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Showing posts from October, 2006

WirelessHD Consortium to Enter Digital Home

AP reports that the world's leading consumer electronics makers have teamed up to develop a wireless technology to carry high-definition video and eliminate the cables that links televisions with set-top boxes and other equipment. Seven companies announced that they formed the WirelessHD Consortium to free high-definition TVs from the tangle of cables connected to cable or satellite boxes, gaming consoles, DVD players, or even camcorders and other portable multimedia gadgets. The companies are LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric Industrial, known for its Panasonic brand, NEC, Samsung Electronics, Sony, and Toshiba, as well as SiBEAM Inc. a wireless technology start-up. Industry analysts predicted the first products to carry the WirelessHD technology won't hit the market until at least 2008. The format is designed to work within ranges of up to 32 feet -- and within the same room -- using the 60-gigahertz radio frequency band, said John Marshall, chairman of WirelessHD. This sta

European Telco IPTV Targets Under-Served

According to IDC, IPTV mania is sweeping Western Europe, which is now home to more than 30 IPTV providers, and by the end of 2006 IPTV will be available in nearly every country in the region. IDC estimates that the IPTV market in Europe is currently worth around $500 million, and will grow at a CAGR of 71 percent to reach $4.3 billion by 2010. In the next five years, household penetration of IPTV services will increase from 1 percent in 2006 to 11 percent by 2010. The countries that will make up a large portion of this growth are France, Italy, and Spain, where the pay-TV markets are less developed than elsewhere in Europe, where the first large IPTV services were launched, and where some of the more innovative providers are based. However, IDC points out that while IPTV offers a major new revenue source for service providers, it also requires massive network investment and the ability to navigate the complex world of content. This means that in addition to their existing competitors i

Adding Mobility to Online Social Network Sites

The market for mobile communities and user generated content will be worth $13.1 billion by 2011, with photo and chat based services being the top revenue generators, according to Informa and strategic partner, the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF). "The meteoric rise of such sites as MySpace, Bebo and YouTube shows significant consumer demand for social interaction in the digital space," said Daniel Winterbottom, senior analyst at Informa and author of their report. "Adding mobility to these services represents a huge opportunity for mobile operators, who will benefit from a reduction in churn levels, as well as significant increases in data traffic," he added. To add further weight to the importance of this rapidly emerging industry, O2, the UK mobile phone giant, recently announced that it was examining options for getting Bebo onto its handsets, potentially emulating the U.S. deal between Helio and MySpace. "Mobile communities which combine user-generated co

U.S. Telcos Attempt to Reduce their IPTV Cost

While most consumers that install a broadband home network themselves choose Wi-Fi, for all the obvious reasons, telcos are still searching for long-term solutions that would enable them to reduce the complexity and cost of the current 4-hour typical IPTV service installation process. New developments in Home Phoneline Networking (HomePNA) technology will give the market a boost, and help it become a viable player in deployment of home video networks, reports In-Stat. Migration is underway from the lower-speed HomePNA 2 to HomePNA 3, and worldwide shipments for HomePNA 3 will exceed 200 percent growth in 2007. "In the near term, we see this technology primarily competing in the North American market, with pockets of opportunity evolving internationally. Some service providers fully expect to use multiple technologies and mediums that will co-exist in their in-home deployments, as long as they meet the operators' service quality and cost objectives. The difficulty comes in meas

DualDisc as a De Facto Standard CD Offering

TelecomTV reports that the audio compact disc (CD) format is -- according to Alain Levy, the chairman and CEO of EMI Music -- stone dead and has been for some time. Mr. Levy, speaking at the London Business School, said "The CD as it is right now is dead, and music companies will no longer be able to sell them without offering 'value-added' material along with them. By the beginning of next year, none of our content will be without any additional material." Revealing that the latest research shows that 60 percent of consumers now routinely put CDs into home computers to transfer music tracks to portable MP3 players, Mr. Levy went on to say that record companies will have to take action if CDs are to survive for very much longer as a replay medium. The EMI Music CEO does admit that, for the time being at least, physical media still has a place in the hearts and minds of the buying public, but he says, "henceforth we will have to be much more innovative in the way

Prediction: Google to Solve Video Ad Puzzle

Shelly Palmer raises some very interesting points in his blog entitled "TV/Video Web Inversion: It's Just a Question of When" -- the following is an excerpt. I don't know about you, but I can predict that this puzzle is something that Google will quickly solve as it considers how to dominate the emerging online video advertising opportunity. I also predict that while traditional advertising agencies are still scratching their heads in disbelief, Google will implement a solution that enables most net savvy marketers to directly measure, manage and control precisely targeted video ad placement themselves. We are also going to need a very robust online video advertising insertion service, one that can deal with work flow issues, approvals and electronic marketplace pricing schemas. There are consortiums at the ANA, AAAA, D!MA Group and other industry organizations whose goals include creating everything from common nomenclature to standard "advanced media" adve

Tesco Growth Unnerves Wal-Mart Leadership

It’s estimated that Wal-Mart controls more than 40 percent U.S. market share in the overall DVD sales category. That makes the U.S. retailer the market leader, by far. However, Wal-Mart is clearly watching Tesco’s UK market leadership with increasing concern -- especially since the innovative UK retailer has decided to target the U.S. marketplace for new revenue growth. According to Datamonitor, UK retailers Sainsbury, Asda (Wal-Mart) and Morrison have appealed to the UK Competition Commission (CC) to slow the growth of Tesco, claiming the leading retailer will see its share of the food and grocery market reach 43 percent by 2010 if left unabated. But given the retailer's increasing focus on non-food, this seems a challenge too far -- even for Tesco. While Tesco is the largest retailer in the UK by a considerable margin and, unquestionably, has outmaneuvered its competition on almost every front over the past decade, Verdict estimates that its share of the food and grocery market s

Broadband Infrastructure Cost Comparisons

As U.S. telcos embark on infrastructure upgrades, they face a delicate balancing act -- weighing the benefits of new technology vs. costs. Kagan Research estimates that installing fiber-to-the-home in 2006 costs $1,650 per household connected. Among the telcos, Verizon is plunging into FTTH, planning to invest $20 billion in capital expenditures to rewire 16 million households by the end of the decade. In comparison, upgrading MSO cable's hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) networks costs just $470 per household connected in 2006. An in-between infrastructure of fiber-to-the-node costs about $600 per connected household and is used by other telcos, such as AT&T. On the same network HFC mixes fiber optics for main lines emanating from the cable system's headend and coaxial cable for the numerous final connections to consumer homes. FTTN mixes fiber trunk lines to collection nodes from which copper wires emanate to connect to homes. Telcos are currently engaged in the labor-intensive

Global Assessment of IPTV Deployments

According to a recent Current Analysis report, with the IPTV market still in its nascent stage, IPTV market projections reflect a notable variance of future market growth. Over the next two years the EMEA region is expected to experience the most regional significant increase in IPTV subscriber expansion with Asia-Pacific close behind and North America delayed as AT&T and Verizon continue to selectively trial their pay-TV service offerings. The regulatory environment within each country and region will influence the pace of IPTV deployments. For example, major telcos within the U.S. seek a national franchise licensing approach in order to avoid the traditional local franchise approach over the long-term, with the intent of accelerating IPTV deployments. The exemption of fiber-based technology such as FTTH from local unbundling requirements has spurred Verizon’s FiOS video service offering efforts with the idea of transitioning from current RF-based video services to IPTV-based offe

Problem with 'One Size Fits All' Customer Care

Multichannel Newswire reports that Interactive Voice Response (IVR) units have helped to reduce the amount of time customers are on hold during service calls, but a recent study from Accenture found that six out of 10 respondents to an online poll did not believe that IVRs, live online chat and other automated technologies improve the quality of their customer service experience. About 18 percent of the 1,000 who responded to the survey said retailers have the worst customer service, followed by Internet service providers, banks, landline and cellular phone providers and cable and satellite firms. Utility companies, life insurance firms, airlines, and hotels were cited the least, the survey found. Being kept on hold was among the biggest complaints. Other gripes included having to repeat information and being pitched extra services during a service call. But automated phone services received the lowest level of satisfaction among all customer service channels, while in-person services

Indie TV Attracts Next Generation Consumer

CT Reports tells the story how television viewers no longer need a TV screen to view programming. Some, in fact, don't even want one. According to a 'Consumer Internet Barometer' produced by The Conference Board and TNS, a pair of custom research companies, lean-forward online viewing is starting to gain ground -- at the expense of those who build their content and networks around mainstream 'couch potatoes.' "This really is a wake-up call that the traditional means are not the only means, and we're beginning to see initial signs that people are willing to take their TV viewing to the PC or whatever downloadable or streamable model is available," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed like the ability to carry and watch content on portable devices while a stunningly low number -- about one-third, according to the responses from 10,000 households nationwide -- don&#

Reality of Reaching Internet Market Saturation

According to Point Topic, the digital divide is deepening in the UK as those who are interested in internet get switched on, leaving the standouts behind. The proportion of non-access households which think it is not important to have home access to the internet has increased steeply between mid-2005 and early 2006, from 51.7 to 74.6 percent. Their latest survey focuses on households that have no internet access, their socio-economic make-up and perception of the world of broadband services. By early 2006, an estimated 11.2 million households in the UK (44 percent) had no internet access at home. "Many of those who thought it was important to have the internet have signed up to a service already", points out Katja Mueller, Chief Analyst at Point Topic. "As the number of non-access households shrinks, those that are left are increasingly resistant to its appeal. This could prove a high barrier to achieving much higher levels of internet access", she says. The reasons

Demand for Digital Signage Display Market

Growing demand from the indoor-venue and hospitality markets has emerged as some of the biggest opportunity for revenue growth for manufacturers of digital-signage and professional displays, according to iSuppli Corp. The indoor-venue segment accounts for 26 percent of the total digital signage and professional market revenue. iSuppli forecasts revenue for the indoor venue segment will achieve a Compound Annual Growth Rate(CAGR) of 8 percent to reach $3.8 billion by 2010, up from $2.8 billion in 2006. The unit growth rate for the indoor-venue market looks even more positive, rising to 1.7 million units in 2010, up from 683,000 units in 2006, representing a CAGR of 26 percent. In the hospitality segment, hoteliers are transitioning to using Flat Panel Displays (FPDs) in guest rooms and are providing targeted information and entertainment content for guests. “How guests perceive their rooms can be more powerful than any other factors in terms of the way they view a hotel’s overall value

New Opportunity by Combining VOIP & Wi-Fi

The arrival of voice over IP (VOIP) as a mainstream service and the growing use of WiFi networks by both enterprise and residential customers are reshaping the landscape for telecom voice services, with carriers deploying new dual-mode offerings as a way to stem further revenue erosion, according to a Heavy Reading global study. Key market study findings include: The greatest amount of dual-mode activity right now is in Europe, with particularly strong momentum among carriers in France and the U.K. markets. However, North America is slightly off the pace, due in part to uncertainties surrounding the impact of consolidation among some of the largest carriers. Despite one or two high-profile launches of dual-mode products in Japan and Korea a couple of years ago, the Asian market is also a little off the pace. The consumer market is the initial focus of most dual-mode services being launched, but the enterprise market may represent greater growth potential in the long term. BT Fusion and

Three Stages to the Pay-TV STB Evolution

Consumer interest in advanced TV features will transform the set-top box into a complete service platform that integrates entertainment, information, communications, and commerce-related applications, according to Parks Associates. They believe that the worldwide evolution of the set-top box will include three stages. At stage one, TV viewers will demand features and services that enhance their TV-watching experience, such as high-definition capability, TV recording, and enriched TV programming. At stage two, applications that help consumers better access information and easily bridge PC-based digital media into the living room will become popular. At stage three, communications, commerce, and personalized applications and services, such as caller ID on TV, recommendations, and TV shopping, will find wider acceptance among consumers, transforming the set-top box into a home service platform. "Service providers and their set-top box partners can follow this roadmap in formulating s

Japan, Korea Leads Mobile Phone Innovation

Japanese and South Korean consumers are early adopters of new technologies, and today, nearly 14 percent of all mobile handsets in South Korea already support Digital Mobile Broadcast television. This high percentage is just one indicator of the continuing flow of innovation coming from Korean and Japanese handset designers, a trend explored in a new study from ABI Research on the topic of mobile phone R&D initiatives. According to senior analyst Andy Bae, based in Seoul, camera- and mobile TV-enabled phones are expected to drive new growth momentum over the next few years in both countries' handset markets. In 2006, approximately 75 percent of all handsets in Japan and 52 percent in South Korea include cameras. "Two megapixel camera phones with autofocus and zoom functions have started to outpace 1.3 megapixel models in Japan and South Korea," says Bae. "Two and three megapixel phones will be mainstream by 2008. Five (and greater) megapixel models will dominate

Verizon FiOS $22.9 Billion Investment Gamble

Business Week reports that Verizon Communications has put a price tag on its ambitious fiber-optic initiative for the first time, estimating it will spend $22.9 billion to rewire more than half of its copper wire-based telephone network so it can sell cable TV and higher-speed (similar to Asia and Europe) Internet connections. The estimate for the "FiOS" project appeared to be at the lower end of analyst projections. Verizon expects to offset the cost with $4.9 billion in savings from now until 2010 due to the reduced maintenance needed with a fiber network. Verizon also issued more bullish subscriber forecasts, predicting the project will generate positive operating income beginning in 2009. Verizon's profitability projection is based on expectations of attracting up to 7 million FiOS Internet subscribers and up to 4 million FiOS TV customers by the end of 2010. However, it's very important to consider Verizon's un-stated per subscriber revenue assumptions in ord

Broadband has Universal Consumer Appeal

According to the results of a new survey of U.S. and Canadian consumers that segments households by demographics, all segments rated broadband "the communication service they can least live without," reports In-Stat. While not spelled out specifically in the In-Stat assessment, I interpret this new insight to further validate that the universal consumer appeal of broadband is freedom to choose from a multitude of communications and media options, and then assemble an ad-hoc compilation based upon personal preferences. Any value-added service model that is presented from the perspective of a legacy 'command and control' mindset is therefore counter to this key trend in consumer self-determination. Broadband service providers that disregard this customer requirement will suffer the consequences of their own 19th century mass-market 'one size fits all' thinking. Survey results also give clues about how next-generation consumer applications, such as personal telep

Cable TV Networks Utilize Broadband Video

According to Broadband Directions, one group of companies that is well-poised for success with broadband video are the top 75 cable television networks. In July 2005, they released their first market intelligence report, analyzing the cable networks' broadband video initiatives. One of the 2005 report's key conclusions was that while broadband video represented a significant new business opportunity for these cable networks, many of these companies primarily considered broadband video a tool to promote their traditional broadcast programming. Broadband Directions just released their 2006 report on this subject. They conducted a survey for the report with broadband video executives at 42 of the top 75 cable TV networks, which found that broadband video is now the 'number one' advanced services priority for many, far outpacing video-on-demand (VOD) and other advanced services. The survey also found that many of the top 75 cable TV networks, in a dramatic shift from just a

Attitudes Evolve for U.S. Mobile Phone Promo

About one-quarter (26 percent) of current U.S. mobile phone subscribers say they would be willing to watch advertising on their cell phone if in return they were to receive free applications for their phone. Smaller numbers (7 percent) of wireless subscribers say they would be interested in receiving promotional text messages -- if they were relevant. "This seven percent 'coalition of the willing' represents a huge market given the fact that there over 200 million cell phones in the United States. Wireless Service Providers need to balance the value of advertising revenue with the potential of irritating their subscriber base which could potentially increase churn," said Joe Porus, Vice President and Chief Architect for Harris Interactive. Advertising on cell phones is yet another sign that wireless communications is changing the nation's social fabric and the way people communicate. The survey found that 38 percent of wireless subscribers say they now consider w

Wi-Fi Enabled Consumer Electronics Growth

With Wi-Fi appearing in mobile PCs, home routers, and phones, there has been much hype around Wi-Fi crossing over into the Consumer Electronics (CE) space, reports In-Stat. But the CE space is just warming up to Wi-Fi, with some device segments such as gaming consoles and handheld games welcoming Wi-Fi with open arms. In other device segments, such as digital video camcorders and standalone Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), the door has been kept shut on Wi-Fi. "The beauty of Wi-Fi's adoption into high-volume CE categories is that even single-digit attach rates can translate into millions of Wi-Fi shipments," says In-Stat's Gemma Tedesco. "For example, even with sub 10 percent attach rates expected for set top boxes and digital TVs in 2010, Wi-Fi-enabled shipments in these device segments are still expected to number in the millions." In-Stat's study found the following: - Digital Rights Management, combined with a lack of consumer understanding around mu

Receptiveness to Ads Shrink with Screen Size

According to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB), for the first time consumer receptiveness to advertising by device and screen size was explored. Survey participants were asked what the maximum length of an advertisement they’d be willing to view on each device. Responses pointed to lower engagement on smaller screens. Receptiveness was lowest on mobile phones (nine seconds) followed by I-Pods/PSP’s (13 seconds) and then gradually increased as the screen size also increased with computers (18 seconds) scoring higher. Television with a 42 second average had the longest engagement levels among those surveyed. Of those polled 48 percent stated that they did not want advertising on alternative devices. Additionally, more than half (51 percent) said they were not prepared to pay for content in exchange for skipping advertisements on their alternative smaller screen devices. The CAB commissioned Frank N. Magid Associates to conduct the survey after discussions with media agencies.

Founders of Skype to Disrupt TV Status Quo

Informitv reports that the creators of Kazaa and Skype will announce the launch of their latest venture, aimed at distributing television and video over the internet, at a conference on the future of television in New York in November. Codenamed 'The Venice Project,' it is claimed to combine the best things about television with the social power of the internet. Fredrik de Wahl, the chief executive of The Venice Project, is among the keynote speakers at the 'Future of Television Forum' in New York. He will give the first exclusive presentation of the project at the conference. The Venice Project has been developed in stealth mode and is currently in a limited beta test. The team says it will redefine the way people think about television, but states that it is not a file-sharing application or a video download service. The main backers of the project are Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, who were both responsible for the Kazaa file-sharing system and the Skype peer-to-p

U.S. Still the Laggard in Mobile Internet Usage

comScore Networks releases the inaugural findings of the comScore Mobile Tracking Study, which reveals significant differences in the way that Europeans and Americans use the Web on their mobile phones. This ongoing tracking study is designed to analyze and understand how consumers across six countries in Europe and America (U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) access Internet content from their mobile phones. It shows that 29 percent of European Internet users within the aforementioned countries regularly access the Web from their mobile phones compared to only 19 percent in the U.S. Of the countries examined, the highest mobile Web penetration is seen in both Germany and Italy (34 percent for each), followed by France with 28 percent, Spain with 26 percent and the UK with 24 percent. The U.S. figure of 19 percent is the lowest of the set. The comScore Mobile Tracking Study also shows than men are somewhat more likely to access the Web from their mobile phones than women.

Progress with Retailer Multichannel Marketing

Jack Aaronson, reporting for the ClickZ Network, shares some of the key points discussed at the recent annual summit in New York City. It would appear that most retailers are still making small steps towards multichannel (online, offline, etc.) marketing. Sessions dealing with multichannel marketing and multichannel user experience were among the most well-attended of the conference. Clearly, the topic is on everyone's mind, and the industry is still in its infancy. Everyone talked about the future of multichannel shopping while acknowledging the technology still isn't completely there and the transition to a really holistic multichannel shopping experience is still years away. But we've moved passed the first hurdle. Though previous conferences had to introduce the idea (and convince attendees) that multichannel users are more profitable and loyal, this conference took that idea as an assumption. The topic of our multichannel panel this year was understanding the

How Microsites Focus Better on the Customer

As the media landscape becomes increasingly cluttered, large advertisers are turning to small, highly targeted vehicles to rise above the noise. They're creating 'microsites' devoted to a single product, service or promotion that otherwise would get lost as a small element on the cluttered home pages of its corporate parent. Microsites are small yet multi-page websites, sometimes with their own URL addresses and typically accessed via a click-through. JupiterResearch finds that 45 percent of advertisers surveyed with ad budgets exceeding $500 million annually plan to deploy microsites next year, up from just 30 percent this year. American Express applied a microsite model for the singular purpose of promoting its sponsorship of the U.S. Open tennis tournament using player Andy Roddick (, and Carnival Cruises applied the model for its customers to exchange vacation experiences ( "Getting consumers to create user generated content (UGC)

Top U.S. Streaming Video Sites for August '06

comScore Media Metrix just released its August 2006 rankings of the top U.S. streaming video properties. Fox Interactive, which includes, led the way with 1.4 billion streams during the month, or 20.1 percent of the market. Yahoo! Sites ranked second in video streams initiated with 823 million (11.8 percent share), followed by with 688 million (9.9 percent share). Erin Hunter, executive vice president of comScore’s Media and Entertainment Group says "Historically, traffic metrics were the only tools available for analyzing this space. While these measures provide important information on the number of unique visitors to a site, they do not properly measure how many people are actually viewing video content across the Web and how many streams they are viewing, both of which are vital to understanding video's advertising capacity. Our data illustrate that the top-ranked sites by streaming activity do not directly correspond to the most trafficked site

Juniper Networks Consumer-Centric Model

New broadband service launches sometimes require equally new business models. That often means that when the incumbent service provider has chosen to zig, the contender must intentionally choose to zag. It's the essential basis for focusing on meaningful points of differentiation, in a highly competitive market. Gary Southwell, General Manager IPTV Solutions, Juniper Networks says IPTV will require the invention of a totally different revenue model. I highly recommend viewing the streaming video of the recent TelecomTV interview with Mr. Southwell, because he has one of the most informed and insightful perspectives on IPTV. Mr. Southwell starts by pointing out the most apparent trap that technology-centric broadband service providers fall into -- they design the solution first from a technical aspect, and then think about the marketing of the service much later. Granted, this basic observation may not seem profound, but coming from a networking equipment vendor it is remarkable. C

Internet TV Narrowcasting Research Results

As cable TV operators complain of overload with 150 nationally distributed cable networks, narrowcast TV channels are popping up on the Internet, according to Kagan Research. "This can be pretty targeted content that is not commercially viable if relying solely on cable TV for carriage," says Steve Beaumont, President and CEO of technical services provider Narrowstep. Small cable TV network HorseTV Channel is planting itself in both worlds. It augments its undisclosed carriage on U.S. cable TV systems with web TV for a $6.95 a month subscription price to anyone with a high speed Internet connection. Narrowstep clients beam web TV devoted to cycling, field hockey, real estate, tourism for Glasgow, Scotland, and the Catholic Church. These websites incorporate a linear-style TV channel via what Kagan Research calls an "over the top" data stream that flows through broadband. As such, the TV image is mostly viewed on computer screens and picture quality is at the mercy o

Cable TV Counterpunch to the IPTV Contender

The worldwide cable TV industry is in a race to provision a "three-screen" service that starts with HDTV sets, maps over to broadband-connected PCs, and then follows subscribers around during the day on cell phones or other portable devices, reports In-Stat. As a result, continued growth in cable TV infrastructure equipment with sales rising from about $925.4 million during 2006 to more than $2.1 billion in 2010. "The cable TV industry is working diligently to connect all the infrastructure dots in the race to provision a three-screen telecommunications service," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. "System operators are building out Super Headends and upgrading Local Headends to provide the economies of scale needed to provide the greatest number of services, over the greatest geographical reach, at the lowest possible cost. Fixed Mobile Convergence, or FMC, will become a fast-growing market for cable operators, and they will disrupt the cell phone industry.&

Traditional Ad Agencies Under Frontal Assault

Founded in 1917, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) is the national trade association representing the advertising agency business in the United States. Its membership produces approximately 80 percent of the total advertising volume placed by agencies nationwide. The AAAA membership is apparently under increasing critical attack, from intelligent consumers, demanding marketer customers and even some of their own employees. Here's the storyline, so far. Steven Pearlstein says in his Washington Post column entitled 'What Happened to Creative Advertising?' -- "The advertising industry is having trouble figuring out whether these are the best of times or the worst of times. They are the worst of times because the business model on which the industry was built -- hefty profit margins for pitching mass products through mass media to mass markets -- is finally collapsing." Pearlstein's follow-on column is equally blunt -- "Back in the era

Creating Ad Accountability, a New World Order

Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, led an all-star panel of corporate marketers at the recent MIXX Conference and Expo, in a discussion centered on reaching the "in-control consumer." When the conversation turned to metrics and measurement, Jim Nail, chief strategy and marketing officer of Cymfony, stressed the importance of understanding "why a strategy worked," and not simply gauging accountability by return on investment. Tom Lynch, VP and head of marketing integration at ING US, said it was important to be consistent in measurement from quarter to quarter, suggesting that marketers "pick a measure and stick to it." Colgate Palmolive VP for e-business Jack Haber noted that the level of accountability of online media is having an influence on the company's other media buys, as marketers are increasingly demanding better metrics from traditional media like TV and print. Jerri DeVard, SVP of marketing and brand m

A2/M2 Committees Search for Metrics Savior

Nielsen Media Research announced the establishment of five new Client Advisory Committees to guide the company's 'Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement' (A2/M2) initiatives. Along with the previously-developed Client Engagement Committee, the Committees will collaborate with Nielsen to provide valuable insight on the ongoing development and implementation of the initiatives. At least, that's their intent. A2/M2 will provide integrated, electronic measurement of television content across multiple media platforms, reflecting the transformation of the television industry into a multi-platform business. Announced by Nielsen in June, A2/M2 was developed in close consultation with clients. They hope that these advisory Committees will assist Nielsen as it moves forward with the most extensive research and testing program in the company's history. More than 200 clients volunteered to participate on the Advisory Committees and Nielsen selected nearly 90 representatives from al

ROI from Customer Relationship Management

The Customer Management Community reports that analyst firm Gartner Group recently suggested that while many organizations will cite being able to measure CRM ROI as being important, in practice very few take any practical steps to achieve this beyond basic lip service. Many businesses are disenchanted with CRM implementations because of failure to completely measure all the factors involved in the implementation, says Michael Smith, Gartner research vice president, who discussed building a business case for CRM at the Gartner Customer Relationship Summit in Chicago. Over 70 percent of companies recently surveyed said they measure total cost of ownership of CRM implementations, but only 17 percent say they measure ROI. Interestingly around 60 percent believe that they do measure "benefits" -- which is an interesting and perhaps revealing distinction. But the reality is that unless all three -- TCO, ROI and benefits -- are measured together then there will be no perception of

Evolution of IP-Enabled Consumer Electronics

Consumers worldwide will increase spending on digital home devices by 32 percent to $159 Billion in 2006, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. The report, "Digital Home Devices Global Market Forecast," predicts that digital cameras, DVD players and MP3 players will be the most popular items this year. In terms of revenue, however, LCD and plasma TVs are the star performers. Consumers around the world will spend nearly $70 Billion on flat panel TVs during 2006, representing 44 percent of total digital home market revenues. This report identifies a trend towards IP-connected devices as the next important wave in the migration toward digital homes. Fourteen percent of digital home devices sold this year will be IP-enabled, which allows them to access digital media websites on the Internet, or stored on the home network. Examples of such devices include games consoles and set-top boxes. IP devices will become more and more popular as the popularity of digital

Asia Pacific Leading in Mobile Music Revenue

From almost nothing five years ago, the mobile music market in Asia-Pacific grew to $3.3 billion in 2005, and will reach $9.3 billion by 2010, reports In-Stat. The breakthrough years for mobile music in Asia-Pacific will be 2007 and 2008. Growth drivers include large markets like China and India reaching a critical mass of mobile subscribers and 3G services becoming prevalent regionwide. "Ringtones have been the primary driver for mobile music growth in the past, but this will change as new mobile phones equipped with digital music file playback capability create a new market," says Bryan Wang, In-Stat director. "As consumer preferences change, the future growth of the mobile music industry rests on ringback tones and full music tracks." In-Stat's study found the following: - The size of South Korea's mobile music industry has already surpassed the country's conventional music industry. - China will soon assume prominence in the mobile music market, reco

Traditional TV Must Become HDTV to Survive

In yet another of her very detailed interviews, itvt's Tracy Swedlow asks Eric Shanks, EVP Entertainment for DirecTV the ultimate question -- "Do you see broadband video on the Web as a threat to traditional television?" His response regarding the consequence is a dire prediction, with the apparent antidote being a swift move to high definition programming. Shanks: "Yes. I think that the Web is a real threat to certain cable channels if they don't really quickly go to HDTV. A lot of these basic pay TV channels definitely risk being marginalized by the Internet, because the Internet will offer increasingly compelling, and very watchable video. The difference that these cable channels can make in order to stay relevant with customers is to go to HDTV as soon as possible." "I think that channels that are slow to go to HD are going to start to feel squeezed and to lose viewership sooner rather than later. HDTV is hugely important in that it's the bigges

Asia Pacific Tops 1 Billion Mobile Subscribers

To coincide with this week's 3GSM World Congress Asia, Informa Telecoms & Media reports that the region is set to break through the 1 billion mobile subscription barrier at the end of the month. According to Informa, the number of mobile subscriptions in Asia Pacific has doubled in just three years and GSM now accounts for nearly 80 percent of the region's total subscriptions. Informa forecasts that Asia Pacific will account for 45 percent of global subscription growth by the end of this year and will rise to well over 50 percent by 2007. Liz Hall, Principal Analyst at Informa comments "the world's most populated region represents nearly 40 percent of the world's mobile subscriptions, yet mobile penetration in Asia Pacific stands at just 30 percent -- this means 2.6 billion people within the region have yet to be connected to a mobile cellular service." In the first nine months of 2006 the Asia Pacific mobile subscription base rose by 160 million with Chi

BT Vision Delayed Until Spring of 2007 in UK

Informitv reports that BT Vision, the long-awaited video service from the UK telecom company, will 'soft launch' to a limited number of existing broadband subscribers next month, with a full launch and its complete programming line-up now not expected until next spring. BT is denying that it amounts to a delay in the launch, which it has always promised to deliver before the end of the year. The service is currently being used by a limited number of BT employees prior to being seen by the public. The company is adopting a cautious approach with what it describes as a 'sensible' rollout to avoid disappointing customers and initially it will not have 'all the bells and whistles.' Speaking at the Streaming Media Europe conference in London, Richard Griffiths, technology strategy director for BT Retail TV Services, gave a few insights into the broadband video plans, while stressing the difficulties of delivering video over the existing BT network. As a result of the

Challenging Excessive Cable-Franchise Fees

Telco-IP Update reports that consumers in seven Iowa cities are challenging cable-franchise fees, arguing that they violate state law because the amount collected is larger than the actual cost to regulate the businesses. Federal, state and local governments have inflicted high taxes upon telecom and cable TV service providers for many years, and now some consumers are fighting back. Individual lawsuits have been filed in Iowa District Court against the local government taxing agencies in Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Sioux City and Waterloo. Richard Davidson, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the suits were triggered by a May ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. The ruling was on a case -- launched by a utility user, Lisa Kragnes of Des Moines -- that affirmed that taxing agencies can only assess and recover the 'actual cost' of regulating a utility. In Iowa, Davidson said, state courts established that the people, not the cities, own the rights of

Newspapers Suffer from Mass-Market Myopia

According to MarketWatch, Tribune Co., New York Times Co. and Dow Jones & Co. are among the newspaper publishers expected to report a decline in third-quarter earnings due to ongoing weakness across several key advertising categories. Ad sales are lackluster at many U.S. newspapers, as advertisers look at dropping circulation numbers and assume that they won't reach as many of the consumers they desire through print newspapers. Circulation is being affected by a migration of readers to the Web, as well as the impact of the Do Not Call Registry, which has all but taken away one of the industry's prime methods to recruit new subscribers. This week, Gannett Co. and Media General Inc. reported disappointing third-quarter results, and September results at the newspapers offered little hope for improvement in the fourth quarter. On Tuesday, E.W. Scripps Co. announces quarterly results. The newspaper publisher has fared better than many of its peers because its cable networks, inc

Market Segmentation for the Digital Home

Whether broadband service providers are ready or not, next-generation consumer applications have arrived, according to In-Stat. Wireline operators are investing billions of dollars in fiber optic cable deployment to introduce IPTV and triple-play service bundles. Wireline, wireless integration is upon us with the launching of the first Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC) services in Europe and the U.S. Yet, these next-generation consumer applications are far different from the old telephone 'custom calling' days. Understanding the consumer, as well as the characteristics of broadband households, will be vital to success. In-Stat published a research report that examines the lifestyles and behavior of multi-person broadband households in North America, as they relate to next-generation IMS consumer applications. Broadband households in the U.S. and Canada are segmented into six groups, each with a distinctive set of lifestyle characteristics. Not surprisingly, household buying decisi

Social Business Club Adds Video Features

The Social Business Club, based in Germany, has released new features to provide its members the possibility to publish video contents on their business-oriented social network website. Perhaps this is the beginning of an emerging trend where other online business networks, such as LinkedIn or OpenBC, will enable their members to incorporate video content within professional profiles. The main target for this new module was not to start another new hosting service for videos, but to develop a user-friendly interface to publish already available videos within the club. "The Internet is overcrowded with video materials and free available hosting services so we didn't reinvent the wheel. What we missed was the possibility for business people and companies to promote their own videos to a serious business audience in an easy and effective way. So, what would fit that need better than an international business club?" said Alexander Dort, founder and COO of the Social Business

Google Video Sets Stage for Next Disruption

According to Pyramid research, the Google deal to acquire YouTube appeared to be staggeringly fast. However, it is likely that Google has had its eye on YouTube for some time and is unlikely to be suffering from any buyer’s remorse. Pyramid's opinion is based upon their following assessment, which maps very nicely with my latest video vignette entitled " Mass-Market Requiem ." The acquisition of YouTube outlines a new strategic direction for Google -- the $1.65 billion price tag is an indisputable commitment to becoming THE provider of web based video services. YouTube accounts for over 47 percent of visits to video websites. Adding Google’s 11 percent share of hits to their own brand video service, the company is now in control of the lion’s share of global online video. This audience will only increase as broadband becomes the norm, as online video matures and as mobile devices develop the ability to act as seamless extensions of the Internet. Google’s AdWords have been

HD DVD will Provide the Home Video Upside

While the U.S. home video business is in an apparent decline, Kagan Research sees high definition (HD) DVDs halting the downturn and helping achieve modest growth to reach a peak expected in 2012. A new Kagan study forecasts that U.S. consumer spending for home video software in the important sell-through category will rise from nearly $17 billion this year to nearly $28 billion by 2012. Those figures exclude the declining video rental category. The estimate represents good news for the total U.S. home video software business that contracted 1 percent in 2005, and looks to continue its slide, but by less than 1 percent in 2006 and again 2007 (for both sell-through and rental categories combined for DVDs and VHS tapes). Kagan forecasts total U.S. home video software revenue will again rise from 2008-2012. Thus, U.S. home video software will eke out a low single digit compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next decade through 2015. But in 2013-2015, video-on-demand will cut into home

YouTube Confirmed as a Global Phenomenon

comScore Media Metrix announced the results of an analysis of worldwide video streaming activity from, confirming that an average of 100 million video streams were served per day in July 2006. In July, more than 63 million people (Age 15+) worldwide visited, 16 million of whom came from the U.S. On a daily basis, the site attracted an average of 6.2 million visitors worldwide, with just 1.6 million residing in the U.S. The site also ranked as the 17th most visited property worldwide during the month. While visitation is one metric for measuring a site’s popularity, comScore’s Video Metrix service possesses the unique capability of measuring actual streaming activity. In July 2006, YouTube served nearly 3 billion video streams worldwide, with slightly less than one-quarter of the total activity streamed to U.S. locations. On an average daily basis for the month, 96 million streams were served worldwide, and 21 million in the U.S. "Several media outlets ha

Emergence of Broadband Video ASP Models

The explosion in broadband video and Internet TV has created a need for enabling platforms allowing both media companies and enterprises to put their content online. A new breed of application service providers, called Broadband Video ASPs (BBV-ASPs) is emerging to offer publishing, syndication, commerce, content management, security, and other platform components, in the form of 'software as a service' to satisfy these needs. ABI Research expects the broadband video ASP market to reach $1.9 billion in revenue by 2011. "Broadband Video ASPs offer what are essentially white-label turnkey video platforms to media and enterprises, enabling them to create branded video destination sites," says research director Michael Wolf. "By offering these platforms, which can be sold in their entirety or as best-of-breed components, they allow their customers get to market faster using a variety of monetization models." Companies such as Brightcove, NBBC (a division of NBC/

Network-Based PVR Model has Its Challenges

Network-based personal video recording (nPVR) stands as a technology that could radically change pricing metrics, advertising, and content distribution on video networks. Once the technology is proven and content providers sign on, according to a new study from ABI Research. The nPVR model will help to fuel the overall digital video recording (DVR) market, which will grow from about 20 million subscribers last year to more than 250 million in 2011. "nPVR offers substantial benefits to service providers in terms of cost." says principal analyst Michael Arden. "But nPVR has to prove that its technology is as good as client-side DVR set-top boxes, and it raises serious issues with some content providers, issues that they are willing to take to court." DVRs have been around for some time, in the form of hard-disk-equipped boxes in consumers' homes that allow them to record program content and replay it at will, in the same fashion as a VCR. The question in the comin