It’s all about Video
We missed this quote from a couple of weeks ago, but along with Susan Wojicki statement that over half of all YouTube viewing is now mobile this backs up our conviction that it’s now all about video. Now.
That’s why Yahoo bought BrightRoll – so they can continue to grow their display revenues and capitalize on the shift to online video spending by big brands. And look at the how the EMEA Yahoo team has so much experience in TV.
Some Yahoo investors seem to think that a merger with AOL would be a smart move as that would give the joint entity a third place position after Google and Facebook – but still some way behind. We tend to agree with this piece defending Marissa Mayer. With the hire of a top ad sales person from Amazon, the team seems well positioned. And this new buy shows they have a plan.
Video is display 2.0. It’s what brand advertisers love. It’s a format that elegantly and easily transitions from broadcast television to PC to mobile and even to wearables. This is why video is a key part of our strategy.
It’s all about Music
Along with photos we see music as a key Anchor, something that GAFA have to offer to have a chance to keep people within their vertical stacks. We still have thousands of tracks in iTunes many of which aren’t on Spotify etc and migrating them to a new service is a lot of friction. The threat to the money Amazon made selling music CDs by Apples iTunes store arguably kicked off the tension between GAFA, and all now have strong music strategies.
The new Google service is Music Key and it builds on the often overlooked fact that YouTube is already the biggest source of music listening on digital. The new service looks strong – this analysis by Musically is a good read – and raises the bar for Apple and Beats.
They were helped in the PR battle by Taylor Swift pulling all her music from Spotify. Music Key has all Taylor Swifts old music but doesn’t have the new one either. Swift and her label contend that Spotify isn’t paying them anywhere near enough money, but Spotify disagree.
The Music industry is divided over the future; those who believe streaming is going to generate much more money for labels and artists are seen as overly optimistic by the rest, who think making money from selling recordings is over and its now all about live shows.
The next stage in music is ad funded streaming and we expect that YouTube will continue to be a big player here as non subscribers watching music videos will still be pretty huge. A combined Beats / iTunes radio is expected to launch with ad funded models early in 2015 and we’ll see whether brands can take advantage of this opportunity with better creative. Anyone who has spent any time listening to the ads on the free Spotify service may be not be that optimistic.
We can expect to see lots more exclusive windows of top artists new albums – see JayZ with Samsung and Beyonce with Apple – as the key players see the value of being able to offer something their rivals cannot.
The other players in music are also active; SoundCloud has raised quite a lot of money and have now signed a deal with Warner where the label gets paid whenever one of their tracks is featured in a mix or a DJ session.
And the original music start up LastFM – now owned by CBS – is still around and we understand they are going to focus on discovery with their fantastic Scrobbler technology, with the music delivery left to Spotify etc.
We talked last week of the activity in visual recognition and Fashion Tech. The other side of this coin is how retail are using visual recognition and mobile in general. As we have covered before, most of the big supermarkets are playing with Beacons but none feel ready to subject their shoppers to personalized messages – yet. Asda are the latest to trial the technology – and we know their colleagues from Walmart have been scouring Europe to see who is doing what.
In our view, the big opportunity is around personalized pricing as a way to counter the general cheapness of Lidl etc. The next Clubcard type step change in retail will be a big player using a ShopKick style service to deliver real time discounts, funded by the brands of course.
The online shopping frenzy that Alibaba invented, took place this week and broke all the records. They took $9.3 billion – up by around 50% on last year and 43% of the orders were on mobile. To give that some context, Amazon takes $166million on an average day.
This is a fascinating look into how the Alibaba team ran the day – lots to learn.
Amazon are experimenting with using Taxis for delivery – the smart people at GetTaxi have been looking at that too
Finally… if you want to read a good business book the FT have published a list of the best ones from the past few years.