BRW magazine’s annual Digital Generation Flagship Edition came out today. It’s an excellent report and review of the digital space in Australia. Foad Fadaghi, the technology editor of BRW, has come to the media business from the research industry, having held senior analyst and director positions at Frost & Sullivan, Jupiter Research and IDC. This way of looking at the world results in the BRW Digital issue showing how journalism at its best is becoming a lot more like analysis, creating real value-add and insights that can’t be found elsewhere.
Data in the report (with a few snippets available here) includes market shares in online publishing (Google #1 at A$389 million with 89% growth), relative online ad revenues (e.g. NineMSN earns $99 million), surveys of corporate activities in online advertising (e.g. 37% of companies measure their online advertising ROI), shares of online social networking advertising (MySpace wins at 75%), and far more, complemented by a neat visual map segmenting the players in the Australian digital media market.
The report’s article on Web 2.0 draws extensively on an interview with me, with quotes from me as below. The article goes on to cover in more depth some of the players in the space.
The costs involved in web 2.0 development are so low it has spawned a large number of small one and two-person companies that can be profitable with a small user base, Future Exploration Network chairman Ross Dawson says. This means web 2.0 development is unnoticed by venture capital and other investors.
“I have been tracking the online start-ups in Austraila for some time and I have been encouraged by the rapid growth and the depth of the market,” he says. “Not that long ago, it was difficult to point to any Australian success stories in IT. We are beginning to see some real maturity and management talent which will take more companies to global markets.”
Dawson has hosted web 2.0 seminars and produces an annual list of the sector’s top performers. He points to companies such as 3eep, which provides a sports social network site, and Vibe Capital, which has developed Minti.com as a parents’ forum run from Perth but with a global footprint. “These companies can be based anywhere as they are location-independent, which is an important part of an Australian company’s growth strategy.”
Some web 2.0 companies are so small they don’t even have a name but this in itself shows low-cost entry points mean that opportunities exist for developers to enter the market and start building a user base, Dawson says.
Total revenue for the web 2.0 sector is small and there are no statistics available but a few companies have shown solid revenue streams. These include online business directory dLook, Melbourne restaurant reservation service Booking Angel (a search facility that has licensed its technology in the United States), and RedBubble (an online art gallery and creative community where artists can sell their work as high-quality framed prints, greeting cards, posters and even T-shirt designs).
Dawson also rates Scouta, an Australian-developed system that allows users to bookmark favourite online audio and video sites, then delivers personalised recommendations. It also provides several ways to make sharing favourite online audio and video simple.
Scouta, developed by Richard Giles, has a two-pronged business model: online consumer delivery and as a site engine for others to use.