Dr.Media says, Perez is not saying anything new here, yes we all know that social media is IT, what this is really revealing is that myspace has come up with another way to monetize its user base by creating an iTunes competitor. This in way is a return to the AOL portal idea, get them and keep them by serving all their needs, not a bad idea, it worked in the real world, see club med and shopping malls. And you can datamine across utilizations, ala Amazon, whom they mention as a possible partner, makes sense doesn’t it?
Social Networks Will Be Tomorrow’s iTunes
all know by now that social networks aren’t a passing fad. They’re no
longer used solely by early adopters, young adults, or tech enthusiasts
– social networks are now mainstream. However, a recent UK study
conducted by media research company, Entertainment Media Research,
reports some figures that point toward the fact that social networks
could do even more. In fact, social networks have the potential to be
the content distribution platforms of tomorrow. See you later iTunes, I’m gonna sync with MySpace now…
The January 2008 findings come out of a large, 249-page survey,
where 1600 UK consumers were polled on everything from behavior, to
trends, preferences and attitudes to all forms digital entertainment
across the board.
Although the poll features UK users only, it’s easy to extrapolate
some commonalities from the answers they provided. UK users are a
subset of networks in question, but just as digitally invested in their
social connections as any other demographic of users.
Who’s Online and What Are They Doing?
The survey shows the top five UK social networks to be, in order,
Facebook MySpace, Friends Reunited, YouTube, and Bebo. MSN Spaces falls
just behind Bebo, if you’re not one to count YouTube as a social
network as they do because of its community element.
In the UK, social network usage does correlate with age, but even 1
in 8 of 45-54 year olds regularly use them, as do half of teenage males
and two thirds of teenage females. Looking at the younger demographic
(under 25 years old), 60% are using social networks.
This gain in popularity comes from the expense of other activities
and media. The main activities showing a decline in time spent doing
are doing work/homework, watching broadcast television (-12%), reading
print (books are -10%, magazines are -8%, newspapers are -7%), visiting
other web sites, and playing games. Among teens, the decline is even
more pronounced with -32% less time spent on homework/work, -21% less
time spent on TV, and -14% less time spent reading books. However,
female teens show a +19% increase in listening to music.
Other activities suffer
And while many of today’s social network offer the ability to stream
content, the survey points towards their potential to become more
significant players in the media and content distribution business. In
fact, 1 out of every 4 users (27%) said social networks could be the
main way they would access video and music if these features became
available and the player was good. And for the under 25-year-olds,
acceptance was even higher: for example, 40% of males, 20-24, agreed
that the social networks could be the main way they would access
content if available.
Beyond just accessing music and video, the potential for other types
of content distribution is present as well. 26% of the social network
users (1031 out of the survey’s 1600 respondents) are interested in the
ability to chat about the video streams, 23% are interested in using
the network as a “serious” media player to stream music, 22% are
interested in using the network as a serious media player to view TV
programs, 21% would stream movies, and even 13% would be interested in
using embedded online gambling. (Imagine if you could play Scrabulus
Moving Beyond Content Discovery
Social networks currently excel in content discovery, with 30% of
users responding that they occasionally use them to search for new
music, and for teenage girls this figure was 1 in 2. Meanwhile, 1 in 4
said that they would find out about movies and TV shows via peer
recommendation within the network.
The telling figure is that 1 in 5 reported that they purchased music
based on peer recommendation and have searched a social network to find
new music to purchase.
If social networks chose to become more than content discovery tools
in this area, they would already have a built-in customer base ready to
buy, as long as the process from discovery to purchase remained easy
This idea is something that MySpace seems to already be working on. Last month, news was leaked about the upcoming MySpace music service,
which may even be offering mp3 downloads and possibly via an Amazon
partnership. If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t take long for MySpace
to take over the media distribution game and become the number one
online music retailer, beating iTunes with ease by sheer number of
MySpace the next iTunes? It’s coming.