Similar to any other 365-day period, 1989 the year Horizon Media opened its doors was unique. Here is an overview of what 1989 was like and what changes have occurred in the media landscape over the past twenty years.
There are several similarities from 1989 to 2009. For example, the TV industry was coming off of a debilitating writer’s strike, the stock market was negatively impacted by dubious business practices, in movies the Batman franchise with Joker as the arch villain was still holding strong( although the actors changed) and there was a little controversy at MTV’s Video Music Awards. There was a 3-D ads at halftime of both the 1989 and 2009 Super Bowl’s both sponsored by a soft drink. In 1989 an incoming president was named George Bush. In 2009 the outgoing president was George Bush.
News-It was in 1989 that George H. W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan as president of the United States. There was a series of upheavals in Eastern Europe resulting in the dismantling of the Berlin Wall issuing in the post-Cold War. In another example that the Cold War was ending was the last troops from the Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1989. In March the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound spilling 11million gallons of oil. In June the Chinese army initiated a crackdown on democracy protesters that was highlighted with tanks in Tiananmen Square. In October an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck northern California killing 67 people and postponed the San Francisco-Oakland World Series for ten days. It was also in 1989 that Florida and Virginia began to allow the use of DNA genetic fingerprinting as admissible evidence in courts. In sports 22-year old Deion Sanders of the New York Yankees and Atlanta Falcons became the first and only person to hit a home run in a Major League Baseball game and score a touchdown in a National Football League game in the same week.
Business-In the business world, Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announced a merger creating Time Warner which has since become the largest media company increasing revenue from $10 billion in 1989 to $35 billion. Time, Inc. had sought to merge with Warner Communications to help prevent a hostile takeover from Paramount. The US Government had provided a $150 billion bailout for hundreds of saving and loans associations that year. A mini-crash of the stock market caused by the collapse of the junk bond market had the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 6.9% to 2,569.26 on Friday the 13th of October. Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando’s Walt Disney World first opened its doors. Also in 1989 a debilitating strike forced Eastern Airlines to go out of business.
Film-1989 was a blockbuster year for movies, led by Batman (starring Michael Keaton & Jack Nicholson) there were nine different films that grossed over $100 million in total domestic box office. According to boxofficemojo.com, 1989 marked the first time that domestic box office receipts exceeded $5 billion with an average ticket price of $3.97. By comparison, in 2008 the average ticket price was $7.18 with box office receipts reaching $9.6 billion. Other popular movies included Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, Look Who’s Talking, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Little Mermaid (the biggest grossing animated film since The Jungle Book in 1967) and Parenthood. It was also a popular year for sequels with Lethal Weapon 2, Back to the Future-Part II and Ghostbusters II. Additionally, Driving Miss Daisy won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 62nd Academy Awards held in March 1990 which had been hosted by Billy Crystal for the first time.
Books-According to Publishers Weekly, the best-selling fiction books were Tom Clancy’s Clear & Present Danger, The Dark Half by Stephen King, Daddy and Star by Danielle Steel, Caribbean by James Michener. The book that received the biggest publicity however was Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses which prompted Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini to put a death sentence on the English author and soon after diplomatic relations between Iran and the United Kingdom were severed. The fiction works of Tom Clancy, Stephen King and Danielle Steele also dominated the best selling paperbacks twenty years ago. The best selling nonfiction works were by Robert Fulgham, All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten; Roseanne Barr, Roseanne; Nancy Reagan, My Turn; C. David Heymann, A Woman Named Jackie and Gilda Radner, It’s Always Something (Radner passed away in May 1989). Children book sales were dominated by Martin Handford’s “Where’s Waldo” franchise and the Way Things Work from David Macauley.
Music-The biggest musical artist of 1989 was Paula Abdul, the Lakers cheerleader turned choreographer turned singer had two top ten hits for the year, Straight Up and Cold Hearted. Abdul also walked off with four MTV Video Music Awards that year in a program hosted by Arsenio Hall. Also in the 1989 VMA’s, MTV issued a lifetime ban on comedian Andrew Dice Clay for his expletive laced comedy routine before introducing Cher. Another big musical act that year was the Grammy Award winning Milli Vanilli. The duo had three hits in the Top 25 in 1989, Girl You Know It’s True, Girl I’m Gonna Miss You and Blame It On The Rain. Also in 1989 people first began to suspect that Milli Vanilli had been lip synching all along. Other top songs were Look Away by Chicago, My Prerogative by Bobby Brown and Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison.
The “Cost of Living in 1989”Yearly Inflation Rate: 4.83%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average: 2,753
Average Cost of new house: $120,000
Average Income per year: $27,450
Average Price for new car: $15,500
Gallon of gas: $1.12
One dozen eggs: $0.96
Postage Stamp: $0.25
In 1989 the population of the United States was 247.3 million. Twenty years later that figure has jumped by sixty million to 307.4 million, an increase of 24% the largest two-decade increase in our nation’s history. A large portion of this growth can be attributed to ethnic groups most notably Hispanics and Asian-Americans. In March 1989 the Census Bureau estimates that there were 20.1 million Hispanics in the U.S. In July 2008 the Hispanic population has more than doubled reaching 46.9 million, making it the nation’s largest ethnic minority. (In fact there are more Hispanics living in California and Texas today than there were 20 years ago in the entire country.) Hispanics now account for 15% of the US population up from 8.2% in 1989. Despite an increase in median age from 25.9 to 27.7, Hispanics still have the youngest median age of any ethnic group.
The population of African-Americans in 1989 stood at just under 30 million with a median age of 27.9. Since then, the population has grown to over 41 million with a median age of 31.1. In addition, the number of Asian-Americans has more than doubled from less than 7 million in 1989 to over 15 million today. Similar to other segments of the population, the median age has grown from 30 to 35.4 in that time.
Lastly, with longer life expectancy and aging baby boomers, the median age of the U.S. has risen from 32.5 in 1989 to 36.6 in 2009.
MEDIA THEN & NOW
One can easily make a case that the media landscape has changed more in the past two decades than in all the combined years beforehand. When Horizon Media opened its doors in 1989 many of the familiar communication channels consumers and marketers use today did not even exist. The media world of today has become far more vibrant and exciting and Horizon Media has evolved along with it. The availability of technology and new consumer electronic products quickly becoming a commodity has triggered many of these changes. The changing dynamic of the American household and population has also had a major impact on media and marketers as the nation become more far more ethnically diverse and consumers are more in control than ever before. Moreover, ad volume estimated to be $124.7 billion in 1989 and has more than doubled since then.
Television-As in 1989, television is the dominant medium in 2009 (although today it is also known as the first screen which was not needed twenty years ago). In 1989 there were 175.6 million TV sets or 1.94 per household. By 2008 there were more TV sets in homes at 310.5 million than people. The average home in 2008 had 2.83 TV sets. Despite all the other leisure time activities people now have, watching television has actually grown since 1989, especially with adults. In 1989, women watched an average of 4 hours and 39 minutes each day, that figure has increased to 5 hours and 20 minutes. Male television viewing has increased from 3:58 in 1989 to 4:45. Even teens are watching ten more minutes of TV than they were 20 years ago. Only kids viewing have dropped in the past two decades but only by five minutes
The reason for the growth in TV viewing can be attributed to the growth of cable penetration and households receiving more and more channels. According to Nielsen, in 1989 cable penetration stood at 56% and ESPN had the largest subscriber base with 52 million homes. In 2009 wired cable penetration is 62% however those homes that can receive cable programming stands at 90%, the difference being satellite companies (and to a lesser extent phone companies). Another notable difference is the number of channels available. In February 1990, the closest study available, the average home had 27.2 TV channels, the number as of August 2008 has soared to 130.1. The number of channels viewed (defined as ten consecutive minutes during the survey week) has not kept pace, in 1989 the average watched 8.9 channels, that figure has since “only” doubled to 17.8. Among the more notable cable network launches over the past two decades helping to fuel increased viewing include Syfy, Cartoon/Adult Swim, Food, HGTV, FX, History, ESPN2, MSNBC, Fox News, Animal Planet and TV Land. Today all these cable networks are available in over 90 million homes. The prime time household shares for ad supported cable was 14 in November 1989 in 2008-09 that figure has risen to 60.
For the 1988-89 season the three broadcast networks had reported a household share of 67 with NBC the top rated network averaging a 26 share (ABC was second at 21 and CBS third at 20). In 1988-89 Fox aired programs on only two nights (Saturday and Sunday) they expanded to Monday the following season. The 1988 was also hindered by a writer’s strike (sound familiar?). Needless to say, the audience share of the four networks (including Fox) 20 years later has dropped to 36. In a far cry from today, the top rated programs in 1988-89 were dominated by comedies led by The Cosby Show, Roseanne, A Different World and Cheers. In fact, eight of the ten highest rated shows were situation comedies, 60 Minutes and Murder, She Wrote were the only non-comedies in the top ten. Among the new shows in 1989 was the Seinfeld Chronicles, the pilot to Seinfeld which premiered in July 1989 and joined NBC the following May. It was in 1989 that America’s Most Wanted became the first program to win a time period for Fox. In 1989, Fox debuted and The Simpsons, more than 400 episodes later, television’s longest running evening animation program is still going strong. The only other show in prime time that debuted in 1989 and still on the air is Cops also on Fox.
The most popular mini-series on network TV (remember when they aired them) in 1989 was Lonesome Dove on CBS. The western about a cattle drive was based upon Larry McMurtry’s novel and starred Robert Duvall. The mini-series ran over four nights during the February sweeps and averaged a household rating of 26.2 and 39 share. Lonesome Dove was one of the last blockbuster mini-series events. Other notable prime time drama events included such made-for-TV movies as The Karen Carpenter Story (the singer who died of anorexia in 1983) on CBS, The Ryan White Story (a child AIDS victim) on ABC, Everybody’s Baby: The Jessica McClure Story (a toddler who got stuck in a Texas well) on ABC and The Preppie Murder (based upon a 1986 Central Park murder case) also on ABC.
Super Bowl XXIII had the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 20 to 16 and aired on NBC on January 22 in Miami. Billy Joel sang the national anthem. The halftime show was called “Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D”. Several scenes included computer generated 3-D images. Prior to the game, Coca-Cola distributed 3-D glasses at retailers for viewers to use (sound familiar?) An average thirty-second cost “only” $675,000 and Anheuser-Busch aired six ads devoted to the first “Bud Bowl”. Super Bowl XXIII delivered a household rating of 43.5 in 1989 compared to 42.0 household rating in 2009.
Other TV trends include a steady decline in ratings of the three evening newscasts. In 1989 the networks were cutting back on their news budgets. The previous year some affiliates had moved the start date of the evening newscasts from 7PM to 6:30PM to allow stations to air more syndicated programs. In 1989 the ratings race between the three networks were tight. With a strong fourth quarter, ABC World News Tonight was, for the first time, the top rated newscast with a household rating of 10.9 in 1989. The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather ranked second with a household rating of 10.4 and NBC Nightly News anchored by Tom Brokaw was third at 9.9 (although Tom Brokaw was in West Germany on assignment when the Berlin Wall fell) Hence, collectively, the three newscasts “reached” 31.2 of all TV households. By comparison, over the past 12 months (2008-09) the combined household ratings of three evening newscasts cut in half to 15.1, with NBC in the lead with a rating of 5.7, followed by ABC 5.4 and CBS at 4.1.
NBC’s The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson dominated late night viewing despite two new contenders attempting to displace “The King of Late Night”. CBS introduced The Pat Sajak Show on January 9, 1989 and lasted only 15 months, he quickly returned to host Wheel of Fortune. Arsenio Hall debuted in late night syndication in 1989 and was fairly successful by attracting a younger audience than Carson. Hall’s talk show aired until 1994. ABC’s News Nightline, which began as nightly recap of the Iranian hostage crisis begun ten years earlier, was also successful by counterprogramming The Tonight Show. Looking at the weekend, it was in 1989 that David Spade and Michael Myers joined the cast of Saturday Night Live.
In early morning NBC’s The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, Willard Scott and Gene Shalit was the top rated show. There were some rifts however. It was in early 1989 that an internal memo by Gumbel to his superiors that criticized some co-workers (Scott and Shalit) was leaked out to great embarrassment. In December 1989 Jane Pauley stepped down and was replaced by Deborah Norville. In September 1989 Norville, to great publicity, had been added to The Today Show to read the news (replacing John Palmer). By early 1990 The Today Show ratings dropped 15% and ABC’s Good Morning America with Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson became the top rated early morning show.
A notable change on broadcast television over the past twenty years has the drop in the number daytime programs. In 1989 there were no fewer than 19 programs across the three networks. Similar to today, daytime dramas dominated the broadcast networks daytime schedule. In 1989 and today The Young & Restless on CBS was the top rated show. ABC cancelled Ryan’s Hope in early in 1989 and replaced it with The Home Show a magazine-talk show. There were five game shows in 1989 with The Price Is Right the top rated.
Over the past 20 years several daytime programs were cancelled and replaced by syndicated shows. The battle for the top rated daytime show in syndication was between Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue (TV Guide had named Oprah Winfrey the richest woman on TV in 1989). Another popular talk show in syndication was Live with Regis & Kathie Lee which debuted in the fall of 1988. The People’s Court with Judge Joseph A. Wapner (popularized in Rain Man) was another successful daytime show in syndication. Other popular programs in 1989 (and still on the air) are Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Entertainment Tonight. Another top rated shows in syndication in 1989 was Star Trek: The Next Generation and the “off-net” Cosby Show. Kid shows peaked in the late 1980’s in syndication (before migrating to cable) led by Disney’s DuckTales and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle which premiered in the fall of 1988.
In May 1989 VCR penetration was 65.5% and rising. Variety reported that the top video rentals in 1989 were Big, A Fish Called Wanda Die Hard, Rain Man and Coming to America. VCR penetration peaked at 91% in 2004 before dropping to 72% in 2009. The reasons for the drop in VCR penetration was DVD players and DVR’s. The first DVD player was sold in 1997 and in 2009 household penetration neared 90% (among the fastest growing consumer electronic products in history). TiVo launched the first DVR in 1999 and ten years later roughly 30% households have at least one DVR (primarily from cable or satellite companies).
Radio- In 1989 there were 9,244 commercial radio stations in the U.S. (most of them were on the AM band), that figure has increased to 10,754 in 2009. With over 2,000 stations country music remains the most popular format in the nation as it did in 1989. There are however, a few format trends worth noting, the number of news/talk radio stations has doubled to over 1,300 (primarily on AM radio) making it the second most popular format. The number of Spanish language radio stations is approaching 800 up from 200, making it the third most common format. Another format that has grown exponentially over the past two decades is sports talk radio. A nascent format in 1989, there are now nearly 600 of them across the country. A popular handheld device in 1989 was the Walkman and that year 84% of all portable devices came with a radio.
Another trend that the radio industry has undergone since 1989 is ownership consolidation. The 1996 Telecommunications Act which relaxed ownership rules. This consolidation has led to the emergence of Clear Channel and other large radio owners. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions Clear Channel now owns upwards of 900 stations reaching 110 million listeners each week. Some radio purists have argued that radio consolidation has had a negative impact by creating fewer format choices and losing the localization of the medium.
After peaking in 1989 radio listening has been dropping, especially among younger age groups. For example, in 1989 Persons 12+ listened to 2 hours and 59 minutes of radio each day, that figure has dropped by 40 minutes. The daily listening of teens has dropped by 55 minutes over the past two decades. The emergence of new audio technology has also had an impact on the radio industry. For example, the first radio webcast was heard in 1994, there are 4,650 stations now streaming and 27% of Americans have listened to radio online each month. In 1999 Napster was launched and the era of online music sharing files had begun. In 2001 Apple introduced its popular MP3 player the iPod, this year 40% of Americans have a portable MP3 Player, including 71% of Persons 12-34. The first podcast was heard in 2003, since that time 22% of Americans listen to one. XM satellite radio was launched in 2001 and its partner Sirius the following year, since then they have 18.4 million subscribers. Lastly, the first HD radio broadcast aired in 2004, there are about 1,900 radio stations broadcasting in HD although consumer adoption has been slow.
Magazines- The number of total magazines including consumer, trade, business-to-business and Sunday publications has grown from 12,797 in 1989 to 20,590 today. One notable change has been the decline in newsstand sales of magazines. In 1989 single copy magazine sales accounted for 22% of the total (the remaining 78% were subscription sales), in 2008 single copy sales dropped to 12% of total sales. Perhaps due to the economy, the ratio of advertising pages in magazines in 2008 is actually lower than it was in 1989. In 1989 advertising accounted for 48.6% of magazine pages it dropped to 46.2% in 2008.
There have several prominent magazines and magazine types launched since 1989. One trend has been magazines tied to celebrities including Martha Stewart Living (1990); O, The Oprah Magazine (2000); and Everyday with Rachael Ray (2005). As a result of their growing population there has been a rise in Spanish language magazines led by People en Espanol (1996) Latina (1996) and Vogue en Espanol (1999). Publications on technology launched include Wired and Fast Company both begun in 1993. Other categories growing in popularity include celebrity magazines such as In Touch Weekly (2002) and OK! Weekly (2005) and video game magazines including PC Gamer (1994) and Official Xbox Magazine (2001). Other popular magazine types have been the “laddie” books led by Maxim (1997) as well as teen (including “little sister”) publications such as Teen Vogue (2007). Some teen magazines have since migrated exclusively to the Internet. In 2009 there are nearly 7,500 consumer magazines available online. Other successful launches include Entertainment Weekly (1990); In Style (1994); ESPN: The Magazine (1998); More (1998); Lucky (2000); Real Simple (2000); and The Week (2001).
There are a few long running and familiar magazines that have stopped publishing since 1989. These include McCall’s which was re-launched as Rosie (after Rosie O’Donnell ) in 2000 and finally went under in 2001. The monthly version of Life in 2000, Sport had stopped publishing in 2000, Mademoiselle stopped in 2001 and, most recently, Gourmet in 2009. Horizon Media has outlived several notable publications including George (1995-2001); Jane (1997-2007); Business 2.0 (1998-2007) Vibe (1993-2009); Cottage Living (2004-2008); domino (2005-09); Cookie (2005-09) and Portfolio (2007-2009). Several of these publication are surviving online.
Another trend in magazines over the past has been that the circulation of many large magazines is dropping, (not too dissimilar from the broadcast networks audience erosion). For example, Reader’s Digest which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, has had its circulation drop from 16.3 million in 1989 to 8.3 million in 2008, a decrease of 49%. TV Guide which has been revamped since 1989 has suffered a decline in circulation of 79.2% from 15.9 million to 3.3 million. National Geographic another publication with a circulation of over 10 million in 1989 has had their numbers drop 53% to 5.1 million.
Many of the seven sister magazines have reported a decline circulation ranging from 5% for Better Homes & Gardens to McCall’s which had a circulation of over 5 million in 1989 and as mentioned stopped publishing (reducing the seven sisters to the six sisters). One reason for the decline in circulation for these general editorial women’s services magazines include the popularity of niche magazines about health/fitness, shopping, parenting, working women, food and celebrity/entertainment to name a few.
Newspapers-With news available around the clock and on various platforms, the number of newspapers, circulation and readership has been declining, a trend that began before 1989 continues to this day. Since 1989 the number of daily newspapers has dropped from 1,626 in 1989 to 1,408 in 2008. In 1989 there were 1,125 evening newspapers and that figure has been cut in half to 546 in 2008. The number of early morning newspapers has actually increased over the past two decades from 530 to 872.
Over the past two decades the circulation of daily newspapers has been decreasing. In 1989 daily newspaper circulation was 62.6 million, that figure has decreased to 48.6 million. Circulation for morning newspapers has actually increased slightly since 1989 from 40.8 million to 42.8 million. The circulation for evening newspapers has dropped considerably from 21.9 million in 1989 to 5.8 million in 2008. Reasons for the decline in afternoon newspapers is competition from cable news networks, news/talk radio and the Internet, more full-time working women and a reduction in factory jobs in which workers typically came home at an earlier hour.
The number of Sunday newspapers has grown from 847 in 1989 to 902 in 2008. Circulation has not kept pace however, dropping from 62.0 million in 1989 to 49.1 million in 2008. It marks the first time since the 1940’s that the circulation for Sunday newspapers has fallen below 50 million.
There have been several long running newspapers that have ceased publication since 1989. Other publishers have filed for bankruptcy protection, resorted to cost cutting measures or put newspapers up for sale. Industry analysts surmise that in the near future some major cities will be without one daily newspaper. In early 2009, Colorado’s oldest newspaper The Rocky Mountain News owned by Scripps-Howard shut down after 150 years. Also in 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the cities first newspaper (beginning operations in 1863), now owned by Hearst Corp., stopped publishing a daily newspaper and migrated exclusively to an online edition. Both Denver and Seattle are now one newspaper towns. Other recent newspapers that have stopped printing and moving exclusively online include The Christian Science Monitor and Tucson Citizen.
Active newspapers are also providing content online as well. In June 2009 over 70 million Americans visited a newspaper website viewing nearly 3½ billion pages. Newspapers are still developing a business model for their online content. Another trend that did not exist in 1989 is free newspapers available in major metros across the country (and world). Begun in Stockholm in 1995, the primary purpose was to get younger people in the habit of reading newspapers. Supported almost exclusively by advertisers, free newspapers have since migrated to various markets in the U.S. by the early 2000’s.
The number of Spanish language newspapers has more than doubled over the past two decades reaching 700+ daily, weekly and less than weekly newspapers. In 1990 ad revenue for daily Spanish language newspapers was $76 million, that figure was $427 million in 2008.
Outdoor-One mainstream medium that has enjoyed a revival since 1989 it is out-of-home. What had once been regarded as outmoded has had a re-birth aided by as much by digital technology and other innovations as any ad supported medium. As the number of tobacco and alcohol advertisers using traditional roadside billboards were eliminated or curtailed, a growing number of marketers are using place based advertising and guerilla marketing strategies.
Over the past two decades, there have been several significant events effecting out-of-home media. In 1995, the first mobile billboard was used. In 1996, the Federal Highway administration approved changeable signs on billboards on roadsides. In 1999 tobacco advertising was banned by the outdoor industry. As people became more conscious of the environment, the outdoor Industry, in 2007, adopted a one sheet plastic poster replacement for paper poster billboards and began to phase-out of PVC flexible vinyl, replacing it with eco-plastics such as polyethylene. The out-of-home industry remains a vibrant part of many marketers strategy.
Computers/Internet The ad supported medium that has made the biggest change of course has been the Internet. A time line of web innovations over the past two decades will indicate the growth of the Internet. In 1989 Tim Behrers-Lee first proposed the concept of a worldwide web, the following year first search engine Archie (named after the comic book character) was written. In 1994 the first banner ads appeared online as the Internet became privatized. In the mid 1990’s many now familiar web companies were launched. Yahoo! was founded in 1994, the following year both the first eBay auction took place and Amazon.com was founded. Search giant Google was founded in 1998.
While there appears to be some confusion, the first weblog (blog) was posted sometime in the mid 1990’s. The first social network Friendster was launched in 2002, MySpace (2003) and Facebook (2004) quickly ensued. Consumer generated content became a phenomenon when YouTube started up in 2005. The following year the micro blogging website Twitter began operations.
In 1989 the number of personal computers in use worldwide exceeded 100 million for the first time. The U.S. had, by a wide margin, more than any other nation with almost half of them (49.4 million). A pre-Internet report on Computer Use issued in 1989 by the Census Bureau issued the following findings:
• After nearly ten years small “personal” computers are now an established part of many lives. At work, at school, and at home, the computer is a basic tool that many of us use daily.
• In October 1989 13,683,000 (15%) of all US households had a computer, an increase from 8.2% in 1984.
• Computer access for children in schools rose to 46% in 1989 up from 28% in 1984.
• 36.8% the workforce use a computer at work, up from 24.6% in 1984.
In summary, in 1989 almost one-third (32.3%) of Americans aged 3 or older (232.8 million) used a computer in some way. By contrast, today nearly three-quarter of Americans or (227.6 million) have Internet access. In 1989 the latest operating system from Microsoft was Windows 2.0 (Windows 3.0 would be released the following year). Also in 1989 was the first release of Microsoft Office Suite featured the bundling of word processors, spreadsheets, database and presentation software took place.
In 1989 Intel released its latest microprocessor “The 486”, which replaced “The 386” and was the first chip to have over one million transistors and multitasking capabilities. Also that year Apple introduced the much anticipated Macintosh portable. By 1989 the number of host computers (those computers that connect to a data network such as the Internet) reached 100,000. By 1992 that figure reached one million PC’s.
Video Games In 1989 Nintendo (in the years before Sony Playstation, and Microsoft Xbox) was dominant with an estimated market share of 80%. Selling over 20 million game systems and over 50 million video game cartridges that year, Nintendo became a must have for boys and male teens. By comparison, today the average age of a video game is 35 and they have played video games on average for the past 12 years. Also far more females are playing videogames that two decades ago. In August 1989 Nintendo launched its 8-bit Game Boy, the first handheld video game console which included the new Tetris game cartridge (40,000 were sold the first day and one million for the year). While Nintendo was almost synonymous with video games twenty years ago, there was competition. Most notably from Sega, they had introduced the next generation Genesis the (then) state of the art 16-bit (or fourth generation) console in 1989 in the US. Backed by a heavy marketing campaign, Sega sold 400,000 consoles in the U.S. for the year. Several popular video games were first launched in 1989. Maxis released SimCity, a video game that helped launch of series of simulators. Electronic Arts released the first Madden Football for the Apple II the first video game that featured all 11 players on each team.
By 2008 there were 37 million video game consoles sold with revenue reaching $21.3 billion Consumers also are renting video games becoming a $541 million market in 2008. In total, roughly two-thirds of all US households are playing some sort of video game.
Cell Phones 1989 was a breakthrough for cellular phones, annual sales reached one million for the first time and the first cellular phone ad appeared on television. In 1989 the state of the art phone was the Motorola MicroTAC, which had the innovative flip-open mouthpiece and a hefty price tag of $3,000. Back in 1989 cell phones did only one thing, make phone calls and they were also pricey reaching 50 cents a minute during peak hours. The first digital cellular phone call was made in the United States in 1990. In 1989 there were three million cell phone subscribers in the US, needless to say, that number has grown 90-fold to over 270 million. Cell phones can do has other functions than making calls.
What’s Next? What will the next 20 years bring is anybody’s guess, but already there are some early trends that could help us. The population will get older and will become increasingly more diverse. Fueled by new technology which knows no geographic boundaries, marketers are looking more globally than locally or even nationally. As media becomes more and more fragmented edgier content and ads and advertising opportunities will be created to help them stand out. Not only will consumer media grow, but consumers will spend more time with consumer supported (instead of ad supported) media.
Another trend is media usage outside the home will grow fueled by GPS (the first GPS satellite was launched in 1989), handheld devices and “smart” cars. In the future place shifting will be as prevalent as time shifting is today. With the number of screens outside the home growing, alternative out-of-home media opportunities will proliferate. The fourth screen will be as well known as the first three screens. The fourth screen will more importantly be, for many products, closer to point of purchase especially in-store advertising. Content such as news will become customized to each person’s individual taste and with more relevant and engaging ads. While privacy will remain an issue, many ads will be more targeted based upon their media selections that consumers will leave behind.
Media will no longer have a top down approach but will become more a more collaborative experience between marketers and customers. Consumers are empowered and their experiences and recommendations of brands and media will be shared with others. Targeting will be based upon behavior, attitudes, interests, psychographics and other patterns instead of just age/gender breaks. Marketers will look for greater accountability on their advertising investment.
In any event, Horizon Media will continue to bring its unique perspective and innovative ideas to help our clients grow their business. The next 20 years will be even more exciting and challenging than the first twenty.