Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Big Media Thinks Its Future Is in Your Phone

Big media companies have never been comfortable with the Web: It’s sprawling, messy, hard to corral and even harder to turn into a profit center.

But many of those same companies tend be much more optimistic about smartphones: The platforms seem manageable and finite, and consumers seem willing to pay for stuff on an iPhone or Android that they’d never shell out for on their laptops.

I think that conventional wisdom is overblown — more wishful than realistic. Still, it’s the conventional wisdom among many media executives I talk to.

Here’s a nice illustration of that, via a new Accenture survey. The consulting firm asked “130 leaders and decision-makers in the Media and Entertainment industry” about their digital content plans, and found a pretty strong consensus — they think consumers and dollars are going to flock to mobile in the next couple years.

What about the iPad and any other tablets? We’ll assume that the big media guys are including tablets in the “mobile/wireless” answer in the second poll question. But note that they’re clearly less enthusiastic about tablets, compared to phones, in the first question.

Accenture notes that if you carve up responses by industry, things change a bit. For instance, publishers who embraced the iPad (and the Kindle, and the Nook) from the get-go think that tablets will be the favorite device for 36 percent of their customers in the near future.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik