Reading an article on Wired.com about car makers' race to put wi-fi into new cars, Robert Paterson becomes deeply concerned about the future of public radio. "The car will be a Wifi sanctuary. In a couple of years Wifi will be ubiquitous. Who will need a radio?"
It's a legitimate concern. Public radio is competing with other media products in multiple fronts: availability, convenience, content, etc. When technologies such as wi-fi give all competitors an almost equal footing in the fronts of availability and convenience, strength in content becomes increasingly crucial for an media organization's fate. Public radio has been producing a lot of great content. But it should not be complacent and underestimate the competition. The last big hit show on public radio is This American Life, one public radio manager told me, but that's more than 10 years ago. Public radio needs to rekindle the innovative spirit in the early years of its existence and be more risk-taking.
I agree with that manager that public radio needs to have a hard look at its content inventory and strategy. I love public radio but I still find myself listen to more non-public radio content on my iPod -- audio programs produced by New York Times, Ted Conference, iTune universities, foreign media, and just individuals (e.g. Psych Files). In a word, I have become much more picky about the quality of content now that I have limited time to listen but endless content to choose from. I'm sure I'm not the only listener who does this.
2. Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Report, 12/2009
Key takeaways are:
- Material wealth creation / destruction should surpass earlier computing cycles. The mobile Internet cycle, the 5th cycle in 50 years, is just starting.
- More users may connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within 5 years.
- Five IP-based products / services are growing / converging and providing the underpinnings for dramatic growth in mobile Internet usage – 3G adoption + social networking + video + VoIP + impressive mobile devices.
- Apple + Facebook platforms serving to raise the bar for how users connect / communicate.
- Decade-plus Internet usage / monetization ramps for mobile Internet in Japan plus desktop Internet in developed markets provide roadmaps for global ramp and monetization.
- Massive mobile data growth is driving transitions for carriers and equipment providers.
- Emerging markets have material potential for mobile Internet user growth. Low penetration of fixed-line telephone and already vibrant mobile value-added services mean that for many EM users and SMEs, the Internet will be mobile.