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Showing posts from March, 2007

Denmark Rises, U.S. Sinks, in Economic Study

For the first time, Denmark tops the rankings of The Global Information Technology Report 2006-2007 Networked Readiness Index. Denmark's levels of networked readiness result from the country's excellent regulatory environment, coupled with a clear government leadership and vision in leveraging Information and Communication Technology for growth, and promoting ICT penetration and usage. With record coverage of 122 economies worldwide and published for the sixth consecutive year, The Global Information Technology Report (GITR) has become the world's most respected assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations. The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures the propensity of countries to leverage the opportunities offered by ICT for development and increased competitiveness. It also establishes a broad international framework mapping out the enabling factors of such capacity. The Report is produced by the World Economic Forum in c

Digital Music Player Device Adoption Insights

The potential for mobile music is more attractive with subscription-based models, according to a new study by Pyramid Research. The notion that multiple digital music distribution models can coexist in the marketplace isn't new, but it's interesting to review Pyramid's rationale. They estimate that the global market for a-la-carte mobile music would be worth around $2.5 billion to mobile network operators (MNOs) in 2011; with subscription models, the mobile music market potential swells to over $4 billion in 2011 (not including ringtones, etc.). With a $1.99 weekly revenue derived from subscription services -- $103.48 annually -- and uptake of subscription services starting in 2007 at a rate of 1 percent of 3G subscribers (rising to 2.8 percent by 2011), subscription services would bring in an additional $1.64 billion for MNOs globally by 2011. Again, the total forecast revenues for combined a la carte and subscription mobile music services would therefore be worth just ov

Mobile SMS, the Little Data Engine That Could

A new report from Portio Research forecasts a healthy future for SMS, which continues to be the shinning star of the mobile data services show with traffic volumes and revenues that continue to confound predictions. Although the growth of SMS revenues will not be as aggressive as the growth of SMS volumes due to declining prices, by 2012 global SMS revenues are expected to reach $67 billion, driven by 3.7 trillion messages. The report, "Mobile Messaging Futures 2007 - 2012" outlines an exciting future for other mobile messaging technologies especially instant messaging and mobile e-mail amid continued strong worldwide subscriber growth. If there was one message this report should get across it is this -- SMS continues to be a phenomenal success as the cheapest, quickest and easiest to use form of peer-to-peer mobile communication. Markets have continued to grow and greatly exceeded the predictions of similar research carried out in previous years. SMS traffic has not flattene

Demand for PC-Based Television Recording

Any computer equipped with a TV tuner card can display and record television programming. A new study from ABI Research shows the total worldwide PC TV tuner market growing from about 15 million units in 2006 to 41 million units in 2011. That represents a solid growth curve, but according to ABI Research principal consumer electronics analyst, Steve Wilson, "The TV tuner card market hasn't taken off quite as quickly as some industry commentators expected it to. That has less to do with technology than with consumers' awareness of their possibilities, and broader market support from studios, operators, and the FCC. The technology is pretty much in place." The questions that need to be resolved before we see really rapid uptake relate to the user-experience, and the integration -- via digital media adaptors -- with the rest of the consumer electronics that people have in the home. "Vendors need to have strategies that provide complete solutions for customers,"

Eastern Europe Multichannel Pay-TV Market

As the wheels of economic prosperity gain traction in Eastern Europe, so too does the region's multichannel television industry that Kagan Research forecasts to achieve double-digit compound annual revenue growth rates over the coming ten years. According to Kagan, thanks to increases in capital investment, operator consolidation and new technologies, Eastern European multichannel video revenue is expected to grow from $2.2 billion in 2006 to $5.8 billion in 2016. "Eastern European markets are poised for considerable near-term growth due in part to maximizing emerging DTT and IPTV technologies," says Kagan Research associate analyst Josh Hizon. "By adopting emerging DTV platforms, Eastern European linear video markets are likely to mature at an accelerate rate compared to their Western counterparts." According to Kagan's research, with 86 percent of the 32.4 million pay-TV households, incumbent cable dominates the market today. In Western

Funded WiMAX Service Providers Next Steps

The Strategy Analytics analysis of WiMAX providers Clearwire and Towerstream suggests that their recent public offerings -- rare among U.S. wireless broadband service providers --are a necessary, but insufficient, step toward market success. The report notes that both the $600 million Clearwire IPO, and the much smaller $15 million, Towerstream offering, provide much needed expansion capital, yet both companies face extremely challenging business environments. "The 1990's proved that going public doesn't necessarily mean you have a great business plan," notes Tom Elliott, Vice President of Applied Analytics and author of the report. "It just means you've got someone else's money to back it." He continues, "Clearwire, which primarily serves residential customers, and Towerstream, which focuses on small and medium enterprises, are in very different businesses, but each faces stiff competition both from established access providers and from potenti

HDTV Gaining Momentum within Asia-Pacific

Although significant barriers remain for widespread HDTV content delivery in the Asia-Pacific region, total consumer revenue from HDTV content broadcasted within the region will jump from $3.2 billion in 2006 to $8.06 billon by 2012, reports In-Stat. Over 9.9 million TV households in five Asia-Pacific countries -- Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore -- received and watched HDTV programming by the end of 2006. In-Stat expects that number to climb rapidly over the next three years. "HDTV content availability remains limited in the region, with only five countries offering the service beyond an experimental basis," says Alice Zhang, In-Stat analyst. "Besides Japan and Australia, which are mainly broadcasting locally self-developed content, there is a significant amount of content being broadcasted in China, Korea, and Singapore from international content providers." I believe that the Asia-Pacific market for HDTV will benefit from the early introduction

IPTV Standard Group Focused on End-to-End

Informitv reports that a number of leading companies have come together to form a consortium to develop an end-to-end specification for the delivery of internet protocol television services. They include network infrastructure providers Ericsson and Siemens Networks, consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony, as well as service providers AT&T, France Telecom and Telecom Italia. Notably absent, at this point, are Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft, as well as a number of other smaller independent players in this emerging market. The forum will focus on the development of open standards that could help to streamline and accelerate deployments of IPTV technologies. While standardization bodies are already addressing specific elements of IPTV, the pan-industry Open IPTV Forum says it will work to bring together these diverse standards into a complete delivery solution, with the goal of accelerating the full standardisation of IPTV-related technologies. The Open I

Integrating Online with Home Network Storage

While still small, the home network storage market has more than doubled in the last two years, reports In-Stat. However, two crucial roadblocks for the consumer network storage space are complexity and mainstream user understanding. "PC-literate consumers are very familiar with USB and Firewire external hard drives that connect directly with a PC," says Joyce Putscher, In-Stat analyst. "But, many are still not familiar with what network storage is and what the benefits entail. Challenges for vendors include offering models with the right combination of features and price points, and educating consumers about the difference between an external hard drive and storage connected to a home network." I agree that there is an awareness and understanding gap relative to home network storage device usage and potential applications. Furthermore, most people aren't aware of free supplemental or back-up storage and online streaming services, such as Streamload and even Go

Satellite TV Set Top Box Design Innovation

As the satellite television market continues to grow and mature, the set top box (STB) industry as a whole is slowly rolling out new features and services, reports In-Stat. Interactivity, HD, and DVR functions are growing facets within the satellite industry as a means to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce customer churn, the high-tech market research firm says. These are, in turn, being addressed by STB manufacturers. At the risk of belaboring this point, I will add that there's still significant opportunity to re-imagine the design of the STB consumer experience. Over time, the typical remote control design has become less people-friendly, and the addition of more tiny buttons with cryptic labels leaves many users scratching their heads. Simplicity, by design, is apparently a foreign concept to the technology-centric designers within the STB industry. I wonder how many actually perform usability tests on their new designs, and how many actually attempt to redesig

Disruption in Customer Experience Status Quo

During Forrester's research into sustainable customer experience strategies, they ran across several companies with innovative approaches to changing the status quo in their industry. By looking across these firms, they were able to isolate five noteworthy approaches: Ultrasimplicity -- Companies often compete with each other by adding new features into their offerings. Over time, this process of continuous enhancement can lead to products and services with more capabilities than most customers need. How many Microsoft Word customers, for instance, use macros? When the offerings in a market get overly complex, there's an opportunity for one or more firms to disrupt the market by stripping away features and creating a highly simplified offering. Online Infusion -- The number of U.S. households with broadband more than doubled in the last few years. At the same time, consumers are using the Internet in more immersive and interconnected ways. This increasing customer willingness

Personal Computer Markets Will Vary Greatly

Worldwide PC shipments rose 7.3 percent from a year ago to 64.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This was slightly slower than the past several quarters, and down from more than 15 percent in 2004 and 2005. Fourth quarter growth was also a few points behind expectations as slow commercial buying -- particularly of Desktops in more mature regions -- constrained the market. Annually, PC shipments reached 227.7 million units with growth of 9.5 percent and shipment value of $231.9 billion with growth of 6.1 percent. Desktop volume of 138.3 million units was up less than 2 percent over 2005, while Portable shipments of 82.4 million were up 26.3 percent. While Desktop volume will grow by low single-digit rates throughout the forecast with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8 percent from 2006 to 2011, Portable PC shipments will maintain a CAGR of 16.1 percent over the same period. As a result, Portable PCs will repres

Local Online Advertising Market Opportunities

After taking knocks from upstart digital media companies, traditional local broadcasters are starting to receive benefits from the next wave of new media development, according to speakers at a Kagan Summit in New York City. Kagan Research forecasts that radio and TV stations will generate $1.7 billion in 2007 revenue from online media sources -- which will deliver double-digit growth in the years ahead. That covers station-owned websites, multicast channels in digital broadcasting, podcasting and station content monetized on third party platforms, including budding wireless broadband media. Selling digital platform ads and drilling deeper for local advertisers that never bought broadcasting before could bring completely new ad revenue. Tapping new prospects is crucial because ad revenue from traditional advertising is trending flat. Excluding the online/digital upside, TV station's $44.9 billion in 2006 total ad billings, and radio station's $20 billion in a

Growth in Display Advertising on the Internet

Display advertising on the Internet carved out a 6.5 percent slice of total U.S. advertising in 2006, although spending proportions differed widely by advertiser classes to yield that average, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Last year, Internet display stood at 5.7 percent of total U.S. ad spend. As a digital new media, Internet display takes a growing a slice of the pie that used to be devoured only by traditional analog media -- such as newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and outdoor. "It's been growing at eight or nine tenths of a percentage point a year over the past three years," says Jon Swallen, senior VP of research at TNS MI. "That's striking because that's just for display advertising, which is a slower growing segment within Internet advertising." The data survey doesn't include ad spend for fast-growing "paid search" such as on Google, which is analogous to non-display direct response and

Mobile Providers Can't Identify with Customers

The mobile communications industry's frenzied efforts to reinvent itself as a mobile entertainment business will continue at the CTIA show next week. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of revenue growth -- both for the operators and vendors -- is coming out of developing markets where mobile is fulfilling a basic need for communications. In the mature markets of Europe, North America and Asia the search continues for the new mobile applications and revenue streams that will compensate for the stagnating voice business. Nevertheless, according to Informa, the U.S. is forecast to post the fourth highest number of net additions in 2007 behind India, China and Pakistan. But, growth won't likely come from new applications adoption, instead it will result from the continued disconnect of landlines. "We forecast 480.5 million global net adds this year, with almost 21 million new users coming from the U.S., equivalent to 4.3 percent of the global total," says Gav

Advertising and PR, Still By Seat of the Pants

According to a strategic leadership study conducted by Louws Management Corporation, while 80 percent of 711 advertising agency and marketing professionals surveyed said they are very aware of their company's brand positioning, only one fourth of them can clearly articulate their company's brand position. This includes 30 percent of senior management, notes the report. The Louws study makes several critical observations regarding the use of advertising and PR tools that would lead to strategic solutions for clients. One conclusion of the study report is that with companies placing more emphasis on establishing superior business strategy, strategic planning skills are still not a priority, and strategic, media and creative briefs are not generating measurable or innovative outcomes. Other detailed study findings include: - 41.5 percent of respondents agree that strategic thinking is a lost art, but 89 percent feel that their agency provides proactive strategic brand and market

Dirty Little Secret about 3G Mobile Data ARPU

According to In-Stat's latest 3G deployment report, a total of 210 cellular carriers worldwide have either deployed 3G or will do so very shortly. In-Stat defined 3G as either CDMA2000 EVDO and above, or WCDMA and above. Of these 210 cellular carriers, 68 are in Western Europe, 38 Eastern Europe, 19 in North America, 18 South America, 13 are in the Middle East and 54 are in the Asia Pacific. When these 3G cellular carriers are taken together, it becomes very clear that 3G is available most places worldwide. So, 3G is definitely deployed, but is it really being used effectively? While the U.S. is not representative of many regions worldwide, it could be considered roughly middle-of-the-road in terms of technology usage. Certainly the U.S. is way behind Korea or Japan, but ahead of many other regions. In the U.S., the major cellular carriers report that their ARPU is roughly $6-$7 per month for what they call "data applications." However, carriers consider ring

Explosion in the U.S. Streaming Video Market

Perhaps you didn't hear this explosion. Regardless, online video started 2007 with a boom! According to comScore, in January nearly 123 million people in the U.S. (70 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience) viewed 7.2 billion videos online. The average video streamer viewed 59 streams during the course of the month -- nearly two videos per day -- and viewed an average of 151 minutes of video online during the month, with the average viewing time per video registering 2.6 minutes. Google Sites was the top streaming video property in January, as measured by total unique streamers (54.7 million) and total video streams initiated (1.167 billion). The lion's share of video streaming activity at the property occurred via, which accounted for 992 million video streams initiated. comScore also conducted an analysis of U.S. video consumption by daypart, which showed that people were relatively more likely to view video on weekdays than on the weekend. In fact, peak rel

Customer Segmentation Improve Call Centers

A survey of call centers around the globe shows increased usage of customer segmentation techniques -- the division of a customer base into groups based on criteria that are relevant to the business. According to the ninth annual Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, a survey conducted by Dimension Data, more contact centers have adopted broader organizational segmentation strategies than in the past to improve interactions with customers. The percentage of organizations worldwide delivering personalized and segmented service has jumped to 42.8 percent from 28.3 percent last year. With the contact center being a key point of contact for many customers, it should have easy access to customer information owned by other parts of the organization. In many cases, this flow of information has become relatively unobstructed, with information about customers and their spending patterns integrated into various business divisions. According to the report, 34.4 percent of contact centers use

Coexistence Means Less Fear of Digital Media

Traditional media can take some comfort from one early finding in the ongoing transition from analog to digital, according to Kagan Research. Placing episodes of TV shows on network websites and third party platforms such as iTunes does not undermine or steal audience from the network telecasts of the same programming. "There had been concern about cannibalization, of course," notes NBC Universal chief digital officer George Kliavkoff. "But research from all the TV networks in the last couple of months shows the effect is just opposite. Exposure in digital media actually drives ratings on broadcast network TV." Kliavkoff believes that managing traditional media's transition to digital media means placing bets broadly, as it's still early days and consumer consumption patterns aren't yet established. "We don't have an either-or strategy," he says. NBC Universal's digital media initiatives have thus far ranged from crea

Marketing Mobile Internet still Targets the Elite

Only five percent of U.S. broadband users (approximately five million) use the mobile Internet, according to Media-Screen. Although more than 60 percent of users currently own an Internet-enabled mobile device, they are reluctant to partake in online mobile activities due to extra fees and difficulties establishing and maintaining Internet connections. The report, Netpop | Pocket, also reveals a significant gap between accessing the Internet on mobile devices and computers when comparing the number of online activities performed through each. Users perform an average of 3.3 online activities on their mobile device versus 13.4 activities on their laptop/desktop, reinforcing the fact that online activities have yet to migrate into the pockets of broadband users. "Broadband users represent an important audience to track as they have historically driven innovation of online applications by being the first to adopt and embrace new services on the Internet," says Jean Durall, Med

Status of UK Switch Over to Digital Television

Communication Technology reports that the switch to digital TV is already on in the United Kingdom. The transition will result in clearer pictures for consumers and free up more spectrum for wireless services, among other advantages. In the UK, the schedule for switching customers from analog signals has already been set. Customers in roughly 25,000 homes in Cumbria, England, will be the first to have an analog signal shut off on October 17, with other channels to follow on November 14. All UK customers will need to make the transition to digital signals by 2012, but the migration has started. In a report issued last week, UK regulatory agency Ofcom found that the three months ending with December 2006 saw more than 1 million net household conversions to digital TV in the UK after 800,000 additions in the previous quarter. Growth was driven by another strong quarter for digital terrestrial TV (DTT), with total sales of DTT equipment reaching 2.4 million. The

SMS Still Drives Non-Voice Service Revenue

The worldwide population is expected to rise from approximately 6.55 billion to approximately 7 billion between 2006 and 2012, and at the same time Portio Research forecasts the worldwide mobile subscriber base to also increase from 2.65 billion to 4.81 billion. Asian markets, which are growing at a staggering pace, are expected to account for 50 percent of the total worldwide subscriber base by 2008. Also, the rise in mobile penetration in Latin America and Africa will contribute significantly towards the overall growth of the mobile market. Although revenues from voice calls still comprise 80 percent of worldwide total mobile revenues, operators globally are focusing on data services for increasing their average revenue per user (ARPU). Of the various data services available, while attracting none of the glamor as a leading product in most MNOs service portfolio's, SMS actually accounts for approximately 75 to 80 percent of non-voice service revenues worldwide. After a slow start

Linux is Gaining on Symbian Smartphone Lead

According to the latest research on smartphone markets from ABI Research, Nokia has maintained its leadership position with a 56.4 percent share of the 70.9 million units shipped in 2006. Nokia sold 40 million smartphones in 2006, compared to 28.5 million in 2005. Motorola also had a strong 2006 and occupied the second position with 8.5 percent market share, driven by the success of its Linux-based devices in China, most notably the MING. At the same time, Symbian's strong position in the smartphone operating system market is under continued and increasing threat. According to mobile wireless research analyst Shailendra Pandey, "The key in differentiating smartphone products still lies in the physical design, and the look and feel of the user interface. The right combination of size, form factor, operating system, and bundled applications will determine the success of a smartphone." In addition to the usual features, consumers are now increasingly seeking smartphones that

SXSW 2007: Digital Storytelling Phenomenon

Since the beginning of time, storytelling was considered a core human trait for conveying events by combining gestures, expressions, sounds, images and words. Sharing stories was an essential part of culture and a means of instilling tribal knowledge. In fact, prehistoric cave drawings demonstrate the early use of symbolic figures representing the elements of simple storylines. As language skills evolved, oral stories were passed from generation to generation primarily by human memory. Later, with the development of writing, stories were recorded, then transcribed and shared more broadly. In the classical cultures of the world, the act of storytelling was believed to be inclusive -- everyone has stories to tell. Moreover, while some people were recognized for telling stories in a more engaging way than their peer group, the basic ability is innate to all humans. However, as civilizations progressed, communication of a narrative evolved into an art and science. Chronicled events

An Attempt to Revive the AMD LIVE Program

Informitv reports that AMD still hopes to bring the PC closer to the TV with its new "Active TV" initiative. The basic idea is to enable consumers to view their digital media on their television more easily. Apple TV aims to do essentially the same thing, with a simple and intuitive remote control that doesn't require a detailed operations manual. AMD says that users can create customized channels and distribute them to television sets around the home, or even share them with family and friends, potentially thousands of miles away. Users also will be able to navigate their media using a remote control and a set-top box or other consumer electronics product that can communicate with their personal computer and other storage devices over a home network. At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, AMD is announcing their partnership with set-top box and game console manufacturers, middleware providers and content aggregators to deliver Active TV-enabled hardware and software as

The Many Forms of Addressable Advertising

National TV networks and local broadcasters are increasing their use of addressable advertising technology, and are also expanding their plans for addressable advertising on their Internet portals, according to In-Stat. With the explosion of video, especially broadcast TV programming, flooding onto the Internet, national networks and local broadcasters have an incredible opportunity to become key distributors of addressable advertising that extends beyond traditional TV screens. Addressable advertising refers to any form of advertising that is placed under the control of the advertiser. However, I believe that this term can be expanded to include ads that are known to be relevant to the consumer's interests and lifestyle. Meaning, this technology can aid segmentation and personalization efforts that improve advertising relevance. "We see the worldwide market for addressable advertising infrastructure equipment, software and services showing very strong, sustained growth in eac

Growth of Online Advertising Market in China

According to IDC, China's online advertising market maintained its rapid growth in 2006 and is poised to become one of the most promising businesses for portals, search engines and even online game operators in the country. IDC found that the online advertising market revenue reached RMB5.11 billion (US$0.64 billion) in China in 2006, which is an increase of 42.1 percent over 2005. Of this, the brand-based online advertising revenue was estimated at RMB3.34 billion (US$0.42 billion), and search engine advertising revenue RMB1.77 billion (US$0.22 billion), accounting for 65.3 percent and 34.7 percent of the total, respectively. IDC forecasts the market to reach RMB34.71 billion (US$4.33 billion) by 2010, with a 5-year (2006-2011) CAGR of 46.7 percent. Grace Zheng, Senior Analyst at IDC's China Cross Products Research team, predicted the development of China’s online advertising market as follows: Fierce Competition Breaks Oligopoly While web portals Sina and Sohu accounted for a

WiMAX is Moving from Trials to Launch Phase

The burgeoning WiMAX equipment market nearly quadrupled between 2005 and 2006, with worldwide revenue jumping 286 percent to $549.2 million, according to Infonetics Research. WiMAX posted a strong fourth quarter as well, with fixed WiMAX topping $180.7 million (up 39 percent from 3Q06) and the nascent mobile WiMAX market reaching $45.8 million, bringing total WiMAX up to $226.5 million in 4Q06. "2006 was a landmark year for the WiMAX industry, with service provider trials moving to service launch phase in many areas, fixed WiMAX deployments accelerating rapidly in developing countries, and mobile WiMAX products coming to market for the first time. The mobile WiMAX market in particular is showing signs of a healthy future, with the infrastructure, components, and handset ecosystem now coming together-boosted by the significant announcement of Sprint-Nextel in 2006," said Richard Webb, analyst at Infonetics Research. With new vendors like Cisco entering the market, the small bu

Mobile Advertisement Consumer Acceptance

Harris Interactive announced the results of new research into consumer acceptance of mobile phone advertisements. The research examined current levels of consumer interest in mobile phone advertisements, preferred advertising formats and the willingness of consumers to be profiled. "Historically, U.S. mobile phone users have been resistant to receiving mobile phone advertisements, but, according to our research, cell phone users are more willing than ever to receive advertising," said Judith Ricker, President of the Marketing Communications Research Practice at Harris Interactive. "To make their mobile campaigns more effective, advertisers should take note of how cell phone users are most interested in being contacted. Advertisements need to have a clear value proposition, be relevant and allow recipients to control how they are profiled." According to the study, a surprising 35 percent of adult cell phone users are willing to accept incentive-based advertisements.

Downside of the Movie Download Business

New-media commerce is generally booming, but an exception is movie downloads. The pioneering movie video-on-demand services haven't caught on and some of their owners are heading for the exits, according to Kagan Research. Walt Disney Co. has sold money-loser MovieBeam to video retailer Movie Gallery, which operates 4,600 video stores in the U.S. and Canada. Also, reports indicate that Blockbuster is negotiating to buy Movielink, owned by five of Hollywood's major studios. Kagan Research analyst Wade Holden says video store operators Movie Gallery and Blockbuster are buyers because they will eventually expand VOD to allow consumers to burn movies on DVD discs, rather than just store them on hard drives or view the video stream. It's a diversification for retailers who face sagging in-store sales. Mail-order DVD rental leader Netflix unveiled a movie streaming business in January and Wal-Mart indicates it will enter the digital movie fie

Mobile TV Service Provider Margin Scenarios

Mobile operators have long been able to exist in a self-contained ecosystem with little need for revenue share, according to Pyramid Research. However, as the market shifted to an emphasis on value-added services, operators have increasingly worked with third parties to provide content such as ring-tones, games, music, and now video. Initially, the mobile operator had the upper hand in the relationship, since many of the companies providing content were reliant on the operator for access to subscribers. Now, as consumers increasingly demand music, games, and TV on a mobile handset, operators have had to share more revenue with entities such as music record labels, console game developers, and video broadcasters for access to sought-after content. Broadcast mobile television deployment is a prime example of the new pressures facing service providers. With operators forced to work with traditional content providers, and with the ceiling for incremental subscriber spend at $10 per month (

Upside in Global Market for Product Placement

Global paid product placement grew 37.2 percent to $3.36 billion in 2006 and is forecast to grow 30.3 percent to $4.38 billion in 2007, driven by relaxed European regulations, emerging Asian markets and shifting American models, according to research released today by PQ Media. While the United States remains the largest global market for product placement, accounting for two-thirds of spending, growth will decelerate over the next four years, although remaining in the double-digits. Meanwhile, growth in the European and Asian placement markets will accelerate going forward, as legal restraints are loosened and global brand marketers move to capitalize on emerging opportunities in these regions, according to the PQ Media analysis. Key drivers of global product placement growth in 2007 and beyond include the relaxation of rules governing paid television placements in European countries through the “Television without Frontiers” directive, particularly in the United Kingdom,

HD Radio Can't Solve Broadcaster Problems

Wal-Mart Stores recently announced that it will sell receivers that support HD Radio programming. HD radio is a technology that delivers digital audio quality, advanced data services, and more content choices to terrestrial radio listeners. The car radio receiver will be JVC-branded and will be priced at $190, according to In-Stat. HD Radio programming is free once the consumer has purchased the receiver, which can be an attractive selling point to the price-sensitive Wal-Mart consumer. The giant retailer's support of HD Radio is an important step in the radio industry's conversion to digital. More and more consumers are ignoring terrestrial analog radio in favor of digital satellite radio and portable MP3 players. However, the number of HD Radio receivers sold to date has been very low. Consequently, broadcasters are hoping that HD Radio will revitalize terrestrial radio listenership. Wal-Mart's agreement to free up shelf space for HD Radio receivers will allow HD Radio su

Pros and Cons of DRM Protection Approaches

Spending on digital rights management (DRM) software and hardware to protect entertainment, commercial software, and other information will exceed $9 billion dollars over the next five years, according to Insight Research Corp. By the close of 2007, total worldwide spending on DRM will reach just over $1 billion, and by 2012 business spending is forecast to grow to nearly $1.9 billion, according to their latest research study. Insight says that DRM involves the combination of software and hardware technologies that enable the content owner and distributors to assign and control rights and conditions for viewing, listening, and employing the content present in digital media and applications -- be it a song, a movie, a medical or financial record, or a software game. DRM Market Segmentation The study focuses on the use of DRM by wireline retail users, wireless retail users, TV and home entertainment network (HEN) users, software application retail users, as well as software appli