In the media business, 2000 was filled with sound and fury, consolidation and dot-com disintegration, and it signified plenty. AOL and Time Warner married. CBS and Viacom merged. The Media Edge and MindShare became sisters. Publicis brought Optimedia and Zenith, if not together, at least a lot closer than they expected to be when Y2K began. And Kraft, Unilever, Pfizer, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, ExxonMobil, GlaxoWellcome, Verizon—just a few of the most prominent corporate brand names—collectively put more than $6 billion in play in consolidation reviews.
What about 2001? We asked 10 media executives: "What do you believe will be the most important news stories, trends and issues of the new year, and why will they be significant?" Of course, some predicted more consolidation. Others saw cross-media marketing and new technologies, such as interactivity, finally beginning to fulfill their promise in the next 12 months. Inevitably, many expected 2001 to be the year the upfront would finally flatten out.