Digital music boom, but who pays?… Fixed line phones = dinosaurs… Work imperative closes uni places… Worker resource untapped


Digital music to boom – but will they pay?

Well over half of all music sales in Australia will take place via the internet by 2011, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the local entertainment and media industry.

According to the report, by 2011 sales of physical music media such as CDs will decline from its present 60% to just 40.5% of all retail sales, with online music download becoming the standard why to buy music.

While consumer spending is expected to increase 4.3% over the four years to 2011, there are real question marks over the extent to which free (and often illegal) music downloads are leaching growth and profitability from the music industry.

“There is a real concern that the decline in revenue for physical music might outweigh the rise on revenue from digital music,” PwC media partner Paul McNab says.

These concerns are borne out by recent research that shows the growth of legal music downloading slowed dramatically last year.

The survey of internet users by Britain-based entertainment media research and law firm Olswang found that 40% growth in legal downloading in 2005 slowed to just 16% in 2006.

“As illegal downloading hits an all-time high and consumers’ fear of prosecution falls, the music industry must look for more ways to encourage the public to download music legally,” John Enser, head of music at Olswang, said.



Fixed line services on the way out

The death of the fixed-line phone service and its replacement by mobile phones is accelerating, according to an Analysys report covered by iTWire.

According to the report, fixed line phone services in Western Europe are likely to undergo a rapid decline over the next five years.

In five Western European markets, more voice minutes originate on mobile networks than on traditional voice and broadband networks combined, Analysys found. And VoIP might be accelerating rather than slowing the migration of traffic from fixed to mobile networks. “[VoIP] appears to release consumer cash for additional spending on mobile services,” Analysys says.

The decline in fixed-line phones is most advanced in Finland, where mobile-originated calls already account for 64.6% of voice traffic, a proportion that is likely to grow to 90% by the end of 2008.

Even countries that have been slow to migrate to mobile networks are now accelerating their uptake, the report says. In Germany, for example, 24.3% of calls came from mobiles in the final quarter of 2006, up from 17.5% in 2005.



Access to university denied to the poor

Concern about deteriorating opportunities for students from low socio-economic backgrounds to get into university has prompted the fast tracking of a study into equity and access by Universities Australia.

There is concern that for students from indigenous, rural and some metropolitan backgrounds it is getting harder, not easier, to get to uni, writes The Australian Financial Review. A recent report into student finances found that a quarter of fulltime undergraduates regularly missed classes because they were working.



Solution to labour shortage: women and older workers

Women re-entering the workforce after having children to help service their hefty mortgages in the suburbs and the over-55s working longer are the biggest contributors to the growth in workers, according to economists’ analysis of workforce participation rates reported in The Australian Financial Review.

ABN-Amro chief economist Michael Knox told The Australian Financial Review that over the past five years older workers have accounted for 40% of jobs growth up from 20% in the 1990s. And workforce participation for people aged 55 to 59 has increased to almost 70% from about 58% 10 years ago. For those 60 to 64, it has risen from 30% to 45%.

But Australia still lags many other countries in getting older people and women in the workforce, so there is plenty of growth left to tap, according to the Productivity Commission.

The Productivity Commission report found Australia is ranked 8th among developed nations in female workforce participation, and better access to affordable childcare and more generous parental leave entitlements have been proposed as ways to help push participation higher.



SmartCompany Quote of the Day

 “It was very difficult. We don’t advertise this much, but those years that we went through were hell. I don’t want to overstate the situation, but everything was mortgaged to the hilt, cash was a real problem, and it did limit what we were able to do.”
Gina Rinehart



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