A Peek Forward

I’ve written before about how the hardest job in digital media and technology is seeing over the horizon.

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Image via CrunchBase

The folks at comScore try to be helpful in that regard and issue an ongoing study about trends and predictions.  As they put it, they “examine… the latest trends in social media, search, online video, digital advertising, mobile and e-commerce are currently shaping the U.S. digital marketplace and what they mean for the coming year, as comScore helps bring the digital future into focus.”  Exactly.

The latest version of the study – The 2013 U.S. Digital Future In Focus Report – came out last week and there were a few nuggets I thought you might find interesting. You can read the entire deck here.

The first has to do with something that content producers have dealt with for years – the perceived mindset that consumers won’t pay for content:

Digital Content & Subscriptions, a category predominantly composed of digital content downloads such as music, movies, TV shows and e-books, ranked as the top-gaining retail e-commerce product category for 2012, its second consecutive year to claim that distinction. The increasing proliferation of devices like smartphones, tablets and digital music players has accelerated consumer demand for digital content downloads, contributing to the 26-percent gain in the category.

So much for that myth.  As it turns out, people will pay for high-quality content delivered seamlessly to all devices.  The next tidbit is related to, or perhaps even drives, the previous finding:

Smartphones continued to drive the mobile landscape in 2012, finally reaching 50-percent market penetration in 2012. Smartphone media usage is dominated by apps, which account for 4 out of every 5 minutes spent on smartphones with mobile web usage accounting for the remainder. Despite Facebook’s leadership in the app market, Google apps dominated the rest of the list of top apps visited in the U.S., with Google Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Gmail and YouTube ranking as the most heavily visited apps next to Facebook.

Consumers are using these devices to access content but I think there’s an opening for some smart company.  Notice that 80% of the usage is not on the mobile web.  I’ve yet to run into a great mobile web experience (although there is a lot of B+ stuff) and so developers are having to support the two big platforms, often with very different degrees of success between the two.  It’s interesting to me that the top mobile apps are all, with the exception of Maps, continuations of a desktop experience.  Instragram (not a top app) is about the only exception to that.

Finally, just as the web became a valuable extension of media’s primary channels, so too mobile is becoming that for the web:

The average Top 25 digital media property extended its reach via mobile channels by 29 percent. Even those with a relatively modest incremental reach in the teens are recognizing that mobile channels represent more than a mere rounding error. The future revenue streams of these media companies depend on effectively delivering content and commerce to their consumers through these channels, and demonstrating why they are an important part of the marketing mix. Failure to meet consumer expectations and aggressively prove the value of these additional channels in 2013 could spell a very rocky economic transition by the time 2014 comes around.

There’s your peek over the horizon.  Now, what are we going to do with it?

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