Disruptive Trend: Broadband and Apps are Killing Physical Media

  • Om Malik, writing for GigaOM, suggests that physical media is dead: “It is being replaced with ‘apps’ thanks to  broadband connectivity and anywhere computing that has come to us via smartphones, tablets and other connected devices.”
  • “From music playlists to catalogs to retail stores to television — it wouldn’t surprise me if everything is an app in short order,” he adds. “And that future is scary and yet full of opportunities.”
  • Malik cites the migration from CDs to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify and download options including iTunes and Amazon. He notes the growing popularity of e-books and options such as Netflix and Hulu for movies and television.
  • “The unifying fabric behind all these new behaviors is broadband. For the longest time, physical media was the container that moved content. Records became compact discs. Movie film became VHS tapes and then DVD. Books didn’t really change. And neither did newspapers and magazines. They are all mere containers,” he explains.
  • “In the post-broadband world, Internet is the truck, and app stores are the newsstand and book store. Result: the slow and steady decay of physical media as a container for content,” says Malik, adding that the subsequent impact will be immense, despite the fact that we are still thinking in terms of the old containers.
  • He suggests the upheaval has already begun and illustrates his point with examples including the impact on the U.S. Postal Service, commercial printers and traditional advertising models.

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