Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Social media’s impact on traditional communications

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The extent to which social media is affecting traditional communication channels has been revealed, with almost half of UK consumers stating that their use of platforms such as Facebook has adversely affected their use of email services, according to Ovum.

In a new report, the independent telecoms analyst unveils the findings of a survey it conducted into the impact of social media on traditional forms of communication among UK consumers.

Forty-five per cent of respondents claimed that social media had caused a decline in their use of email. In addition, 40 per cent said that it had reduced their use of fixed voice services, 34 per cent said it caused them to make fewer mobile phone calls, and 29 per cent said the number of text messages they send had declined.

Mark Giles, Ovum telecoms senior analyst and co-author of the report, commented: “The results of our survey show that social media is negatively impacting all forms of communication provided by telecoms companies.

“The trend is being driven by younger age groups. While it could be argued that younger users will change their habits with age and trend towards the habits of older users who are more reliant on traditional forms of communication, it would be naive to assume this. This is because players such as Facebook are constantly innovating, and are likely to increase their communications capabilities.”

According to the report, while it had initially been thought that social networking would only have an impact on email volumes, its impact is far more wide-ranging. Neha Dharia, Ovum analyst and co-author of the report, commented: “The functional development and increasing availability of social networking platforms on mobile devices is seeing communication via social media eat into more traditional forms of communication such as voice.

“As a result, telco voice and messaging revenues and telcos’ increasingly outdated pricing models are coming under pressure as a new wave of substitution threatens to sweep the telecoms market.”

According to the report, telcos will try to defend themselves against the threat by offering more inclusive minutes and text messages at lower prices. Some operators have sought to charge a levy on over-the-top applications, such as Whatsapp and Skype,that reduce operator revenue and use a significant amount of bandwidth.

Dharia added: “Other operators seem to be utilising a wait and watch approach to social media applications, with some stating that there has been no impact on revenues. However, their stance is likely to change in the future as the battle for voice and messaging heats up.”

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