New media market seeks policy changes

Being driven by a permanent shift in new consumer behaviour that in turn is triggered by the evolution and adoption of a number of different technologies, the new personal and interactive media market is growing. The digitisation of information and communication in sync with widespread availability of high-capacity access networks and smart devices, have created a new marketplace and an increasingly growing need to readdress existing policies.

Rene Summer, Director Government and Industry Relations, Ericsson, explained that these fundamental changes in technology and business realities call for a transformational change in existing sector- specific and often fragmented regulation. Summer argues that regulatory bodies should not seek to regulate the technology, but the service, when necessary. "In a media-converging world, it does not make sense to regulate technologies. Focusing on service regulation will remove barriers and unfair advantages hereby creating a level-playing field," he said.

Policymakers can harmonise regulation and legislation across converging media sectors for example telecom, information, media and entertainment sectors, and create a level- playing field for market players. This will benefit the society, consumers, service providers, media producers and vendors. Summer advises policymakers to focus their approach on minimising distortion of competition between telecom, cable, internet, terrestrial and satellite networks.

Summer argues that in order to successfully provide appealing TV/video offerings, the converging industries, jointly with creators and aggregators of TV and video content, need to evolve their services to better match them with new consumer wants, needs and behaviours.

In order to achieve this, he says, it is absolutely necessary to review and update current regulation to reflect the first Digital Century realities. "We at Ericsson believe that competition and level-playing field are pivotal to the environment."

His words are supported by an Ericsson study that found the consumer uses more and more different channels to communicate and has more devices and channels to consume media and multitask. The internet has become people-centric, which reshapes the social communications mainly among youth. For instance, in US alone there have been 85.9 million social network users, of them a large part is comprised of teens. A study shows that some 75 per cent of US teenagers use online social networking sites to communicate. More interestingly, a 21-year old job applicant, Ericsson found, has spent 10,000 hours talking on mobile and another 3,500 hours on online social networking.

The consumer has become a powerful component of online content. According to Summer, consumers have increased their control over media consumption by choosing what to consume whenever, wherever, and on whichever device they want, which translates into personalisation of media consumption. Studies indicate that some 45 per cent of media consumers in the US are frequently creating user-generated content online. Ericsson forecast that by 2020 there will be some 50 billion networked devices and the market for mobile payments is projected to swell to more than $600 billion (Dh2.20 trillion) by 2013. Also, by 2012 internet advertising is to reach $50bn.

Individual choice dominates a few of the mega-brands of mass media. Instant individual communication is the mobile phone's key feature of choice, according to an Ericsson study. Such finding confirms Ericsson forecast that mobile device will be the primary tool for accessing the internet by 2020 and with the exponential growth of online users, the power of mobile and internet convergence remains to be seen.


Video-viewing on social networking sites up 98%

- The global figures revealed by Nielsen show that time spent viewing video on social networking sites increased 98 per cent year-over-year, from 503.8 million minutes in October 2008 to 999.4 million minutes in October 2009 

- Number of online video streams viewed on social networking and blog sites increased 45 per cent year-over-year, from 240.8 million streams in October 2008 to 349.5 million in October 2009

- Facebook was the No one online social networking and blog destination in October 2009, with 217.8 million total video streams viewed during the month 

- Myspace.com and Stickam were No two and No three, with 85.2 million and 26.3 million video streams, respectively

- Year-over-year, total time spent viewing video on Facebook increased 1,840 per cent, from 34.9 million minutes in October 2008 to 677.0 million in October 2009 

- The number of unique viewers of video increased 548 per cent

 

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