (or Google News). But my suggestion is that you find a really funny joke to tell on your next sales call so that your client's mind will be taken off the news and put back on the size of their ad schedule.