Technology heralds media's golden age

Technology is leading the growth of media consumption on mobile phones. (EB FILE)

Media is witnessing a multi-format revolution where customers are gaining the most and the industry observers calling it a "golden age" for consumers.

"The consumer has entered an age of enlightenment with expanded options for devices, content, and schedule," a report developed by Nielsen said.

The report also said changes in technology, regulation, pricing and content distribution deals will complicate in the future.

The data showed time spent on each of the three screens – TV, PC and mobile – is increasing. In particular, the consumption of video content is on the rise across all platforms. Since the mainstreaming of the internet about 10 years ago, TV viewing was up by about 20 per cent. Online video consumption stood at more than three hours a month and mobile video was growing too, as devices and connectivity became widespread.

The report classified various platforms and their relative growth.

Television

The quality of TV content improved significantly with the advent of HD programming. The increasing number of channels and video-on-demand content contributed to the overall growth in TV viewing. Additionally, the sheer growth in TV sets at homes meant viewing opportunity was available in almost every room, with each family member having their own set.

Internet

Vast majority of internet users have broadband connectivity, which allows delivery of rich content without degrading the viewing experience. Rich media, streaming media and more offline content is finding its way online. A constant stream of new consumer-generated media via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has engaged users to spend more time online. The report stated more than 40 per cent of online was viewed at the workplace. Workers sitting in their offices for 40 hours a week do spend a bit of that time surfing the internet.

Mobile

With 3G networks becoming the norm, and 4G being rolled out, the process of downloading has become faster. Additionally, iPhones, BlackBerrys, smartphones, app stores and the recently launched droid have blurred the lines between phone and PC. These devices are leading the growth of media consumption on mobile.

TV programming is now available on cell phones for a nominal fee. For someone who can't get enough TV at home, they can take it with them almost anywhere.

The question that arises is what do the next three to five years have in store? Given the massive changes in technology, regulation, pricing and content distribution deals, doing a simple projection based upon historical trends will be misleading. However, there are five key trends likely to have a significant impact.

Commenting on the technological advancement in the region, Danish Farhan, CEO of Xische Studio, said:?"The Middle East is as good as anywhere else, as far as the consumers are concerned. Technology is acquired by consumers here overnight and they are very keen on using and mastering the latest.

"The moment iphone or a droid is launched in the region, you see ads in classifieds or on line offering the same with broken code." That's an indication of how keen the consumers in the region are and how much they are willing to embrace the very latest on the horizon.

 

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