The EU is investigating Apple over its Digital Markets Act (DMA) compliance strategy, including its tight control over app distribution via the App Store. More open choices for apps would be a boon to media providers and consumers.

Apple is defending its ability to profit from its iPhone ecosystem, a vital principle for future growth. AI is also being dragged into the battle, as Europe misses out on Apple Intelligence, at least for now.

The EU legislated early and perhaps clumsily, but the rest of the world is matching the substance. The UK has just passed its new digital markets regulation, and mobile ecosystems will be a key early target for regulator scrutiny.

AI integration into production tools throughout media industries will deliver increased productivity for professional content creation. Generally available tools will also improve quality and production speed for individual user-creators.

Roadblocks include the uncertain copyright status of models and their outputs, attitudes of creative workers and consumers, and the AI tech underdelivering versus what was promised. The need to integrate new tools into existing processes is perhaps the biggest brake.

There are stark differences by sector: the opportunities are greatest in games, where costs have ballooned and software engineering is core. Marketing is furthest in exploiting AI, while audiovisual production is more cautious.

On 4 June 2024, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2024 & Beyond Conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Salesforce, the Financial Times, and Adobe. 

With over 580 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sector, including leading executives and industry experts, the conference focused on how new technologies, regulation and infrastructure will impact the future of the industry. 

This is the edited transcript of Session Four, covering: artificial intelligence, the new phase of online advertising, and closing remarks. Videos of the presentations are available on the conference website.

Reddit, a unique and valuable online space, has reported its first quarterly results as a public company, following a very successful IPO.

In the longer term, Reddit is doomed to scratch out an unprofitable existence as a wannabe scale ad platform, echoing peers in the public markets.

Advertising is probably the least-bad business strategy, as user payments, ecommerce and licensing revenues are even less proven. Dialling back growth ambitions to improve the bottom line is the most sustainable path.

With traffic from Facebook and X to news publishers’ destinations in decline, distribution is shifting to other platforms where they have more control, such as feeds served on WhatsApp and newsletters on LinkedIn

There is no one silver bullet platform to replace Facebook, on which certain publishers became overly reliant, or X. News publishers are trying out a myriad of platforms to see which work best for the specific audiences and use-cases they are cultivating

WhatsApp and LinkedIn are still platforms that are mediated for news publishers, so risks remain. These platforms have highly differentiated alignment with the needs of enterprises producing journalism
 

TikTok has been dealt a devastating blow as a US bill has been signed into law forcing owner ByteDance to sell within a year or face its removal from app stores. 

The stakes are higher than in 2020—China's opposition to a divestment will make an optimal sale harder to conclude, so all sides must be prepared for a ban.   

The TikTok bill introduces extraordinary new powers in the context of the US and China's broad systemic rivalry, though online consumer benefits will be limited.  

Big news publishers are pursuing licensing deals with AI companies, chiefly OpenAI. Not all publishers will see a substantial return; while some news may be important for training AI models, not all publisher content will be

Litigation is a threat point when negotiations stall (see the New York Times), but the copyright status of Large Language Models (LLMs) is uncertain. In the UK, there has been no government intervention (on copyright or otherwise) that could facilitate licensing 

Publishers’ bargaining position is strongest when it comes to up-to-date material that could be important in powering some AI consumer products. They should seek deals to support their journalism, while bearing in mind the risk that new products may get between them and their readers

 

Recent advances in 'Artificial Intelligence' have generated excitement, investment and improved valuations, on the plausible promise of greater efficiency in a range of areas, such as health and coding.

It is still not clear who will profit from this boom. Currently chip-maker NVIDIA is cleaning up, propelled by sales to model developers, also driving demand for cloud computing services.

Leverage in the AI value chain depends on differentiation and barriers to entry, which are high in the chips industry. AI services like chatbots have much lower barriers to entry, while deeper vertical integration of more stages of the value chain could shake things up.

Reports of the "death of the metaverse" are greatly exaggerated. The scope of investment across metaverse-friendly technologies and experiences remains robust, although aggressive global competition in the AI sector could cause speed bumps.

VR, XR, and spatial computing will see a renaissance in 2024, renewing interest from developers as well as major media and entertainment. Gaming continues to be a major driver of the metaverse, with clear opportunity for new major services to compete against Fortnite and Roblox.

The building blocks are therefore all in place for the next consumer growth phase. Scaling the metaverse will be dependent on consistent and sustained trials, and more engagement from media and entertainment beyond games.

Prepared for The Metaverse Society by Enders Analysis.  

Meta's China risk is overstated: the spend from Chinese advertisers is diverse and resilient to everything short of a full-blown trade war. 

Apple (and Tesla) are in the more precarious position of selling directly in-market, and face sharpening domestic competition.

Amazon's exit from selling in China still leaves it exposed: its marketplace strategy is built on Chinese sellers, whose potential routes to market are proliferating with local platforms going global.