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Showing posts from February, 2007

Europe Fiber-to-the-Home Market Penetration

There are over 1 million subscriptions to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services in western Europe, according to research by Telecom Markets for Informa Telecoms & Media. Fiber-to-the-home is a type of next-generation access network technology that uses optical fiber in the last-mile connection to provide broadband services with speeds tens, even hundreds of times faster than conventional alternatives. Although FTTH represents only 1.4 percent of western Europe's 79 million-plus broadband subscriptions, the nascent business models behind the networks are already having a significant impact on competition in Scandinavia. FTTH is most-advanced in Sweden, where the technology is used for 650,000, or over 27 percent of the country's 2,340,000 broadband subscriptions. Significantly, the 150 municipal networks serving these customers tend not to be owned by conventional telecoms operators, but by utilities or local authorities. These new-entrants tend to offer an "open access&

Voice of the Customer has Five Categories

Forrester Research studied customer experience initiatives, and they uncovered a variety of approaches that companies use to incorporate customer feedback into their efforts. These "voice of the customer" exploration processes fit into five different categories as follows. Companies who already have highly developed customer advocacy programs in place are no doubt very familiar with these various approaches. However, for every executive who has wondered if their organization might be too internally focused, this list is for your consideration. Relationship tracking : Organizations need to track the health of customer relationships over time. That's why companies often ask customers to fill out surveys -- typically quarterly or annually -- about their perception of the firm. Using this feedback, companies can create metrics that are simple to understand and easy to trend. Why is this important? Because an easy-to-grasp report card helps align everyone in the organization

U.S. Mobile Services Buying Criteria Explored

U.S. consumer mobile services buying decisions are proven to be based upon interest, technology adoption attitudes, lifestyle attributes and of course price. However, not necessarily in that order. Understanding these buying criteria is essential in assessing the market potential for IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)/Next Generation Networking (NGN) consumer products and services, says high-tech market research firm, In-Stat. IMS-based enabling features and functions, such as presence and user profiles, build a foundation on which numerous other applications can reside. In-Stat research has confirmed that there is high interest across all household segments for most enabling IMS/NGN technologies and their associated user benefits. "In-Stat recommends that service providers focus on deploying enabling technologies to accelerate consumer adoption and build demand for next-generation IMS-based communication services," says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst. "Stand-alone applicat

Two Reasons WiMAX Will Beat 3G on Price

WiMAX spectrum has been significantly cheaper than 3G spectrum; in some cases, WiMAX spectrum has been less than one-thousandth of the cost of 3G spectrum for a given geographic area, according to a market study by Pyramid Research. In the UK's 3G spectrum auction of 2000, mobile operator Vodafone paid a whopping $9.4 billion for a 30 MHz national license. This is in sharp contrast to what was paid for a regional 3.5GHz license in a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) auction three years later. The most expensive license in this auction ($3.2 million) covered Greater London, one of the denser regions in the UK. The price per MHz per population for the 3G license was about 500 times higher than the price per MHz per population for a Greater London WiMAX license. Similar differentials apply in other Western Europe markets, where 3G spectrum was sold at high prices. "Deep-pocketed MNOs have long felt that owning 3G spectrum was central to their strategic future. Few feel the same abo

Key Lesson Learned from the Dell Idea Storm

Forrester Research asked members of their North American Consumer Technology Adoption Study (NACTAS) panel to tell them what they like best about the website they visit most. Interestingly, superior content and function were not at the top of their panelist's list. Instead, they rated ease of finding content and function as the most important attribute of their favorite sites. Text legibility came in a close second, while trust in website security and reliability ended up in third place. Online consumers value clear navigation, strong text legibility, and high reliability -- but that's not what they usually get. Many sites that Forrester previously evaluated failed tests of how well they help users find, read, and trust content. And when sites serve up a series of flaws in a single scenario, it adds up to a major headache for users. As an example, consider the focal point of the highest ranked suggestion to improve the user experience on the Dell.com website. The recently launc

Lifestyle of Wi-Fi Connected Mobile Consumer

Some 34 percent of internet users have accessed the internet using a wireless connection either around the house, at their workplace, or some place else, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In other words, one-third of internet users, either with a laptop computer, a handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) -- or in rarer cases a cell phone -- have surfed the internet or checked email using means such as WiFi broadband or cell phone networks. Users of wireless access show deeper engagement with Internet related applications -- at least when focusing on two basic online activities, email and news. Among the 34 percent of internet users who have gone online with wireless connections: - Seventy two percent of wireless users check email on the typical day, compared to 63 percent of home broadband users and 54 percent of all internet users. - Forty six percent get news online on the typical day, compared to 38 percent of home broadband users and 31 percent of all

Mobile Internet Pricing Still Restrains Demand

Although cellular modem shipments in 2006 were below expectations, the momentum is building for this market to reach nearly $10 billion by 2012, a 47 percent compound annual growth rate, according to ABI Research. ABI Research principal analyst Dan Shey says, "The fundamental drivers for sales of modems are the proliferation of 3G networks and better cellular broadband pricing. Operators made significant efforts in 2006 to upgrade their networks to 3G technologies, particularly in North America and Europe. Operators are also tempting customers with various cellular broadband pricing options, although the total monthly costs are still too high to encourage significant modem adoption by consumers." PC Cards represented the majority of sales in 2006. Internal modems did not meet sales expectations, but they will begin to lead sales starting in 2009. Although it's not clear to me exactly what ABI believes will stimulate this dramatic shift in consumer demand. "The val

A 21st Century Retailer's Technology Needs

According to new research by the Aberdeen Group, the online Business to Consumer (B2C) marketplace is increasingly impatient, which is a reflection on the pressures merchants feel from their customers. Online retailers expect their technology solutions to flex, bend and meet their complex needs and become profitable in short order. Rather than expecting to realize a return on investment over the course of time, retailers want instant gratification and Return on Investment (ROI) in typically less than six months. Twenty-one percent of retailers expect to see revenue results from their online tools (e.g., site search, interactive product imaging and Web 2.0 technologies) within weeks. Only 22 percent are willing to wait more than six months to realize a return on their online tools. In a related research study, Aberdeen says that it would be difficult to dispute the fact that retail has changed dramatically over the past several years -- as a result of new and emerging technologies.

Digital TV on Satellite Services to Handhelds

The DVB Steering Board has approved the DVB-SH (Satellite services to Handhelds) specification. DVB-SH enhances the range of DVB standards in the area of mobile digital television. At the 53rd meeting of the DVB Steering Board, the main executive body of the DVB Project, two documents specifying DVB-SH were approved: a waveform specification and a description of the system. DVB-SH is defined as a system which is able to deliver IP based media content and data to handheld terminals like mobile phones and PDAs via satellite. Whenever a line of sight between terminal and satellite does not exist terrestrial gap fillers are employed to provide the missing coverage. The DVB-SH system has been designed for frequencies below 3 GHz, typically in the S-band. It complements the existing DVB-H physical layer standard and like its sister specification (DVB-H) uses the DVB IP Datacast (IPDC) set of content delivery, electronic service guide and service purchase and protection standards. DVB-SH

Re-Thinking Telco Service Delivery Platforms

The need to deliver enhanced services over next-generation network architectures will drive worldwide telco operators to increase service delivery platform (SDP) spending to $2.2 billion in 2011. SDPs are a combination of hardware, software, and services that form a common architecture for the creation and delivery of services across multiple network types. However, according to new IDC research, the SDP market remains largely undefined and interpreted differently throughout the industry. "There are tremendous market opportunities for IT suppliers, network equipment providers, independent software vendors, and systems integrators trying to establish their place in this evolving market," said Shira Levine, senior analyst for IDC. "Each type of company faces a unique set of challenges, but the key to success is the ability of these companies to develop partnerships with vendors in other categories." From the carrier perspective, SDPs address the need for faster, ea

Alternative Methods for Networked Community

Historically, the dominant paradigms in communications media have been those of one-to-many, one-size-fits-all broadcasting and one-to-one personal communications within geographically defined national networks. According to Analysys Research, telecoms and broadcasting are no longer under the sole control of national institutions, which opens up the possibility of alternative foundations for networked communities, and the possibility that these communities will use new tools to communicate. Networked communities can be global, can be based around shared interests, or can have their foundations in brand affinities -- the brand affinity can be as simple as the use of a common communications application, such as Skype. Many of the successful new Internet brands have stimulated the development of significant community-based communications traffic and have thereby become communications companies. The question arises, will this new business complement or replace core telecoms usage? Ther

UWB and Wi-Fi as Mobile Sideload Interface

Driven by consumer desire to sideload mobile content and applications onto mobile phones, USB was employed in more handsets than all other interface standards combined in 2006, according to iSuppli Corp. By the end of 2010 USB will still be the leading local interface, forecast to be included in 764 million of all the mobile handsets shipped that year. "All the excitement and hype in the marketplace has been about Wi-Fi and Bluetooth integration in mobile handsets. However, as consumers endeavor to move both personally and professionally created contenton and off of their mobile handsets, the local interface selection of choice clearly will be USB," said Frank Dickson, principal analyst with iSuppli. "Nonetheless, Bluetooth is gaining ground fast. By 2010, Bluetooth and USB will be available on nearly every handset, and WLAN and NFC will have established a significant market presence." The increasing prevalence of these local interfaces on mobile handsets, and t

Hurdles for Cisco Human Network CE Vision

Cisco's consumer strategy will establish the company as one of the most important challengers to the old guard of the consumer electronics (CE) industry, according to the latest research from the Strategy Analytics. Cisco must address two key hurdles in order to implement the Human Network vision demonstrated at this year's CES in Las Vegas: resistance to open technology standards from service providers and maintenance of its lucrative returns in the face of wafer-thin margins and plummeting prices in the consumer electronics market. However, if the Cisco plan succeeds the field would be open for a wave of newcomers to exploit the potential of open digital IP platforms to support successive waves of device innovation, transforming today's competitive environment. "Cisco should be watched closely by every major CE and digital home player," says David Mercer, Principal Analyst at Strategy Analytics. "The company's proposals to transform technology indus

Digital Cable Set Top Box Revenue Bonanza

2006 was a very good year for cable set top box manufacturers. In fact, it was the best year ever, according to In-Stat research. Last year, worldwide digital cable set top box unit shipments hit a record 27.5 million, a significant increase over the 15.6 million units shipped in 2005. In conjunction with the huge increase in unit shipments, digital cable set top box revenues also set a new annual record. Worldwide product revenues last year reached $4.2 billion, up from $3.1 billion in 2005. So what exactly was behind last year's cable set top box bonanza? In a nutshell, there were three things: - Demand for digital set top boxes in China skyrocketed. - The shift from analog cable TV service to digital cable TV service, especially in North America and Europe, remained. - Strong demand for high-end digital cable set top boxes, particularly PVR-enabled or HD-capable boxes, continued to boost unit shipments in North America. The number one driver for la

Dell Raises the Bar on Customer Engagement

Dell has been featured prominently within the press lately, mostly regarding ongoing changes in their executive leadership, as the company continues its quest to regain lost momentum. Meanwhile, there's another more thought-provoking story that's unfolding. While many high-tech corporations talk of their passion to engage their customers in an open dialog -- to better understand their collective needs -- few have been as bold or adventurous as Dell in its exploration of raising the bar for superior customer care. Dell's direct-marketing and sales model made them a pioneer of building world-class call centers. They created the Dell Community Forums platform to enable customer interaction, and ultimately knowledge transfer. Then they introduced Dell on Call to provide additional fee-based technical support, and eventually launched the Direct2Dell corporate blog. Following the announcement of their Dell 2.0 initiative last year, they recently ventured into the world of br

E-Commerce Customer Satisfaction Increases

Customer satisfaction with the e-commerce industry improves for the second year in a row and nears an all-time high, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, released by the University of Michigan with e-commerce partner ForeSee Results. The e-commerce industry overall rises to a score of 80.0 on the ACSI 100-point scale, closing in on its all-time high score of 80.8 in 2003. The e-commerce sector continues to outpace most other sectors of the economy in terms of satisfying customers and exceeds the national ACSI aggregate score (74.9) by 7 percent. "The Internet is a hyper-competitive environment and companies need to evolve and adapt quickly to customer needs and expectations or risk losing them," said Larry Freed, an online customer satisfaction expert and president and CEO of ForeSee Results. "The improved scores are evidence that e-commerce companies are working hard to maintain and improve the industry's extremely high customer satisfaction stan

Technology, Media and Telecom Revolutions

It starts with consumer's desire to enjoy the entertainment they want, whenever they want, on any platform they want -- and ends with a wave of technological change that will sweep away the video and audio entertainment media businesses as we now know them. It's the latest stage of the Technology, Media and Communications (TMC) revolution -- and it's about to make previous technological upheavals look minor in comparison. A new white paper from iSuppli Corp. examines the TMC revolution, including its drivers and enablers, and offers ideas and insights on how companies can manage this wave of technological change. The TMC revolution centers on a set of relatively new products that combine elements of computing, consumer electronics and wired and wireless communications. Demand for such products has been spurred by the proliferation of devices that deliver time/place utility to consumers, such as mobile phones, which allow users to communicate in any location and whenever t

France Leading European Digital TV Policies

France has set a new benchmark for European digital television policy, according to "Digital TV Transition: Europe Watches France's Mandates As Terrestrial HDTV Arrives," the latest research from the Strategy Analytics. France's new "TV of the Future" law has taken an important step towards high definition television (HDTV) on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform by allocating capacity for HD channels and mandating HD tuners in HD-Ready TV sets. These decisions will have ramifications for other countries in Europe, which will watch these developments with interest. There will also be important lessons from the French approach to licensing HD channels that takes place over the next few months. According to this report, the decisions made in France will put increased pressure on other European countries to accelerate their own policies towards HD on DTT platforms. "Most other European countries are still at the discussion stage regarding

Google Leads Web-Based Productivity Tools

Nielsen//NetRatings announced that Google has been the number one provider of Web-based productivity tools (tools which allow users to work together remotely) since October 2006. According to Nielsen//NetRatings MegaPanel, the monthly combined unique visitors to Google Docs and Spreadsheets reached 445,762, with an average time spent of 10 minutes per visitor. This accounted for 92 percent of unique visitors and 95 percent of time spent among providers of Web-based productivity tools that month. Other providers include, EditGrid, Zoho.com, Thinkfree.com, Numsum.com and WriteBoard. Since October, growth at Google Docs and Spreadsheets has been relatively flat. In November, these Google properties attracted 424,785 unique visitors and 432,156 unique visitors in December. Time per visitor has increased somewhat, from an average of 10 minutes in October to 14 minutes in December. "Web-based productivity software further extends people's use of the Web browser beyond Web site

Asia-Pacific Home Networks Go Mainstream

Interest in advanced home networking applications is building in the Asia/Pacific region, reports In-Stat. Given the region's advance use of mobile data applications, I'm not surprised by this latest market research. Although home automation, home security, and network support services remain at the early stage of market adoption, home PC users in the region are receptive to them, the high-tech market research firm says. This conclusion is based on the results of a recent In-Stat consumer market survey of PC users in six Asia/Pacific nations. "Early adopters of digital home devices and applications within the Asia/Pacific region are in both developed and developing economies," says Victor Liu Zhoujiao, In-Stat analyst. "People are actively seeking affordable solutions to improve their home connectivity and quality of information for work and entertainment at home." Recent research by In-Stat found the following: - Cable modem and xDSL remain the two maj

Top Three Communication Tools for Teens

U.S. teens now live in a world in which the Internet, cell phones, text messaging and other technology dominate their communication and are an integral part of life as they understand it. Despite the hype about using modern technology, young people still seem to grasp the rules for these communication tools and know when it is appropriate to use these items to gather information and when to avoid them altogether. According to Suzanne Martin, Ph.D., Youth and Education Researcher at Harris Interactive, "Teens utilize different modes of communication in different social contexts." When the tone of a communication is serious, such as arguing with someone, teens realize that communication tools may not be the best avenue of discussion. Two in three teens (67 percent) would not break up with someone and two in five (42 percent) would not argue with a friend over phones, email, instant messaging, text messaging, or social networking sites. Teens feel more comfortable discussing

Consumers Will Need Variety of PC Interfaces

IDC recently revealed its new forecast for worldwide adoption of thirty one interfaces and technologies shipping in desktop and mobile PCs through 2010. Among key highlights of the forecast are the following: - The user need for constant connectivity will steer demand for cellular wide area networking and broadband wireless options. - The PC's role as the hub for consumer devices will drive adoption of high-speed interfaces, including USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and PCI Express. - The arrival of Windows Vista will boost market demand for discrete graphics controllers. - The emergence of DisplayPort will cloud the video interface landscape. "The supplanting of older interfaces by the latest industry offerings is a game of timing, listening to customers, and observing market dynamics for a technology provider or OEM," said Richard Shim, senior research analyst for IDC's Personal Computing team. "Remove an interface too early and customers will complain. Rem

One in Six American Households Have HDTV

Leichtman Research Group (LRG) found that the one in six households in the United States now have at least one high definition-capable TV (HDTV), an increase from about one out of every fourteen households just two years ago. LRG's latest research, based on a survey of 1,300 households throughout the United States, revealed: - The mean annual household income of HDTV households is 42 percent above average. - Twenty six percent of households with annual incomes of over $50,000 have an HDTV compared to 7 percent of households with annual incomes below $50,000. - Twenty six percent of HDTV owners have more than one HDTV -- up from 11 percent last year. - Twenty nine percent of HDTV owners are likely to get another HDTV in the next year -- up from 18 percent last year. - Only one-third of adults have heard of the digital TV transition, scheduled for February 17, 2009. Millions of HDTV sets have been sold in the U.S. in the past year, says the report, and more homes than ever

Mobile Content Providers are Unlikely Saviour

At the 3GSM Congress in Barcelona, it was possible to hear a whistling noise as the mobile operators scrambled past each other to reach mobile content providers, and it is not hard to find out why. Data-heavy mobile content services will be key to their future success. ABI Research is releasing two Research Briefs, "Mobile Operator Performance Benchmarks, 4Q-2006" and "Global Wireless Subscriber Dynamics, 4Q-2006" that track the latest developments in the global mobile marketplace. "As of the end of 4Q-2006, there were over 100 million WCDMA subscribers around the world," said Asia-Pacific research director Jake Saunders. "The WCDMA subscriber sector is moving particularly fast, growing 102 percent YoY and 16.6 percent QoQ." 3G subscribers are providing a much-needed shot in the arm for mobile operators, because they deliver an average revenue per user (ARPU) that is 5 to 20 percent greater than the average. For many operators, the period 2Q-20

What Americans Do With Their Home Network

Not long ago, many people believed setting up an entertainment center was simply a stereo system, a VCR and a television larger than 25 inches. These days, the promise from the consumer electronic industry to establish the computer as the new 'media center' is beginning to gain traction with consumers. With this in mind, Harris Interactive conducted an online research study of adult consumers across America that focused on the emerging Digital Home and other hot consumer technologies, and the results indicate that more than one-third (39 percent) of U.S. adults have home networks. Thirty-seven percent of those with home networks would like to use their personal computer (PC) as a media center to control their entertainment system, while thirty-one percent would use it to download pictures, video and music to their televisions. Even controlling household systems such as lighting, security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning are being folded in to today's media cent

A Foundation of Digital Lifestyle Applications

Residential subscriptions to broadband Internet services surged 20 percent in 2006 to exceed 50 million U.S. households, according to "Digital Lifestyles: 2007 Outlook," a new study from Parks Associates. The report estimates U.S. residential broadband subscriptions will surpass 60 million households by year-end 2007, accounting for 55 percent of all U.S. households. "The foundations of digital lifestyle applications and products are built on access services, including broadband Internet and television," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates. "With the penetration of high-speed Internet exceeding 50 percent in 2007, we're also witnessing shifts in the way companies are positioning their communications, entertainment, and information services as home technology solutions." The report reveals providers are delivering both broadband and television services with greater emphasis on the value-added services they enab

DRM and Walled Garden Mindset Under Attack

The media world is experiencing an abrupt change in thinking about imposing sharp limits on the ability of consumers to freely move digital content around, according to Kagan Research. Equipment, software and content companies collaborated for years to perfect closed proprietary systems, such as Apple's successful iPod and iTunes combination -- with music and video files intentionally designed not to play on other hardware platforms. But government regulators and consumers are now pressing for content to be open and portable across multiple platforms. They detest digital rights management (DRM) software that defeats cross-platform interoperability -- which in turn forces consumers to buy the same song or video for each of their different devices. Apple chief Steve Jobs says he's in favor of eliminating anti-copying software and there's a growing list of countries pressing to eliminate such draconian DRM barriers, especially France. The U.S. mobile phon

Digital Satellite Pay-TV Global Market Upside

Western Europe and North America continue to lead the digital satellite pay-TV market in subscribers and revenue, but the fastest growth over the next several years will come from other areas, especially Asia, reports In-Stat. Key satellite market trends include consolidation in established markets, interactivity, high-definition (HD) launches, broadband video delivery and service bundling. "Most DTH platform launches in 2006 occurred in the less mature markets, including India and Eastern Europe," says Michael Inouye, In-Stat analyst. "As DTH pay-TV platforms in many American and European countries have been in operation for a number of years, their subscriber growth has slowed. Total net new subscribers are growing each year, but only by single digit percentages." However, I believe that there could be a wild-card yet to be played within the North American market. If the trials and tribulation of telco IPTV deployments continue, I can anticipate service provide

Wi-Fi Enabled Devices Grow Chipset Demand

During 2006, the Wi-Fi semiconductor market shipped just under 200 million Wi-Fi chipsets, and reached over 500 million chipset shipments cumulatively, according to ABI Research. The research indicates that around the middle of 2008, the industry will have passed the one billion mark for cumulative chipset shipments. "Cumulative shipments of one billion Wi-Fi ICs mark a significant milestone," says principal analyst Philip Solis, "but even more impressive, there will be well over a billion chipsets shipped in 2012 alone, with cellular handsets and consumer electronics accounting for over two-thirds of that total." ABI's Wi-Fi IC database provides historical and forecast market data on a quarterly basis. Data and market share figures for the previous eight quarters are included, as is yearly data through 2012. Their market data includes annual overall IC market share statistics from 2001 to the present, as well as market share for laptops (mini-PCI and miniCard

Mobile Linux Will Overtake Symbian by 2010

Telecoms.com reports that the popularity of Mobile Linux in Japan and China, as well as interest being shown by major Western vendors and operators, has secured the software technology's place in the mobile mainstream, according to Benoit Schillings, CTO of Trolltech. Schillings cited analysis from Diffusion Group and TDG Research which forecasts that Linux will overtake Symbian in terms of mobile OS market share by 2010. Within a similar period, he said, more than half the phones shipped by Motorola -- ranked second in the global handset market -- will run Linux. "Mobile operating systems are definitely the next battleground for the mobile communications industry, with major players such as Microsoft Windows, Symbian and Linux fighting for dominance," said Schillings. "Handset manufacturers need to get different types of products to market quickly in order to keep up with the pace of innovation. Closed, vendor-specific proprietary operating systems do not offer t

HDforAll Campaign Promotes UK HDTV Policy

Informitv reports that public service broadcasters in the UK have launched a campaign in conjunction with manufacturers and retailers to lobby for the availability of high-definition (HD) channels on digital terrestrial broadcast television. The 'HDforAll' campaign for high-definition TV on 'Freeview' is being backed by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, together with consumer electronics companies such as Sony, Samsung and Toshiba, and major retailers Comet and Dixons. The consortium is lobbying the UK communications regulator Ofcom to set aside spectrum released by the switchover to digital television to provide free-to-air HD television broadcasts. It follows a report from Ofcom that suggested that there is little demand for HD services on the digital Freeview platform. Ofcom believes that the use of released spectrum should be decided by the market through an auction process. The communications regulator also argues that existing spectrum could be used to carry HD cha

SXSW Film Conference and Festival Lineup

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced its complete lineup of panels, short films, retrospectives, and new additions to the feature film schedule. The panels lineup will conclude on Tuesday, March 13 with a special session entitled "Ready for Primetime: TV Comedy Today" featuring notable TV performers and producers such as Seth MacFarlane ('Family Guy'), Al Jean ('The Simpsons'), Rob Corddry (Fox's new show 'The Winner,' 'The Daily Show'), and more. Other notable additions to the panels lineup include: "A Conversation with Bill Paxton" on Saturday, March 10, the addition of filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell ('Shortbus') to the Monday, March 12 session "Sex Scenes Stay Hard," and a multimedia presentation by acclaimed animator Emily Hubley. The complete panels lineup and schedule will be on the SXSW Web site on Friday, February 16. "The panels aspect of the SXSW Film Festival h

Mobile Service Providers Debate Slowdown

As the global wireless industry convenes this week for its biggest event of the year -- the 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Barcelona, Spain -- mobile phone service providers participating in the event face a major challenge: how to maintain revenue growth amid a dramatic slowdown in new mobile phone subscribers. At the 3GSM event, manufacturers are expected to show their latest products, ranging from high-end music enabled wireless handsets and smart phones that are designed to appeal to sophisticated users in developed regions, to Ultra Low-Cost Handsets (ULCHs) that are targeted at low-income users in the third world. These products can counteract the impact of the subscriber slowdown by drumming up new revenue streams and by attracting new customers that previously couldn't afford mobile phones. Regardless, iSuppli asks the loaded question, will these efforts be enough to maintain growth in mobile phone hardware and service revenues? After rising by an average of 25 percent in 2

Broadband's Role in Economic Development

Broadband Internet access is gradually becoming a defining characteristic of advanced industrialized economies, and broadband take rates have been increasing at a rapid pace across the world. The latest update to ABI Research's online Broadband Subscribers Database forecasts that the total number of DSL and cable broadband users in the world will grow by an average of 9 percent annually over the next five years to reach 480 million subscribers by 2012. "The Asia-Pacific region offers a potentially huge market to tap into," says broadband research analyst Serene Fong, of ABI Research's Asia bureau. "In terms of statistical benchmarking, the subscriber base in the Asia-Pacific region will grow substantially over the next five years, and is expected to outperform other areas. Much of the Asia-Pacific growth is expected to be fueled by the flourishing Chinese broadband market." Telco broadband DSL will continue to be the fastest growing sector in the industry

Mobile Data Service Consumer Spend Growth

The population of mobile phone data-related service users will grow from 1.8 billion in 2007 to close to 2.5 billion in 2011, according to a new Strategy Analytics report entitled "Global Cellular Data Forecast 2007—2011." Strategy Analytics also predicts that consumer spending on mobile data services (including cellular data transport, messaging and content) will ramp from $125 billion in 2007 to just over $200 billion by 2011. Phil Taylor, Director, Global Wireless Practice, notes, "Person to person SMS growth is slowing in many mature cellular markets, but the use of new messaging tools, particularly email and Instant Messaging, is set for significant growth in 2007 and beyond, as larger screen devices which operate on faster networks at lower data price points open up services beyond the early adopter market." This report highlights growth in emerging data services, including music downloading and streaming, mobile video on demand and mobile TV. David Kerr,

Handheld Device Market Continues to Decline

The worldwide handheld computer device market slumped further at the close of 2006, despite several notable vendors posting seasonal increases in shipments. According to IDC's Worldwide Handheld QView, vendors shipped 5.5 million units in 2006, down 28.5 percent from the 7.6 million units shipped in 2005. For the quarter ending December 31, 2006, vendors shipped a total of 1.5 million units, or 35.9 percent less than the 2.3 million units shipped during 4Q05. "The handheld devices market is under intense pressure from networked mobile devices," says Ramon Llamas, research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. Features found on handheld devices, including personal information management (PIM) functionality, multimedia, and Bluetooth connectivity have also been included on converged mobile phone devices (commonly known as smartphones) and high-end phones. The proliferation of notebook computers with embedded wireless WiFi has also allowed use

Consumer Created Ads Beat the Professionals

According to a comScore Networks survey, during this year's U.S. Super Bowl, some brands -- including Doritos, Chevrolet and the NFL -- successfully introduced commercials created, filmed, and produced by members of the general public. When asked about entertainment value, more than twice as many survey respondents preferred the consumer-generated ads (21 percent), versus the professionally-produced ads (10 percent). A majority (63 percent) thought they were of equal entertainment value. When asked which Super Bowl TV ads respondents would like to watch again, the consumer-generated ads also fared well. Doritos ranked second, with 31 percent of respondents indicating they would like to see the ad again, while 15 percent indicated they would like to view the Chevy ad again. Anheuser-Busch, which aired the most Super Bowl spots, apparently won over consumers with their Budweiser and Bud Light spots. Thirty-five percent indicated they would like to see the Budweiser ads again, r

Film Exhibitors in U.S. Celebrate Flat Market

Experiencing flat U.S. unit sales since 1997 would be a disaster for most media sectors, although it's actually fine for a few. As an example, the music recording industry and broadcast TV networks would welcome a level business environment with no apparent decline. In the movie theater business, Kagan Research estimates that the 2006 total of 1.4 billion U.S. admissions matches the industry's 1997 total. Yet it's still pretty good times for film exhibitors. But, is this grounds for a celebration? Yes, and no. It's good considering that platforms for movies have mushroomed over the past decade because of booms in cable video-on-demand, Internet streaming and high definition DVDs. Also, holding steady comes despite a narrowing of the window between theatrical and home video release of the same film. Of course, flatlining is really no reason for joy because it means no growth, and U.S. cinema admissions have fallen for four

Back to Basics and the 3GSM World Congress

The mobile communications industry's frenzied efforts to reinvent itself as a mobile entertainment business will continue on at the 3GSM World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain. This effort is despite the fact that the vast majority of global revenue growth -- both for the operator and vendor communities -- is coming out of developing markets where mobile is fulfilling a basic need for voice and text-based communications. It's essentially fueling a move back to the mobile phone business basics. "The big story for the industry in 2007 is the continued growth of the global mobile population" says Mark Newman, Chief Research Officer at Informa Telecoms & Media. By the way, Informa is now forecasting 480 million net additions in 2007 with four out of every five new subscribers coming from a developing market. It's truly amazing. "The mobile phone is driving social and economic development throughout the developing world," Newman adds. "Market gr