Here’s a prediction.
First, we had Internet Bubble 1.0, and it burst with a bang. Some say we’re now in the midst of Bubble 2.0. For the sake of this post, I’m going to agree.
But Bubble 2.0, inflated by the hype over Web 2.0, which isn’t entirely hype (unlike 1.0), will die more with a whimper than a bang, because, first off, there are more stable and popular 2.0 sites than there were 1.0 sites, because Bubble 3.0 is already starting to inflate.
What is Bubble 3.0? Mobile, and more specifically, mobile video. Within a year, maybe two, mobile video will be exploding (it’s already picking up steam).
Here’s the rub: Publishers will have just a hard time making money with mobile video as they have with digital text publishing. Why? People want their content to be free, and commercial free, and there will be plenty of publishers/producers (there are already some) who will to provide free content. There will be plenty of deep pocket producers willing to invest heavily on content in order to attract eyeballs with the hope of gaining audience share. There might be more of a market for premium content in mobile space than on the Web, but that will be select and few. And the most popular content for a long time will be short clips, best suited for watching while waiting in line at the store or riding, or riding on a train or waiting for a plane, etc. People generally won’t use mobile as a substitute for television, except where convenience is a factor. This is both the opportunity and challenge for news producers.