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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

It must have been a bit tough-going last week in the offices of Google:

Wowsa. Not a fun week at all.

Or was it?

After all, the  “world’s most valuable brand” moniker belonged to Google for four years before Apple took it on — and being the reigning #1 for four years is no small feat —  particularly considering the hyper-competitive crowd Google runs with.

With the Microsoft deal, it seems that what’s got the attention of the folks in Redmond is not just what Apple has done with the iPhone, but that Google’s Android now outsells all other mobile operating systems — combined.
Oh, and investors hate, hate, hate the deal.

As for Facebook’s attempt at mud-slinging, since both companies are under fire from privacy campaigners for the amount of personal data they collect and retain online, it’s hardly surprising that there’d be a bit of dirty fighting when one considers the stakes in this battle of the behemoths for user traffic and ad dollars.

Finally, regarding the DOJ settlement — well, it’s just plain ugly and it’s probably best to just admit that and move on.

All that said, there was particular reason for the captains of search to smile last week.  And, plenty of reason for Netflix to be nervous.

On Monday,  YouTube head, Salar Kamangar,  posted on the YouTube blog “Welcome to the future of video. Please stay a while” thereby making it official that YouTube has entered the iVOD business (interactive video on demand) with YouTube Movies.

According to YouTube, we’re already “spending 15 minutes a day on YouTube and spending five hours a day watching TV.” Launching with over 6000 titles including full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios, Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros, they’re clearly making a move to change that equation.

And a smart move it is.

With an average of 137M people making 1.4M visits per month (U.S.), YouTube is already a beast. Adding full-length feature films available for rent on demand, on any device and any operating system makes them unstoppable.

Entertainment wherever, whenever and however we want it  —  isn’t that what the world wide web is for?

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Photo: wallyg on Flickr

We tweeted last week about our unhappiness with the much-anticipated announcement from the New York Times that, beginning March 28, they will charge a subscription fee for digital content.

With all due respect to the agency Twitter team, I am glad to see that the “paywall” is finally going up.

As much as we marketers love the word “free”, it doesn’t require too much calculus to realize that no business can give away its product on a consistent basis and continue as a going concern.

Yes, the free website (NYTimes.com) is “the most visited newspaper site in the world” which has helped the paper see it’s online advertising revenue go “from being a drop in the bucket to more than a quarter of The New York Times Company’s overall advertising revenue,” according to an article about the paywall decision by Jeremy Peters.

But, just as the web changed news consumption by creating a user expectation that content should be free — and ad supported — the next generation of technology is changing the game, yet again.

Witness the birth of  The Daily, which MarketWatch.com founder Larry Kramer describes in a recent blog post as “the first news source from a mainstream media company (News Corp) designed purely for the iPad,” which, prior to launch, “was going to change the game.”

While The Daily’s detractors may suggest that it hasn’t changed the game, it certainly shakes things up a bit: it makes liberal use of video, both in stories and in ads, and instead of just ordinary photos, there are plenty of 360-degree panoramic shots that you can swipe around. Personally, I think it’s a bit light in the content department, but it does demonstrate that there is tremendous potential for publishers to create a new way to experience news.

Which is why I think we should all expect to pay for the sort of curated content the Times produces.  From here on out, it’s not jut the content quality that matters, but also how it’s delivered.

As Patricio Robles writes at eConsultancy:

“Newspapers are hurting, and the Times is no exception. The business models of the past aren’t the business models of the future. While it’s still unclear which business models will win out, it seems likely that they’ll have to include some form of paid content.

By launching a paid offering, the New York Times is at the very least trying to step into the future instead of burying its head in the sand and believing that the status quo is sustainable. This is a very important step for the newspaper.”

For about 40% of the cost of a home delivery subscription, the price/value equation for me more than works. Although there is no public disclosure of the number of digital subscriptions the Times hopes to generate, “company executives have said privately that the goal for the first year is 300,000.”

As a die-hard devotee of the newspaper of record, who’d like to see its fine journalistic tradition continue in ANY platform, I certainly hope they succeed.

We’re reading and watching and listening to lots of discussion about the coming creative revolution — fomented by the ascent of the digital domain.

In an article published last November in Fast Company, entitled The Future of Advertising, Danielle Sacks writes about the “mayhem on Madison Avenue” brought on by the rapid pace of change in the advertising business model — the same sort of change that has already turned the television networks and music and publishing worlds upside down.

Illustrations by Tavis Coburn

The bottom line: “Digital dimes won’t replace analog dollars.” We’re witnessing a sea-change in the way the business of advertising is conducted and all of us — marketers, advertisers, clients, agencies — will be profoundly affected. And, in the destruction of the old ways comes new opportunity — the coming creative revolution.

The article’s case study on Mullen is particularly illustrative of how the entire industry is changing:

“The agency recently caught the industry off guard after being awarded the business of two extremely progressive social-media clients, Zappos and JetBlue. Says Marty St. George, JetBlue’s SVP of marketing and commercial strategy: “I don’t think any of us expected Mullen to win. But we all noticed through its pitch process that you couldn’t tell who the creative people were from the media people or the planning people. They all finished each other’s sentences, regardless of what we were talking about.”

For anyone contemplating how to navigate all this chaos, I highly recommend you take time to read the article — it’s well worth the investment.

Santa was very good to all of us at Wilson RMS last Christmas.
Everyone got an iPad!

Besides the sheer joy of the moment, what’s been very fun to witness is the way the devices are being seamlessly integrated into our everyday work. We’re using them in meetings, while walking down the hall and while eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And because not one of us seems comfortable with the idea of ever being disconnected –we’re watching, reading, playing and blogging while in transit to and from work.

Since we all have an iPad, we’re able to share what we’re doing with them. And so, we’ve created the first of what I hope to be many videos to share that with you:
7 Apps We Love Now

After all, the power isn’t in the technology. It’s in the people who use it.

If you’re interested in owning any of what we shared, here’s the app list:
iGuitar
Dragon Dictation
Newsy
Bebot
Elmo’s Monster Maker
Go Skywatch Planetarium
uTalk Italian

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I must have been an exceptionally good boy this year. Not only did Santa come early for me (Black Friday, to be exact), but he delivered that souped-up iPad I was wishing for, and it has been nearly impossible for me to put it down since.

As soon as I finished the initial set-up, I started  downloading apps with the sort of enthusiasm I once reserved for unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning. Three personal favorites: Pandora and Netflix — both for streaming entertainment, of course — and the oddly addicting Orbital.

I’ve also got multiple e-readers loaded and operational — Kindle, Google eBooks and iBooks — and the plethora of reading choices from among them is overwhelming. I must say that when I first saw Apple’s marketing that describes the iPad as “a magical and revolutionary product,” I was more than a little skeptical.

I am a skeptic no more.

As a media device, it is (thus far, anyway) unparalleled in its ability to deliver audio, video and other digital content in a way that engages and keeps one completely absorbed for hours on end. The interactivity and entertainment is engrossing in a way I’ve never experienced before. It is loads of right-brain fun.

And, that’s what’s got me worried.

Is it possible that the widespread adoption and use of such magical devices will further accelerate our nation’s educational and economic decline? Will we over-stimulate our collective right brain — at the expense of the left? Will we lose our edge?

Thomas Friedman has been quite vocal for some time about our need to make math and science education a top priority in order to stay competitive in the 21st century.

Seeing the news of the world these days, it’s hard to disagree.

Just this week, the OECD released results for its latest PISA test (Programme for International Student Assessment), which measures learning by 15-year-old students in 65 countries. Students in Shanghai, China outscored their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science. Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Finland round out the top 5.

And how did the U.S. students do? Not so well…

So, why blame the iPad?

Well, it is an amazing device, to be sure. But, will its wizardry inspire a new generation of American students to become engineering and math wizards themselves? Or is all that right-brain fun too distracting?

Obviously, the tectonic shifts occurring across the globe today are driven by a multitude of micro and macro forces. And, among those is the significant rise in income and education levels of many millions of people in the developing world. And, what is driving that? Their desire for a better life, a higher standard of living — something more like ours.

We are fortunate, indeed, to live in an extraordinarily rich country with a stable political system and a culture that rewards hard work and creativity. But, have we gotten too comfortable with all that we have? Do we take it all for granted?

I love that with a fast-enough connection, I can feed my addiction for news that is updated instantaneously throughout the day, I can stream the movie Up, or I can listen to my customized Hooverphonic radio playlist from just about anywhere I’d like to be. A huge thank you goes out to the all engineers who designed the device and to those who developed the many systems that make my access to and experience with information like nothing that’s come before.

And, let’s hope that of the 5.5 million iPads analysts expect Apple to sell in Q4 2010, a number end up in the hands of some very bright 15-year olds who, after an acceptable period of using it for pure enjoyment, are inspired to put it aside for awhile and get back to solving advanced trigonometry problems on their way to becoming the next Steve Jobs or Tim Berners-Lee.

The kids in China are already there.

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes wrote a WSJ opinion piece last month entitled The Coming Golden Age of Television in which he argues that TV “is emerging as the dominant medium of the digital age.” It seems like a pretty big statement in the age of cord-cutting and the ascendancy of sites like Hulu and cable/satellite by-pass technologies from Amazon, Apple, Google, Sony and others.

He admits that they “offer greater functionality, mobility and more powerful software that give consumers new applications to control, access and share content,” but he counters that TWC’s (and others) emerging business strategy, TV Everywhere, will make the online TV services unnecessary.

“It operates on a simple but powerful premise: If you have access to television in your home—whether through rabbit ears or a paid cable, satellite or telco subscription—you should be able to view all the channels you receive on demand on whatever broadband device you wish.”

Sounds darn good to me.

I, for one, don’t watch much television. I’m not home very much, so I am very reliant on my various mobile devices to keep me in tune with the zeitgeist. But, were Santa to prop a sparkly-new iPad or other tablet device under my tree in a few weeks, I may be inclined to catch up on all those locavore cooking shows I’ve been missing.

Why, just this week, Comcast announced 3G-enabled TV Everywhere for the iPad –with releases for Android and BlackBerry coming soon.

What’s not to ♥? TV Everywhere means we can all watch what we want, when we want, and  — coming soon — wherever we want.

But what’s actually on? Bewkes’s “golden age” refers to the robustness of the business of TV — higher ad revenues and subscriber fees + unparalleled access — all good things for those who produce and distribute programming.

I spent a lot of time in front of a television as a kid — and Mad Men and 30 Rock notwithstanding,  I think the “golden age” of TV occurred sometime during my childhood — like about 1974.

Think about it: M*A*S*H,  Columbo, All in the Family, Marcus Welby and  squeaky-clean Mary Tyler Moore.

THAT was TV.
And it may be the haze of nostalgia, but for me, it was golden.



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  • Chris Cushing: Nice list. Although the most annoying for me is the new corporate catch phrase "bandwidth." Ooh, Makes me shrug everytime I hear it in a meeting.
  • Maile: Sweet write, great site layout, continue the great work
  • Nate: I have DISH Network and a Sling adapter connected to my receiver and I was surprised to see how many devices that this work on with DISH. I know Comca