Think Again: Capturing Attention Isn’t A Zero Sum Game

If you’ve been following the media and tech space, you’ve undoubtedly come across a few hot topics: cord cutting, music discovery, social gaming, and the app-driven economy. At Activate, we have a different perspective about how these trends will play out. In this collection, we’ll share our outlook on topics such as streaming audio, messaging, video and “cable killers,” gaming and wagering, and the future of apps.

An average employed adult in the US spends over half their waking day on consumer tech and media, comprising video, audio, social media, gaming, and reading. This is possible as media is often consumed while performing other activities. Multitasking is the reason why consumption on digital services has grown by so much despite an apparent lack of time.

Video, audio, social and gaming are on track to grow at a healthy clip for the foreseeable future as users of these platforms continue to consume media on an endless proliferation of consumer tech. It won’t just happen on mobile either — in fact growth on these devices is slowing down as these technologies reach market saturation in the United States. We’re going to see big gains in productivity and even more multitasking with the consumer adoption of Google’s Self-Driving Car, Microsoft’s Augmented Reality-enabled HoloLens, Amazon’s AI-powered Echo, and Disney’s children’s toy, Playmation. (The Playmation integrates gaming and fitness in one really fun activity.)

We don’t believe that you can analyze or predict trends in media and consumer tech by just talking about business models or monetization strategy, but by focusing on the user and their behaviors. Those firms that have learned to capture user attention — even seconds of it — have built billion dollar businesses as a result: think of BuzzFeed (36 seconds of average time per user / day, valued at $1.5B) or Shazam (19 seconds of average time per user / day, valued at $1B). All of these companies are in a battle for users’ 24 hours of waking attention. They have focused on user acquisition and scale first, and monetization second. In the rest of this collection, we’ll discuss the most surprising user behaviors that most people aren’t talking about, and why we think they’re so important in understanding how the industry will evolve.

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