It took about two decades for Digital to send Analog to the dustbin of history. The explosion of digital content—movies, music, fine art, and fantasy streaming to theaters, cell phones, TVs, and that CRE iPad rental—has reshaped the entire culture, while continuously reinforcing consumers’ increasingly higher expectations. The public has come to expect excellence as the standard, while looking every other day or so for such miracles as the iPhone and Microsoft’s hopefully-game-changing Surface tablet.
Change, the only constant
People want what they want when they want it. In 2013 that means 24/7/365 access—from a Windows 8 PC at home to a potent MacBook Pro rental on the road—to entertainment or work documents, from anywhere, on any device or platform. Those who are no longer confused by the cloud and what it offers, a fraction of the population that should grow exponentially in 2013 and beyond, are being studied and courted by manufacturers and marketing researchers. This first wave of new-technology adopters can make or break a new product or service. Here are four crucial insights that manufacturers and marketing execs will rely on this year:
1. Consumers will pay more for a superior product or service
The iPad is hardly the only high-quality tablet available (CRE has great tablet PC rentals, too) but despite its high price, it’s still the best seller. Fully aware of this consumer willingness to shell out for what’s perceived to be a superior piece of technology, more and more content providers (cable networks, aggregators, phone companies, etc.) are charging for high-quality material now that consumers have clearly indicated that they’re willing to pay more for it. It is a perfect time for content providers to test new pricing models.
2. New devices have revitalized old content
Tablets brought new energy (and revenue models) to publishing and media, but for content distributors it may be a mixed blessing. Potential new revenue may be offset by the cost of repurposing content for delivery to a range of other devices, from a PC desktop computer rental to the navigation screen in your vehicle.
3. New alliances mean “creative mashups”
Clothing companies are producing TV shows. Cable channels are producing movies. Google and Apple both use “special partnerships” to expand into new markets. Online publishing pioneer Jason Binn is partnering with two companies to launch Du Jour (“multi-platform from the get-go”). In San Jose, California, musicians are partnering with gamers and geeks at Rockage 2.0. Some of these collaborations will fizzle, some will spark, but it will certainly be exciting.
4. Sophisticated consumers want a la carte content, relevant ads
ESPN has shown that its interactive Live Sport experience can collect viewer feedback from set-top boxes, other devices, and even social media sites to update its own content in “real close to real time.” Individual consumers, with their unique preferences, are in the driver’s seat: Content providers can thoroughly customize and personalize the delivery of program material and ads, whether to an LCD touchscreen monitor rental or a cell phone screen. Wherever you are, you will get what you want, when you want it.