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Showing posts from September, 2006

Mass Market is Turning into a Mass of Niches

Attendees at IDC's European IT Forum heard that the major challenge facing companies is to bring new technology-based products and services to market to make Europe more innovation friendly and better able to use ICT to improve productivity and counter the growing pressure of globalization. Keynote speakers at the forum emphasized that sustainable economic growth could be achieved through a new process of strategic planning and evolution of business models that reflects market changes. “The fundamental challenge for most organizations, particularly in the ICT industry, is to alter their strategic planning processes in order to embrace more frequent changes in their external environment," said Jeff Sampler, professor of strategy and technology, Oxford University. "Many organizations have reduced strategic planning to an annual weekend retreat. This is hardly a situation that can detect weak signals and emerging trends. Unless companies do this they will continue to be as

Ads Get Personal Relevance on Mass Scale

According to Kagan Research, marketers are salivating at the prospect of placing their advertising messages on a massive scale in a previously untouchable environment -- the personal "conversations" of consumers. With the Internet, marketing communications can be inserted in social websites like MySpace.com, opinion-oriented blogs, chat rooms and user-generated content sites such as YouTube.com. This is a twist because analog media is built around professionally made content that, while engaging, is not usually very personal. Is a luxury car ad more valuable presented in a chat room devoted to motor sports, when two consumers exchange car photos, or accompanying an amateur web video about customized cars than as a 30-second commercial in a crime drama TV series? Interactive media executives said in the September 25-26 MIXX Conference during New York City's Advertising Week that achieving personal relevance on a mass scale is revolutionary. Advertisers agreed. "You

Generation Differences in Technology Adoption

According to Forrester Research, consumers react differently to technology adoption, mostly relating to their generation. Here's how generational differences in technology adoption and habits affect vertical industries: - Marketing: Viral or word-of-mouth marketing is appealing across generations, but the Net is the place to reach Gen Yers and Gen Xers for product research. While almost 90 percent of Seniors do their decision-making research offline, nearly 40 percent of Gen Xers do research online and purchase offline. - Retail: Gen Xers are the sweet spot for online shopping. With their disposable income and near-ubiquitous connectivity, more Gen Xers shop online than any other generation: 16.2 million online households. - Financial services: Online banking programs garner participation from younger adults, two-thirds of whom have checked balances online in the past three months. Web access to investment campaigns appeal to Boomers, who are more likely to make use of the onlin

Combining Social Networking and Viral Video

Users who frequent social networking sites such as MySpace show a strong preference for online video, with 55 percent viewing streaming videos and 21 percent downloading long-form videos on at least a monthly basis, according to Parks Associates. This correlation between social networking Websites and Internet video services is even more dramatic when comparing social networking users and non-users. People who visit a social networking site at least weekly are overall six times more likely to download long-form videos and 1.5 times more likely to view streaming Internet videos than are those who do not use these Websites. "Whether the business model is free video streaming backed by advertisements or the sale of online movies and TV shows, social network Websites are well positioned to become strong contenders in the Internet video business," said Michael Cai, director of broadband and gaming at Parks. "On the other hand, online video Websites, if they are to be compet

Two Distinct Internet Advertising Segments

Kagan Research's quarterly analysis of advertising indicates Internet-based advertising vehicles have split into two categories -- the high-growth "haves" and the sudden emergence of "have nots." Broad-based portals Yahoo! and MSN posted weak ad revenue growth in the second quarter, of 26.7 percent and a meager 0.1 percent respectively. Meanwhile, Google ad revenue soared 77.4 percent. Barry Diller-led IAC/InterActiveCorp generated an astronomical 1,042 percent increase. But its acquisition of search engine Ask.com just after the year ago quarter skews the comparison. The average growth rate is based on $5.07 billion in ad revenue from eight companies tracked during the three months ended June 30, in the Kagan Research/JupiterKagan online report "Old vs. New Media: The Tortoise and Hare," with the comparison to the same quarter a year ago. The divergence into two distinct segments separated by growth rates shows a degree of maturing for Internet adv

European Cable Focus on Customer Migration

According to Screen Digest, consolidation has been the central theme of the European cable industry during 2005 and 2006. Major market consolidation, leaving a single dominant player, has occurred in Spain, France, Ireland and the UK and progress has been made in consolidating the market in Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. While consolidation has been a recurring theme in cable for many years, it has been the emergence of genuine new competition to cable companies and the affront to cable’s key unique selling point -- triple-play -- that has lit the touch paper under the latest round of merger and acquisition. The stable financial base required for this flurry of activity was set in previous years as major cable groupings underwent restructurings, while private equity companies took the opportunity to buy into the European cable industry at post-tech bubble rockbottom prices. Many of these private equity groups have recently sought to sell or bolster their position in the Eu

Revenue Forecast for User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content (UGC), such as that found on YouTube and MySpace, will continue to grow significantly in popularity and generate increasing revenue over the next several years, reports In-Stat. By 2010, the volume of downloads/views on these sites will surpass 65 billion, and revenues tied to UGC video are expected to exceed $850 million by 2010. Revenues are those directly linked to videos in the form of banner/skyscrapers, embedded video, Google Adsense, and/or branded pages/channels. "Democratization of media affords users the opportunity to express their opinions, rate content, and vote for their favorite videos," says Michael Inouye, In-Stat analyst. "In addition, what may currently seem like ‘the Wild West' is actually an industry that has started to see idiosyncratic 'judiciary bodies' and 'rules of law' imposed by each player within this market." In-Stat's study found the following: - The size of downloads/views are estimat

Quantifying Online Ad Spending Phenomenon

According to eMarketer, it's time to compare the numbers. First the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released the latest update of the "Advertising Revenue Report," which estimated U.S. Internet advertising revenue at over $4 billion for the second quarter of 2006. Then the Online Publishers Association (OPA) reported that, according to an informal survey of its members, online advertising revenues will grow by 28 percent in the third quarter of 2006 compared to the third quarter of 2005. OPA members, including include About.com, Forbes.com and the Walt Disney Internet Group, said they continue to see strength across all online advertising categories. Tomorrow eMarketer will release its "U.S. Online Ad Spending" report, which forecasts continued growth in online ad revenues, but at a slower rate in coming years. "We still see robust growth," says eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey, "but it is difficult for any indust

Growth of Wi-Fi Enabled Consumer Electronics

While consumer electronics today rely largely on physical media and on broadcast delivery of entertainment content, a new study from ABI Research finds the market in the midst of a major shift to a greater reliance on network-based delivery. Wi-Fi networking is expected to become a key enabler for delivery and redistribution of this content in the home, particularly for retail consumer electronics hardware. ABI Research forecasts that the total number of Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics devices will grow from just 40 million shipped in 2006 to nearly 249 million in 2011. "From the enormous interest in online gaming to the rapid emergence of new Internet distribution channels for top-tier movie and TV content, the need for connectivity in mainstream consumer electronics is growing rapidly," said research director Michael Wolf. "While the consumer Wi-Fi market has previously consisted largely of routers, gateways and adapters, ABI Research believes that as the market e

Ad Supported Video Creates New Opportunity

As more consumers gravitate to viewing digital video content that's available via the Internet, marketers swiftly reallocate advertising budgets to follow this trend. This shift has spawned yet another business opportunity, which is the topic of my latest video vignette entitled " Digital Video Eruption ." New markets for ad-servers and ad-splicing equipment promise dramatic near-term growth in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. A new study from ABI Research indicates that revenues from these new technologies will total $284 million in 2006, but that the equivalent figure for 2011 will be approximately $1.8 billion. "Trials have shown that while many consumers don't mind paying a few dollars to download a movie, they are less willing to do so for TV programs," says principal analyst Michael Arden. "So cable companies and content providers want to generate revenue from their video-on-demand (VOD) and other services without having to charge a fee

Philips WOWvx 3-D TV for In-Store Retail Ads

Wired News reports that a new line of 3-D televisions by Philips uses the familiar trick of sending slightly different images to the left and right eyes -- mimicking our stereoscopic view of the real world. But where old-fashioned 3-D movies rely on the special glasses to block images meant for the other eye, Philips' WOWvx technology places tiny lenses over each of the millions of red, green and blue sub pixels that make up an LCD or plasma screen. The lenses cause each sub pixel to project light at one of nine angles fanning out in front of the display. A processor in the TV generates nine slightly different views corresponding to the different angles. From almost any location, a viewer catches a different image in each eye. Providing so many views is key to the dramatic results. With the Philips technology, viewers can move around without losing much of the effect -- one set of left/right views slips into another, with just a slight double-vision effect in the transitions. T

Apple's Trademark Fight Inspires Pod2Mob

An innovative and savvy over-the-top mobile content services start-up company, Pod2Mob.com, has created a video promo clip and posted it on YouTube for their target audience to enjoy. IMHO, their two-minute video is a valid example of what creative marketers can do to utilize YouTube -- and other similar viral video portals -- as a way to gain low-cost online exposure. Produced using a soundtrack of Justin Timberlake's latest hit, this clever vignette takes advantage of the recent news media coverage Apple has attracted. Pod2Mob taunts Apple iPod owners to "cut the white cord" and try their mobile phone-based free podcasting service. It's not clear if they used a traditional advertising or interactive agency to produce this video. Perhaps no ad agency was involved, which would be my guess. Based in Los Angeles, California, Pod2Mob says that it's "a software publisher dedicated to the expansion of personal portable media. The founders of the company are a

UK, Germany and U.S. Digital TV Penetration

BBC News reports that around 95 percent of UK households will have digital TV, compared with 66 percent in the U.S. and 50 percent in Germany, according to market analyst Datamonitor. Freeview will overtake satellite as the most popular way to watch digital TV in the UK by 2008, the company says. The report also predicts that Europe will continue to lag behind the U.S. in adopting high definition (HD) TV. It blames lack of interest in HD on the fact that the improvement in picture quality is smaller in Europe, compared with the U.S. However, HD broadcasts of this summer's football World Cup have sparked interest in the format amongst Europeans, the report's authors say. The UK already has the world's highest level of digital TV viewers at almost 70 percent, broadcasting regulator Ofcom revealed earlier this year. The U.S. is second with 55 percent, but no other European country has passed 50 percent. Growth in digital TV services is expected to be fuelled by hi-tech deve

Wal-Mart States Position on Movie Downloads

Reuters reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. disputed a report saying it was trying to dissuade movie studios from working with other forms of distribution, such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes. The 'New York Post' reported that the world's largest retailer had warned Hollywood it may retaliate against studios for selling movies on iTunes amid concerns that Wal-Mart's DVD sales will suffer. Wal-Mart disputed the Post report and said it was not pressuring movie studios into shunning online delivery. "Customers want to watch movies and they want to be able to make the choice when and how they want to view them," a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said. "While we recognize there are various current and potential providers of this service, we are not dissuading studios from conducting business with other providers." A source familiar with the situation said while big retailers like Wal-Mart "freaked out" earlier in the year when Disney and other studio

Annual Information Industry Outlook 2006

Leigh Watson-Healy, Chief Analyst, Outsell Inc. released their annual information industry forecast, with the sector expected to reach $458 billion by 2009, achieving a slow but steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4 percent from 2006-2009. "We believe the biggest challenges for 2007 and beyond will be continuing to grow revenue while maintaining profitability, and making critical investments to sustain that growth. Savvy executives will see the entire playing field, make investments for the future without flinching, and execute on tactical essentials in the moment.” Outsell’s key predictions include: - Search and market research, powered by companies like Google, Yahoo!, VNU, and IMS Health, will be among the high-growth segments Search, Aggregation and Syndication will achieve a CAGR of 17.3 percent over the next three years, reaching $68 billion in revenues. - Market Research, Reports & Services achieves a CAGR of 11.3 percent and revenues of $39.7 billion. -

Relative Growth of U.S. DVR and VOD Usage

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG) found that the number of Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Video-on-Demand (VOD) users have significantly increased in recent years. Sixty percent of all digital cable subscribers have used VOD -- up from 25 percent two years ago, and about 12 percent of households in the United States now have a DVR -- up from 3 percent just two years ago. However, the overall impact of DVRs and VOD on U.S. television viewing remains relatively small. LRG estimates that less than 4 percent of all TV viewing in the U.S. today is of recorded DVR programs or on-Demand viewing -- up from about 2 percent a year ago. These findings are based on a survey of 1,350 households throughout the United States, and are part of LRG’s study "On-Demand TV 2006: A Nationwide Study on VOD and DVRs." This is LRG’s fifth annual study of this topic.

Economics of High Definition Pay-TV Service

By end 2010, high definition (HD) TV will be ubiquitous as its penetration is forecast to surpass 80 percent of all U.S. TV households. In the meantime, Kagan Research finds cable and satellite TV platforms scrambling to make economics work while simultaneously jumping to exploit early-stage opportunities. To steal the march on cable, direct broadcast satellite company DirecTV made a $1 billion investment to beam 150 national channels and 1,500 local channels in HD by end 2007. By then, Kagan Research estimates just 60 percent of cable subscribers will be digital capable, which is a prerequisite for HDTV. Of course, direct broadcast satellite is all-digital. In theory, the transition to HD presents a window of opportunity to launch new TV programming services, such as billionaire Mark Cuban's HDNet and HDNet Movies channels. But the economic model most have embraced is incumbent standard-definition channels simply offering parallel HD simulcasts. Of the 40 cable channels transmit

Unicasts to Mobile Phones are Not Scalable

Mobile broadcasting -- as opposed to streaming "unicast" services -- is expected to rapidly become the model of choice for distribution of live television and movies to mobile devices in the United States. Moreover, U.S. service providers continue to offer pricing that only attracts the most enthusiastic early-adopters. By the end of 2007 approximately four million subscribers will receive entertainment and information on their wireless handsets via mobile broadcast technologies such as DVB-H and MediaFLO. Senior analyst Ken Hyers reports that recent conversations with major carriers confirmed what ABI Research expected: "The presence of as few as five users simultaneously receiving unicast content from a single cellular base station carrier band can seriously degrade data access for those subscribers. This is further confirmation that broadcast is the only way to get mass market uptake of these services. Already, the market is bearing out that broadcast is the essenti

U-verse Early Adopters are Patient Customers

Some of the brave early-adopter customers of the AT&T U-verse (IPTV) service have been sharing candid comments about their personal experiences on a website called UverseUsers.com Like most early-adopters of new technology products and services, these customers are more patient and understanding than many consumers would be in a similar situation. The site's administrator, uvadmin, apparently waited about a month for the U-verse service to be installed after he was told that it was readily available -- where he lived in San Antonio. Yesterday he posted the news that his U-verse services has not been working at all for the last three days. In a commentary entitled "Down Three Days and Counting," he briefly refers to what he has been told is the known problem. However, it's not clear how many other AT&T customers are affected by this extended service outage. AT&T has certainly had its share of 'Lightspeed' critics, particularly regarding the slow

Montgomery & Co. is Go-To Digital Dealmaker

Business Week reports that Montgomery & Co. , a little-known investment firm that quickly became one of new media's hottest brokers, is now the one to watch. Headed by former Walt Disney treasurer Michael Montgomery and his older brother, James, a former defense industry and technology consultant, the firm has helped sell new-media startups to heavyweights Sony, Viacom, and Yahoo! in the past two years. "Those guys have become the go-to guys after their experience with MySpace," says Blair Harrison, chief executive of iFilm Corp., the user-generated video site that Viacom bought for $49 million shortly after the News Corp. deal. Harrison says he hired Montgomery after he heard of his MySpace work. As with just about everything else on the Net, a new kid on the block is shaking up the traditional players -- in this case, media investment powerhouses like Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. Those firms still get plenty of business, but what Montgomery sells is speed --

Up & Down Trends in User Generated Video

Viewing and creating video have become significant activities for U.S. Internet users, with 31 percent watching online videos at least monthly and 8 percent uploading clips to Websites such as YouTube, according to Parks Associates. This new study shows the majority of monthly "video uploaders" are young, predominately 18-24 years old, with men only slightly more likely than women to upload video. Further, the total number of uploaders is comparable to the number of monthly online gamblers. "We're witnessing a phenomenon that will have recognizable cultural and social effects across the country," said John Barrett, director of research for Parks Associates. "Anything you do can be recorded and uploaded, where it is readily available to your boss, your family, etc. Ready or not, the camera's now rolling." According to Parks, one-fourth of all Internet users own a mobile phone. Digital cameras, which often include video-recording capabilities, hav

Cable MSOs Broaden Revenue Diversification

Cable TV's penetration rate is expected to erode ever so slightly in the next decade -- as the telcos join satellite TV in a dog fight for basic subscribers -- but Kagan Research believes that cable MSOs will still prosper. Cable is adding new revenue streams that will keep it a healthy growth business. Kagan estimates cable residential revenue -- forecast to be $68.2 billion in 2006 -- will reach $120 billion by 2016. That doesn't include additional revenue from business customers. The gains are expected despite penetration for cable TV video services as a percentage of all residential TV households slipping slightly from 58.6 percent this year. Cable telephony and high-speed cable modems get the most attention among add-on cable services. But the list is much longer: digital video recorders, high definition channels, video on demand and interactive TV. "Cable thrived despite stiff competition from satellite TV for a decade," notes Robin Flynn, senior analyst wit

Dual-Mode Cellular/Wi-Fi Handset Shipments

In 2011, shipments of dual-mode (cellular/voice over Wi-Fi) wireless handsets will be well in excess of 300 million worldwide, according to a new study from ABI Research. However, the arrival of femtocell access points towards the end of the study's forecast period may prove disruptive for the market. According to senior analyst Philip Solis, handsets based on the 802.11n protocol will outnumber those of other protocols in those 300 million shipments. Why? "Cellular handset vendors have made sure that their voices have been heard in the 802.11n standards process, so they are getting all the optional features that they want." Solis adds that smartphones saw the earliest introduction of the Wi-Fi mode, but because of UMA (and later SIP-based) solutions, Wi-Fi will make its way into feature phones relatively quickly. Mobile operators are looking to UMA, but telcos and other players in the market are more interested in SIP-based solutions. Wi-Fi enabled handsets, however,

Big Media Use Video Websites to Find Talent

Broadcasting & Cable reports that at a time when broadband penetration has never been higher and advertisers are demanding content on digital platforms, TV networks are rapidly launching broadband channels, and they are desperate for fresh voices to fill them. At the same time, the price of powerful video-editing software has dropped to below $50, giving wannabe TV producers across America the tools to craft their stuff. What cable networks were for legions of frustrated creative writers and producers whose irreverent views weren’t suitable for broadcast TV in the 1980s and ’90s, broadband is to progressive new producers. The potential audience: 47 million U.S. homes that can download broadband video shows. Many of the most prolific voices in broadband -- established industry players and novices alike -- are hoping to gain enough exposure to end up on a TV screen. "As we start to develop more of these, it’s our hope and goal to get linear-TV plays out of our short-form conte

Current TV Offers Music for Consumer Video

Providing filmmakers an unprecedented new tool in creating short-form content that connects with young audiences, Current TV has signed a multi-year agreement with APM Music , the largest and most diverse provider of music for use in film, television, radio, and new media productions. APM and Current TV are two of the first companies to empower independent producers by giving them unfettered access to the largest music library in the industry. Current will pay for all associated costs, which include synch and master fees for use on Current’s broadcast network and website. For the first time, Current’s video producers -- what the network calls its viewer created content (VC2) community -- will have access to over 200,000 professional recordings through a cobranded version of APM Music’s website, accessible through Current’s online studio. Producers can score their own short-form video "pods" with music that may be easily downloaded and searched by a deep array of styles and

Momentum for Municipal Wireless Networks

Worldwide deployments of municipal wireless networks for public Internet access will continue at a rapid pace over the next few years, with the U.S. leading the way. Clearly, many American community leaders are deeply concerned about the nation falling behind in broadband service global deployment rankings, and they consider this setback as a direct threat to their local economic development efforts. The total worldwide market will reach 248 deployments by the end of 2006, and will grow to over 1,500 by the end of 2010, according to In-Stat. "Most networks are not entirely owned and operated by local governments," says Daryl Schoolar, an analyst with the high-tech market research firm. "The trend has the local government facilitating deployment, but having a private sector provider owning and operating the network." In-Stat's study found the following: - The U.S. is, and will remain, the largest market for muni-wireless networks for public access. - While

Movie Digital Distribution Via Public Internet

According to Screen Digest market research, 2006 will be a watershed year for the digital distribution of movies using open Internet video-on-demand (VoD) technology. Screen Digest predicts that the first signs of recognizable growth in this market will appear in the 2006-2007 timeframe, with total consumer spending on European movie downloading and streaming services accelerating post-2008 to near EUR690 million by end 2010, compared to less than EUR10 million in 2005. This growth will be driven by the arrival of mainstream movie content, notably from the Hollywood majors, which until 2005 had been reluctant to explore online distribution in a meaningful way. As revenues in the DVD market plateau, the Hollywood studios will view diversification of business models and legal digital distribution as an increasingly important component in not only the fight against piracy, but also the maintenance of profit margins typically enjoyed in the home entertainment market. Online distribution

Disney CEO Very Upbeat on Movie Downloads

Reuters reports that Walt Disney CEO, Robert Iger, said the company sold 125,000 movie downloads worth $1 million in revenue through Apple's iTunes online music store in the first week Disney movies were offered. Iger told a conference of analysts the company expects to take in $50 million in added revenue during the first year of the iTunes movie download program, which was unveiled by Apple recently. Disney last week became the first movie studio to offer movie downloads through iTunes. The company placed 75 titles on the Web site. Iger said the number of films on iTunes would increase as Disney clears the broadcast rights to move them to the Web. Iger also told analysts at the Goldman Sachs conference that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has become a "sounding board" for Disney's rapidly expanding digital content delivery options. "He is a great adviser and someone I can turn to readily for advice in a lot of these areas," Iger said. Those of you who have read my

Why U.S. IPTV Innovation is Rural Phenomenon

The introduction text on the homepage of the upcoming TelcoTV Conference and Expo says "IPTV represents a revolution in telecommunications -- one that will define telecom carriers for decades to come. It is a transformational event that impacts all facets of the business." The current line-up of telco speakers for this event tells the untold story -- IPTV deployment leadership within the North American market has occurred at smaller independent telcos, and in all cases they did it without Microsoft's involvement. While some of these early IPTV deployments date back to January 2002, most would still be characterized as 'me too' offerings that essentially mirror the programming and presentation capabilities of the incumbent cable and DBS pay-TV service providers. Regardless, they are valid examples of early IPTV technology and operational innovations nonetheless. One panel session that's sure to attract the attendees is entitled "Broadband TV: Bypass Vil

Near-Term Mobile TV Only for Early Adopters

Music, browsing and video services will be the key drivers behind the growth of the Western European mobile entertainment market, according to a new report published by Analysys. However, in the near term mainstream consumers won't likely subscribe to these new services. Music in particular is expected to experience tremendous growth, with revenues rising by more than 75 percent per year to reach EUR3.4 billion by 2011. “The mobile platform has rapidly acquired a significant share of the digital-download music market,” says report author Dr Windsor Holden. “As handset storage capacity increases, as 3G adoption accelerates and as more cross-platform solutions are deployed, we will see this share increase still further.” “An increase in 3G adoption would also result in a sharp rise in the usage of streamed video services, with content such as sports and adult entertainment likely to generate the highest revenues,” Holden adds. However, the report cautions that while revenues for m

Evolution of Ethnic Segmentation for Telecom

In 2006, U.S. ethnic communities account for one-third of every dollar spent on consumer telecommunications services, according to a new market research study from The Insight Research Corporation. The largest minority group, Hispanics, representing nearly 44 percent of the U.S. minority population, spend the most. The ability to tap into the increased spending power of the Hispanic-American, African-American, and Asian-American communities will be crucial to the survival of telecommunications providers over the next five years. Insight Research’s market analysis study takes a close look at the purchasing habits and telecom usage patterns of the Hispanic segment of the U.S. population. The study emphasizes that the U.S. Latino market is not one homogenous market; rather, it is made up of many markets. The study found that 68.3 percent of the overall U.S. population owns cell phones, with White Non-Hispanics having the highest ownership rate at 71.9 percent, followed by Asians at

DBS Pay-TV with Over-the-Top VOD Service

Most of the attention regarding the emerging over-the-top disruptive video distribution model has been focused on either small start-up companies or the major portal aggregators. However, there is a whole other category that's worthy of further analysis, as this story unfolds. The recent temporary suspension of BSkyB's broadband movie download service in the UK has focused attention on a growing phenomenon: satellite pay-TV operators have found a way to offer video-on-demand in competition with cable and telco pay-TV services. The solution requires the use of a hybrid set-top box (STB) at customers' premises: devices that combine IP video with direct broadcast satellite (DBS). Other "HSTBs" combine IP video with cable, or with digital terrestrial television (DTT). Annual shipments of such hybrid STBs will grow to more than 50 million worldwide by 2011, according to a new study from ABI Research, with western Europe accounting for the largest share. "Becaus

Mobile CAPEX: Leap of Faith Business Strategy

Recent reports of the lower than expected uptake of mobile phone related value-added services apparently won't discourage service providers from investing in additional broadband infrastructure. New research has uncovered incremental capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the major mobile operators, along with their strategies for the future. In 2006, GSM is the dominant cellular technology, but by 2012, WCDMA will receive the highest CAPEX investment by mobile operators, according to a study from ABI Research. By 2012, worldwide mobile CAPEX will exceed $150 billion. "Mobile operators' attitudes towards CAPEX have changed over the past two or three years," says mobile wireless research analyst Shailendra Pandey. "They are clearly becoming more focused on an early return on their investments." Greater emphasis on data services is resulting in increased investment in servers and platforms outside the range of traditional wireless equipment. In developed markets th

Is the Traditional Ad Agency Model Obsolete?

MediaPost reports that a recent study by the Winterberry Group finds that the traditional marketing model is changing fast. Technological advances have ushered in a proliferation of channels that has diminished the impact of tried-and-true platforms such as television and print. At the center of this industrial transformation, the role of the ad agency has been "challenged." Once considered core to the marketing effort (and a trusted counselor to executive decision makers), the ad agency has seen its portfolio of responsibilities fundamentally altered; first, by the advent of non-traditional channels, then by the emergence of nimble "specialty" players, including media-specific competitors, interactive shops, management consultants and media buying agencies. The Winterberry Group conducted an extensive series of interviews with over 70 senior executives at leading ad agencies across the nation. The panel includes representatives from "full-service" agenc

Pros and Cons of Being First Mover to Market

For a half century, it was an article of faith in the media world that being first to market was critical to success -- even more important than having the best product. At the dawn of the TV age, the first stations got the best dial positions and strongest network affiliations. The first magazines to cover a niche generally were able to beat back any later imitators. Little appreciated, the 'First Mover Advantage' principle does not seem to apply in new media, according to Kagan Research. It seems to have died in the great dot-com bust of 2000, when being first simply meant losing more money than later arrivals. In the old analog media world, the business models were straightforward with just a few avenues for differentiation. In today's emerging digital media world, startups invent categories in which strategies get tested with painful trial and error. The demise of the First Mover principle can be viewed as good news for traditional media companies. Their hefty cash

Cool Digital Media Displays for In-Store Retail

I've previously imagined how digital media displays could be utilized to help create a compelling in-store advertising experience for innovative retailers looking to try something different. A unique display product category will make this vision possible. Radiant Displays has announced four new LED digital sign product lines. The XGO, Incite, BrightWriter and the MeshFX that represent the next generation of outdoor and indoor LED digital signage products. Radiant Displays is a manufacturer of LED signs and video displays based out of Grass Valley, California. Pamela Thompson, founder of Radiant Displays, claims that the Radiant Displays LED products were developed specifically for the wholesale market based on several key features of paramount importance to any reseller: superior quality LED products, competitive pricing, and ease of serviceability. Radiant Displays is now shipping the XGO, Incite, and BriteWriter product lines. The MeshFX is expected to ship in January, 2007.

Can You Justify FMC, and the IMS Investment?

Some industry analysts are critical of most service provider's vision of how they will create new value added offerings from the potential integration of wireline and wireless services. They don't question the basic intent, but they do worry about grand implementation plans that require a huge investment in IMS platforms. However, according to Pyramid Research, as a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and SIP application enabler, IMS is the best existing solution on a carrier’s migration path to all-IP. Despite its high cost, IMS has a number of valuable advantages that justify the investment. First and foremost, it allows traditional fixed and mobile carriers to continue to provide circuit-switched services while they gradually migrate subscribers to IP. This is a crucial advantage for IMS, as it is clear that migration to all-IP will take another decade. - IMS comes at just the right time in the technology upgrade cycle. According to convergence gear vendor Apertio, today’s cor

Site Offers Daily Ranking of Top Viral Videos

Market Watch reports that a daily compilation of "the most talked about videos" on the Internet has been launched at the viralvideochart.com website. Scott Button, of Unruly Media in London, called his four-week-old project "the world's first comprehensive and independent online video chart." Button said his team of three people "scans several million blogs a day to see which online videos people are talking about the most." They analyze Web log posts to find references to videos on MySpace, Google Video, and YouTube to find those with the most buzz, producing a daily chart. "While those video sharing sites all publish lists of the videos most popular with their own users - rather like HMV, Virgin or Wal-Mart might publish music charts based on their own sales data - no chart has, until now, attempted to combine data from all three in a credible way," Button said.

U.S. 'Broadband Reality Check' Report Card

The United States continues to lag behind the rest of the world in accessible and affordable broadband service, with no signs of closing the gap, according to a new report released by Free Press, the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union. Contradicting the rosy picture painted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress, "Broadband Reality Check II" exposes the truth behind America's digital decline: A failed broadband policy that has left Americans with higher prices, slower speeds and no meaningful competition for high-speed Internet service. "President Bush set a goal of bringing universal, affordable high-speed Internet access to every household by 2007," said S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press and author of the report. "We're nowhere close to reaching that goal. Yet the FCC seems content to ignore the problem, manipulate the data, and pretend we're moving forward." Broadband Reality Check II up

Film Industry Revenue: Past, Present, & Future

The Hollywood film business achieved a 7.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the decade ended in 2005, but for the next decade Kagan Research sees CAGR decelerating. Annual increases for most of the next 10 years will be in line with recent inflation rates of 1.9-3.0 percent, although 2007 and 2008 are expected to be above that 10-year average. With the downshift, the growth engine moves from home video -- the industry mainstay since the DVD format was introduced during 1996 in Japan -- to TV media today. Kagan estimates Hollywood theatrical films generated $47.2 billion in global sales in 2005 to all media -- cinema, video, TV and merchandising. The figure excludes direct-to-video and other non-theatrical filmed entertainment, such as TV programs. The Upside Revenue Opportunities According to Kagan, the smallish revenue category of International Pay-Per-View/Hotel/Airline will achieve a 21.5 percent CAGR from 2006-2015 for the biggest percentage gain, and blossom into

U.S. Wireless Data Market Still in Catch-Up

The CTIA announced that data service revenues for the first half of 2006 were $6.5 billion. This represents a 70 percent increase over the first half of 2005. Wireless data revenues now total almost 11 percent of all wireless service revenues. Sounds like grounds for a celebration, but actually not yet. To put this news into perspective -- the percent of U.S. wireless service provider revenue coming from data-related applications if still less than half of the rate of the leading markets in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. The current high price of data services, combined with the closed "walled garden" approach to value added service delivery, has handicapped market development within the U.S. marketplace. More specifically, U.S. service provider's approach to manage and control service scarcity is directly responsible for the fact that we're still in a catch-up mode. The CTIA Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey was released at CTIA WIRELESS I.T & Ent

Converged Mobile Devices Reach Milestone

Worldwide converged mobile device shipments continued to climb during the second quarter of 2006, nearly reaching the 20 million unit mark. According to IDC, total shipments of converged mobile devices reached a record 19.3 million units for the quarter, marking a 1.9 percent sequential increase and a 42.1 percent year-over-year increase. IDC defines a 'converged mobile device' as a mobile phone having a high-level operating system, such as BlackBerry, Linux, Palm, Symbian, or Windows Mobile. "That quarterly shipments are reaching the 20 million unit mark in a single quarter is a significant milestone," said Ramon Llamas, research analyst for IDC's Mobile Markets team. "As recently as two years ago, it would have taken an entire year to ship that kind of volume. Since then, the converged mobile device, or smartphone, has evolved in terms of functionality and appeal. In addition, as functionalities have increased, prices have decreased, making converged mobil

Moving Beyond the 'Average Consumer' Myth

Broad market segmentation concepts, such as "the youth market" and "baby boomers," are redundant in the 21st century world of connected digital lifestyles, according to the latest research from the Digital Consumer Practice at Strategy Analytics. Their report identifies six distinct Connected Consumer market segments, ranging from "Affluent Technostyles" to "Practical Mainstreamers," and provides in-depth profiles of each group according to the group's adoption of and interest in digital products and services. This research presents new insights on why some consumers are both late technology adopters and heavy Internet users; and why people from different age and income groups can behave in exactly the same way. Noteworthy research findings include: - "Prudent Nesters" are late adopters but view the Internet as a vital communications tool. - "Connected Aspirers" have the strongest interest in technology but only adopt

Content Repurposed for Various Screen Types

The market for real-time broadcast MPEG encoders is moving to H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC Part 10), mainly in the satellite and telco TV delivery platforms today, but the switch will extend to all segments of the MPEG encoder market, reports In-Stat. The need to repurpose content for multiple screens is also driving encoder shipments. For example, content that is distributed in MPEG-2 may be decoded, and then re-encoded to H.264 in a mobile video system. "There are also one-time projects that are dramatically boosting some segments of the market," says Michelle Abraham, In-Stat analyst. "For example, cable operators in North America are moving to digitally simulcast all of their analog channels, thereby requiring thousands of encoders. The Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) relocation project in the U.S. will boost encoder shipments from 2006 through 2009." In-Stat's research found the following: - Worldwide MPEG video encoder revenue will increase from $496 million in

OpenTV Proves UI Innovation is a Differentiator

While Christine Heckart, general manager of marketing for Microsoft TV, continues her crusade convincing uninformed telco executives that most consumers initially won’t want a different television experience -- they will “just want basic TV features” -- meaningful innovation is occurring elsewhere. Informitv reports that interactive television company OpenTV has demonstrated a vision of next-generation TV, with a prototype 'zoomable' user interface (UI). OpenTV claims their UI innovation will fundamentally change the way viewers navigate and choose video programming. OpenTV believes that channel surfing is no longer an adequate way to deal with the expanding range of live, recorded and on-demand programming now available. The company, which is best known for its interactive television set-top box middleware, is aiming to take a leadership position in defining future navigation models and driving hardware requirements. Matthew Huntington of OpenTV showed Informitv the concept

Over the Top Video Will Be the Most Disruptive

Amid news of technology heavyweights such as Apple Computer and Amazon.com lining up their resources to address the Video-on-Demand (VOD) market, iSuppli Corp. is predicting the global VOD market will grow to nearly $13 billion by the year 2010. VOD growth will be driven by various delivery systems, including Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), broadband/Internet and networks run by cable and satellite operators. While 2006 will be a banner year for the VOD market, the real explosive growth will begin in 2008 when these delivery systems begin to mature. By 2010, the global VOD market will generate more than $12.6 billion in revenue, up from $1.7 billion in 2006, iSuppli predicts. Global IPTV equipment deployment, a growing breadth of movie content, the ability to “download and burn” content, the increasing availability of consumer electronics equipment with IP connections and a rising mobile phone television market will contribute to the rapid acceptance of VOD. Such growth has inte

Apple iTunes: Total Digital Multimedia Solution

Apple announced iTunes 7, the most significant enhancement to their music jukebox and online music and video store since it debuted in 2001. iTunes 7 delivers new album and Cover Flow views of music, TV shows and movies, enabling users to quickly find titles in their library as well as casually browse through and re-discover titles they already own. In addition, the iTunes Store is now offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films, that customers can purchase and download to watch on their computers and iPods, and soon on their flat screen televisions with Apple’s upcoming "iTV player" (project’s internal code name). Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at $12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability, and $14.99 thereafter, and library titles available for just $9.99 every day. The iTunes Store has become the world’s most popul

AT&T Starts Live Broadband TV Experiment

Reuters reports that AT&T is launching an Internet TV service where subscribers can watch live cable channels such as Fox News on any computer with a broadband connection for $20 per month. The AT&T Broadband TV service features about 20 channels of live and made-for-broadband content. The channel lineup includes the History Channel, the Weather Channel, the Food Network, Bloomberg and Oxygen. Additional channels will be added soon, the company said without elaborating. The content is being provided by MobiTV Inc., a company that has specialized in delivering live cable channels to cell phones through wireless carriers such as Sprint Nextel Corp. and Cingular Wireless, which is majority owned by AT&T. As compared with many Internet-based video services, where the viewing window is considerably smaller than most computer monitors, the new AT&T offering will allow users to expand the picture to full screen. However, the service requires Microsoft Windows Media Player f

Growing Demand for Digital Video Downloads

Amid growing interest in user-generated video clips and increased experimentation with online movie distribution by the motion picture industry, a new market study by Ipsos indicates that an estimated 10 million Americans aged 12 and over have downloaded television shows from the Internet; seven million in the past 30 days. New findings for the company’s biannual study of digital video behaviors reveal that younger Americans are driving growth in many digital video activities, including TV show downloading. Ten percent of young adults aged 18 to 34 (14 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 7 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds) have downloaded television programs from the Internet and seven percent have done so in the past month—nearly double the rate of television downloading overall. This marks a significant increase in video downloads over the summer of 2005, when only two percent of Americans overall and five percent of 18- to 34-year-olds had ever downloaded video. Despite these gains,

European Digital TV Subscriber Demand

Demand for digital television in Europe will reach a new record in 2006, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. Nearly 19 million homes will buy digital television for the first time this year, an increase of 20 percent. The most popular option for new subscribers is still digital terrestrial TV (DTTV), with more than 10 million new homes added this year. But the newest entrant, IPTV, is also beginning to make inroads and take share from established satellite and cable providers. This report predicts that 16 million homes will subscribe to IPTV by 2010. "Europe's digital television market is the most competitive in the world," notes David Mercer, VP, Digital Consumer Practice. "Competition between multiple pay or free-to-air services is ensuring that the transition from analog to digital broadcasting continues to accelerate." The report predicts that 75 million European homes, or 47 percent of the total, will have at least one digital telev

Advertiser-Supported Mobile Content Upside

Informa Telecoms & Media predicts over $11.35 billion of advertising spend on mobile channels by 2011, affording consumers cheaper mobile content as advertisers come to terms with the medium. The next 12 months will mark the start of a sharp upturn in mobile advertising spend as the proliferation of cheap, high-quality multimedia handsets and the widespread availability of high-speed mobile networks reaches a critical point, according to Informa. The potential economies of scale that the mobile channel offers advertisers will prove a powerful draw - Informa forecasts that there will be over 2.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide by the end of 2006, rising to nearly 4 billion in 2011. Issues that need addressing to enable advertisers to realise this reach however, include consumer acceptance, technology (screen size, available bandwidth, interoperability between operators and handsets) and industry regulation. "Mobile advertising is not new; it's been around in some f