Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Information Industry Outlook 2006

In a new report that came out a few weeks ago, the California-based research firm Outsell Inc. is forecasting single digit growth for the worldwide information industry. The 30-page report can be downloaded free of charge.

The report offers overall projections for the industry as a whole as well as a breakdown for specific segments.

The legal market is expected to have $14.1 billion (U.S. dollars) in revenues in 2005, increasing by 5.6% in 2006 to $14.9 billion. As the report states, "Growth in this mature segment will be slow and unspectacular. Drivers having a positive effect on growth include investment in the small-firm market; strong national security, risk management, and regulatory compliance concerns; a generational preference for online products among younger lawyers; and an increase in 'share of day' products such as billing, e-discovery, practice management, and marketing that go beyond users’ core legal research activities. A growth inhibitor is the continuing commoditization and outsourcing of legal practice – replaced by technology and temporary agencies – and the corresponding price pressures on firms".

Outsell forecasts that the information industry overall will grow by 7.8 percent in 2005, to $283 billion (U.S. dollars). It will increase by 8 percent in both 2006 and 2007 to reach $331 billion in 2007, and will grow another 8.3 percent to become a $358 billion industry in 2008. Leading sectors will be search/aggregation and market research reports and services, with the slowest growth in news/trade and Yellow Pages/directories. Other industry segments are: company, credit and financial; scientific, technical and medical; education and training; and IT research and reports.

Outsell gathers "details of over 4,000 industry firms that create and aggregate information and make it commercially available online or offline; data on the total universe of knowledge workers (by role and industry); industry market size by vertical segment; six years of user buying and usage statistics, including interviews with over 40,000 users since 1998; and enterprise information management benchmarks and best practices for staffing, budgets, content spending, content vendor portfolios, functional roles, and priorities".

Outsell notices some potentially positive trends for information professionals and librarians which have to do with the end of users' infatuation with the open Web. The firm's research is showing an "increasing preference for turning to corporate intranets, colleagues, or a library when searching for work-related information. Intranets are improving and meeting needs
better, and more centralized content purchasing means they are more likely to contain content that users might otherwise have purchased individually". Users are showing a greater willingness to pay for information because they are recognizing the added value from fee-based services as well as the professional help provided by their organizations via Intranets and other tools.

The report also outlines the changing users needs that are driving the tranformation in the industry and describes 7 scenarios for the future. The scenarios all seem to have to do with open source, collaboration (blogs, wikis, etc.), new publishing models and the like. Well worth downloading.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm


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