There are three elements that control the value chain of the social web: access, creation and distribution.
Are the ISP’s, Cable and Wireless operators sitting in a prime position to create a new market?
Capturing or leading consumer movements towards convergence of media access, creation and distribution could create new markets.
Alex Goldman writes in ISP-Planet:The top ten ISPs on our list now have more than three-quarters of the ISP market—and we count Time Warner twice in the top ten.” According to the National Cable & Telecommunication Association the top five cable operators have roughly 50% of the U.S. market share. Additionally the Top 10 wireless providers in the US represent 70% of the market.
Within the Wireless Space there is significant movement to go “open” following form of the Open Social movement on the web. A convergence of open social? See Business Week article “Breaking Wireless Wide Open”
Each of these markets, ISP’s, Cable and Wireless have all become commoditized and the economies of scale are moving the players to pursue M&A strategies to maintain shareholder ROI
Is There An Alternative Strategy?
History has shown that mergers and acquisitions don’t always produce the intended increase in ROI due to the ongoing need to reorganize multiple times. Reorganizations tend to take a corporations eye off the customer and instead the focus becomes one of integrating that which was acquired rather than building more value for the customer. Power struggles usually follow and top management gets consumed with jockeying for power positions rather and managing the value and delivery chain to the end customer.
Why wouldn’t those in the collective space of “access, creation and distribution” think more about expanding the value than the economies of scale for existing customer propositions? Maybe the root cause is a lack of vision for the future or silo mentality which limits leaderships ability to see beyond that which has produced their past success. Who knows but it appears as though the history of markets is repeating itself rather than creating new markets.
So What If…………….
- Your ISP added “social applications” that enabled you to do more with less.
- Your ISP worked with others to create a seamless web.
- Your Cable and ISP provider enabled you to create your own stations, channels and content for distribution across the internet, the television and the mobile phone.
- Your Cable provider became “open” similar to what is happening on the web and in wireless.
- Content creators, you and I, were given the opportunity to increase our reach, distribution and income streams.
The irony of the current situation and the “What if” questions is that it will eventually happen as the market demands it or someone from outside or within the existing markets create the new paradigm. All we need is leadership, vision and creativity. All we need is somebody, anybody and everybody to move towards the vision.
What say you?
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