Editor’s note: Steve Rosenbaum is founder and CEO of Magnify.net, a NYC-based Web video startup. He’ll be offering three sets of digital industry predictions for 2010, the second of which covers the tech industry. Yesterday, he issued predictions for the media industry. We’ll follow up with a third list on Wednesday.
Good news: the e-future is coming. Better news: the new platforms will provide new revenues and live-saving income for the media companies and brands that have survived the nuclear winter that was 2009.
– Prediction #1 – Full Motion Media is here to stay. The winners: content makers, devices, content consumers.
The big change that 2010 offers is the coming together of devices and bandwidth. Broadband, and wireless broadband in particular, is emerging as the standard flavour of access to the web. Clearly we’re not done — and there will be more pain (AT&T Customers – please raise your hand). But there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and real-time full motion media is here to stay.
– Prediction #2 – Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s Tablet will face off in 2010. Apple will up the ante with on-board GPS.
On the device front, Amazon’s Kindle has been a shocking success, breathing new life (or maybe the first life) into the emerging e-book business. Apple’s new tablet (which is actually positioned to be a Kindle Killer) will further shake up the market — giving publishers the Hobson’s choice of aligning with either Amazon or Apple as their platform partner. Barnes and Noble’s Nook is DOA, and appears unlikely to be reborn anytime soon. The impact of broadband wireless and devices is likely to emerge as the basis for new content and advertising revenue streams for newspapers, magazines, local blog-media, and the emerging software based social media communities driven by location based information. To that end, expect the Apple Tablet to appear with one major surprise, on-board GPS.
– Prediction #3 – Foursquare will lead the way, breaking new ground in real-time location-based apps.
While all of these things are important — they tie to a single trend that’s going to have dramatic implications, the fast emerging central role of the Real Time Web. Just to clarify what that means, the Real Time Web is every connected device publishing data in real time. So think Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and the emerging mash-ups of social software, location aware devices, and shopping. The best example so far: Foursquare. Foursquare is a shockingly addictive community of active mobile users who use the service to ‘check in’ at various bars, restaurants, health clubs, and other uber-trendy places. Once you log in, your friends know where you are (if you allow them) and you get points for adding new sites to the database or checking in to the same location more times than anyone else. In fact, the most checked in member becomes the “Mayor” of that location. It’s social, competitive, and allows local merchants to offer members discounts and deals based on their location.
Prediction #4 – Best Buy will embrace local wi-fi, and fight in-store web browsing with coupons and special wireless offers.
2010 will be the year that bandwidth and devices literally bring the web alive – not quite a sentient being, but a much more aware and participatory. The real time web is going to have all kinds of unusual and unintended consequences. Imagine, for example, that you ‘check in’ at Best Buy and Amazon sends you a real time coupon for 15% off – good for the next 30 minutes. So you shop at Best Buy, find what you want – and then standing in the store at Best Buy you go on the public wi-fi and order with your Four Square powered coupon. Don’t expect Best Buy to ignore these changes (these guys are smart) — rather, they’ll come up with equally smart ways to make the ‘get it now’ aspect of being a bricks and mortar store appealing… and use their in store wi-fi to track users who are accessing other electronics etailers, and offering a discount there as well.
The new battleground is local and real time — that’s where the next frontier in commerce will be. 2010 will connect devices and bandwidth in powerful new ways — and the players who’ve controlled distribution will have to work hard to remain in control. Is Amazon a retailer, or a publisher — now that they control the ‘printing press’ that is represented by Kindle? Hmm… that’s not clear is it?
The future of the web is the real time web. Live, Local, and Social.
Steve Rosenbaum is founder and CEO of Magnify.net, a NYC-based Web video startup. He has been building and growing consumer-content businesses since 1992. He was the creator and Executive Producer of MTV UNfiltered, a series that was the first commercial application of user-generated video in commercial TV.