"From board meeting to board meeting, we are seeing a similar pattern. Web is flattish. But mobile is growing like a weed." So writes venture capitalist Fred Wilson in a new blog post entitled, "Mobile Is Where The Growth Is."
As we've touched on time and again in RAIN, this phenomenon directly impacts the web radio industry: the major players -- Pandora, Slacker, TuneIn and others -- all have massive mobile audiences. In some cases mobile listeners are even the majority.
This transition "presents both great opportunity and great challenges," writes Wilson (pictured), who co-founded Union Square Ventures (which has invested in companies like Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Etsy and others).
For example, there are different expectations when it comes to mobile. "Mobile does not reward feature richness. It rewards small, application specific, feature light services... The phone is the equivalent of the web application and the mobile apps you have on your home screen(s) are the features."
Another big mobile challenge is monetization, as we've seen with Pandora (RAIN coverage here). "Monetization is different" on mobile platforms, Wilson writes. "Approaches like display advertising don't work as well on mobile as they do on the web."
Not that the money isn't there. Juniper Research now projects that mobile ad spending delivered via mobile apps will reach $7.1 billion in 2015, "a nearly three-fold increase over the span of three years," says Boy Genius Report (here).
Wilson points to Twitter as a good example of mobile monetization: "The ads are the default content object (the tweet) and are delivered right in the primary user experience (the feed/timeline). It's not surprising that more than half of Twitter's ad revenue is coming from mobile."
For radio, does this mean mobile ads should be audio (radio's "default content object") delivered in between songs ("the primary user experience")? Or perhaps a different, untried and experimental approach?
Indeed, Wilson argues the winners will be those companies and services that can "make a hard right turn super fast without flipping over the car."
You can find Wilson's full blog post at AVC.com here.