The devices upon which news and other content is accessed has been a running theme for years, but 2011 saw tablets and e-readers becoming more mainstream, with increasing market penetration. Thanks to smart phones and tablet devices, media consumers’ habits are shifting increasingly to using apps to sift through news and information.
Proving this, Yahoo! and Google released news reader apps this year, competing with already popular apps like Flipboard.
A study out in July showed tablet owners in the United States prefer to read content including news, weather, music, games and information on their tablets instead of their PCs.
The study also showed that tablets contribute to an increase in social network usage, but also significantly cannibalized the usage of print media, and to a lesser degree, mobile devices.
Social media also saw high usage and the first signs of saturation in many markets this year. Facebook, for example, found that in some of its biggest markets, including U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, the usage for activities, such as status updates, sharing content, messaging and installing apps, has plunged. By contrast, total active usage of all social network sites has boosted significantly worldwide across all age groups. For example, usage was up 26 percent among group ages 16 to 24 and up 35 percent among those ages 35 to 44.
In general, emerging markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia are the driving forces for the growth of social networks, while users in more mature markets, including U.S. and the U.K. are shifting focus on e-commerce. Some markets, such as Singapore and Turkey, have both activities significantly popular, but tend to skew slightly one way or the other,
Attempting to compete with Facebook in the social media realm, Google launched Google+ this year. However, the battle against its rival won’t be easy. “Facebook is an entrenched rival with more than 750 million users,” analyst Charlene Li pointed out to Bloomberg.
Another social media site that did well in 2011 was LinkedIn. Its revenue was up 120 percent to $121 million from $54.9 million as membership gained 61 percent to 116 million, while profit totaled $4.5 million, or 4 cents a share, versus $4.3 million year-over-year. Since filing for an IPO in May, the site’s shares more than doubled from the initial price of $45.
Image of 2011: Topleftpixel.com