Thursday, June 28, 2007


I snatched the word voyeurgasm - we like to watch - from a fascinating iMedia Connections article by Michael Tchong. Michael is a trend analyst with an ubercool site and blog. The article is well written, challenging and worth the time spent reading it. He presented me an "AHA" moment.

He focuses on 5 trends to watch - or else! They are voyeurgasm, digital lifestyle, time compression, unwired and generation X-tasy. His riff on digital lifestyle is what keeps rattling around my brain.

Once something is called a lifestyle it is beyond a trend. Its reality, Its fact. Its fascinating to be a part of it. Tchong's lens is well polished and very focused in the lifestyle.

"The growing proliferation of consumer electronics -- the average U.S. household now owns an average of 26 consumer electronics devices according to the Consumer Electronics Association -- is the whirlwind force that's fueling a whole new consumer culture, one that's changing the rules of the marketing game."
No fooling! The learning curve for devices is pretty steep when 8 year olds are climbing into a chair to using the computer. You've got iPhones, Blackberrys, Treos and phones that record video. Not to mention those goofy things that blink on your ear :) I was at a friends 60th birthday party in January. Rather than playing Hangman on the table cloth (it was an Italian joint), his 8 and 11 year old grand daughters were tapping into a little game - beats the heck out of listening to old people talk about Grandpa :).

Social networking is evolving the conventions of conversation, communication and culture. One might argue that conversation and communication is an output of culture. And what better defines our culture than our media? How much is our media consumption changing?
"The latest media consumption data...NBC's average prime-time audience of 4.8 million people ending June 2 was the smallest since at least 1991, reports Nielsen Media Research. You'd have to go back to the days of black-and-white TV to find a smaller figure. Meanwhile, "CBS Evening News" reached only 5.5 million people that week, its smallest audience since 1987...Meanwhile, newspaper readership is falling all over the world. Even in the newspaper-crazy U.K., the overall yearly decline for dailies is almost 4 percent. Asked why people do not read newspapers, more than half of survey respondents to a Harris poll conducted in six countries (including the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany) pointed to lack of time (in Spain the figure was lowest, at 44 percent)".
No time to read? This is a refrain that became a resounding chorus in the last 10 years. Its something we all battle. Its the number one reason given for not taking the newspaper. And for stopping delivery. Don't we still have 24 hours? What happened to time? Here is where the author makes his most valuable point to this marketer -
"A new Media-Screen report sheds light on this trend. Broadband users, the heaviest consumers of media, spend an hour and 40 minutes -- 48 percent of their spare time -- online on a given weekday."
Seems pretty darn obvious. What we're doing is trading online time for reading and/or TV time. Its not so different than trading today (work) for tomorrow (play). I'd subconsciously made this connection but had never seen it written so plainly. Further evidence that more eyes makes better focus. And another reason I will never be christened a trend analyst :)

Read the article to satisfy your curiosity about the other 4 trends.

Michael Tchong's ubercool site
iMedia article

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