Monday, January 09, 2006

Content trends for 2006

I have seen several articles with predictions for 2006 in the past week. As I was preparing the latest edition of the Content Market Monitor newsletter, I wrote my perception of the key trends for 2006.

Media carriers
Two developments will be important:
Next generation DVD. Despite the growth in broadband, the next generation of DVDs will be introduced with a degree of success. The DVDs, whether HD DVD or Blu-ray, will function as frozen online. Not everyone in the world has broadband yet. Besides the studios feel better with DVD as it is closer to the old DVD or the VCR tape. The bad message of the next generation of DVDs is the split over the standards. Consumers will have to make a choice of either HD DVD or Blu-ray. This will give confusion and a hesitation among consumers.
Digital paper will be commercialised in 2006. The third wave of electronic books will be successful as a major objection to reading, the bad screen, has been overcome by a black and white screen. Philips and E-Ink have developed and operationalised digital paper. It will now be commercialised amongst others by iRex. Digital paper will be applied for manuals, newspapers and books.

Cross media
Cross media will be visible in three fields:
Newspapers and magazines. These print media have now gotten into the routine of cross media. With a growing volume of ads and a growing number of subscribers to electronic editions, print newspapers and magazines can start to make a safe product differentiation.
TV formats. Besides the TV shows, internet, print and SMS will be integral ingredients.
Games. Also games, especially venture games, will use the mix of internet, print and SMS.

Video will be the major trend in 2006. Video experiments will be interesting for internet and especially for mobile.
Internet. The photograph services like Flickr were just the introduction for video. Uploading personal video will be a big thing. But as with photographs, searching will be difficult. Search engines for photographs are mainly based on text; so will search engines for video. New directions will be stimulated this year, amongst others by the European Commission.
Video on Demand services will become common. But these services will not be an obvious success. Studios are not really eager to fit VOD in their release window. Collecting services are still not clear on the phenomenon. Micro-payment systems are not yet in general use and are still observed with some suspicion.
TV programs on ADSL are a success. Streaming programs are being looked at in the living room and other places. Downloading programs has already become a routine in broadband rich countries. However there is a problem in as far as public television and commercial television.
Mobile. Mobile is seen another outlet for movies and television. Handicap is the small screen. Unclear is yet whether people are willing to watch live TV shows or download movies while in transit.

Music has had its most difficult time. The fight of the music companies against the illegal downloaders is not over, but legal downloads are increasing. Besides, the law is getting more on the side of the copyright holders.

TV is the next market for expansion. In cabled countries multiple play proposals (combination of telephone, television/radio, internet and mobile) are being sold. In cable poor countries ADSL solutions are being offered along with content services.
It will not immediately lead to other formats, but interactive television services will become more common. In Italy Alicia has been introduced, in France Cult. In the Netherlands Bibop will makes its European entry this year.

Console and multiplayer games will grow. But marketing and serious games will grow faster as they are cheaper to produce.

Paid content
In 2006 people will pay more for content. Not only advertisers will pay for their ads, but also services will be paid for. Newspapers and magazines can easier ask for subscriptions. Movies and (commercial) television programs on internet, on IPTV and on mobile will be paid for. Ringtones on the mobile will still be paid for. For music a higher price per songs will be paid towards the end of the year.


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