Mobile Data: Once they get beyond ring tones and wallpaper, mobile phone users demonstrate an appetite for data, from stock and sports tickers to news alerts and soap opera updates. The comfort level with receiving content by phone is rising; just in the games category, downloads increased 75% in one quarter of 2004, according to enPocket. Revenue opportunities here are less significant than branding value for most content providers, however.
Vertical Search (or Google gets down to business): Enterprising content providers will start applying the search paradigm to drilling more efficiently and deeper into silos of vertical content. The model for this is GlobalSpec.com, an engineering information company that has build an impressive vertical portal. Engineers put in a search term and they get links to relevant Web information indexed for engineering terms as well as libraries of aggregated need-to-know data like regulatory information, patents, etc. By putting in a search term, engineers can call up a product diagram or vendor parts list that is directly relevant to the job on their desktop. Google cannot do this, but content experts managing the right search engine and partnerships with other providers can.
Jeff Jarvis comments:
The problem in this world — besides it being so young, which is when the really big bets are won and lost — is that the new things coming along now often destroy money instead of merely shifting it. CraigsList gives control to the people so they stop paying for “services” they used to pay for. There’s a lot of that going on. There will be a lot more. And it will have huge if sometimes left-field impact on various industries.
The only rule I can come up with is my First Law of Media (and Life): Bet on that which gives citizens control. And bet against those who try to maintain control apart from the public.
By that rule, mass-market TV is shrinking, niche content, aka cable (a proxy for control) is growing and so is the internet. The paid music business is shrinking, the free exchange of music is growing.