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August 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, August 03, 2007

Set-tops Center of TV Battle

The intersection of TV over the Internet (IPTV) with cable boxes will cause a power struggle in the TV market, according to analyst firm ABI Research

Desire for HD set-tops, the emergence of retail (yes, you'll be able to buy a cable box at Best Buy and avoid those monthly charges) those with Tivo-like digital video recorder features will prompt a boom in the set-top market for the next few years that will slow after 2010.

Using broadband connections to create interactive TV (after only 20 years of waiting) will also be a game changer.

“In an effort to lock in customers, cable operators are migrating to newer STBs that offer features such as PVR (personal video recording) and high-definition support. Meanwhile telecom operators are leveraging IPTV technology to support interactive services.”

The piece that ABI Research is missing is displaying web video content on TVs. Clicking from the end of "Lost" directly to its website to purchase merchandise or get behind the scenes information is a powerful scenario. The technology is here now and should be perfected soon.

Set-tops Center of TV Battle By John Gartner at 10:31 AM
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Video Advertising Still an Enigma

Video search engines have yet to figure out the best way of implementing advertisements, and the jury is still out on whether, pre-, post- or mid-roll ads are the best format.

If you compare online video watching to TV, then pre-rolls are not the way to go. There's a reason why when you switch on a channel at x:00 o'clock there aren't any ads -- viewers don't want to start their programming with an ad!

As Amanda Congdon points out, the pre-rolls length should only be a fraction of the length of the video itself, and placing the ads after the content begins is preferable.

I'm amazed that after 10 months of owning YouTube, Google has done almost nothing with video advertising. What happened to the fast-paced world of web innovation?

According to CNN Money, YouTube more than doubled it's traffic in June over a year ago. Google is testing several models, but feels that targeting is necessary.

To start, YouTube should enable viewers to setup a queue with the videos from its search results and use post-rolls in between to monetize the videos. This saves people time over today's process of viewing videos one at a time, and a short spot would be tolerated.

The only thing worse than no traffic is lots of traffic and no revenue stream.

Video Advertising Still an Enigma By John Gartner at 10:16 AM
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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Timex Sports Watch Controls iPod

Timex is cashing in on the iPod/iPhone euphoria with a new iControl Ironman sports watch that can control the music player. The watch has the traditional controls for managing your workout while also allowing you to skip songs or pump up the volume.

Using your $125 watch to control your iPod is ostensibly more convenient than having to dig the player out of your pocket or fiddle with the Nano strapped to your bicep. But since it basically requires both hands to operate, (since the wrist with the watch on it can't do much else at the time), I'm not sure that this product fills much of a need.

When an iPhone is in airplane mode, it can also be controlled by the watch. But if you're on a plane, you probably have time to play with your phone/iPod directly.

Apple has done a great job in making the iPod feel like an indispensable device beyond its actual utility. Companies will continue to take advantage of this perception that has now become a psychological reality for many iPod owners. The iPod is the digital equivalent of the Prius as a status symbol showing that "I'm willing to pay more to be associated with this product." And that's what every marketer aspires to create.

Timex Sports Watch Controls iPod By John Gartner at 10:23 AM
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TechCrunch Crosses the Line With Sponsor Pitch

Mega-popular site TechCrunch posted a
blog entry
yesterday that was a list of its sponsors (aka advertisers)with brief descriptions.

This is an unusual move (ploy?) for a blog that is known for hard hitting commentary, and I'm not comfortable with tactic of referring to advertisers within the confines of the blog. The New York Times website or any other old media would never run an article of this nature, and while web rules are generally looser on separating church and state, this is a bad precedent.

While you could laud TechCrunch for its straightforwardness in throwing its sponsors a bone, editorial guidelines dictate leaving sponsors out of the content. Publishers are allowed/expected to write about their advertisers when appropriate, but a plug meant to get the advertisers names into the RSS feed is over the line. Ads can run alongside RSS feeds, so there is no need for this.

Bloggers (myself included) play under a different set of rules as we often don't have sales departments, and editors also function as publishers, negotiating deals with the advertisers that we cover. If a sponsor is a strategic partner in a publication, then cover them as a appropriate with full disclosure, but don't write about them without their being any value for the reader.

TechCrunch Crosses the Line With Sponsor Pitch By John Gartner at 09:56 AM
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Online Music Services Increase Purchases

A survey of its customers by eMusic says that the majority of customers buy more music after they sign up for the service. As much as self-serving studies should be viewed cautiously, online services can be instrumental in exposing listeners to new music. You may not buy more bands that you already know, but independent and new artists get a boost from services like eMusic.

According to eMusic, 84 percent of subscribers discovered music they would not otherwise have known about. The company cited data from Nielsen SoundScan showing that independent label digital album sales increased by 42 percent in the first half of 2007 from 2005.

With less exposure to mainstream artists online because of the increased royalty payments to copyright holders indie acts may have the last laugh.

Online Music Services Increase Purchases By John Gartner at 12:52 PM
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YouTube Star Esmee Masters Direct Marketing

First there were LonelyGirl15 and Amanda Congdon rising from obscurity to web fame. Now there's singer Esmee Denters, who has gone from singing into a webcam to opening for Justin Timberlake. Denters has proven that with enough talent and determination, even someone from a small town in the Netherlands can become a star in less than a year on YouTube.

Denters quickly gained an audience and grew it larger by taking e-mail requests for cover versions of tunes by today's most popular artists. This is responding to customers at its finest. Although she only spoke to her audience directly a few times in the past year, her videos rose to the top of YouTube and generated more than 21 million streams. Earlier this year she was signed to a record contract by Justin Timberlake and opened for him at several concerts in Europe. Not bad for an 18-year-old, eh?

Aside from American Idol, YouTube and MySpace are the vehicles from which tomorrow's singing and comedic stars will likely rise because they provide a platform for directly connecting with an audience.

Corporate blogs and discussion boards are less exciting versions of this, and perhaps video will be the next format. For example, if a company is getting a lot of returns of an item as being faulty because it's being used incorrectly, a video that shows how to properly use the product could greatly increase customer satisfaction. Or, a CEO responding with a vlog to a growing issue is much more personal than preparing a statement.

YouTube Star Esmee Masters Direct Marketing By John Gartner at 12:45 AM
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August 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (6 entries) August 1-4
  • Week 2 (11 entries) August 5-11
  • Week 3 (11 entries) August 12-18
  • Week 4 (12 entries) August 19-25
  • Week 5 (8 entries) August 26-31

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