Sep 13, 2019 (Financial News Media via COMTEX) -- FN Media Group Presents Safehaven.com Market Commentary
New York, NY - September 13, 2019 – In 2018 alone, internet users spent a collective 2.8 million years online. And over 33 percent of that time was spent on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. These websites have become some of the most valuable companies in the world. And that's all thanks to the data they extract from their users. Included in today's commentary: Alphabet Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +1.08% , Facebook, Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -0.16% , Microsoft Corporation /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.02% , Thomson Reuters Corporation /zigman2/quotes/203550191/composite TRI -0.41% , The Walt Disney Company /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS +0.47% .
While it doesn't seem like an exciting market at first glance, data is reshaping the world as we know it. In fact, data is quickly becoming a commodity more valuable than gold, silver, and even crude oil.
Lou Schwartz, a pioneer of internet streaming and CEO of Frankly Media( TLK , FRNKF ) notes, "the digital world is undergoing an evolution of sorts, where the old way of doing things just isn't cutting it any longer." And he's got a point. As the market for data continues to grow, it's becoming a vital part of every industry from advertising to urban planning and beyond.
Consider this: The revenue of the global digital advertising market is estimated by some to reach nearly $665 billion by 2026 . In the U.S. alone, this is a $100 billion market... and 80% of it is in hands of tech giants Google and Facebook.
It is a market ripe for innovation and disruption, and one that savvy investors should be following closely as the fourth industrial revolution speeds up.
Here are 3 three trends to watch as the next great digital revolution takes place.
1. The Evolution Of Media
The emergence of internet news, streaming television, and an infinite amount of content on-demand has left media companies at a curious crossroads. Newspapers are floundering, television channels are scrambling to find new ways to drive up their dwindling viewer numbers, and even major websites are struggling to maintain their ad revenue. But some companies are taking innovative new approaches to tackle these issues.
Take Frankly Media ( TLK , FRNKF ), for instance. Frankly is a relative newcomer in this field but already has over 1,200 digital news, information and entertainment properties across the United States. And in its latest acquisition of Vemba, a video streaming giant, it's gained both CNN and Vice Media as new customers, opening up a new revenue line worth millions per year. But that's only the beginning.
With over 100 million users across its platforms, Frankly is able to reach over 80 percent of all American households. Thanks to that influence, Frankly is positioning itself to become a data factory that has the potential to rival the likes of hundred-billion-dollar tech giants. And it's the quality of its data that makes it such a powerful contender. The information that Frankly collects is important because it is primarily first-party data…the good stuff. Information about users' browsing habits, purchasing habits, and much more.
This gives Frankly( TLK , FRNKF ) a potential leg up in a market that's expected to surpass a half a trillion dollars in the next few years. And in its latest deal with publishing giant Newsweek, it's set to add another 40 million users to its reach, meaning even more information to harness as the industry continues to grow.
That's powerful. And it can be leveraged to turn this small $30 million-dollar company into a true powerhouse in the industry worth tens of billions. The best part? It's still early enough to jump on board and potentially see returns on your investments that surpass those of even Big Tech giants!
Thompson Reuters /zigman2/quotes/203550191/composite TRI -0.41% is another media monster to keep an eye on as the industry continues to evolve, but for an entirely different reason.
Reuters is a well-established news source, respected around the world. With operations in over 100 countries, many other news channels rely on Reuters' sources and stories to gain unique insights into the world's most critical developments. While Reuters is best known for its groundbreaking journalism, it also offers a plethora of data analysis and financial tools that have become absolutely vital in hedge funds, trading desks, news channels and more.
And then there's Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS +0.47% . Disney is a household name. The production giant responsible for some of the most beloved and highly viewed films ever. But its box-office success could soon be a drop in the hat compared to its big-picture plans.
Thanks to its incredible maneuvering within the film space, including the widely publicized acquisitions of 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios, Disney is absolutely crushing its competition. But what many people don't know is that this maneuvering and its wider strategy is built entirely through its data streams.
From "MagicBands" in the company's theme parks that track customers' every move to neural monitoring of test audiences during film previews, Disney can fine-tune a customer's experience on a granular scale. And as it enters the streaming world, one can be sure that it will not lose its innovative edge as it goes head to head with Netflix and HBO.
2. Real-World Applications
The data boom isn't limited to news media, however. It also has real world applications which are poised to transform entire cities and create a way of life that most people are still struggling to understand.
Using your browsing history, information from your cellphones and the complete technological saturation of many of the world's biggest cities, internet giants like Google and Microsoft are using complex algorithms to build a new world right before our eyes.
Humans have essentially become walking, talking data machines, churning out information that is absolutely vital to building everything from better cities to providing a new understanding of the 'human condition.'
Google /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +1.08% is leading the charge on this front. The internet giant knows everything nearly everyone has ever searched for and everywhere nearly everyone has been, both in the real world and online. It has so much data, actually, that if an individual were to download it all, it would add up to millions of Word documents.
While it may seem scary, or downright invasive, what they're actually doing is much less sinister than many of the major regulatory bodies make it out to be. Google's smart-city startup, SideWalk Labs , for instance, has recently released a piece outlining new plants to transform Toronto's Lake Ontario shoreline into "the most innovative district in the entire world."
The neighborhood will include smart traffic lights, optimize energy usage, self-driving delivery vehicles, and much more, leveraging the data collected from residents to improve each of these features, and in turn, create a sort of tech utopia.