2021: So how did we do?

A year ago, T Dog Media laid out the predictions on what to look for in the media business for 2021. So how did we do? Well, we got the answers right here:

1. MeTV’s Toon In With Me. So far, the new Bill Leff-hosted retro cartoon show on MeTV – reminiscent of such fare in the 1960s and 1970s, has gotten off to a surprisingly good start with the January 4 premiere drawing 500,000 viewers nationally. And think about this…it drew more viewers at 6 a.m. (CT) than WGN America’s NewsNation did in prime-time.

After a successful first season, Toon In With Me began its second season this week and if you can receive it, you can catch a second edition of the show at 11 p.m. (CT) weeknights on MeTV Plus.

2. Who will be the new FCC chair? After four years of suffering from Ajit Pai’s arrogance, maybe we’ll have an FCC Chairman who works for consumers, not big telecommunication companies.

And your answer is Jessica Rosenwarcel, a commissioner with a good track record on consumer issues and was easily voted in. However, the agency remains deadlocked 2-2 as a nominee for a fifth commissioner – Gigi Sohn – has stalled.

3. How will businesses bounce back from the pandemic? Assuming most people get vaccinated, we’ll see how quickly the business community – locally and nationally – and media included – can bounce back.

So far, that hasn’t happened. As the Omicron variant sweeps through the country, businesses in many large cities are now forced to have their customers show their vaccination cards in order to even get inside. This as vaccination rates – especially in Black communities, continue to lag.

4. Chicago’s Hip-Hop stations. 2020 was a forgettable year for media, perhaps more so for Hip-Hop stations who are losing steam – especially Power 92/WPWX and WGCI, as the formerly top-rated station sunk to new ratings lows not seen in nearly four-and-a-half decades. Are there going to be changes?

Outside of Power 92 sacking a syndicated morning show…no.

5. How will the Chicago Tribune look under the new Alden regime. The hedge-fund managers are expected to take over the storied paper this year and departures are already taking place – notably architecture critic Blair Kamin.

As expected, numerous journalists and columnists have exited the paper.

6. The Tokyo Olympics – one year later. The Summer Games were postponed last year due to the pandemic, so will viewers tune in to an event not usually seen in odd-number years?

The ratings for the delayed Tokyo Olympics were disappointing as the games – with no fans in the stands – failed to galvanize the country. Numerous big names deciding to sit out also played a role.

7. What impact will former President Donald Trump have. After last week’s sh**show at the Capitol and being stripped of his social media credentials, it remains to be seen what impact he’ll have on the Republican Party, who not only lost the White House, but also both houses of Congress. 

A lot of impact as Donald Trump hasn’t gone away – in fact, you’re going to hear A LOT more from him as the odds of the GOP retaking the house and Senate next year look good as key elements of President Biden’s agenda have mostly stalled.

8. The Supreme Court decides the FCC’s media ownership rules. A lasting impact of Pai’s legacy is being heard at the court later this month and a decision is due in July. There is a lot at stake as the Justices’ ruling will determine how media proceeds in the future. 

And earlier than anyone anticipated – and in a surprising unanimous vote, upheld the FCC’s 2017 rewrite. But the battles over the media ownership rules will continue for the foreseeable future.

9. How will gambling impact sports telecasts. Bally’s takeover of the former Fox Sports regional channels would be interesting, if to see how they can integrate gambling information into the broadcasts. Even more so, if these channels can get back onto the streaming services (Hulu + Live TV, Fubo, YouTube TV) who dropped them.

Bally’s takeover of the old Fox regional sports networks was a disaster as gambling’s impact on sports telecasts turned out to be… more betting commercials. As for streaming, Bally is developing a direct-to-consumer streaming app to bypass streamers, so we may never see them on YouTubeTV, Hulu, or Dish/Sling ever again. 

10. More streaming services are on the way. With the successful launch of HBO Max and Peacock, 2021 should see some more streaming services go online, including the recent launch of Discovery Plus and the rebranding of CBS All Access as Paramount Plus. Is a shakeout coming?

Surprisingly, no major streaming services launched in 2021 – and none closed up shop either. Has streaming peaked? Maybe we’ll answer the question in this space next year at this time, so stayed tuned….


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