Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Business

Move over Rupert Murdoch

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Business

I usually only skim through the subscription-only Australian Financial Review Magazine (a 50/50 mix of full-page men’s wristwatch ads, and articles on new-style office fitouts, management practice and half page women’s wristwatch ads).

On the ferry home last night however, I was caught by their feature article on the most powerful Australian individuals (John Howard, Rupert Murdoch, Frank Lowy etc) and was impressed to find that Communications Technology ranks as the most powerful influence in the Cultural Power category.

And I quote…

The nomination didn’t come entirely out of the blue. The panel had toyed with technology in previous years, but had been unable to decide between its various components. Was it a search engine, such as Google, or broadband, or mobile text messaging, or chat rooms?

In a year in which the power of such phenomena had only increased – within a fortnight, Telstra would announce a record $4.45 billion profit driven by broadband and mobile services – they opted for all of the above: the internet, search engines, text messaging, blogging, podcasting, the lot.

“It’s a huge cultural change”, PBL director Chris Anderson said. “It’s destroying the mass media, no doubt about that… [and] its changing the way anyone under probably 35 now gets their information. Look at what Google and Yahoo and MSN are doing to [the] media, and how important blogging really is, whether we like it or not,” Anderson continued.

“It’s like wrecking empires.”

Later in the article is an excerpt from Neil Shoebridge, one of Australia’s leading media and marketing commentators:

For years, executives from traditional media such as free-to-air TV have scoffed at the predictions that a large number of consumers will eventually watch movies and TV programs on computers and mobile phones.

But the rapid spread of broadband internet connections, the rise of new mobile-phone services and the devotion of younger consumers to new technologies is forcing them to change their minds.

In June this year, 59.5 percent of homes hooked up to the internet had broadband connections, up from 30.8 percent in June 2004, and 18.2 percent in June 2003. Andrew Eckford, a senior analyst at the research firm Nielsen/NetRatings says penetration has been growing two percentage points a month for the past year.

“It hasn’t slowed in recent months and we expect it will continue in a similar way until the end of the year,” he says.

The spread of broadband connections, with their ability to deliver a picture quality that is closer to (but still not quite as good as) a regular TV program of DVD movie, will change consumers’ media consumption habits.

But former chief executive, TV, at Ten, John McAlpine says the mobile phone, not the internet, poses the biggest threat to traditional media such as free-to-air TV. “My kids don’t have an alarm clock or a watch: they have a mobile phone,” says McAlpine.

“That highlights how kids are using phones for an ever-growing range of activities. We are fighting every day to keep people aged under 40 tuned to TV. We’re fighting the internet, DVDs, pay TV, you name it, but the biggest threat going forward is telephony. Kids will increasingly use mobile devices for new reasons, such as watching broadcast TV-type programs or programs made specifically for that device.”

“Figuring out what they will do with that portable device in the years to come is a big challenge.”