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Issue: December 1, 2008

WHAT'S IN STORE FOR '09

By: Randi Altman
It's that time of the year again — SWOT time! Once again we ask pros about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of our industry. We also ask them to tell us what they think is in store for the upcoming year. We put together a great panel this go-around, and added a new topic — the Red camera.

Ok, the elephant in the room is the economy. Many pros don't want to focus on that too much; they want to talk about the work they are getting, not the work they aren't. But some, like Carl Levine, EVP digital media/principal of NYC's Creative Bubble — which provides editorial, design, graphics, interactive, multimedia, encoding, Web, and turnkey video production — hit it head on.

Levine says 2009 will not be business as usual. "The current global economic turmoil, the United States government mandate for digital broadcasting and the increasing demand for high definition and multi-platform digital delivery will make 2009 one of the most challenging years ever for the post production industry. Companies that can provide seamless cost effective solutions that meet the creative, technical, budgetary and workflow needs of clients will survive."

David Anthony from Giant Interactive, a digital media studio that offers design and production services for DVD, mobile, downloadable video and interactive TV, reports that "prices on Blu-ray players will finally come down to the 'sweet spot' that will allow the format to appeal to mass market consumers. Development of Blu-ray titles will get more sophisticated as authoring houses continue to work out the kinks of Java on Blu-ray.  BD-Live will get piloted, and consumers will get their first taste of Web-connected set-top Blu-ray players, including some models with built in WiFi."

Steve Gaconnier, CEO/chief creative director, at Dallas-based Janimation, which is now a full-service animation/production studio thanks to a new 16,000-square-foot location with animation, a stage, editorial and audio facilities, says while it's very difficult to forecast, he believes "TV will get back to business with cuts across the board on content and media. The game industry will see a dip for the first time in years... still very profitable, but a dip nonetheless. Features should start to hit heavier since they are all aware that, historically, entertainment thrives in a down economy. And finally, Interactive will still expand exponentially as new tools and lower price points make the online communities more accessible."

Gaconnier, while a realist, is also excited about '09. They just purchased Face Robot from the former Softimage and completed cinematics on the James Bond Quantum of Solace game.