Conclusions of the DigiWorld Future 2016 debates


Yves Gassot
CEO IDATE DigiWorld,

The next stage in the digital revolution will be the big leap forward in major manufacturing sectors, now being pressured to make the digital transition by a combination of game changers: IoT, big data and artificial intelligence.


IDATE DigiWorld has just published the latest edition of its DigiWorld Yearbook. Three public events are held every year, in Brussels, London and Paris, to coincide with its release. Under the banner of “DigiWorld Future,” these events attracted more than 800 industry professionals this year, and allowed both our own teams and a host of industry luminaries to discuss market trends and our predictions for the internet, telecom and TV markets in 2025.

Looking at market trends, our belief is that in the coming years we will need to move beyond the uncertainties over the smartphone market’s loss of momentum, the disappointments over the poor performance of pioneer wearable tech, and over how long it is taking for a mass market to develop around virtual reality. Of course they are all signs of the time, just like economists’ concerns that perhaps Moore’s Law no longer applies and that productivity gains have been decreasing since 2006.

We nevertheless believe that an extraordinary potential surrounds the game changers born of the combination of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and artificial intelligence – and no doubt 3D printing as well. The tremendous work being done in these arenas by companies such as Michelin and Engie, which were outlined at our DigiWorld Future event[1], will undoubtedly have an impact in terms of productivity and transforming value chains – not least in furthering the servicisation trend in customer relations. We are clearly at a pivotal moment in time: when innovation is flourishing but positive outcomes are still some way down the road. It will still take some time for the pieces of the technical puzzle to come together (whether the still complex issues surrounding network standardisation or IoT management platforms) and for the required human expertise and appropriate business models to be put into place.


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Scenarios for the future

Recognising market trends is also a way for us to identify the core variables of future market scenarios, not to predict this or that players’ strategy, but rather to build a solid foundation for a structured exploration of the different (and deliberately opposite) possible futures.

We have chosen two main avenues when mapping out our scenarios for the internet’s possible futures. The first avenue distinguishes the scenarios according to whether or not they rely heavily on processing and utilising personal data – something that will ultimately be influenced by internet users’ willingness to share their data, and on regulatory restrictions.

The second allows us to define scenarios with respect to standardisation and competition levels. In very basic terms, we could imagine on the one hand an extreme decomposition of market functionalities thanks to a vast selection of available open source software and API (the dream of geeks everywhere) and, on the other, a push to integrate the latest innovations into the massive platforms run by the Internet giants (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), reaping the benefits of economies of scale and network economies.



Naturally, for those wanting to delve further into these projections, the wisest course of action would be to get a copy of the 2016 DigiWorld Yearbook, where you will also find our teams’ insights into the different markets that make up the DigiWorld, along with valuable data and analysis of the events that have shaped the past 12 months.

As always, we welcome any comments and suggestions you might have for the 2017 and all future editions of our DigiWorld Yearbook!

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the 2016 DigiWorld Yearbook

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[1] But also a host of other manufacturers (GE, Audi, Airbus…) along with the major service (hotels) and finance (banking and insurance) industries, mass media, telecoms, etc.


IDATE DigiWorld predicts better connectivity and hyper-personalised internet services.


The independent telecoms, internet and digital media analysts at IDATE DigiWorld have announced a number of trends to look out for over the next decade in its annual DigiWorld Yearbook report, out this month.

These include cheaper smartphones, dwindling sales of tablets, the increasing use of IoT technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), and sustained growth in the digital economy. The European think-tank expects to see a continued rise in cyber-attacks and trust issues surrounding digital companies, which will lead to enhanced security protocols as consumers embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), especially to help protect their connected cars or smart homes. Improved connection speeds, especially for Europe, and better reliability for mobile and household internet services are also on the cards, with a gradual move from 4G to 5G and fibre-optic broadband (FTTH).

In its research, IDATE DigiWorld looks at how further consolidation in the telecoms industry could be replaced in future by more cross-industry mergers between networks, technology, television, media, transportation and industry: for instance, companies like Google and Apple making further in-roads into the automotive industry; or major telco and tech companies buying more into television and streaming services.

With sustained growth in online services, the industry experts at IDATE DigiWorld expect a gradual shift away from owning to using: for example, people sharing cars via an app; or streaming music and video-on-demand films, rather than buying CD’s, DVD’s or downloads. The move towards more on-demand, subscription services is likely to be driven by the increasing use of ad-blocking software which, in turn, could make the abundance of free internet services (like YouTube) a thing of the past.

“A wide range of services are sold for a minimal per-unit cost and consumed en masse, which helps to build a gigantic digital services market for telecoms and internet, estimated at more than €2,900 billion in 2025, or almost 7% annual growth,” said the report.

The two-hundred-page report also considers how Bitcoins, blockchains, mobile payments and crowdfunding will impact the future of banking and finance, arguing that further development in internet services will help ‘cut out the middleman’ in other industries too, like travel and retail. Other considerations include Big Data and how EU legislation is coping with data privacy and protection, as well as how, in future, more access to personal data might affect people’s insurance premiums or requests for loans.

“We’re riding a wave of innovation that’s never been seen before, especially in the business sector with the continuing migration to the Cloud and the prospects that the Internet of Things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence might bring. However, at the same time, this throws up a number of potential issues, such as how the Public Cloud is now in the hands of tech giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft,” said François Barrault, President of IDATE DigiWorld.

Despite a context of relative saturation, as shown by recent stagnation in smartphone sales, IDATE DigiWorld predicts modest growth returns for Western telcos and digital media companies during the years ahead; but bigger gains in China, India and Africa, where further global consolidation is expected both at the European and worldwide level. In television, Asia/Pacific will become the world’s largest market during the next decade, while growth in the main European markets will be weak, and possibly even negative.

“European markets are also still very much weighed down by a very tough competitive and regulatory climate for telecom carriers whose revenue has been on a downward slide since the late 2000s,” said Yves Gassot, CEO of IDATE DigiWorld. “Internet services continue to enjoy double-digit yearly growth of nearly 15%. The segment is expected to represent close to 10% of the entire digi-world in 2016, a figure that will only increase in the near future: in just two years from now, internet services will be out-earning television and video services, which will nevertheless continue to grow by 3% to 4% a year.”

The DigiWorld Yearbook 2016 has been compiled using its own datasets, market reports and 2025 prospective analysis with the support of many leading players in telecoms, IT, internet, TV and digital media, with more than 50 members that include Accenture, AT&T, BT, Google, Gemalto, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Orange, Tata and Samsung.

The findings of the report are being presented this year to various industry chief executives keen to share their outlooks on the 2025 digital economy, through a series of DigiWorld Future conferences: in Brussels, on the 25th May; in London, on the 2nd June; and in Paris, on the 14th June. The complete programme is available at www.digiworldfuture.com

DigiWorld Yearbook infographics

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Smart home : a promising market in the long term


Tiana Ramahandry
Senior Consultant, IDATE DigiWorld

This market is considered one of the most promising in the Internet of Things sector with a number of connected things could climb from 200 to 900 million between 2015 and 2025.


The concept of the smart home can be understood as home automation for the Internet era, but it is a concept that has not yet really caught on.

It encompasses all of the machines in the home that could potentially be connected to the Web. It also includes a wide array of applications, from consumer electronics to home appliances, by way of light bulbs and presence sensors. Today’s market is focused mainly on selling hardware with a built-in connectivity module and which can be controlled remotely using a mobile app. But it now also includes hubs, i.e. central systems that allow the different devices to talk to each other.

Many of the currently available products are connected to managing energy consumption and personal security, as consumers are more inclined to invest in solutions that allow them to lower their electrical bill and/or feel safer in their own home.

A large and heavily populated ecosystem

The digital home ecosystem is vast, populated by a multitude of players from a wide range of industries, including veteran CE and appliance manufacturers, along with power companies and players from the lighting and security industries. Samsung is particularly active in this market, especially since it acquired the start-up SmartThings in 2004. The South Korean giant is selling a complete smart home solution, including a hub to which both the manufacturers’ and its competitors’ equipment can be connected. Philips also has a solid presence in the smart home market thanks to its Hue line of smart bulbs.

The marketplace is also populated by newcomers such as pure players specialised in connected devices – marketing smart thermostats, light bulbs and security cameras. Telcos too have joined the fray, taking advantage
of their modems already deployed in customers’ homes to roll out new initiatives. The Internet giants are also on hand: Google through its acquisition of Nest, a start-up that specialises in smart thermostats, and Apple with its HomeKit smart home development platform.

An ecosystem awash with solution providers means that there are multiple communication protocols at work. The current battle for supremacy between standards is pitting a number of initiatives backed by industry giants against one another.

Adoption of the smart home raises severalquestions

This market, fl edgling as it is, is considered one of the most promising in the Internet of Things sector. IDATE estimates that the number of connected things could climb from 200 to 900 million between 2015 and 2025. Most of the market’s revenue today comes from hardware sales, whose prices are still too high compared to virtually identical products without smart capabilities. Several issues, then, need to be resolved before the market can really take off: the price of connected devices and appliances, privacy concerns raised by the use of personal data, a business model that needs clarifying (including monetising data) and the fragmentation of core technologies.


Discover the perspectives,  key trends, and scenarios about the Internet and Smart Living market  for the next decade through our dedicated report.

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Video On Demand: Europe’s main markets in the aftermath of Netflix world conquest


Florence Le Borgne
Head of the TV & Digital Content Practice, IDATE DigiWorld

Generally speaking, the arrival of Netflix in a new market results in increased programming costs for its competitors.


Using North America as an example, this trend is expected to continue and grow in the coming years, which will question the profitability of such investments.



Service typology

There are generally three types of pay video-on-demand (VOD) services:

TVOD (Transactional Video-On-Demand) services, which include:

EST (Electronic Sell-Through), also known as DTO or 'Download To Own', is like the traditional sale of physical videograms, but in digital form.

DTR (Download To Rent) is like the traditional rental of videograms, but in digital form.

SVOD (Subscription Video-On-Demand) services, which are based on the dominant pricing model used for linear pay-TV: subscriptions

It is common for the same service to offer several pricing models.

Business models and service positioning

The transactional video-on-demand model is based on revenue sharing between the service provider and the rights holders. Contracts between these two parties can be exclusive, but rarely so. The catalogues of transactional video-on-demand services are usually very large (from 10,000 to hundreds of thousands). Although most TVOD services are non-specialised, consumption is mainly focused on movies.

The business model of SVOD is similar to that of pay-TV. Content rights are purchased at fixed price, regardless of actual consumption. The rights may be exclusive for a given period of time and territory. SVOD catalogues have tended to be available for unlimited consumption so far, including many non-exclusive and older titles (over 5 years old). Although most SVOD offerings are non-specialised, fiction series tend to be promoted and consumed the most. Original and exclusive new content is increasingly used for differentiation. There are currently two contrasting marketing strategies used: strategies based on a volume/cost ratio; and differentiation strategies based on premium or special interest positioning.

Competitive environment

The VOD sector as a whole is witnessing strong growth in Europe, driven by a large increase in the number of services emerging in most countries. Between February 2012 and December 2015, the number of services available in the EU increased by a factor of 5.7 on average.

Although the market share in value terms is still dominated by DTR in Europe (56.5% of the total VOD market), this market segment has been the slowest growing segment over the last five years (+215% on average in EU countries between 2010 and 2015). Revenues from subscription services are experiencing stronger growth: a growth rate of 1,824% over the same period. They generated nearly one-third of VOD revenues in Europe in 2015, whereas they only accounted for 7.6% in 2010.

The true start of the SVOD market in a particular country is often whenever Netflix launches there. Note that Netflix is often the main beneficiary of the rapid growth in subscribers that its launch creates. The arrival of the North American giant does, however, trigger a response from the main players in FTA television and pay-TV. It is the combination of all these elements that contributes to better awareness of these services among the general public and facilitates their adoption.

Competitive environment

The growth and success of video-on-demand services can be very different depending on the market. There are various internal factors:

the propensity for local consumers to pay for access to content;

the price differential with local pay-TV offerings;

the prevalence of piracy of audiovisual and cinematic content;


Find out more about the various internal factors

Various issues specific to the structure of on-demand services and players' strategies also play a role:

the relevance of the marketing positioning of the services;

the existence of partnerships with distributors who already have a subscriber/equipment base;

the effectiveness of recommendation systems, which help increase consumption and provide a better user experience;


More information about these issues

Profitability conditions and the challenge facing Europe

The issue of achieving profitability with transactional services is not as critical as for subscription services. Because most transactional service costs are variable costs, proportional to consumption, these services are not expensive to create and only become so when the content is actually consumed.

Therefore, there are no real obstacles to creating new services and the costs of entry into the market are low. This explains the abundance of existing services and the great diversity of players in this segment.

The economy for SVOD services is more delicate: as well as technical and marketing costs, content acquisition costs can be regarded as fixed costs because the content is purchased at a fixed price, regardless of consumption. To that can be added costs related to development or acquisition of a recommendation tool. Subscription services therefore have significant costs even before they have started to recruit subscribers.

If the European industry cannot create some European champions of their own to compete with the US giants, many European players may disappear as the market rationalises.

Discover the perspectives,  key trends, and scenarios about the TV market for the next decade through our dedicated report and register to DigiWorld Future 2016 

DWF15 video report v3For the publication of the 16th edition of the DigiWorld Yearbook (pre-order now), IDATE is organizing a conference based on the detailed analysis of the current situations and some forecasts by IDATE experts on the major digital sectors, the discussion will deal with the great trends and challenges that will disrupt the digital markets by 2025.




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Connected TV: Accelerating OTT video development


Jacques Bajon
Director of Media & Digital Content Business Unit, IDATE DigiWorld

The development of connected TV is inextricably bound up with the widespread availability of high-speed Internet access, a shift to more and more individual viewing and the proliferation of smart devices in the home.


Together, these three elements are steadily revolutionising how viewers access their TV programmes, and providing them with an array of new functions and features. TV sets can be connected to the Internet in several ways. Using:
a smart or connected TV (direct connection, via Ethernet or Wi-Fi),
a connected set-top box,
a streaming box or stick,a connected game console,
or a smart Blu-ray player.

In 2015, almost three-quarters of the televisions being shipped are Smart TVs, even if their owners may not systematically take advantage of the Internet connection. At the same time, the market for streaming devices – whose main purpose is to play online videos – is progressing rapidly. Within this market that is still populated by a great many solutions and services, several trends are taking shape:
the way users access and employ connected TV services has become more simple, and shifted from Internet-centric to video-centric;
managing connectivity with users’ personal devices has become a key issue, with app systems playing an increasingly central role;
OTT services are moving to the TV and making real strides;

More information about main trends

Technological progress in a variety of areas is helping to bolster the market’s development, be it the growing ubiquity of broadband and superfast broadband access in the consumer market, major improvements in video optimisation and compression (HEVC), or the advent of innovative features such as casting which allows users to send video content from a personal device to the television. The main stakeholders in the connected TV ecosystem can be broken down into three categories, based on their original sector of activity: consumer electronics (CE) companies, TV market players and the Internet’s leaders.
CE industry players are working to improve their software interfaces, either through dedicated developments such as Samsung has done with Tizen, or by acquiring another company, as LG has done with WebOS. The aim is to capture the added-value in the marketplace, whether in the arena of services and/or by selling high-end devices.
Players from the TV universe are developing their OTT products, and working to bolster their position on the software side of the equation with more open and hybrid platforms. The connected TV could enable them to renew ties with consumers, and better monetise their plans. Broadcasters and pay-TV providers, especially in the United States, are therefore starting to roll out complete OTT plans which include a live component
Lastly, companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft that dominate the Internet, are very knowledgeable about software, and changing consumer habits. So they are in the best position to deliver a top-notch user experience, whether in terms of smooth and intuitive interfaces, or providing recommendations based on user data. Their increasingly vertical positioning – covering everything from the content to the device – is also bolstering their potential to capture a growing portion of the video entertainment market.

In this way, many scenarios are emerging for Connected TV to 2025, and will determine which industries are likely to increase their control over this environment:


The size of the OTT video market will vary considerably under these scenarios, depending on how the environment evolves and so which industries prevail, and The popularity of the different devices will also evolve along the same lines.

Discover the perspectives,  key trends, and scenarios about the TV market for the next decade through our dedicated report and register to DigiWorld Future 2016 

DWF15 video report v3For the publication of the 16th edition of the DigiWorld Yearbook (pre-order now), IDATE is organizing a conference based on the detailed analysis of the current situations and some forecasts by IDATE experts on the major digital sectors, the discussion will deal with the great trends and challenges that will disrupt the digital markets by 2025.




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From DigiWorld Future to the DigiWorld Summit


Yves Gassot
CEO, IDATE DigiWorld


For some of us here at IDATE DigiWorld, the month of June was devoted to launching the 2015 edition of our DigiWorld Yearbook in London, Paris and Brussels, in that order.

It was not without some modicum of pride that our chairman, François Barrault, was able to rally top-flight special guests for the occasion. In the photos below, you will no doubt recognise the CEOs of BT (London), of Publicis, Orange, Bouygues Telecom and BlaBlaCar (Paris), and the CEO of Proximus (Brussels). I should also like to extend my warmest thanks to the other speakers from Ericsson, Google, IBM, and Verizon, and to the many people in attendance, including a fabulous turnout by DigiWorld Institute members.


Of course, IDATE teams had their role to play at what has become the “DigiWorld Future” series of conferences. This was the inaugural year for these forward-looking events whose purpose was to deliver our snapshots of the Internet, telecoms and TV markets in 2025, and to debate the core trends for the coming decade.

For the sake of brevity, I will confine myself here to just a few words about five major trends.

The great digital shake-up

The DigiWorld is no longer restricted to the few sectors that our Institute has been tracking from the outset (IT, Internet, telecoms, medias). Over recent months, digital innovation has taken hold as vital for company heads in all sectors – insurance, health, automotive, travel, tourism, etc. – which naturally has an impact on ICT sectors as well. We discussed the “softwarisation” of telecoms to underscore the growing influence of network virtualisation, through SDN and NFV.

Acceleration of telecom industry M&A deals

It is no surprise that Europe’s ailing economy has resulted in most markets going from four to three mobile operators. Less expected everywhere and by everyone has been the acceleration in the fixed-mobile convergence trend which is expected to go a long way in shaping the future of continental markets, and now the UK as well. Also noteworthy in recent times are the more or less direct links between mergers and acquisitions on either side of the Atlantic. What remains to be seen in Europe is whether the current spate of mostly in-market deals will led to more complex cross-border deals which seem inevitable, but whose potential synergies are less overt.


The GAFA quartet, i.e. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, have increased their market power in recent months by combining their first-mover assets with a strategy platform that enjoys a cyclical effect: as customer numbers grow so does ad revenue, which in turn makes it possible to attract more content and applications, which attracts more customers, and so on. But does this mean that special rules need to be devised for platforms, or should they be covered by existing telecom regulation? Whenever possible, it would make the most sense to apply existing (competition, contract, consumer, privacy, tax, etc.) laws to ensure fair and equal treatment for players along the chain. We also need to factor in innovation and, for instance, the emergence of new disrupters in vertical markets (Uber, Airbnb and the like) who are also not short on ambition, not to mention veteran heavyweights, such as automotive industry leaders that have no intention of allowing their products – to quote one of our speakers – to become a “smartphone on wheels”.

China’s new digital ambitions

When we talk of disruptions we also need to talk about the new Internet giants who grew up in China. We have seen Tencent and later Alibaba launch their IPOs on the New York exchange, and invest in a growing stable of promising start-ups in the US and Europe. So only a fool would think that China is just the place where iPhones are made.

Content is king, still

The combination of ubiquitous high-speed Internet and a proliferation of screens is fuelling two major upheavals in the TV industry. Today, it is not hard to imagine global distribution strategies that largely by-pass traditional home network operators. Access to premium content will be based more and more on the size of the programme and the ability to pay for itself. Second, viewing is becoming an increasingly individual pastime with users making more personal choices. This marks a break with mass media structures and the traditional models offered to advertisers. As a result, European broadcasters, which are even more fragmented than telcos, need help in accelerating their digital transformation.

I’ll stop there, and let you discover for yourself a more detailed look at current trends and future scenarios in DigiWorld Yearbook 2015, along with datasets and analyses of the digital economy’s main markets.

It only remains for me to say that we look forward to seeing you at the upcoming DigiWorld Summit (17 to 19 November 2015): Digital First, with a great many surprises in store.

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www.idate.org      www.digiworldsummit.com      www.digiworldweek.com


DigiWorld Yearbook 2015, the great digital shake-up

IDATE, Europe’s premier digital economy think tank, uncovers major disruptions in the telecom, Internet and TV markets

Over the past 15 years, IDATE’s DigiWorld Yearbook has become a vital source of information for industry players, delivering analysis of the developments that have shaped the telecoms, Internet and media markets during the year gone by, identifying core global trends and providing snapshots of what lies ahead. The purpose and scope of the Yearbook has expanded as digital technologies have become an increasingly central component in the different sectors’ transformation: connected cars, financial services, insurance, healthcare, retail sales, the collaborative economy…

IDATE Chairman, François Barrault, is delighted to be celebrating this 15th edition, noting that, “we have entered into a new stage in the digital transformation over the past few months. Today, new intermediaries are coming to shake up the status quo, many of them from outside the industry, taking advantage of new technologies and new consumer cultural behaviour to revolutionise the value chain. Everybody knows how Uber has disrupted the taxi business, and Airbnb the hotel market. But finance, insurance, health and automotive industry leaders have all had to sit up to the risk of digital innovations shaking up their ecosystem, and forcing them to depend on external, unavoidable platforms.” This echoes the central theme of the upcoming DigiWorld Summit (17 – 19 November 2015), as IDATE’s annual conference will be held this year under the banner of: “Digital First”.

“For we here at IDATE,” says CEO, Yves Gassot, “whose business it is to wade through the latest market developments on a daily basis, the process of looking back over the year’s events only confirmed the significance of certain game changers such as mobility, the cloud, the Internet of Things, big data and social media. Some would also add 3D printing and artificial intelligence to the list.”

Scorecard for the digital economy in 2015: back on a growth path, but Europe still lagging behind

After the recovery announced in 2013, DigiWorld markets confirmed a stronger rate of growth in 2014, generating 3,700 billion euros. All segments combined, growth increased to 4.4%, which is 0.5 points more than the year before. These figures are still below those being reported for the economy as a whole: global GDP rose by 5.9% in current value in 2014, compared to 5.3% in 2013. This global recovery will become stronger still in 2015, with DigiWorld markets generating 3,900 billion euros, and climbing to 4,400 billion in 2018.
• This improvement can of course be attributed to Internet services which continue to boast more than 20% annual growth and, despite still accounting for only a fraction of the market, are helping to sustain the whole (growing from 275 billion EUR in 2014 to 475 billion in 2018);
• But also to stronger performances from a large number of more traditional segments – which are typically bundled together as core DigiWorld markets, i.e. telecom and IT equipment and services, consumer electronics, TV services, etc. Growth in these markets, i.e. excluding Internet services, rose from 2.8% in 2013 to 3.2% in 2014.
• Europe as a whole continues to lag behind increasingly vigorous North American markets, and the powerhouse that is emerging Asian markets.

2025: snapshots of 10 key trends and three outlook scenarios for Internet, telecoms and TV markets

For the first time, this year’s edition includes outlook scenarios for Internet, telecom and TV markets and players, provided by IDATE’s teams:
• Internet 2025: Will the top platforms become even more powerful?
• Telecoms 2025: Can the top telcos strike a balance between becoming commodities and competing head on with the top OTT companies?
• TV 2025: How can distributors avoid being cut out of the loop?

About the DigiWorld Yearbook

The finest market insights from IDATE experts who track the changes at work in the globe’s telecom, Internet and media industries throughout the year.
The DigiWorld Yearbook is published in English and French and available in print and PDF format.

> The 2014 edition can be downloaded for free on www.idate.org

> The 2015 edition is available for purchase. Print: €100, incl. VAT; PDF: €69, incl. VAT on www.idate.org

For more information: www.idate.org/digiworldyearbook/

infog yearbook15-EN


Platforms regulation

Yves Gassot

Yves Gassot


Year after year, the economic and financial power of the GAFA  quartet of Internet platforms continues to increase. Which brings two questions back to the fore, again and again: what trends might emerge to counter this seemingly inexorable rise? And do we need regulations that apply specifically to platforms?

A quick reminder of what economists mean by platform economics (digital or not): multi-sided markets (i.e. involving interactions between two or more parties) with reciprocal “network effects”. So the more iPhones that Apple sells, for instance, the more attractive its app store becomes to developers (and so to users), and vice-versa. In digital sectors, this characteristic is typically combined with a reduction in fixed costs (software), generating increasing returns as the platform becomes more successful.

By 2025

Network effects usually go hand in hand with another property: asymmetrical prices. If Apple is starting to earn substantial income from the App Store, its business model and profits are rooted chiefly in the high price of its iPhones. With ad-funded models, one side of the market operates as a free service. As we have seen with Apple, digital platforms are a very efficient means of fostering open innovation, and capitalising on innovations from third parties. All of these aspects, which go some way to explaining why “winner takes all” when it comes to platforms, naturally need to rely on the ability to maintain the role of intermediary, and continue to become more proficient at it. Otherwise, the platform’s customers and suppliers will begin to adopt multiple homes, before eventually moving on to another, better platform. The efficiency of the leading platforms is the very reason for the current ambivalence over how much they are serving the greater good. On the one hand are concerns that a dominant OS will abuse its position while, on the other, this popularity can also mean an opportunity for developers, and can have positive repercussions for consumers.

The dichotomy needs to be resolved by taking account of the Internet’s dynamics as a whole. Windows has been through a number of anti-trust investigations but, today, this is the mobile Internet which has moved down the priority.

Worth reading on this topic is the recent IDATE report on "The future of the Internet: 2025". It takes a detailed look at the key technologies for the coming years, and especially at how development scenarios will be shaped by key variables, such as the openness of the Internet ecosystems, or the impact of restrictive privacy or security-related public policies. Here, we will add two other events that take us beyond a GAFA-centric environment. First, 2014 saw a number of Internet powerhouses emerge from the shadows of the GAFA quartet: in China (Alibaba, Weibo…) and in Asia’s leading markets in general (Rakuten, Line…).

We cannot entirely discount the possibility of these players gradually coming to compete head on with their Western peers. Second, we need to consider the position held by new players moving into vertical markets, many of which have carved out a place of sector-specific intermediary – Uber and Airbnb being two prime examples – and which have no intention of being taken over by Google or Apple or the like.

Nevertheless, faced with the realisation that GAFA continue to become increasingly powerful, the inefficiency of antitrust laws and the regulatory asymmetries compared to those imposed on other players along the chain, the idea of regulation that applies specifically to platforms is gradually coming to the fore. It may not be a good idea. Competition law, even ex post, is not necessarily ineffectual.


Plus it will be no simple matter to define the contours of the platform sector. And extending existing sector-specific laws, such as those that apply to electronic communications, to make OTT companies and telcos subject to the same principles, would take us down a path where, as businesses become more and more digitised, every economic sector would be more or less governed by electronic communications laws. Keeping in mind that the upcoming review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications is expected to focus on network access conditions and interconnection – and probably put more emphasis on symmetrical regulation. Should voice and SMS products not be removed from the scope of the telecom sector’s ex ante regulation, rather than adding in competing OTT products such as Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.?

It nonetheless remains that in sensitive areas for digital industry players, such as those governing contract law, taxation, public safety and privacy, we can very easily identify laws that should apply across the board, such as what we find in consumer products and the retail industry. Without having to produce laws that are specific to platforms, the current juncture could provide an opportunity to merge national legal provisions with regional (EU) and global ones, and to ensure that they apply equally to all players along the value chain

For the publication of the last study about "the future Internet in 2025" and  the 15th edition of the DigiWorld Yearbook, IDATE is organizing a conference on the perspectives and key trends that will structure the digital economy for the next decade, DigiWorld Future

Register for the Conference in Paris the 16th of June     Discover the programme

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Yearbook 2014 : The digital economy under pressure


Yves Gassot CEO, IDATE

IDATE, Europe’s premiere digital economy think tank, maps out the changes at work 
in the telecoms, Internet and media industries. The DigiWorld Yearbook 2014 is out.

yearbook2014-image-englishIDATE has published the 14th edition of its DigiWorld Yearbook, the international reference for the current state of the digital world, including key data, the latest developments and insights into the telecoms, Internet and digital media markets.

This year’s Yearbook answers questions such as:
• How are the key digital sectors such as telecom, digital media or Internet of things evolving?
• Can Europe’s ailing telcos turn things around?
• What does the future hold for content industries?
• What forces will influence the Internet’s development towards 2025?

IDATE Chairman François Barrault, points out that, “The DigiWorld Yearbook has become a report of reference for obtaining a concise understanding of what makes the digital ecosystem tick – identifying the chief game-changers of mobility, cloud and big data, the top players’ strategies and the changes at work along the value chain.

IDATE CEO, Yves Gassot comments, “A bumper crop of events unfurled in 2013 and the early months of 2014, hinting at what the future might hold for digital industry markets. Mobility, the cloud and big data are,, the core issues up for debate amongst digital ecosystem stakeholders.”

DigiWorld markets reported a slight uptick in growth in 2013: going from 2.8% in 2012 to 3.2%, generating close to 3,500 billion EUR in revenue.

DigiWorld Yearbook’s editor-in-chief, Didier Pouillot, commented “This modest improvement is a reflection, first, of the ongoing healthy momentum in key sectors and, second, a still bleak economic climate, especially in Europe”.

The first trend is driving a continual rise in consumption, traffic, and a steady rate of device (smartphones, tablets, smart TVs) replacement and upgrades, and is forcing hardware suppliers to work hard to keep up with demand. The second trend is tempering the first as businesses and consumers are feeling the pinch and being careful with their spending. Suppliers too are being cautious about their investments, especially since, in a number of instances, the current state of the market and competition are cutting into their revenue and more importantly, their margins. Ultimately, it is the balance between these two opposing forces – inflationist in terms of volume and conservative in terms of value – that creates the biggest challenges for the ICT industry today.

• Internet services are clearly enjoying the strongest rate of progress at present – reporting growth rates of around 20% a year. At this pace (we expect it to slow slightly: to 16% in the coming years), online services’ weight in the equation compared to core DigiWorld markets will increase from 5% in 2012 to 10% in 2017. In addition to a shift in the balance of power between the two sides, the markets are also being changed from the inside, from both a sectoral and geographical standpoint.
• Equipment: global growth in core DigiWorld markets in 2013 varied from segment to segment: ranging from +6.2% for telecommunications hardware to -5% for consumer electronics. Between the two, computer hardware markets grew by 4.2% last year.
• Internet services: taken as a whole, Internet services enjoyed double-digit growth during this same period, but we can also distinguish several sub-groups. Social media sites, mobile apps and OTT video are the most dynamic today: all reporting over 30% growth in 2013 – and more than 40% and even 50% for social networking sites, on average, over the past three years. Together, they account for around 20% of OTT markets. The cloud is another source of growth, with revenue rising by close to 30% per annum, and singlehandedly accounts for more than a quarter of online revenue, followed by search and e-commerce which are growing by around 20% a year.
• Telecom and TV services: telecom services continue to linger on the bottom, with a growth rate that has been shrinking for the past five years and dropping to +2.5% in 2013. The other two services segments performed virtually on par: +4.5% for IT and software and +4.4% for TV services.

Telecoms: the three challenges

A long journey still lies ahead for Europe in its bid to achieve a single telecommunications market. To be successful, the regional consolidation that now appears to be properly underway will need to rise to three main challenges:
• price wars that threaten telcos’ ability to invest in new generation infrastructure;
• a single European telecoms market, which includes cross-border deals and the creation of truly pan-European players;
• achievement of the margins and critical mass needed to reinvent the telco business model, in an environment being dictated by powerful Internet companies.

Over-The-Top (OTT) making the rules

Any discussions about the future of the digital economy must focus on coming up with business models that are compatible with an all-IP value chain that places most applications and services outside the network.  Despite the balance of power being obviously tipped in favour of the top Internet platforms, we believe the future is still relatively open for the taking.

Will TV go full OTT?

Despite its demise being announced on a near daily basis, linear television will be with us for some time to come – not least because it generates more than 90% of all TV revenue. But profound changes, which are putting tremendous pressure on industry players, are redrawing the global TV landscape. These changes include:
• the swift development of on-demand services, and notably SVOD;
• the gradual disappearance of the technical distinction between distribution on managed networks and online distribution, which will open the way to increased competition for control of retail distribution;
• the IPTV model being called into question, and cord-cutting leading to the emergence of broadcast + OTT solutions.

The DigiWorld Yearbook was launched in three European capitals - Paris, Brussels and London.  The London event took place on 3rd June, opening with a keynote address by Rt Hon. Edward VAIZEY, MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries.  IDATE experts along with those from the industry were also on hand to debate the DigiWorld themes during the course of the evening.

If you are interrested in buying the publication, go to our store.


Le DigiWorld Yearbook 2014 dresse le bilan de l’économie numérique


Didier Pouillot
Head of the Telecom Strategy Business Unit

En 2013, les marchés du DigiWorld ont enregistré un léger rebond de croissance, avec une progression de 
3,2 %. Résumé tirés du tout nouveau livre DigiWorld Yearbook 2014.

« Cette modeste amélioration traduit, d’un côté, l’effervescence continue dans ces secteurs clés, de l’autre, le maintien d’un contexte économique tendu, plus particulièrement en Europe », résume Didier Pouillot, Responsable du DigiWorld Yearbook à l’IDATE.

Le premier phénomène entraîne le marché vers toujours plus de consommation, toujours plus de trafic ; les parcs se renouvellent (smartphones, tablettes, téléviseurs connectés) et les industriels s’efforcent de répondre à cet afflux de demandes.

Le second phénomène tempère le mouvement, en le ramenant aux contraintes du moment : les entreprises, mais aussi le grand public, restent prudents dans leurs dépenses. Les offreurs eux-mêmes surveillent leurs investissements, d’autant que, dans nombre de cas, le marché et le jeu de la concurrence restreignent leurs revenus et, plus significativement encore, leurs marges.

C’est cet équilibre entre deux tensions, inflationniste en volume, conservatrice en valeur, qui pose les défis pour l’industrie des TIC aujourd’hui. Aujourd’hui, la dynamique des marchés est clairement du côté des services internet, qui enregistrent des croissances de l’ordre de 20 % par an. À ce rythme (nous prévoyons un léger ralentissement à… 16 % pour les prochaines années), leur poids par rapport aux marchés cœurs du DigiWorld passerait de 5 % en 2012 à 10 % en 2017. Mais au-delà des transferts de valeur entre les deux blocs, les marchés se déforment aussi à l’intérieur de chacun d’eux, aussi bien sur un plan sectoriel que géographique.

•    Équipements : la croissance mondiale en 2013 varie selon les segments, entre +6,2 % pour les matériels de télécommunications et -5 % pour l’EGP. Entre les deux, le marché des équipements informatiques progresse de 
4,2 %.

•    Services télécoms et audiovisuel : les services télécoms restent en retrait, avec une croissance au ralenti depuis cinq ans et un niveau de +2,5 % en 2013. Les deux autres segments de services ont des performances très proches : +4,5 % pour l’informatique et les logiciels, +4,4 % pour les services audiovisuels.

•    Services internet : si l’on est de manière générale sur des niveaux de croissance à deux chiffres, on peut aussi distinguer plusieurs tendances. Les réseaux sociaux, les applications mobiles et la vidéo OTT sont aujourd’hui les activités les plus dynamiques (plus de 30 % de croissance chacun en 2013, plus de 40 % voire 50 % pour les réseaux sociaux en moyenne au cours des trois dernières années). Ensemble, ils représentent environ 20 % des marchés OTT. L’autre moteur de la croissance est le cloud, dont les revenus progressent encore de près de 30 % par an et représentent à eux seuls plus du quart des revenus OTT ; derrière, le search et l’e-commerce affichent des dynamiques proches de 20 %.