Mobile is eating the world: chat apps are now platforms in their own right
At least, four elements drive mobile growth in emerging countries:
- Cellular infrastructure development (see this example in Papua New Guinea) is speeding up thanks to lower hardware costs, better performance, better reliability and energy efficiency. Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law are acting as an unabated growth engine.
- The battle between Asian handset makers; hundreds of millions units, if not billions, are at stake here, and it will be an Android-only market.
- Huge numbers of cheap smartphones will boost the application ecosystem for commerce, education and health.
- The rivalry between Facebook and Google. Aside from their futuristic internet-in-the-sky projects based on drones, balloons or satellites, the two internet giants are working on super fast lightweight apps fit for 3G or even 2G networks, such as the recent introduction of Facebook Lite app.
All of the above is also good news for publishers who will enjoy a much larger reach with small distribution costs through basic applications.
In Western countries, mobile in now part of everyone’s life:
Nine Millennials (2) out of ten admit always carrying their mobile with them.
- Six out of ten believe every piece of their online activity will be done through a smartphone within five years
- In 2015, mobile captures 51 per cent of time spent on digital media. But ad spending doesn’t follow: It accounts only for 14 per cent of the total ad investment on digital.
- Now, if we put this in context with the entire media consumption including TV, print, etc. (for the US market), the result is not good news for print media: Newspapers and magazines capture only four per cent of time spent on various media, but still retain 18 per cent of the advertising investment. Compare this to mobile: 24 per cent of time spent for all media (that’s 6x more than print), but only eight per cent of ad spending (less than half.) Guess who will lose in the inevitable adjustment? Even if print media’s focus on niche, more affluent markets than mobile results in a better value for its ads, the rebalancing will be brutal.
- The use of mobile now extends way beyond the nomadic segment: As underlined by A16z analyst Benedict Evans, mobile devices are no longer used exclusively on the go; for more than 90 per cent of users, they are used at home as well. More than ever, mobile-only content production will make sense, especially for the news business.
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