JUNE 27, 2011

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Pew Study: How Do Social Networks Really Affect Our Lives?
Do social networking sites isolate people, truncate their relationships, and deter closeness and diversity? Or do they enhance and enrich people’s lives by enabling a greater sense of connection to the world? A recent Pew study clearly supports the latter. The study found that people who use social networking sites are more trusting, have more close relationships, get more support from their friends and family, and are more engaged with their community than non-users. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that users of social networking sites cocoon themselves in groups of like-minded or similar people, as some have feared. In fact, Pew concludes that social networking sites have contributed to Americans having more close social ties and being less socially isolated than they were two years ago.
So what? Media brands should strive to be a valued part of the greater social network conversation.
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Forrester: The Products That Lose When Tablets Win
Much has been written about the negative effects tablets are having and will have on the usage and sales of other products, like PCs. A recent Forrester report delves into which specific products will suffer as well as which will benefit from the rise of consumer demand for tablets. The report claims that printed versions of magazines, newspapers and books, laptops, netbooks, eReaders, and portable gaming devices are particularly prone to cannibalization; while mobile phones, “all-in-one” PCs, and gaming consoles will either be unaffected or actually get a boost from the gaining popularity of tablets. The report is careful to note that there is no one-size-fits-all roadmap to how or which products will be affected by tablet growth. Cannibalization will most likely unfold in stages: early adopters behave differently than later adopters. In addition, tablets are best suited for some activities in some places, but not all. For example, Forrester claims that for reading newspapers and magazines, tablets will most likely cannibalize print, PCs, and eReaders; but for watching video, TV wins in living rooms, PCs win in offices, and tablets win elsewhere.
So what? If Forrester is correct that consumers will substitute digital editions for print editions, it is imperative to build a business model that anticipates that change.
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Golden Marketing Opportunity: Give Consumers A Break
A recent Futures Company/Yankelovich paper examines how the superabundance of mobile technology is leading to a severe shortage of uninterrupted time in people’s lives, and a resulting desire to “live in the moment” and be less distracted. Mobile device ownership and usage continue to grow and with them the potential for constant interruption. Smartphones are outselling PCs, and the amount of data mobile users consume has grown by 90% in Q1 2011 over Q1 2010. The Futures Company finds that even technophiles and teens, some of the most frequent mobile users and renowned multi-taskers, are showing signs of irritation and desire “time off.” The paper suggests that this situation presents an opportunity for smart marketers to help consumers alleviate the problem, rather than add to it.
So what? The assumption behind digital versions of magazines is that readers still want to be immersed. This study supports that claim.
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Luxury Retail Outpaces Mass-Market Again In May
According to the Luxury Institute, despite continued high unemployment rates and a slow post-recession recovery, luxury retailers are showing exceptional gains in same-store sales while mainstream retailers’ numbers affirm an economic downshift. While Target and J.C. Penney show stagnancy in comparable sales, Saks posts a 20% surge; Neiman Marcus scores double-digit gains and Nordstrom comes close. LI suggests that that rising prices of commodities and transportation costs are affecting mass retailers more harshly than luxury retailers. Luxury retailers are better able to pass on their higher costs to their affluent customers who make buying decisions based more on considerations of quality, value and uniqueness and are less sensitive to price than the already-strapped mass-market consumer.
So what? If these retail trends continue, companies like Condé Nast that cater to affluent consumers will be less vulnerable.
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Nielsen: 91% of Americans Still Pay for TV Subscriptions
According to a recent Nielsen study, regardless of which platform or service is used, video remains ubiquitous. The study, which examined how people consume video across platforms, found that while certain segments of the population are migrating toward specific devices or viewing habits, the resounding trend is this: Americans are spending more time watching video content on traditional TVs, mobile devices and via the Internet than ever before. In addition, debunking the myth that consumers are no longer willing to pay for television content subscriptions, a key finding of the study was that 91% of TV households still paid for a TV subscription in Q1 2011. Instead, evidence points to a slight reshuffling of the method selected, whether cable, through telephone companies or satellite.
So what? The proliferation of devices and services has not slowed down the popularity of TV content, though the monopoly of cable and satellite providers is likely to diminish.
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Quick Takes
CHART OF THE WEEK: Blackberry's Astounding Collapse In The U.S.
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Facebook Display Revenues to Nearly Double This Year
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Broadband Subs Increase Eight-Fold Since 2001
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Condé Nast
Feedback, questions, ideas for future issues? Please contact:

Phil Paparella
Condé Nast Research & Insights | Associate Director
1166 6th Avenue, 14th fl. | NY, NY 10036 | office 212.790.6044 | philip_paparella@condenast.com

Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights