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Smartphone is becoming the remote control of life

Smartphone is becoming the remote control of life

Shortly before the end of the year, experts from the consulting firm Goldmedia take a look at developments in the areas of media, telecommunications, entertainment and the Internet in the 2012 trend monitor. Analyst comments and theses on important trends for the coming year in Germany are published. Buzzwords include: the smartphone is becoming the remote control of life, smart TV is in the starting blocks, mobile video use is reaching the mass market, advertising budgets are moving towards online, social media goes business.

According to Goldmedia, the smartphone is penetrating ever deeper into the world of people and is developing into a central control unit, a kind of remote control for life as a whole. It becomes the link between the physical world, cyber space and the social world: it is always online, has location identification, external memory and cloud access, serves to maintain relationships and as a recommendation machine with a built-in telephone. And the development has only just begun, because so far only one in three people in Germany has a smartphone. With a current growth rate of 36 percent, this number will quickly increase, especially since the network effect is fueling rapid growth here as well. In addition, the beginning of LTE data transmission technology with very high bandwidths in 2012 will significantly expand the possible uses of smartphones, even if an actual breakthrough of LTE is not expected for two years.

In the media sector, the smart TV application is only just beginning. At the end of this year, around 5.6 million German TV households were connected to the Internet via their television and / or indirectly via an external device such as a set-top box, Blu-Ray player or game console (Goldmedia forecast 10 / 2011). But of the four million households that have internet-enabled televisions, only 13 percent currently use them to access internet services (GfK 11/2011). Industry must fill this gap in 2012. The “how” of connecting the devices to the Internet must be made familiar to users, as well as the benefits for information and entertainment. Only then can viable business models be implemented. A joint initiative of the market participants is required.

Video usage on mobile devices will become a mass product in 2012. The reason for this is the usage situation, which is very close to classic television. When TV formats such as “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” are advertised, you pass the time with short clips about the candidates on your smartphone or tablet. And even the last few minutes of your favorite series can be played on the iPad in bed. Television is increasingly used on many different screens. The mobile access numbers are now considerable: In 2011 online video providers recorded eight percent of their accesses via mobile devices (Web TV Monitor 2011, BLM / Goldmedia). There are signs of further growth in 2012, because over ten million smartphones are already being sold annually (Bitkom) – and the trend is rising sharply. Mobile access to online videos will continue to increase and will rise to a quarter by 2013 (Web-TV-Monitor 2011).

According to the ARD / ZDF online study, 68 percent of German online users use online video offers at least occasionally – and more and more of them also use media libraries and video centers. Whether it’s a crime thriller, a show or a daily soap – TV content is increasingly seen by viewers online and with a time lag. This is not yet profitable, but it will increase in the future. The growth rates for online video advertising are currently in the three-digit range. TV programs in particular hold great potential, if only because they are significantly longer than the short clips on the news sites. The big advertising marketers are still holding back even with mass-attractive TV formats and are only switching a few commercials. But: Commercial breaks or so-called “midrolls” are becoming more and more popular. Their share of revenues rose by seven percentage points from 2010 to 2011 alone. In 2012 the marketing of online videos will get even stronger and initiate a shift of the TV budget to the online area.

Television thrives on the social interaction of viewers – and this is increasingly taking place online today. In the USA and Great Britain, TV broadcasters are therefore aggressively integrating social media elements into their programs. Cell phone apps such as “Getglue” make it possible to “log in” directly to programs and to exchange ideas with other viewers. In German television, program-related engagement on social media platforms is often still low today. But there are first examples that a well thought-out social media strategy pays off. That shows “Berlin – day and night” on RTL2. The Facebook presence is an integral part of the scripted evening broadcast. The protagonists report on what appears to be their “real” life. The new program already has significantly more Facebook fans than the primetime thick ship “Das Supertalent” (RTL). In 2012 other broadcasters will follow suit. You can gain a lot from this: You benefit from real-time communication with users and from the fact that they are also present in the minds of viewers outside of broadcast times thanks to social media.

The “playground” of social media is increasingly establishing itself in everyday company life and is becoming an integral part of marketing. If experiments were still carried out in the past, solid structures and concepts are increasingly emerging. What will move even more into the focus of corporate marketing in 2012 is the consistent use of social intelligence from networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Databases are evaluated and, above all, made measurable and comparable. The analysis methods and evaluation tools will become more professional. Companies have long since recognized that social media are more than just a communication tool for advertising purposes. What will follow in 2012, however, is their integration into other business processes such as customer relationship management, customer service and sales.

Every third German today owns a smartphone and has access to apps with location-based services – and the trend is rising. The intelligent applications are constantly evolving and are increasingly related to the personal characteristics of a user. With increasing information overload, personalized offers are becoming more and more popular and encourage the sharing of personal data. In 2012, marketing and communication strategies must incorporate personalized aspects in order to meet the needs of the connected consumer and to build competitive advantages. With tailor-made offers everywhere and at any time, the willingness of customers to voluntarily share personal data will also increase.

Until now, cloud services have been the domain of large IT providers such as Microsoft or IBM, who market network-based software licenses and storage capacities in the business-to-business (BtB) segment. German companies are still hesitant to act here. So far, private users have limited their cloud services to web mailers and streaming offers. In 2012, however, cloud-based storage offers will also reach the end customer market. In addition to the large Internet service providers (ISPs), such as Deutsche Telekom, a large number of different service providers such as Amazon, Google or Apple compete for customers with different business models and usually free basic offers. In connection with mobile devices and simple (app-based) access options, the acceptance of these services is increasing rapidly. However, this poses new challenges for the capacities of the access networks, which, in addition to the classic download, now also have to cope with a significantly higher upload.

The network operators failed with their value-added services and mobile phone portals such as “Telekom T-Zones”, “Vodafone 360” and “O2 Active”. Now they want to break new ground in order to generate additional added value and revenues on their networks. To do this, they are building independent business units and value-added service offerings that not only their own customers but everyone can use, detached from their own network and from existing customer relationships, so-called over-the-top (OTT) services. Deutsche Telekom is a pioneer with the Scout Group, the Load Group and their new “Digital Services” business unit and has announced that it will increase OTT service revenues from the current EUR 850 million to up to EUR 3 billion in 2015 increase. In 2012, new strategies in this regard will materialize with other network operators, in the form of acquisitions of previously independent OTT service providers, for example in the attractive area of ​​e-learning providers, and in the form of new, independent business units that provide these new services themselves to develop.