Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Rise of the Multi-Media Journalist ... and Mobile Music's Surge

As my readers know, I am a long-time avid reader of the Los Angeles Times (I spent over a decade living in LA previously). Today's LA Times features an interesting story that hits very close to home for its writers -- a story about how the struggling paper plans to train its staff to be "savvy multimedia journalists." Front and center in this new strategy is for writers to enhance their writing with audio and video reports. Vlogging and video mail reports represent a uniquely compelling opportunity for these writers to reach their audience in compelling and personal new ways ... and to build the writer's own "brand" accordingly (I frequently "drink my own kool-aid" by adding video to my blog). As just one example, check out what Benjamin Higginbotham is doing with video at The Technology Evangelist (by the way, Benjamin welcomes Robert Cringely to his team today) And, importantly, writers can invite interaction from their readers via video -- click to record video mails, etc.

In separate news, analyst firm Gartner just released a study forecasting mobile music -- which consists of ring tones and music downloads -- to surge from an expected $13.7 billion worldwide this year to $32.2 billion in 2010. The Asia-Pacific region (including Japan) now represents the lion's share of such sales (41% of global mobile music spending in 2005), and this trend is expected to continue through 2010 (with Western Europe following as the second biggest spender, with sales expected to rise to $9.1 billion there in 2010).

The Accelerated Pace of Growth for IP Communications

eBay just reported its quarterly numbers -- significantly exceeding analyst expectations. eBay also released its new numbers for VoIP provider Skype, which now has 171 million registered users (a rise of 179%) over the same period last year.

Real-time IP communications across the board are seeing accelerated growth, as both consumers and businesses increasinbly gravitate to the ease, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of such solutions. SightSpeed -- which leads with video and voice over IP (VVoIP) -- itself recently announced that we saw nearly 3X growth in our user base and nearly 5X growth in usage in 2006 (with SightSpeed users logging in over 1 billion minutes in 2006). And, the pace of growth has accelerated in 2007. Expect this growth to surge in 2007 as PCs (following Macs) will increasingly ship with integrated or embedded web cams to make it that much easier for consumers and business users to "connect" and collaborate without physically being in the same room.