The future of digital in Australia

For some years now, the large consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been publishing a five-year Entertainment and Media Outlook.  The latest edition covers the period 2011 through 2015 and was originally released in early August.  Key findings are available from the PwC website.  Last week at the Communications Policy and Research Forum, the PwC Executive Director of Media and Entertainment, Megan Brownlow, went through some of the figures:  her slides are available for viewing here, and predict some very interesting trends.

While not surprising (the data certainly supports what we all think we know), the five year Australian trends do have some powerful implications for the future.  For instance:

–          The number of “small devices” (iPads, Kindles and the like) are expected to triple between 2011 and 2015.  Brownlow says this will bring the “lean back” experience to the internet (traditionally, television viewing has been “lean back” and computer use “lean in”).

–          While some 10% of Australian households have tablets of some sort now, that figure will rise to 33% by 2015.  The total numbers will increase to 5.5 million.

–          “Total Australian entertainment and media spending grew by 6.5% in 2010, faster than the global average of 5.3% and significantly higher than 2009 growth of 1.3%.”

–          PwC estimates “digital spending” to be currently about 7% of total household expenditure, but will rise to 14% by 2015.  That’s a dramatic increase.

Consumer spending % projected for 2015 are particularly interesting, predicting that only a relatively small percentage of book expenditure will be “digital”, but a large percentage of interactive games (just under 50%) and an overwhelming percentage of recorded music (around 75%).  By contrast, the amount of predicted expenditure on internet access – more than $7billion – dwarfs all other forms, well ahead of “filmed entertainment” (at about $5 billion).

Clearly there will be some big winners and a number of losers as our economy continues its rapid transition to a digital one.  More exploration of this topic to come.


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