Tuesday, May 08, 2018
The Rise and Fall of the Digital Titans - Will history repeat itself again?

I have been on a hiatus in writing my blog, but during this time this topic kept coming in me head, “The Rise and fall of the Digital Titans” - Is it coming?. History has shown tech companies do not stay on top forever and there is always somebody new to come along to disrupt the market to take away first place in the minds of investors and consumers.

 

If we go back to the origins of the dot-com boom the big players were AOL, My Space, Yahoo and Blackberry. Where are they today? The are all smaller in size and have become niche players. We all know of Apple’s rise and fall and rise story in tech history lore, the landscape is littered with them. So these digital titans will eventually fall, it is a question of when is it going to happen. This is the price all companies pay when they yield too much power in the marketplace, just ask Google and their battle with the European Union.

 

The digital world reminds me of the fads and trends in the kids toy market. Rarely do toys have staying power beyond a few years and this is happening with digital software toys that can be used on your smartphone. No digital company so far has the staying power of Mickey Mouse that help build the Disney Empire, but even Disney had its own roller coaster experience in its history.

 

The secret to long-term success is that companies need to grow to stay competitive and not fade away by getting bought out and then disappear. I had a look at 16 different market segments that these digital titans have products in, 14 of these products I considered mainstream (i.e.: mass appeal) with 2 - Car GPS and Virtual Reality the next mainstream products. Amazon entering the ad market to support sales on their website, entry into steaming video with Fire TV cannot be underestimated as the next big player to enter the game. Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world and they want to grow too!
 

 
 

We all know in the digital ad space Facebook and Google dominate, but when is this ride going to end. Both companies are now facing new threats as they get bigger and become a target of critics, hackers and now litigation lawyers looking for a quick score. Who has the title of the Big Bad Empire now, that used to be Microsoft’s crown. It seems it changes monthly between Google and Facebook now as they are co-champions based on the latest scandal or lawsuit .

 

Can Facebook recover from all the scandals that they have weathered the past few years like the distribution fake news, political propaganda and now the Facebook account information problem. It looks like the bigger they get the more problems they have to deal with through no fault of their own (perhaps). The European Union has challenged Google a few times about privacy rights, but perhaps Google is too big to take down.

 

There is a growing “ Consumer Tech “ movement in the marketplace to protect individuals right to privacy. No one wants to be tracked. Did you know that Twitter has 40 different ways a tweet can be tracked and this data is sold to corporations. The digital programmatic ad network space according to P&G in 2017 is wrought with fraud and bad actors with fake news sites, ad farms and email phishing, so law and order in the digital space is sometimes non existent. There is growing evidence that web display ads are not an effective ad tool and there is a growing confidence for pre-roll video for web ads instead. This development is perhaps the catalyst of the fall of ad networks, ads that don’t work and a source of ad fraud. So maybe the fall has already begun. 
 

 

 
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at)
reflexmediasales.com or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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