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Birnbach Communications Issues Top Trends for Media and Social Media in 2011

iPad vs. iPad Killers; Building a drumbeat not a dribble via social media

Marblehead, MA, Jan. 10, 2011 – Birnbach Communications, Inc., a boutique public relations and social media agency, today issued its top media trends for 2011. Taking an analyst's approach to monitoring the media, the blogosphere and social media, the agency based its list of trends on conversations with reporters and bloggers, as well as thought leaders on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

For the past decade, Birnbach Communicates has compiled an annual list of media trends for its clients, who operate across a range of industries, including storage, security, unified communications, financial software and services and other technology sectors, healthcare, senior services, consumer, social networking, and nonprofit and education. These trends help the agency's clients more effectively understand and engage on topics of interest for social media.

The following are among Birnbach Communications' media trends for 2011:

  • The battle between the iPad and the iPad Killers, the race for apps and the impact of tablet computing will be a main theme. In 2011, there will be lots of choices among tablets from other manufacturers, but the (soon-to-be-announced) iPad2 will give Apple the momentum to continue to dominate the market - even as other tablets offer videoconferencing and other features not available in the current iPad. Expect to see a lot of coverage about an "iPad killer," but also expect the iPad to remain king of the hill at year's end. In our app-enabled culture, part of the iPad's success in 2011 will be the availability and variety of its apps. Also expect to see much discussion about the battle of operating systems: iOS vs. Android because the Apple vs. Google makes a compelling story angle. The media will also look at the impact of tablet computing on how students learn while using tablets and how people spend time online - already there are indications that users spend more time on social media sites and less time on email. There will also be lots of stories about the impact on the PC market. (Anyone remember netbooks?)
  • 2011 will be the year of app-based media subscriptions. Last year lots of publishers either rolled out or announced online subscription access fees. This year, publishers are rolling out apps for iPad and other tablets as well as e-readers to help them generate subscription revenue. One challenge for publishers and consumer alike: Justifying app subscriptions when current single-edition app access (at $3.99 per single-issue for Wired or $4,99 for each issue of Time) can cost significantly more than annual print subscriptions (e.g., $20 for Wired, $30 for Time). Early adapters seem to be willing; the real question is the price point that the rest of the population will be willing to pay.
  • The converging media phenomenon will gain momentum in 2011. With early generation gadgets on the market that combine TV and Internet, it's time to get rid of the old way of thinking about media. For example, we need a new term for video content that we're already accessing on devices that are not traditional TVs. Meanwhile, the same convergence will continue to impact how news is reported: Newspaper reporters, who once only filed print stories that appeared nearly 24 hours after the news hit, are not only going to continue to be filing stories in near-real time, but also they will be producing accompanying video. Meanwhile, broadcast reporters will post text versions of their segments on their websites. Radio stations will provide video on their websites to accompany the audio-only pieces already accompanied by text-based articles. This already started taking place in 2010, but expect more cross-channel news operations in 2011 and beyond.
  • Companies will be judged not just on the quality of their social media engagement, but on their frequency. Just as people assume a company has gone out of business or is in a downward spiral if it hasn't issued a release or otherwise updated its website in a matter of months, the same need for frequency holds true in social media. In 2011, people will now assume your organization has gone out of business or that you have left your job if you haven't posted or updated your blog or status in a month. To keep brands and images relevant, social media content needs to be a consistent drumbeat, rather than an occasional dribble of information.
  • The press release will not die in 2011. Like Mark Twain, who commented on premature announcements of his passing, the reports of the death of the press release are greatly exaggerated. News embargoes may be dead but press releases are still relevant. Press releases are certainly not the only way to get out news, but they can still be effective in 2011 and provide value, if only by enabling organizations to post fresh evidence of corporate activity and providing search engine optimization (SEO) opportunities.

A complete list of media trends, including likely top media topics, is published on the agency's blog, PR Back Talk, available at

The big trend for 2011 will be the battle between the iPad and the slew of iPad killer tablets that will hit the market this year. Tablets, along with the record purchases of e-readers in 2010, should help convince consumers to pay for a new, cooler way to access print content," said Norman Birnbach, president, Birnbach Communications, Inc. "Meanwhile we expect to see corporate battles generating a lot of attention this year, including Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Cisco vs. EMC vs. HP vs. Oracle vs. SAP, along with the ongoing battle over national healthcare."

About Birnbach Communications, Inc.
Boston-based Birnbach Communications, an independent PR agency, provides its clients with a portfolio of strategic business communication services, specializing in national media relations, executive visibility, and social media marketing. The agency enables its client base of emerging and mid-size companies to reach customers, investors, venture capital firms and business partners; launch new products and services; establish new product categories and drive market demand. Founded in 2001 with the commitment to combine the best aspects of large-agency experience with small-agency culture and dedication, Birnbach Communications brings senior-level intelligence and attention based on an understanding of business issues - not just PR issues. Birnbach Communications' team provides senior-level PR, social media, marketing and communications experience across a range of industries, including storage, security, unified communications, financial software and services and other technology sectors, healthcare, senior services, consumer, social networking, and nonprofit and education. For more information, please visit

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