We Missed the Boat on the Digital Home
Over the last two years, numerous companies have focused at least an element of their strategies on the concept of the digital home; a home that is wired for connectivity and at the leading edge of the convergence between the Internet and other forms of entertainment. There would be digital video and audio streaming in through the TV or entertainment center, time-shifted to suit their needs and organized based on their desires at that moment in time. E-mail would be out of the den, and more integrated with entertainment.
Well, I'm here to proclaim that concept is already outdated.
In today's world, media is being consumed on the go. More technology is being developed that allows you to view media while mobile than while stationary and at home. Plus, the technology that is being developed to allow you to access mobile information is less expensive than similar products for your home. Compare the costs of a plasma TV and digital entertainment center to that of the new Playstation Portable (PSP) or a video-enabled cell phone. I hate to say it, but I think we missed the boat on the digital home, people.
Media intake is based on people's schedules. Time-shifting via personal video recorders has proven that people want to watch TV when they want to, not when the networks would prefer them to. The explosion of the DVD business, and now the potential for explosion in new and innovative formats for video (including the PSP format and the impending Blue Laser DVD format) prove that people want to be able to take their media with them. People are installing DVD players in their cars. The iPod is one of the fastest growing products of the last 10 years and is certainly one of the most influential, from a cultural standpoint, and its premise is based on mobility. The bottom line is, "who is going to be sitting at home and interacting with media?"
The digital home will certainly become more pervasive, but more as a result of decreasing costs for the technology rather than our desire, as consumers, to consume media at home. If anything, the home will become more of a central repository for our media as we access it on the road, in much the same format as the current TiVo-To-Go technology.
What is the impact of this to you, as a marketer? You need to understand the consumer's mindset and their patterns of behavior. You need to know that media is being consumed on the go, probably through mobile devices. If you know they are outside of the home, then you can start to think about the interplay of multiple forms of media in that environment. If a person is watching video on their phone, and they are in close proximity to a billboard, wouldn't you like to know that? If they are on the bus and playing with an Internet-enabled gaming device, wouldn't you want to know what time of day it was and display relevant messaging to them?
Just a thought, but of course I am always interested in what you have to say on the topic. What do you think?