The web is changing the world as we used to know it. You can see it every day if you take the time. You book your taxi using an iPhone app, you read your news or play a game using an iPad or an iPhone on the train on the way to work and you watch a video from the net and not a rented DVD from the video store down the street. I personally saw the effect on business on the weekend as I passed our local record store that had announced in its window that it is ceasing to trade next week.
These changes cannot be ignored if you want to have a sustainable and growing business into the future. Opening a new video rental store is a business that has a short shelf life. Businesses that rely only on a bricks and mortar presence only are limiting their commercial options in a digital world. Those of us brought up in a world where you needed a cord connected to the wall for your phone to work or your paper was delivered by the paper boy have to keep reminding themselves that we no longer have a world dominated by the TV industrial complex and traditional print media.
A recent GlobalWebIndex report from Trendstream.net which covered 26 countries, 3 waves of research and 90,000 surveys has revealed three clear trends in the consumer adoption of the internet. In combination they are driving a new age of social entertainment through internet platforms. In the report they analyse the current global situation and the opportunities for the future for professional media, content producers and brands.
Today it’s no longer about massive growth but a shift of already active social consumers to ‘real-time’ technologies, such as status updates or tweets. The old view of text-based social media, defined by blogs and forums, is being surpassed, moving the impact of social media, from creating content and publishing to sharing other people’s content and ‘live’ opinions about real-world events. In short ‘real-time’ is re-orientating consumer from creator to distributor and moving the focus to traditional media and professional content.
Trend Two: Packaged Apps
The open browser-based web is losing out to packaged internet platforms such as mobile apps, internet connected TVs, tablets, e-readers, pc apps, gaming and video platforms. These packaged platforms are re-engineering the internet and destroying the notion of the internet being a singular entity. Crucially for the entertainment revolution, they provide professional media with the means to create sustainable internet business models, something the economics of the browser-based web totally failed to enable.
Trend Three: Professional Content Creation
Professional “traditional style” content is now a core part of the consumer online experience. Internet platforms, for hundreds of millions of consumers, are increasingly the entertainment platform of choice. This is due to continual growth of professional content in video sites (legal and illegal), the rise of ‘real-time’, and the growth of packaged platforms.
These trends will revolutionise our view of the internet. In particular, the packaged internet will transform the way we get online, the content we consume, and the ways we can create, share and communicate. Going forward five years it is clear that many people’s internet experience will not be through a browser, but through some form of packaged platform. While many ‘internet purists’ will bemoan their lack of openness, the creation of barriers to entry, and shift in control to small numbers of gatekeepers, packaged platforms crucially enable professional media to create sustainable businesses online without having to change the way that the open web works.
This is as important, if not more important, for a healthy society as enabling consumers to publish and share their opinions or content. The open browser based internet has failed to create the economics to deliver professional media business online, as advertising could not demand the premiums needed and consumers are unwilling to pay for content delivered through a browser. These changing commercial opportunities will capitalise on the consumer demand for social entertainment online. They will however have to change the way that they create and deliver content and make sure they integrate social technologies into their product.
Increasingly ‘real-time’ social will be integrated with the traditional content experience. Imagine live Twitter style messaging around major TV events or programming recommended by your social network. This will extend the impact of social media outside of the browser as well as surpassing the old models of delivering media, such as cable TV, satellite, radio or newspaper
We face an exciting and interesting period of innovation that will continue to disrupt industries. How will you take advantage of these trends?
Image by Rhett Sutphin