These players often created entire categories of new consumption – from just-in-time and on demand weather updates, to a transformative way to listen to your own content whenever you felt like it to new kinds of enabling technologies like consumer credit cards. And yet, over time, the pressures of competition and erosion of competitive advantage can come to take their toll on even the most once-popular products and services.
Take The Weather Channel. Carrier DirecTV argued that the channel no longer delivered a substantial enough audience to merit the fees it wanted to charge, and actually took the channel down for 3 months. Only a side deal with Hilton Hotels got the two companies on the same page with respect to fees. The real question for the weather channel is whether they can continue to stave off the erosion of value in their core business. On the other hand, as the New York Times reports, The Weather Channel is exploring new opportunities in using the data it has to create predictive analytics that can anticipate what you’ll buy. In the brave new world of weather analytics, folks from the business can literally predict what we’re all likely to buy and under what conditions – for instance, bug spray that sells well under some conditions in Dallas doesn’t do so well in the same conditions in Boston. Checking humidity levels gives women an idea how their hair is likely to look that day, and provides the opportunity for smart marketers to target a pitch just to those conditions. It makes sense – many of our decisions about what we need are indeed based on the weather.
As I reported in another post here, Apple’s iconic iPod is also facing pressure in its markets, as it’s smartphone brethren have taken over many of its functions and its user interface appears dated. I love my iPod and would be very sad if everything had to go the way of the touch! Beside that, getting enough storage for all my content on another I-Device is problematic.
Finally, we have the interesting world of banking. As colleagues of mine from Accenture, working on a theme we’ve been calling “industry blur” have found, banks are likely to increasingly be upended by competition, not from other banks, but from companies in other industries. I’ve been talking about the payments space as one that is likely to start getting picked off by upstarts. Other scenarios are also becoming increasingly more likely – mobile banking makes branches obsolete, person-to-person transactions make an intermediary obsolete and crowdsourced funding could conceivably make the access to capital provided by traditional banks obsolete. So, who in traditional banking is keeping an eye on these developments, particularly as they fuss ever more about increasingly intrusive government regulation? An interesting questions.