More than ever, the latest quarterly report from Facebook reveals why much of the legacy media’s time is numbered in years, not decades. The monster that Mark Zuckerberg built and runs is swallowing ad revenue at such a rate that you have to wonder if the management of existing print and broadcast (and streaming) media companies, can do anything to change the situation.
In the next year, Facebook’s revenue will probably top US$26 billion — even more — while the revenue growth in every major media company slows or falls (in the case of print). And worryingly for established publishers, Facebook is growing audience engagement on mobile devices. The number of users who visited the site on a mobile device every day, rose above 1 billion for the first time, reaching 1.03 billion. That was 91.6% of all its daily users, up from 90.1% in the June quarter of last year. US analysts pointed out that mobile advertising now accounts for 84% of its mobile revenues, two percentage points higher than the first three months of this year.
And CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was “particularly pleased with our progress in video”, which would eventually be “at the heart of all our services”. The latest quarter brought the release of the Facebook Live video service to all the network’s users, turning it into an instant online hit. No wonder all media companies, print and broadcast and streaming video, are feeling the pain and are worried — there is worse to come.
And how can any other company compete, even the mighty Alphabet (Google)? Mark Zuckerberg told an analysts’ briefing that Facebook is transmitting 60 billion messages a day, which he claimed was triple the peak level of SMS messages. Facebook also pointed out that its average revenue per user (ARPU) topped US$50 on an annual basis for the first time in the June quarter. That’s much higher than revenue from other markets.