Been there, done that: Fortified by experience
Most of us in digital media have weathered all kinds of storms. We’ve witnessed the rise and fall and rebirth of convergence; suffered and survived the dot-com bust; raised capital in good times and bad; and generated revenues when people told us it couldn’t be done — with everything from microtransactions to mobile messaging.
Even with the current economy, we have a wealth of experience to draw from and a lot to be optimistic about.
- While retail experienced a modest Christmas, Facebook made about $35M from virtual gifts alone in 2008.
- Business models that are free to customers — and both traditional and new media are good examples — now account for the majority of revenues for 60 of the world’s 100 largest companies.
- And global digital revenues, with their annual double-digit growth, are still projected to hit $153B by 2011.
- By 2020, 80 percent of all media consumption will be digital; today it is already more than 50 percent.
- The Guitar Hero World Tour led to the creation of 25,000 user-generated songs in the first ten days of release, representing a new subscription model to monetize fans — and a whole new level of fandom!
- New media supported new levels of fundraising and community outreach for non-profits: Wikipedia just reached its $6M goal from donations; and the United Way of Canada recently launched a YouTube awareness program with FanTrust.
- There will soon be as many avatars in the world as people in Canada…leaving Canadians to wonder if we’ll be replaced by Club Penguin in the G8?
So, as 2009 rolls out, and as I celebrate my 25th year in digital media, I believe that our industry’s collective depth and experience will stand the test of time and continue to take innovation to new heights. If desperate times call for desperate measures, no doubt troubled times can be the mothers of invention.