While I'm not an economist, I can read the financial reports of slumping companies as well as anyone. And what I see is not good. Unless the economy improves -- and fast -- several HDTV-related companies will meet their demise next year and several others will be forced to merge with larger firms to stay in business.
Who are we talking about?
For starters, companies pushing new Internet-based movie set-top services such as Vudu and Apple TV will be hard pressed to keep them afloat. Even in good times, these services would struggle with Americans showing a strong reluctance to embrace products that require them to install Broadband lines and routers in the living room -- not to mention also having to pay roughly $200 for the Net TV set-top itself.
But in bad times? Fugghetaboutit. In 2009, dismal sales of Net TV set-tops will turn into non-existent sales, no matter how many different ways the products are promoted. So, I predict that Vudu will close its doors in 2009 and Apple's Steve Jobs will finally call it quits on his least favorite hobby, Apple TV.
Retailer Circuit City, which has already declared bankruptcy, is hanging by a thread thanks partially to the emergence of discount retailers Wal-Mart and Costco in the CE business. (There also was a series of poor management moves.) It's hard to envision a scenario in which the company can survive in 2009 if the recession deepens.
Finally, I think you'll see more rumbling about mergers in the HD category, especially between DIRECTV and Dish Network. The latter, which has been devastated by increased competition and rising costs, has reported subscriber losses in recent quarterly reports and that simply can't continue much longer.
But I will have more to say about that in a future prediction.
More Predictions Coming!
Until then, also see:
Network TV Ratings to Plunge
Toshiba Introduces a Blu-ray Player
New Blu-ray Movies Will Average $20
8-10M Blu-ray Players Sold In 2009
Blu-ray Players For $99
CBS to Promote Julie Chen At All Costs
NBC's Ratings Keep Falling Due to HD
Home 3-D Fails In 2009
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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 703-505-3064.
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