I want to make a bet with you. I wager that by January 2014 almost all forms of tangible media will be either in sharp decline or completely extinct in the U.S. I am talking about not just print but all tangible forms of media -- newspapers, magazines, books, DVDs, boxed software and video games.
Don't believe me? Consider all the recent news:
- Citing the success of the Amazon Kindle, Random House is making nearly 15,000 books available in digital form.
- Microsoft (an Edelman client) opened up the XBox 360 to user-generated games, all of which will be available only via download -- there will be no DVDs. It also launched a store to sell software online for immediate download.
- Apple is selling record numbers of downloadable games for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This is attracting publishers because the lack of physical media offers better economics.
- Netflix is making parts of its catalog available over the internet and on set-top boxes.
- The Christian Science Monitor is folding its daily print edition, moving it online.
|Photo: JC Bourcart|
|Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP in Edelman's Me2Revolution practice.|
We're moving fast toward becoming a society that consumes media entirely in digital format. There are three factors at bay here:
- Growing green consciousness -- people want to live more environmentally friendly lives.
- Smartphone sales: They're skyrocketing as phones get faster and cheaper and easier.
- Demographic dynamics -- by 2010, the ever-digital millennials will be the dominant demo.