Welcome to the first Fast Five of 2012! Below is a recap of the five advertising/media stories that I found to be the most interesting/important/informative from this past week, along with a brief POV on each.
1% OF MOBILE USERS CONSUME 1/2 THE WORLD’S BANDWIDTH
Why it matters: Smartphone adoption is happening faster than anyone (even Apple) expected. One of the repercussions of this trend is an enormous amount of demand on the pipes and the supply of the data consumers need to use apps, connect to the web, tweet, talk, chat, etc. We already saw a slowing of Verizon’s data service the minute they launched the iPhone.
POV: What none of the carriers will tell you is that their unlimited data plans are actually extremely limited by the infrastructure required to support them. Some are predicting the volume of global mobile data to increase by 10x by 2016. Look for one of two things to happen: higher prices on data packages so that only a small percentage of the smartphone population can access truly unlimited data at high speeds, some other monetization strategy (mobile advertising or data?) that will allow the larger carriers to absorb the cost of upgrading their infrastructure to accommodate the higher demand.
GOOGLE TV TO GET SUPPORT FROM BIG BRANDS
Why it matters: Google’s first attempt at building a TV failed because they didn’t have the content relationships in place to make their offering valuable to consumers. But with support from the big manufacturers (LG among them), a large enough consumer footprint will mean that the content companies will want (and need) to be on their platform.
POV: Apple keeps everybody on their toes because they are in the business of delight. Being in the business of delight means that you can make phones, computers, music devices, headphones, software, tablets, apps and, yes, even TVs. The threat of Apple making a TV that is as delightful to use as an iPad has got all the other hardware manufacturers worried about what to do next. Google is the logical software partner for many of these brands if they really want to get a head start on creating a truly connected content experience. But watch for Apple to strike up more partnerships of their own.
10 DAYS HAD MORE THAN $1B IN ONLINE SHOPPING
Why it matters: In what was expected (by most, not all) to be a weaker retail season, because of high unemployment and an unpredictable economy, online sales grew more than 15% year over year, with 10 individual days hitting $1B in online sales prior to Christmas.
POV: We’re seeing a big shift in the way we shop. In case you haven’t noticed, many consumers no longer bother at all to go the malls, and instead opt to shop from the quiet comfort of their own couch. Consumers can get better deals, like free shipping, easy return policies and fewer inventory issues, without ever standing in line at a register. The iPad is the new shopping mall, and there are more iPads than ever. Don’t expect a reversal of this trend; instead, try to imagine a world where 25% of the stores you visit today are forced to close their brick and mortar locations in lieu of digital storefronts.
ONLINE VIDEO VIEWING PASSES 50% OF AMERICANS
Why it matters: This is a milestone for online video and, therefore, a big milestone for online video advertising. But the even bigger story is that nearly 15% of all Americans are watching video on their phones. These are big shifts in the way we consume content, and advertisers will have to find new ways to take advantage.
POV: With the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, in addition to the many new channels for distribution of content (all of which are somehow connected to the Internet), we should only expect these numbers to increase as predicted (if not faster). The really interesting change will occur when our TVs finally converge with our household PCs. This is happening in 2012 and will mean an even larger number of folks cutting their cables in deference to on-demand and online viewing.
IPHONES ARE SELLING LIKE IPADS
Why it matters: While iPad is still generating the steepest technology adoption curve we’ve ever seen, there is another huge story for Apple: the iPhone. Analysts are predicting that Apple could sell as many as 125 million iPhones in 2012, with the U.S. responsible for over a third of them.
POV: With smartphone penetration predicted to grow to over 50% among all U.S. consumers in 2012, it is safe to say that we are entering a new era of communication and media consumption. As feature phones get phased out and are replaced by powerful pocket-computers that not only keep us connected, but also take great photos, shoot HD movies, play the best games, show movies, play music and help us locate our friends, the possibilities for how to touch and engage the majority of U.S. consumers are wholly different and virtually limitless for smart marketers.
BONUS #1 OF THE WEEK: FIVE FACTS TO BANK ON IN 2012
BONUS #2 OF THE WEEK: MASHABLE DIGITAL PREDICTIONS