Saturday, June 16, 2012

Post 2: Relative Advantage

Of the five innovation attributes discussed by Rogers in the our main text, relative advantage seems to be most important. Please choose a new communication technology that you are familiar with and discuss why it is (or it isn’t) superior than earlier technologies. Can you predict the speed of adoption of this technology in the future based on its relative advantage? 


Ben Lortz said...

The new communication technology that I would like to discuss is Twitter. Twitter is an online social networking service that allows users to post their thoughts, responses, and blogs about whatever they wish to. This new service is rapidly spreading throughout the world because of its easy usage and personal touch that it entails. Twitter does not look to be slowing down anytime soon and with the many advantages it has over other social networking services it will most likely continue to grow.

Twitter is used over many other social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace because of its simple usage, its availability to users, and the personal connection it creates between its users. Twitter is by far one of the most simple social networking services to use. A user simply needs to "follow" another user in order to receive that person's tweets. This allows users to follow a wide range of people and receive updates whenever they post a new tweet or comment. By having this simple connection between users Twitter is creating a sense of a personal relationship also between the users. By doing this someone like myself can follow a famous person and whenever they post a tweet I can feel connected to them because I am part of their Twitter group and I now know what they are thinking. Another main reason that Twitter is superior to other social sites is because of mobility and speed of the service. Twitter has basically become another form of a text message on smart phones and this has enabled millions of users have Twitter at the palm of their hand every minute of the day.

I believe that Twitter is only at the first stages of its growth and is still in the bottom half of its S-Curve growth. For example the other night I saw that the NBA Finals is now sponsoring a Social Media Awards show on which they will choose the best plays from the past NBA season in order of how many tweets each play received when they occurred. This is amazing to me that a social networking site like Twitter can cause an entire sport to have an awards show about it and this just shows how fast Twitter is growing and will most likely continue to grow for many years.

Joshua Jordan said...

I am surprised that you think that Twitter is still on the bottom half of the s-curve - I would place it definitely on the top half, approaching saturation. I remember Rick Sanchez on CNN twittering and he was an early adopter with high visibility - and Rick Sanchez has been canned for at least two years and he had been using it on his program long before that. So he could have pushed others into using it by showing its effectiveness in getting news out quickly. So twitter has been out there fore some time and in the limelight.

The problem I have with twitter though is that it seems to be stuck in a box - you can't do a lot with it because it is so basic, which can be a very good thing; however, the adoption rate can move much faster. Facebook, by comparison, has many more areas to explore (and features already like twitter). So, people can easily be swayed away from one innovation to another, superior one for the situation -i.e., American's have the money and time to invest in more appealing, yet complex, innovations And, clearly the more complex a system, the longer it will take to reach saturation.

I do think, however, you are definitely right in terms of its simplicity for rapid dispersal of communications for a group of people. But this supports my point. Consider the Arab Spring: it wasn't as if only three or four Arabs were tweeting, thereby orchestrating the uprising themselves. It was because the people already knew about twitter and had adopted it, and those that didn't learned very quickly. Thus, in the Arab Spring, we saw governments crumble in days because they could not handle a completely networked resistance of thousands of people - the only response was an internet kill switch. In other words, it was so saturated, countries turned the entire internet off to stop it. Which, on a side note, America is probably on its way to getting its own kill switch I imagine, especially after that spectacle.

Norene Kelly said...

Why might an e-reader (e.g., Nook, Kindle) be perceived as superior to a printed book? Two possibilities, according to Rogers, are economic factors and social status, so let’s look at those.

In terms of cost, these are some release dates and costs:
Sony Reader - 2006 - $349
Amazon Kindle – 2007 - $399
B&N Nook – 2009 - $259
Nook Color – 2010 - $249
Current prices for various e-readers are in the $100-$300+ range and they offer more than the earlier e-readers. So the pattern is similar to most technologies -- as time goes on, the price comes down and you get more for your money. Regardless, the library is definitely cheaper!

I think a person holding an e-reader is generally perceived as having a higher social status than a person reading a book. James Anthos, program director for Information Technology at South University, Columbia, says “You are definitely not ‘cool’ if you don’t have the latest technology in cell phones, one or more iPads, and an e-book reader. Even the government is pushing for the standard use of e-books instead of printed textbooks.”

So yes, the decreasing cost, increasing functions, and the status an e-reader conveys certainly help predict the speed of adoption of this technology in the future. But are e-readers superior to the tried-and-true book? I think the greatest pluses are the abilities to “carry” 1000s of books with your own annotations in a single device, as well as the search and sharing capabilities. As the technology continues to evolve, I think that at some point e-readers will be superior -- if not quite yet.


Norene Kelly said...

Regarding what might be the Twitter adoption rate in terms of S-curve growth --
At the adoption rate for Twitter is identified as:

July 2006 – Launch
March 2008 – 1.3 million registered users
April 2009 – 6 million registered users
April 2010 – 105 million registered users
Sept. 2010 – 145 million registered users
Sept. 2011 – 200 million registered users

This makes Twitter seem closer to the top of the curve rather than the bottom; however, more information is needed. Number one, we don’t really know what number of users might be the saturation point. Number two, those are registered users, not active users. As the website further notes, in Sept. 2011, 50 million users log in every day and 100 million log in once a month. For example, I registered and used Twitter for a class but haven’t looked at it since, so should I be counted as a user? For some technologies it is easy to define “user,” “non-user,” and “used but abandoned,” but with free web services the line can be quite ambiguous.

Daniela Dimitrova said...

Very interesting point, Norene! I do agree that with technology status is a key factor for adoption. That's why we see some "irrational" decisions to adopt if only economic factors are taken into consideration.

Having joined Twitter relatively recently, I am still getting used to "tweeting" and "following" various sites. I do enjoy its simplicity and mobility. In terms of overall penetration, it was about 13% in the U.S. last year: I am sure the numbers are growing though.

Shaun Kelly said...

Regarding Twitter: I'd suggest that Facebook isn't really a direct competitor to Twitter (and that MySpace isn't a competitor to anything anymore, although they were still relevant when Twitter was just starting out). Facebook is first and foremost a social network. It's focused on reciprocal relationships between users. Twitter is much less a social network. Twitter's biggest benefit is that it doesn't require reciprocal relationships between users (Facebook only recently started allowing this.) Twitter is intent to be a channel for communication, to spread and receive news, information, and ideas. I'd say more than half the people I follow on Twitter don't follow me back (and vice versa). I don't think people choose Twitter over Facebook, rather they choose to use Twitter in addition to Facebook, independent of their decision to use Facebook.

Shaun Kelly said...

The technology that I want to discuss is the tablet computer. When I say tablet computer, I refer specifically to the lightweight, touch-based tablet computers that were pioneered by the iPad (and since then, we've seen Android, Palm, and now Windows 8 tablets in the same form factor.)

The tablet has several advantages over desktop and laptop computers running desktop operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux). The biggest advantage is the ergonomic advantage of a touch-based input system. Removing the abstraction of a keyboard and mouse interface allows for a much more intuitive interaction with the device. Additionally, the devices are incredibly lightweight, portable, instant on allowing quick access to software, have superior battery capabilities, and user interface that encourages focus by keeping one application front and center. Oh, and the prices are pretty good, too. They do have a couple of downsides, though. Larger screens than allowed by tablets allow increased productivity; processor power, limited by size and battery constraints, limits the capability of the software, and text input on tablet devices is pretty difficult. (Which is why I'm getting my blog and first paper in before I leave town for the weekend!)

The relative advantages over current PCs would indicate a pretty rapid adoption. Indeed, Apple had sold 55 million iPads by the end of 2011 (, after only two years of existence. It took them 22 years to sell that many Macs.

That said, a lof of the advantages (size, battery, software, touch interface) are things that can be integrated into existing laptops, so many of those advantages may be gone in the future, slowing growth for tablets and giving laptops and new life.

Bobbi Newman said...

Norene you might be interested in this report from Pew about the saturation of e-readers

Only 21% of American's have read an ebook and the number who own an ereader (or tablet) is smaller only 19%. *

While it is true that there are many advantages to ereaders are there still far too many issues with ebooks - DRM, loss of first sale doctrine rights, leasing vs buying (chances are you don't really own that ebook you bought, inability to moves books files across platforms (you can't just switch from a Kindle to a Nook) publishers unwillingness to allow libraries to loan their ebooks.

No matter how low the price of ebooks and ereaders drops there is still a price associated with them, a price that a significant portion of the US population can't afford.

You might also find this article worth a read.
"every time a discussion of ebooks turns, seemingly inevitably, to "Print is dead, traditional publishing is dead, all smart authors should be bailing to the brave new electronic frontier," what I hear, however unintentionally, is "Poor people don't deserve to read.""

Don't get me wrong I love ebooks and ereaders in fact I have a Kindle. Just don't assume they'll be replacing print any time soon.

*In the interest of disclosure I should admit I serve on the library advisory board for this research

Bobbi Newman said...

They key to relative advantage seems to be the relative part. A new technology does not have to necessarily be superior to a previous but only perceived as superior. That perceived superiority may have little or nothing to do with actual problems with the previous technology.

Take Facebook for example. In theory Facebook has been ripe for a replacement technology for years – its privacy policy is appalling and changes regularly without notice, it’s recent fumbling of its stock, its continual insistence that you add your location, your hometown, your high school etc. These are all things people complain about regularly and frequently yet we haven’t seen a replacement? Why not? There have been attempts for sure, and yes some of those alternatives do indeed offer superior privacy settings (one of the largest and most frequent complaints about Facebook). So why haven’t people migrated? Some how it is still perceived that Facebook is superior, it had the relative advantage over any competitors. What will be fascinating is see what will finally topple it and what it will take to create the tipping point. You know it will happen eventually

Stuart Davidson said...

The communication technology that I would like to discuss is use of smart phones. Smart phones aren’t necessarily a brand new technology, but they are a product with a high degree of perceived relative advantage. The smart phone replaces traditional phones that only offered calling and texting service. They have experienced a very rapid speed of adoption, as smart phones now dominate the cell phone market.

Smart phones are superior to traditional cell phones (and land-lines) because of the high degree of compatibility between their functions and the needs of people in the modern world. These phones allow people to access information that once required a computer. For example, if you are visiting a new city and looking for a restaurant, a smart phone can provide you with a list of nearby restaurants, their locations, and possibly even reviews from other patrons. All of this information can be accessed in a matter of seconds. Smart phones also allow a user to get driving directions from their current location to any desired point. A smart phone user will virtually never get lost. Those two examples are just a small fraction of features that smart phones offer, none of which is offered by traditional phones.

Predicting the speed of adoption is easy because smart phones have already been widely adopted and continue to increase in popularity. It is now fairly uncommon to see someone without some type of smart phone. The capabilities of smart phones will continue to improve because of their integration with everyday life. For example, it is now possible to pay a credit card bill through a checking account on a smart phone. The whole bill pay process takes about five seconds, as opposed to the ten minutes it takes to write a check and mail it to a credit card company.

Stuart Davidson said...

In response to Bobbi's comments regarding Facebook:

I agree that Facebook is ripe for replacement, but I don’t know that it needs to be replaced. It’s possible that social networking is a fad to some degree, and that any alternative to Facebook will have to be so different that it will be placed in a completely different category of social media. The features that Facebook offers (status updates and picture uploading) seems to cater more toward an audience that is 14 – 24 years old. That age group typically has an abundance of free time and a greater desire for attention and recognition from their peers.

I believe that Facebook will remain a niche product for that age group as older users start to “outgrow” the services that are offered. I also believe that the popularity of social networking overall will regress over the years as it has already become saturated with participants as well as corporations using it as a marketing vehicle. The lack of privacy offered by Facebook and other sites may also contribute to users becoming more traditional in their methods of communication.

Anand Tripathi said...

I was really fascinated to learn more about the Web 2.0 technology in this class. Web 2.0 is about revolutionary new ways of creating, collaborating, editing and sharing user-generated content online. It's also about ease of use. There's no need to download, and teachers and students can master many of these tools in minutes. Technology has never been easier or more accessible to all. ( Today we can upload documents, pictures, and videos and save tons of information online and access it at anytime. It gives the users freedom to work from anywhere. Today a lot of work places are using these technologies and eliminating the concept of offices all together. Social gathering sites like Google Hangout are taking place of actually meeting rooms.

2.0 is only at the first stages of its growth and is still resides in the bottom half of its S-Curve growth. It has tremendous potential and with smart phones where people have access to internet and can communicate and collaborate on the go.

Anand Tripathi said...

Regarding the Smart Phone Technology. The adoption rate for that is going to be fairly slow for the following reasons:

1) Not everyone is computer literate
2) These days the service providers are not offering unlimited data plans hence it's an additional charge to your regular text & talk
3)The smart phones cost more than your regular flip phones.

In the corporate arena the smart phones are very popular but outside of that I think people are still using flip phones.

Sam Shenker said...
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Sam Shenker said...

The Communication technology I’d like to discuss is online streaming video. When most people hear streaming video they think of Netflix playing movies or Hulu playing TV shows. But a new trend has emerged as the internet gets faster and computers have become more powerful. Streamers, perhaps most known in the e-sports community, are individuals that release an unproduced live feed of a webcam and or whatever they are doing on their computer or smartphone.

Streamers often read and respond to a live IRC chat of audience members as well as tweets. This allows for much more feedback rather than a one way information channel. The amount of capital needed to stream is minimal creating a very low barrier of entry to additional streamers to start. Streaming also became popular among Occupy Wall Street protesters as a way to broadcast and archive the protests to avoid police confiscating evidence and to circumvent other mass media outlets that for some time under-reported the movement.

Stream video on a small scale has become increasingly popular. However, it is difficult to predict if this technique will spread beyond its current communities. The maturity of streaming in particular communities might lead to the growth of streaming to be more dependent on the number of people who become interested in e-sports and other fringe topics in the long term. Due to the ease of entry to start streaming, if additional communities find streaming well equipped to their needs, the growth curve might actually have many s-shapes as the number of uses discovered increases quickly saturate the demand for the newly found use.

Streaming lends itself well to niche interests as it doesn’t make sense to invest in a high production value fringe interest. The market to produce an expensive television program or documentary usually focuses on broad interests. Therefore for most, there isn’t a relative advantage to adopt watching streaming video. But as we have seen with YouTube, the culmination of a multitude of niche interests can quickly become a behemoth.

Sam Shenker said...

I think in regards to Facebook being replaced, the largest, but not necessarily likely threat against it is that Facebook itself is building the infrastructure to easily replace it. Telling all of your friends you are moving to a new service is already organized for you all within Facebook. One of the largest draws of Facebook is that everybody and their dog is on Facebook. Creating a powerful tool to get in touch with either friends, relatives, or high school reunion classmates. This however is a chicken and egg problem therefore I think the biggest threat to Facebook does not come from another company directly competing for social network users but people becoming aware of how Facebook uses their lucrative personal information and user habit changes or they petition the government to protect them limiting the current business model.

iafuelrunner said...

Vungle is a new mobile app promotion company who generates revenue by working with mobile app developers to monetize their apps through in-app video trailers. So, in short, Vungle create a HD video of how a new app works and places it within a currently adopted app to generate revenue for the existing app and create potential revenue for a new up and coming app.
This is an example of monetary incentivizing diffusion as more widely adopted apps received payment for placing the promotional videos for new apps in their own apps.

I believe this HD video format promotion is superior to previous technologies for promoting apps for several reasons. First, the target audience for a new mobile application would be the early adopters of mobile applications so you are targeting correctly. Second, mobile app users outpace laggards in terms of smartphone use so the medium for promotion is better than promoting a new app on television where you’re reaching a much larger, less relative segment. Third, the creators of the new video in-app promotional strategy is already garnering attention from the early adopters of previous innovations such as Google and AOL. While those technology giants are early adopters compared to the general public, they are likely laggards compared to mobile app developers who quickly review and vet new application options.

This innovation has spread amazingly quickly (the company seemed to pounce out of obscurity since early May of this year). Their rapid take-off I believe is based, in part, on Vungle’s ability to create, shoot and place their trailer-esque videos into other mobile apps within 24 hours. This innovation will spread quickly due to its quick functioning time and with the fact that it is a revenue-generation point for growing mobile application companies that are looking to add to their bottomlines and lure additional investors.

Vungle’s website
Venture Beat

iafuelrunner said...

As we move back and forth on the Twitter s-curve conversation, I'd like to ask a question. While the overall penetration of Twitter is 13%, couldn't we review the adoption of Twitter based on target markets. I can't imagine we should use "all of the current human race" when considering the adoption rate of any new technology, so I believe the conversation is leading us to this: the penetration of Twitter is based on who you consider to be the target market. For those 15-20 the adoption rate could be much higher than in the 40-50yr old range.

Sam Shenker said...

Relative advantage explains target market. Many older adults for one reason or another perceive less advantage in adopting twitter than the effort it takes to adopt it. So yes certain demographics likely have a greater majority of people using twitter even if only 13% of the general population uses it.

Guntuku Dileepkumar said...

Mobile phone is the new communication technology that I am familiar with and would like to discuss its adoption in agricultural extension systems for disseminating information from lab to land.

From the ages, agricultural extension has been recognized as an essential mechanism for enabling information and knowledge transfers from agricultural research labs to farmer fields. The research-farmer linkages mediated by the extension system played a crucial role in the advancement of food security during green revolution. Today, extension systems are in a state of decline in many countries. Many of the extension agents have come to believe extension has to escape from the narrow mindset of transferring technology packages while moving toward a constantly innovating knowledge transfer mode that supports decisions, innovation and personal growth among farmers and seed entrepreneurs.

Advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provided enormous opportunities to explore web based knowledge sharing and extension functionaries in transferring technology packages from laboratory to farm to the broadest number of farmers, for example Agropedia, AgMark, Market Maker, eXtension etc. However many of these web based extension portals have limitations to establish the last mile connectivity.
The advent of mobile technology has addressed a greater array of earlier ICT platform last mile connectivity issues – infrastructure, connectivity, training needs, literacy issues etc. It also further reduces the investments on capacity building activities. As the farmer’s started owning mobile phones it is relatively advantageous to use mobile as a communication medium than the array of earlier ICT platforms (information kiosks, web, fixed phones etc.) for transferring information from lab to land.

Based on its relative advantage, I believe the speed of adoption of the mobile phone technology in the future is higher than the array of earlier ICT platforms. For example, in the year 2003 in Africa there were 6.1 mobile subscribers for every 100 persons as compared to 3.0 fixed line subscribers per 100 persons. In 2005, there were 52 million mobile subscribers compared to 25 million for fixed lines. The commission for Africa estimates that the number of mobile subscribers in Africa will continue to expand at the rate of 35 per cent over the next few years.

Guntuku Dileepkumar said...

Norene, Twitter adoption rate in terms of S-curve growth is interesting.. thanks for posting this information.

Guntuku Dileepkumar said...
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Guntuku Dileepkumar said...

Anand, thanks for brining the discussions on web 2.0 technologies. Web 2.0 covers wide range of applications - wiki, blog, forums, virtual networks etc.

The Web 2.0 technologies are relatively advantageous than the Web 1.0 technologies.

In Web 1.0 the web administrators has control on posting messages on a specific website controled by them. In the case Web 2.0 the web administrators create the empty boxes and allow users to populate the content. As a result the web content growing enormously. This has been happening from many years. So I believe the Web 2.0 technologies are not in the bottom half of its s-curve growth. Because now its time for web 3.0 technologies (semantic web) that focuses on organizing content on web 2.0 platforms to provide meaningful searches.

Dan MacKenzie said...
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Dan MacKenzie said...

The innovation I am familiar with and want to look at is more of a process, but I am looking at the purchase of personal insurance on the Internet. Generally speaking, at this time the product that is widely available is auto insurance, so that is what I will be looking at.

The relative advantages for online purchase are mainly the feeling of control a person may have over their insurance, as well as the ability to make the purchase on their own time, as opposed to having to take time out of their day to either go down to their agents office or call an 800 number. It also has high relative advantage for the insurance companies because it allows direct distribution of a product, and more direct communications with a customer.

I say control over the insurance because a big part of the process for people purchasing online is learning what their insurance policy consists of; whereas in the past I think a lot of people simply called their agent for a policy, were told a price, and paid whatever the price was. In the online world people can see the components of each policy, decide for themselves what is and is not important, and adjust the amount of coverage for what they think is good for them.

Of course timing is a factor as well. Although a lot of companies now offer 24-hour phone sales and customer service, the ability to pause the process and come back allows the customer to keep the purchase in line with anything else that might be going on in their lives (which is the case with any on-line retail.)
The big problem I see for a lot of people is overadoption. Many people will manipulate the purchase simply to get as low a price as possible, when their needs may necessitate much higher coverage than the cheapest option available. Also some people may forgo certain coverages all together that may be required, for bank loan for example. This gets into the problem with insurance being a preventative adoption, which is a different problem.

The diffusion of this innovation is probably somewhere towards the middle, perhaps in the early majority stages still. I think the problem with this particular innovation is that many people simply will never be comfortable making an important economic decision without direct input from a professional or licensed agent. It’s not something I see ever reaching 100 percent adoption.

Dan MacKenzie said...

Regarding what Shaun said about tablet computers, I would agree with the ergonomic advantage. I think that it increases computer access for certain population groups and helps round out the top of the s-curve for tablet adoption. Specifically I am thinking of individuals with a handicap that limits dexterity/mobility. My mother had a stroke a few years ago and never really regained the full use of her left hand. She began having difficulties reading books (she has always been a voracious reader) as well as basic computing. We got her a Kindle Fire, which allowed her to hold the computer in her less agile hand, and navigate with her good hand. I’m not sure if tech companies are really taking the accessibility angle, but it’s something I could see that would really stress the relative advantage of a tablet over a traditional computer.

Henry Nav said...
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Henry Nav said...

The communication technology I would like to explore is Online Money Transfer. Online Money Transfer (henceforth, "OMT" in this discussion) is the process whereby money is transferred through the internet. It serves as a major alternative to paying with traditional methods such as in-person cash, checks or money orders.
While OMT deals primarily with the transfer of money and may not be immediately perceived as involving communication, it actually involves more than the money being transferred. The context in which money is transferred consists of significant information that is communicated along with the movement of funds. For example: the purpose of the funds, the schedule that is followed by the transfer, the relationship details between the sender and the recipient, any other details (such as notes, remarks, comments, requests) being sent together with the money. All these details prove that OMT involves both communication and technology, and can be a worthwhile topic to explore.
The present landscape of OMT includes well-known technology companies such as PayPal (part of auction giant eBay), financial service companies like Western Union and major U.S. banks providing services in this area of commerce for a few years now, with PayPal having started more than a decade ago (2000). While the adoption of OMT has not reached the same widespread reach as other communication technologies, such as those of Facebook and Twitter, OMT seems to have found a niche market. Such market seems to have specific user/customer characteristics - proficiency in using technology, appreciation of its convenience, trust in its security and privacy protection, and previous exposure to users of the technology. These characteristics have so far given OMT a relative advantage over traditional forms of payment, in the specific social group. On the other hand, the same characteristics, or lack of them, have prevented OMT's diffusion in mainstream society.
One of my main goals is to learn the details of the social segment where OMT has established a base of regular customers, with accompanying hope of gaining insights on how the technology can further spread.

Henry Nav said...

In response to Sam Shenker's investigation of online streaming video as a communication technology.

I believe there are few topics that can match this in terms of its proximity to the bleeding edges of communication and of technology, so congratulations on the great selection and good luck with the topic. I would be very interested in your research findings. Online streaming video (especially live streaming) pushes the envelope of both communication and technology.
Twitter and Facebook has satisfied the need to propagate and follow news in the form of text tweets and status updates. I would say that at this point both Twitter is nearer to the bottom of, while Facebook is closer to the middle of the S-curve for tweet broadcasting and subscription. The future only brings further growth for both.
Online streaming expands this concept. Instead of just text, tweets can now come in the form of live video feeds. If the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." were true, how much more words is a 5-second, 10-second, 10-minute or even an ongoing video stream is worth! And instead of just a past event (technically), a video tweet can be live, by all respects. This conceptual expansion from text to online video is very interesting, because the additional information can potentially be several orders of magnitude larger.
And where there is more information transmitted, there is usually more complex and more expensive technology. This further makes the diffusion of online streaming video a more interesting phenomenon to observe. Technology in this case brings both opportunity and hurdles. At the user experience level, online video streaming can also be perceived as the incarnation of going into a remote person's point of view, for one. Then again this scenario brings both opportunity (commercial, educational) as well as challenges (privacy, morality). Very interesting topic to explore in the angle of technology diffusion, to say the least!

Joshua Jordan said...

One technology that I think is in its infancy and ready to break out into the mainstream is a streaming technology, one where movies are streamed (for a price) simultaneously to that of movies released into the theaters. Essentially, the movie theater would be facing an existential battle against those who can sit in their homes and stream the new release.

I think there are converging elements that make this a possibility. For instance, the price of large lcd and led televisions have begun to drop dramatically in the past few years making home theaters fairly common. Another factor is that many television, dvd/blu-ray, video game console, etc., manufacturers are now coming programmed and equipped with wireless internet technology due to the success of other companies streaming rental movies or a library of films (i.e., netflix). Also, one has to consider the cost of gasoline is pushing up as tensions in the middle east are incredibly high - this is going to have an effect on potential moviegoers wanting to go out and travel to the theater. In fact, once Israel attacks Iran in the next few months (just prior to the elections I imagine), gasoline prices will surely explode. Many more factors feed into this on the monetary side - massively inflated prices at the theater for food items is definitely a big one, for another example. I could see a family of four easily dropping over $100 to go see a movie and get refreshments.

The current barrier to the streaming of in-theater movies is the studios who are intensely afraid of the of pirating movies, but there has been a crackdown on torrents in recent months that has been more severe than I have ever seen. Perhaps the studios are finally gaining the upper hand. Even still, however, when torrents were very mainstream and pirating was rampant, the pirating of movies was something in the range of 1-3%. Another barrier is price to some extent - the attempts that I have seen for this type of streaming set the dollar amount well out of what a reasonable person is going to pay (for those of you that have, I expect it to have been one damn good movie), and the movies usually open for such streaming are always more obscure.

I think the conditions are ripe for this sort of streaming to take off - I think it would be great to have the ability to watch an in-theater movie in the comfort of my own home. All that is needed is a shift in the flow of money, noticeable to the movie studios and a drop in price for the service to meet reasonable expectations. Once this occurs, we could be watching blockbuster, in-theater movies at home, or, if developed on a platform similar to netflix, we could be watching them from virtually anywhere we wanted - maybe on a laptop in a condemned movie theater...

Daniela Dimitrova said...

Great discussion so far! More than 30 comments and some interesting questions to think about:

1) How do we calculate an adoption rate? Rogers says it is based on the number of people "within the social system." Although the social system may refer to the country as a whole, diffusion agents can focus on certain demographic groups (e.g. gen ex-ers) or other target markets.

2) Adoption is affected by five innovation attributes, the main one of which is relative advantage. How can we define relative advantage? Again, it is relative to the person (the potential adopter) -- that's why adoption decisions may seem "irrational" from another person's point of view.

3) What makes a direct competitor? Is Twitter a threat to Facebook? What about the different video streaming technologies discussed earlier?

4) How can we define an active adopter? Again in the case of Twitter, many "users" tweet very rarely while a small minority is extremely active

5) And finally, a question that we will come back to later in this class: is diffusion always desirable? Do we lose something if we move to newer technologies such as e-books or online insurance services?

Feel free to explore these questions individually or as a group as we move forward with the class!