By 2015, Americans will consume on average more than 15 hours of traditional and digital media daily per person, or 1.7 trillion hours annually, according to a new report released by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Communications Technology Management.
That quantity of media is equivalent to 8.75 zettabytes annually, or 74 gigabytes — roughly 9 DVDs worth — of data sent to the average consumer per person per day. (A zettabyte is a million million gigabytes, or 1021 bytes.)
According to the report, entitled “How Much Media? 2013 Report on American Consumers,” hours of media consumed grew by more than 5% annually between 2008 and 2013, while consumption measured in bytes grew by 18% annually over the same period. (For purposes of the study, researchers did not include media consumption at work.)
While television and radio contribute 60% to the hours of consumption, newer digital sources are contributing to the gains in bytes consumed. Mobile computers are the fastest growing segment: in 2008, mobile computers accounted for 3% of all bytes consumed, while in 2013 they were responsible for 10%, corresponding to a year-over-year growth rate of 27%.
The report’s authors note that “[w]hile in the past media consumption was overwhelmingly passive—we sat and watched TV or listened to radio—new media consumption is increasingly interactive, with time-delayed, multi-tasking and interrupted viewership fast becoming the typical consumptive behavior.”
Last week, AT&T and Crown Castle International Corp. announced a deal whereby Crown Castle will purchase or lease 9,700 of AT&T’s towers in exchange for $4.85 billion in cash.
Crown Castle plans to finance the deal through the sale of common stock. AT&T intends to use the cash for network upgrades and new spectrum.
Under the terms of the deal, Crown Castle—one of the world’s largest tower operators– will lease 9,100 towers from AT&T and will purchase an additional 600 outright. AT&T will lease a fixed amount of capacity from the towers and has an option to lease additional capacity, if needed.
“This deal is good for AT&T and our shareholders,” said AT&T senior vice president for network planning and engineering Bill Hogg. “This deal will let us monetize our towers while giving us the ability to add capacity as we need it.”
The deal will, in one fell swoop, double AT&T’s cash holdings. The company had previously announced plans to invest $14 billion over three years to improve its network.
Houston-based Crown Castle also will have an option to purchase the leased towers for $4.2 billion beginning in 2032. “We are very pleased with our agreement with AT&T, which strengthens our position as the largest provider of shared wireless infrastructure in the U.S.,” said Ben Moreland, Crown Castle president and CEO.
The first was an ad taken out by BlackBerry in newspapers across the globe (30 papers in nine countries, to be exact). The open letter touted BlackBerry’s strengths, including security and enterprise mobility. It sought to reassure users, “You can continue to count on BlackBerry.” Of course, as one keen NTCA mind (not mine) observed, “When you have to remind people you’re not dead, you’re dead.” That reminded me of this scene from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. Still, I think that BlackBerry’s public acknowledgment that “there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone” may signal a turn toward more narrowly focused solutions. Acknowledging that you cannot be everything for everyone is the difference between offering a commodity and offering a product. In that respect, BlackBerry’s apparent recommitment to its core customer base may be useful.
The second was a series of ads for Samsung’s new Gear “smart watch.” It is long-rumored that Apple is developing a watch, and Google is reportedly close to releasing its own. The Samsung ads are at once hip and nostalgic and thoroughly engaging. While I’d wager that many people will ask, “Do I need a smart watch,” it will also be only a matter of time (no pun intended) until the devices become as de rigueur as smartphones and tablets – things we lived without for years, but which now have become inextricably woven into everyday life, particularly as they may (probably?) develop to stand-alone devices.
The third thing that left me not only smiling but laughing aloud was an ad for a used Jeep Cherokee. Here are some excerpts from the more-than-one-thousand word description of the 1997 4WD:
This is a Jeep Cherokee. This is not a luxury SUV, or a maintenance-free disposable import. It has solid front axles, wind noise, and a character.
It’s a Jeep. It rides like a Jeep. It drives like a Jeep. All of these are GOOD things. It is not new, it is not pristine, it is used…
If you have been posting on Facebook all about how excited you are for pumpkin latte season: THIS VEHICLE IS NOT FOR YOU…
If, however, you . . . consider adverse weather an excuse to do stupid things: THIS IS YOUR JEEP.
Have you ever uttered the words, “Hold my beer and watch this…”?…
If you answered in the affirmative to the preceding: THIS IS YOUR JEEP.
And, in another part of the ad, the seller advises, “If you do not own a toolbox, have never changed your own oil…THIS VEHICLE IS NOT FOR YOU.”
A Cisco report released earlier this year offers some compelling observations and dramatic observations and predictions about wireless broadband. By way of example:
- Global mobile data traffic grew 70% in 2012;
- Mobile video traffic exceeded 50% for the first time in 2012;
- Mobile network connection speeds more than doubled in 2012;
- In 2012, a 4G connection generated 19 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection;
- By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on Earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita;
- Mobile-connected tablets will generate more traffic in 2017 than the entire global mobile network in 2012.
That’s part one.
Part two: jargon such as “we need to maintain global competitiveness” gets thrown around so much that it begins to assume all the impressive weight of a cliché.
So, instead of talking about global competitiveness, let’s talk about the hand-to-hand combat of local competitiveness – whether one business can compete against another, and what it takes to survive in a world where consumers expect 24/7 “always on” responses. Read more
I walked into Dunkin’ Donuts a few months ago and there were about 10 folks in line waiting to order, and nine people waiting for their order to be made. I had a book (an actual paperback, a tangible item) under my arm in anticipation of a leisurely morning at the park with some coffee and some donuts. Anyway, I noticed that six of the nine folks in front of me (not counting the person at the register paying for their food) were looking at their devices (mostly smart phones, one tablet). An astounding eight of the nine of the folks waiting for their orders to be filled were looking at their wireless devices, including a couple, who was holding hands with their one free hand. I thought, what would it take to get people to put their phone away or at least pay attention to the world around them? Read more
In case it had escaped your notice, famed economist and Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase died earlier this month at the age of 102.
Coase’s contributions to the field of economics were numerous and substantial. He first gained notoriety addressing the very elemental, but deceptively difficult question of why firms exist. His seminal 1937 paper entitled “The Nature of the Firm” introduced the concept of transaction costs, and theorized that firms exist to reduce these costs by performing certain functions, which would otherwise need to be procured in the open marketplace, themselves.
Anybody who has slogged through an upper-level economics class has almost certainly encountered the Coase Theorem, which states that when two parties confront an externality—an action on the part of one that positively or negatively impacts the other—the most efficient solution is not government intervention, but direct bargaining between the two parties. For example, if a lawfully-operating industrial plant’s emissions are negatively impacting local air quality, an efficient solution would be for those affected to pay the plant to reduce emissions to a socially acceptable level.
Coase had a major and ongoing impact on the telecommunications industry, as well. In a 1959 paper entitled “The Federal Communications Commission,” Coase posited that rather than having the government assign rights to radio waves in a first-come, first-served manner, spectrum should instead be treated as a commodity and auctioned off to the bidder who most highly valued it. Read more
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently filed a petition for rulemaking asking the FCC to adopt a rule requiring mobile wireless providers to allow consumers to “unlock” any wireless device purchased from that provider. This would enable the customer to continue to use their device if they choose to obtain service from another provider.
If you own a mobile wireless device (cell-phone, smart-phone, tablet, etc.), chances are that you have at one time or another thought of switching providers. And chances are that you know that you can’t always take your device with you because it’s “locked”; in other words, you can’t take it to a new provider and obtain service using that device. It’s worth noting that a number of providers do sell unlocked devices and some will allow a consumer to unlock their phone, if their contract has expired. Read more