Commentary

Mobile: So Fast It Could Make You Slow Down

The rapid adoption rate that the entire online world is getting from consumers and advertisers is, to me at least, so extreme it’s almost as if there is not much, rather than everything, to be gleaned from it. 

A report from a SNL Kagan analyst, reported by ClickZ.com, points out amazing stats about the growth of online and particularly mobile and tablet use.  

John Fletcher, SNL Kagan senior analyst speaking at the CTIA trade conference in Las Vegas last week noted that online advertising grew at a compound annual growth rate of 47.2% from 1995 through 2012, while mobile grew 80.1% from 2007 through last year, according to the ClickZ  account of the session.

Moreover, Fletcher said, about 22% of the U.S. market, or 69.5 million consumers, now use tablets. Tablet usage grew 167.2% from 2010 through 2012, according to SNL Kagan's latest data.

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That’s astounding, I say. That’s “a faster adoption rate than any technology in history," Fletcher said, a superlative that has a little more meat on the bone.

Right off the bat, you can make some observations. (Like, perhaps now would have been a better time for News Corp. to have launched The Daily tablet paper.) But maybe not. The growth of digital, and video distribution, is filled with examples of enterprises that went too strong, or too fast, or both. Not very many years ago, DVDs was everybody’s magic bullet. Now, not so much.

In short, there’s value in being a half step—OK, maybe a quarter-step--behind the pack. I’m not so sure Prospect Park, the makers of the new versions of “One Live to Live” and “All My Children” aren’t just slightly too far ahead of the market for their own good. Time, literally, will tell, and not much time, either.  

For tablet entrepreneurs, their ultimate utility has yet to be decided. As a second screen, all by itself, useful for movie downloads? Or as a second screen, a companion to whatever other device you’re using? For advertisers, it’s no small question. Fletcher notes that online advertising grew at a compound annual growth rate of 47.2% from 1995 through 2012, while mobile, alone grew 80.1% percent from 2007 through last year.

Things, obviously, are moving fast. So fast it might be wise to calm down, actually. You don’t want to miss the party, but sometimes you end up doing stupid things when you’re the first one to get there.

pj@mediapost.com

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