The Long and Winding Road: Ubiquitous? Try compulsory!

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Don’t be jealous now, I’m ‘shade bathing’ in Liverpool watching the slightly paler shade of grey cloud float over my upturned head, surely heralding the onset of a marginally drier spring! I know you, especially those in my former residence of the USA are, as we speak preparing to get the shorts out and dust off the ‘crocs’ to enjoy another hot and sunny summer that will probably last until late September at least. But just wait up there…..I might be less likely to get sunburn this year but if I do I am more likely to be able to order sunscreen and all the extras more efficiently and for a better price than perhaps you can. Why? Apparently, this week we hear that the UK is the ‘most internet based
major economy’ and the whopping 8.3% of its economy is greater than any other G20 country;
according to the Boston Consulting Group. This is interesting indeed but perhaps not surprising, with
a population of around 70,000,000 (give or take a few truckloads of naughty boys and girls who jump
over the English Channel seeking a better life and all the fish and chips they can eat.) there are also
over 70,000,000 mobile phones active in the UK. This means that everybody and I mean everybody
uses mobile phones every day and many use no other telecommunication device at all.

Having a profile like that you will not be surprised to hear also that expected growth in the UK
online business world activity is around 11% for the next 4 years at least; compare that to the 5.4%
expected in the USA and 6.9% in China. This then invites developers and businesses to take the
handheld market very seriously indeed. The truth is that if they do not, they will fail. Last January
the UK’s largest retailer Tesco (beneficiaries of £1 in every £7 spent every day in the UK) upped their
online marketing spend by 60% to respond to the market trends. With an average spend per person
on the internet at £2000 ($3000) in a market worth around £121billion ($192billion) and growing I
think if I could up my marketing spend by 60% I would too!

One of the reasons revenues like these can be derived and expected in the future is because in the
UK the content delivered to people as they walk, sit, watch, play, ride the bus, drive the car, sip the
coffee and drink the beer ( no, not warm….never understood that one!) is relevant and meaningful.
It serves a purpose, it drives thought, it encourages participation and it moves the recipients to
action. No sign of online brochures being delivered to my iPhone 4s, no sir! Plenty of interactive
elements, surveys about my experiences, rewards for use, interesting communities and a feeling
that my ideas and comments actually matter! Even some of the advertising is welcome, even when I
was not expecting it. When I walk out of my local gym after training these old bones in the company
of a vaguely familiar, slightly pudgy, looking guy in the mirror, I get a free ‘wifi’ connection from
my local doctor’s office…very helpful, dare I say welcome? Not ‘in my face’ but more a thoughtful
helping hand along the way….all good stuff in my book!

Now enough blowing of the trumpet! Yes, almost everything here is done on the internet, in fact
sometimes it can be hard to speak to a person but on balance I can get an awful lot done in a very
short space of time without getting out of my pyjamas, let alone my house. That is a good thing
because petrol (gasoline to you) is around $9 /$9:50 a gallon so there is plenty of incentive for me
to use the technology and the retailers to develop it….as they say ‘every cloud has a silver lining’!
The point here is that the technology we have at our finger tips is growing in stature and importance
by the day, no longer is it a ‘cool bit of kit’ that I do not really need but rather a ‘very necessary bit
of kit’ I must have to function. The handheld device has gone from being a toy to a ‘life coach’ with
us consulting it multiple times a day seeking the reassurance we crave before we make purchasing

Isn’t this music to a content maker’s ear? I mean when you did your business plan did you ever
imagine that the tools you would use to carve out your place in the world would one day become so
very important and integral to even the simplest of lives around the globe? Many of us started when
having a website was cutting edge, hey if we updated it regularly we were a ‘thought leader’! Now
we must prepare and deliver premium content 24/7 to every platform , especially handheld mobile
devices; not just pretty pictures and interesting stories but shop fronts, bank accounts, streaming
video, instant response portals , take money , give money etc etc etc………it is only 40 years ago
that we looked at Star Trek and thought how ridiculous it was that they walked around with a little
electronic boxes which could scan objects, predict climate conditions and allow them to talk to
people many miles away. Thank God the velour suits are not a necessary part of the deal because if
they were I would still be using a pigeon to send my mail!

If this was all not ‘energising’ enough (sorry, could not resist) there is a new element to the mobile
handheld revolution….. streaming video and TV. Now, if you have been following 3rd Planet Media
for the past year you will know we feel TV, as we know it, is a dying species. Recently in our video
blog (watch them they are very illuminating by the way) we explained how Netflix is making a mess
of its future. We specialise in video because that is where the future is, we follow this stuff carefully,
we have results of our clients which would stop you in your tracks…when video is done properly
it is ultra-powerful and effective. Imagine my wry smile when this week the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC) or ‘Auntie’ as it is known over here announced that it was ‘planning a TV
download service similar to iTunes’. Why? Terrestrial TV is dead; it is all happening on the internet,
that is where the action is, the money is, the interest, the capacity and the demand. Even more
interesting is that the BBC is going to charge money for this premium (and not so premium) content
even though every household in the UK which owns a TV already pays around $230 a year for the
privilege of watching BBC content !!!!!!! Hardly an eyebrow has been raised, why? We already pay
for good stuff on the internet; we understand that if we are to get what we want when we want
it, we pay for it. Even today, as I write this, the BBC has announced it is putting its ‘iPlayer’ on the
Xbox360 thereby making limited content available for free for limited periods of time to the ‘over
developed thumbed ones’ in the gaming world. Clever piece of market priming, don’t you think?

It won’t be long before we hear of a child drawing a picture of Moses returning from the mountain
carrying an iPad!

Ubiquitous? Yes, but only because they are compulsory.

See you on the long and winding road,



Patrick Reade is 3rd Planet Media’s indispensable man in UK.

Blogs: Bibliothèque | Vidiothèque | Audio Prodcast

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