Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How content consumption is going mobile

How people have been used to consuming content before and how they are doing so today have changed dramatically over the last 20 years.  Content consumption has become more portable as mobile devices (smartphones, tablets etc) become more personal and always near at hand.

Mobile is Personal
It probably all started when we could start personalize the ring tone of your Nokia mobile phone in the 90s.  With that one feature sprang forth a large following and business for downloadable ring tones.  Thereafter with the advent of iTunes, there was no stopping music going portable.

It was also in the late nineties that the Snake game in Nokia mobile phones enraptured a community of Nokia loyalists into mobile gaming.  The mobile games business grew from strength to strength since then and ever more so today with the proliferation of smartphones and games with richer game-play.

The mobile has become ever more so personal with your favourite music and games mobile and portable, by your side.

Mobile is always near
Newspapers have not been spared.  The time has come to a pass when Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has published the digital copy of the Straits Times as an iPad, iPhone app.  With time looked upon as a premium by the current Gen-X professionals and Gen-Ys not known to read physical print, SPH is looking to engage these lost readers through the other more in-their-face screens, i.e. tablets (largely iPads today) and smartphones.

Besides newspapers, more screen time on tablets and smartphones with digital versions of magazines and books have also encroached upon our daily lives.  Bookstores are disappearing one by one. In Singapore, I bade a sad farewell to the landmark Borders bookstore at Wheelock Place recently.  With the mobile internet always in your hand whether from your tablet or smartphone, you now have easy access to your favourite magazine or book, whereever you are.  Never stop reading.  Never stop learning.  No more downtime. No need to think about which book or magazine to bring along.  It is also said that consumers now buy eBooks or eMagazines without thinking, more spontaneously so, as they require physical storage and are with you all the time!

For devoted readers of novels, people who sometimes voraciously consume several books in a single week, eBooks are a natural fit.  With this new transitionary digital age, eBooks are now availed on the first day the physical book is published and can be about the same price as well (at times, more affordable too!)  It comes with no surprise that eBook best-seller lists are now packed with the genre novels that have traditionally dominated paperback best-seller lists.

I have not yet touched on video but with YouTube being the world's second largest search engine and third most visited site, I reckon you get the drift on where's video going. [Added 7-OCT 2011]: According to a Nielsen India study, Indian Smartphone Users are now seen to be moving towards Data, Games and Content, and Away From SMS.
With content consumption habits changing with content consumption going more mobile, mobile apps with content could provide us with a number of ancillary channels and ancillary revenue opportunities. Although the type of content, (shorter) length of attention of your audience on your content from the mobile devices would need to be pondered upon, it has also been observed that consumers who read eBooks (not replacing books) are consuming more books - Amazon Kindle users buying 3.3 times more books after owning a Kindle.

What are your thoughts and observations?

Look forward to hear from you,
Nelson Wee
engage with me at @nelsonwee

Reference links:
1. Is “stickiness” a thing of the past?
2. The Dog-Eared Paperback, Newly Endangered in an E-Book Age
3. Indian Smartphone Users moving towards Data, Games and Content, and Away From SMS
4. The ABCs of E-Reading (new devices are changing habits)

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