Friday, March 16, 2012

College Students Prefer Digital To Print

Sometimes it takes research to confirm what we already know, students enjoy digital over print for reading.  "The majority of U.S. college students now prefer digital formats whether they’re reading textbooks or “fun” books, according to a new survey from the Pearson (NYSE: PSO) Foundation." 

Technology is embraced more quickly by the younger demo and with that comfort level comes increased satisfaction in consuming more content on them.  The influence of Apple and its line of mobile products continues to fill the consumers' shopping basket. Amazon and Barnes and Noble may be farther behind, but they too recognize the trend and have been pushing forward long before this analysis was conducted.  With today's release of the new iPad and reduced pricing on iPad2, even more devices will be out in the marketplace with consumers ready to use them for reading and watching content.  And Apple's announcement a few months  ago in New York of plans to put college textbooks on the iPad is an important step to gaining an even higher percentage of users in the near future.  

In a couple more years, this same study will most likely indicate that 80% or more of students prefer digital over print.  The change is happening quickly especially as more and more devices are getting into student hands.  

Is There Broadband Competition?

With Sprint pulling out from its partnership with LightSquared, it may signal the ultimate end of a possible competitor in the wireless and broadband arena.  With the release of Apple's iPad today, the rise of OTT distribution platforms, and the consumer desire to be mobile and untethered, the choice of wireless and wired providers remains small.

We have the wireless companies, most trying to sell us usage plans that cause us to spend more for connectivity as our consumption rises.  And there are the cable operators, offering wired broadband access coupled with WIFI to authenticated consumers in the communities they serve.  But who else can we turn to for connectivity.  It seems the FCC should be doing more to encourage more competitiveness in what is becoming a vital communication highway.  But by pushing aside LightSquared and recently Dish network's wireless plans, it seems that the FCC does not want competition.

Will broadcast networks give up their portion of the airwaves for wireless or will GPS?  Are there other solutions that will enable free flow of streams with bandwidth constraints?  Ultimately our broadband and wireless devices will not work properly if we have a bottleneck in the flow.