I’ve long recognised that there is a category of technologies and trends that are “2/10 signals” or events; that is, technologies (and their underlying trends) which largely fail to live up to the ‘hype’ in the first two years of existence but that, when we look back ten years later, we see that technology represented a […]
For the past 24 months, I’ve been seeing signs that a unique strategic challenge is emerging, one which will significantly impact every industry, including media, before the end of this decade: demand singularity.
We can already see that a form of ‘meta-convergence’ is happening in nearly all consumer industries, in that more and more companies are trying to be all things to all people. They are trying to sell everything to everyone.
Coca-Cola no longer sells just cola – it sells water, fruit juices, energy drinks and teas/coffees. Pepsi Co. is now the largest US vendor of potato crisps and similar snacks. McDonalds no longer sells just burgers, it sells salads, yoghurts, cereals, and cafe-style coffee. Woolworths doesn’t just sell groceries, it offers banking, petrol, electrical and whitegoods, music (including iTunes cards).
Today, there was news that the eponymous watchmaker, Tag Heuer, was moving into the eye glasses market!
We’re seeing a similar meta-convergence in the media space.
Newspaper companies, like Fairfax, now offer music, video news, audio programs and, elsewhere, movies-on-demand. Web publications are moving into print and vice versa (e.g. Sensis/Trading Post). Search engines are moving into rich media and broadcast media (Yahoo! + Google). Electronic games companies are moving into cinema. Outdoor advertising companies are embedding mobile media capabilities. The list goes on.
The root cause of this trend is economic.
Companies are leveraging technological efficiencies to re-engineer traditional value/supply chains, in an effort to squeeze additional profit or growth through ‘economies of scope’ (i.e. cost savings achieved by increasing the variety of goods and services produced using existing infrastructure/staff).
This trend is likely to continue (and accelerate) for the remainder of this decade.