Emerging digital media (EDM) – such IPTV TV options, mobile TV, online or mobile music or user generated content – will experience a slow take-up over the next year or so but, by 2011, will be mainstream.


This is according to a BMI-TechKnowledge report, Emerging Digital Media: Opportunities and Challenges, which aims to identify the main players in the market and develop forecast scenarios leading to informed opinions on how the segment will grow and which technologies are likely to succeed over the next five years.
Astrid Hamilton, ICT analyst and author of the report, says the youth are expected to make up the core of early adopters of mobile media, although not exclusively, and emerging video and music formats will both be high growth categories. Content will, however, have to be both compelling and diverse to drive adoption.
"EDM will change the way consumers and providers interact, whether it be listening to and purchasing music, accessing TV and video or other forms of entertainment such as sharing personal content, gaming and gambling, users will have far greater  control than ever before," she says.
The report has also highlights the fact that social networking and user generated content is changing the manner in which people communicate and consume media.
"Interactivity is an important facet and users of these social networking sites are free to choose whether to consume or contribute, or more usually, both." says Hamilton.
The report expects that more middle and lower income users will be given an opportunity to become part of the digital media ecosystem as new pay TV services, expected to be in the R100 to R200 per month range, come online with the new broadcast licenses being made available by the sector regulator ICASA, and telecommunications prices drop and broadband penetration increases.
However, these customers are less likely to adopt emerging media based technology such as IPTV, which will grow rapidly but remain a relatively small niche by comparison with traditional satellite TV, which will also be offered by the new licensees.
"Compatibility and standards will be important for digital media devices and providers wanting to reach the mass market. Without co-operation between vendors on standards and compatibility of media across the whole EDM market, adoption will be fragmented and consumers will be confused, thus slowing the rate of adoption," Hamilton says.