Thursday, April 11, 2013

Has Social Media Jumped The Shark?

In a study by PiperJaffray survey of over 5,000 teenagers, Teens reliance on social networking has declined over the last 12 months.  While teenagers are heavily engaged in technology, smartphones and tablets, they have shifted away overall from social media.  According to the study, Facebook is still their most important social website although that interest has dropped by 9%.  Twitter and Instagram have dropped slightly from a year ago.  Google+, YouTube, and Tumblr have also dropped.  "This data measures sentiment, not usage stats. If this data is solid, though, we should see it reflected in a teen exodus from traditional social networks. Considering how unwilling some of these companies are to talk about the younger demographic, it may already be under way."

While this new generation may be fickle in what they use, their loyalty may easily shift.  Teens seem more likely to be early adopters in new activities, whether social media sites like Vine and Snapchat, content platforms like Redbox and Netflix, and music outlets like Pandora.   As to smartphones, Apple outshines the others for teens.  Speed is key and per the study, 4G is appealing to the generation as well. 

So has social media jumped the shark for teens?  The release of the Facebook Home app may just tell us what teens are thinking.  If it is embraced, then the answer is no; if it is tried and dropped, the answer is clear.

Could Dish and DirecTv Merge?

Can Charlie Ergen and John Malone work together? The report in Bloomberg suggests that Dish may be looking at a merger with its satellite rival to better compete against fiber providers.  As the article indicates, Ergen has been active in the marketplace, trying to takeover Clearwire in an attempt to gain a bigger wireless presence.  Synergies with DirecTv could also help in Dish's favor.  But would the FCC agree to such a merger?

Given what has been enabled in the airline industry with Continental/United and USAir/American Airlines, anything is possible.  Even Sirius/XM Satellite were approved to merge.  But is Malone ready to give up DirecTv or share control with Ergen?  Two strong personalities in a quickly changing media landscape.

Given the rise in wireless and broadband, competition would still remain strong. The addition of Google into the mix and the strength of cable and telephone companies in the space remain the fiercest competitors to both Dish and DirecTv.  A strong wireless play would enable them to compete more effectively against these companies.And I suspect should a merger be announced, the FCC would approve it.