Monday, December 22, 2014

Ever-changing digital world brings new joys, challenges

2/26/2014

Media consumption continues to change, and with it comes new winners and losers. Of course, no one seems to stay on top for long.

Facebook — once the stalwart of social media — has turned 10 years old and now is on a downward trend with youth switching to Twitter, Instagram, Vine, SnapChat and others just coming onto the horizon. Clearly the life cycle of new products isn’t what it used to be.

Media consumption continues to change, and with it comes new winners and losers. Of course, no one seems to stay on top for long.

Facebook — once the stalwart of social media — has turned 10 years old and now is on a downward trend with youth switching to Twitter, Instagram, Vine, SnapChat and others just coming onto the horizon. Clearly the life cycle of new products isn’t what it used to be.

The most popular and heaviest-used radio station with an average of 3.5 listening hours per active user per week isn’t a radio station at all. Pandora, an online music provider, allows its 70 million users to select their own “station” based on their preferred music. The music is available with occasional advertising or as a premium model with no advertising. Other online music providers, such as I Heart Radio and Slacker Radio, have made it easy for people to listen to whatever broadcast radio stations they want, regardless of where they are using mobile devices, computers and even their vehicles. About 80 percent of Pandora’s listeners are using mobile devices, such as smartphones, to consume content.

All of these choices make it exciting for consumers in the short-term, however, none of these providers will have a long life if they can’t create a profitable business model. Pandora has never made a profit and generates minimal positive cash flow from its business activities. Few of the others make money either, ensuring an even shorter life cycle.

This mobile revolution will continue to change as consumers move from one device to another, but the heaviest consumption occurs 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, which means screen time use has moved away from TVs to computers, tablets and mobile phones. With these changes, it’s no wonder people think they have less downtime because they literally aren’t disconnecting from their devices with many being attached to everything from clothing and wrists to eyewear, such as Google Glass.

This 24/7 computing lifestyle, which didn’t even exist less a handful of years ago, means people of all ages are consuming more of what they enjoy most.

Change is inevitable with media consumption, but no one should expect what is popular today to be what carries on long-term. Sadly, people might regret what remains in the debris of yesterday when today’s latest and greatest winners become tomorrow’s losers.

 

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher

comments powered by Disqus