Future Skills for the Digital Economy


Let’s crunch some numbers.

As of last month 

  • there were 160,000,000 Twitter users.  
  • The platform was adding 370,000 new users every day.  
  • There were 90,000,000 tweets every day.
  • Facebook has more than 500,000,000 users (or one person in 12 in the world)
  • The global games market was worth (it was reckoned) around $105,000,000,000 (105 billion) a year – with Nintendo taking the highest proportion with $34,959 million.  The total figure, calculated by Avista http://www.avistapartners.com/index.htm.


Time spent on Facebook was greater than time spent on Google sites in the U.S. in August  2010 for the first time in history, according to fresh data from comScore. Meanwhile, Yahoo continues its slide from the top of the heap to the bottom.

“Social Networking Sites Reach a Higher Percentage of Women than Men Worldwide” according to comScore.com 

“The divergence between male and female behaviour in social network usage also becomes more pronounced in the older age segments – while male and female social networkers aged 15-24 have very similar reach numbers, in the 55+ age segment, their respective reach is separated by more than 10 percentage points. For older women, social networking is a new frontier they are embracing; men are doing so to a much lesser degree.” more here 

Women in the 45 – 54 and 55+ (USA) are driving online game playing.  Unlike the other driver (young men) they are more likely to be playing casual games rather than World of Warcraft.

Back in June PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted :

Over the next five years digital technologies will progressively increase their impact across all segments of entertainment and media (E&M) as digital transformation continues to expand and escalate. The uncertain economic background has done nothing to slow the pace of change, which has been far quicker than predicted 12 months ago. It is clear that the consumer is firmly in the driving seat of these changes, according to the latest Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2010-2014, from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Following a year of decline in 2009, the global E&M market, as a whole, will grow by 5.0 per cent compounded annually for the entire forecast period to 2014 reaching US$1.7 trillion, up from US$1.3 trillion in 2009. Fastest growing region throughout the forecast period is Latin America growing at 8.8 per cent compound annual rate (CAR) during the next 5 years to US$77 billion in 2014. Asia Pacific is next at 6.4 per cent CAR through to 2014 to US$475 billion. Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) follows at 4.6 per cent to US$581 billion in 2014. The largest, but slowest growing market is North America growing at 3.9 per cent CAR taking it from US$460 billion in 2009 to US$558 billion in 2014.

The world’s most populous nations have the most mobile subscriptions (unsurprisingly), China and India lead growth.

  • China 747.4 million subscribers in 2009, growing to 1,311.7 million in    2014 eMarketer (February 2010)
  • India 525.2 million subscribers in 2009, growing to 853.0 million in 2014 eMarketer (February 2010)
  • USA 285.6 million subscribers in 2009 CTIA (December 2009) 

The number of people accessing the mobile Internet is growing fast and is expected to overtake the PC as the most popular way to get on the Web within five years.

  • The ITU (February 2010) expects mobile Web access – via laptops and smart mobile devices – to overtake desktop Web within the next five years.
  • Strategy Analytics (March 2010) estimates that at the end of 2009 almost 530 million users browsed the mobile Web on their handset. This is forecast to rise to over 1 billion by 2015.
  • IDC (December 2009) estimates there were more than 450 million mobile Internet users worldwide in 2009; this will pass the 1 billion mark by 2013. 

And finally http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/15/conde-nast-ipad Condé Nast’s chief said last week that up to 40% of sales could be on iPad. 

So that’s it for the numbers

Why?  I was asked by Skillset a few months ago to do some research on the present and future needs of businesses in Northern Ireland (associated with Digital Circle). The report “Future Skills for the Digital Economy” was presented to the Skillset Board a few days ago.  Rather than trot out a repeat of the findings and recommendations from the report, I set it in the context of these statistics.

Trying to predict where the digital content industry is going is not that difficult.  There will always be the unpredictable, but once you accept the social media is not a passing fad, games are not just for boys (of all ages) and mobile will be vital for all access and communications, then prediction is a little more reliable.

So where is the future?  The future is all of that and the future is Local 

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