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It’s that time when everyone either does a round up of the year or predictions. But we’re going to resist the temptation. As they say in Hollywood, No-one knows anything And our last attempt at predicting the future back in 2002 still stands up quite well.
So instead we thought we should focus on some of the big questions for 2015;
Will the M&A fervor around AdTech ever quieten down? Fox have just paid $200m for an interesting video ad startup. Or will VC money start to flow elsewhere? In the excellent Google Ventures summary of their year Life Sciences got the biggest chunk of their investment.
Who will win the battle for the money migrating from TV to digital? Google or Facebook? Facebook seem to be winning the battle for display. And this analysis of the reach of the new Apple ad on Facebook shows video is getting really interesting too; broadly 20m views on Facebook (vs 2m on YouTube) is more than you would get with an ad in a big TV show like NCIS. Not that scientific, but more evidence that Facebook can now get close to the reach of TV. Finally a quote from one of the key AdTech people at Facebook sums up their pitch; “Don’t spend a dollar unless you know that dollar is delivering ROI,”
What is the next big thing in messaging? Payments are going to be important; Facebook have poached another PayPal exec to work with David Marcus who made the same switch earlier this year. Kik have a smart new idea on how to use hashtags to create micro social networks.
Which of the next tier firms has the best chance to grow? Twitter are going after app download ads with their new features around phone activation. Even with all their smart acquisitions are Yahoo hampered by their CEO? – this is a pretty damning attack on Marissa.
Will peripherals* get significant traction? The idea that Netflix will serve up recommendations to your smart watch shows what a lack of imagination there is around watches and wearables. Right now – like Google Glass – they don’t solve a problem for civilians. *Given none of the watches etc seem to function properly without a smartphone close by, we think wearables is a misnomer and peripherals a much better term.
Are QR codes going to be cool again? We have pointed out that WeChat reinvented them in China and amongst the leaked SnapChat emails we see they paid $50m for a startup focused on QR codes and NFC, beacons etc. The ability to instantly connect mobile with the physical world is a big deal, even if we haven’t really worked out what to do with it yet.
Can anyone make a success of Media on digital? Michael Wolff thinks its all crap but Wired has a good look at some of the newer players like Circa and Buzzfeed. John Battelle has some good advice; To me, just one question matters when it comes to a publication and whether it has a chance of long term success: Is it a must read?
And how will Programmatic change the ad industry? It’s already making big changes to the media side of the industry – and this interview with GroupMs Rob Norman is well worth reading. Next it’s the turn of the Creatives to adapt. Or not.
Over the next couple of weeks you will probably have some time for reading so we recommend you flick through these;
The guy behind the XPrize and the Singularity Hub has a good post on Mobile, the megatrend of the decade.
Finally 2015 is going to be another rollercoaster ride on innovation, change and hype. Those that seize the mass market opportunity of ubiquitous mobile with a social layer baked in can profit. Those that hang back and keep repeating their old strategy are running out of time. It’s time to experiment.
Now we recommend you recharge the batteries and are delighted to share our soundtrack for a Soulful Christmas. Best enjoyed with a large glass of something red.
Have a great Christmas
Mobile & Money
As the details of Apple Pay become clearer, analysts are generally positive – although not quite as bullish as the Chamath Palihapitiya view we shared last week. Many people site Starbucks as evidence that payments can and do work.
In the last data we saw, Starbucks dominates mobile payments in the US. In 2012 around $500m was spent using mobile payments – and Starbucks was around 90% of that. They have been hugely successful – and now 15% of all their US transactions are using their app – but the Starbucks Chief Digital Officer points out it’s not just about payments – the loyalty aspect has been a big driver.
They are one of the brands that Apple have partnered with for Pay – but interestingly they don’t intend to let people but coffee with Pay – just top up their Starbucks app. Their brand is so strong they have ambitions to expand outside of Starbucks;
A smart Fix reader made a similar point about the Oyster card and how it could have become a means of paying for items outside of Tube tickets. Now with a plethora of new players like PayM, Zapp Powa etc as well as the Mobile Operator wallets, PayPal and Google iPhone et al users have a lot of options. But it seems to us that Pay will become a real Anchor for Apple by making it so easy.
And as more people use Pay, more retailers will come on board. Talking with UK supermarkets, they have resisted payments because they tended to slow down the checkouts. Starbucks have focused on their point of sale tech and processes;
If Apple Pay can contribute to that sort of improved efficiency, people will rush to sign up.
(btw – one of most hyped mobile money startups has been Clinkle; ran by a 23 year old, they raised $25m seed money and has a long list of VCs as investors, along with Richard Branson. Lots of smart people have joined and many have quickly left. And it was in stealth so no-one knew quite what they were up to.
The Chinese are coming
The Alibaba IPO was the biggest float ever, raising $25bn – eclipsing the $16bn that Facebook raised. Some have questioned the ethics of investing here – largely because the BAT Chinese digital giants (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) benefit from having no competition from Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay etc in their home market.
There is a lot to learn from how these companies operate and we now look at BAT when consider the vertical stacks of GAFA. And this good article looks at how important China has become to the global tech economy – with good insight into their M&A activity.
But perhaps the most immediate effect of the IPO is that it (probably) puts Yahoo into play.
So someone could buy Yahoo and sell those stakes and essentially get Yahoo for free. Who could that be? No doubt clever Private Equity people are hunched over their calculators right now, but to GAFA, Yahoo would be a valuable acquisition.
Given that Yahoo is still a major player in search its hard to see the EU etc allowing Google to swallow them without divesting the search business to Bing. But for Facebook and Apple they would get lots of content to feed their userbase. And Amazon would get lots of potential buyers that it currently has to advertise with Google to reach. And perhaps even Microsoft or Murdoch could be interested?
Or how about Softbank?. This Japanese company has been very aggressively trying to grow the US business with the merger with Sprint, but its pursuit of TMobile has been unsuccessful. Combing an operator with a content business like Yahoo has been talked about lots, but this could be a first.
As JV partners in Yahoo Japan, the two sides know each other well. And, of course, Softbank now has a new leader who knows a little about the digital space; Nikesh Aurora moved over from Google a few months ago. Is this how he makes his mark in his new role?
We think it’s unlikely that the Wolves of Wall Street will leave something this vulnerable (and valuable) alone, so watch this space.
Just like Big Data there is rather more talk about Beacons than there is action. It’s clear there is huge potential, but so far few people have actually started to use them. This piece looks at some of the innovations around the internet of things that use beacons – but there isn’t a killer app. Yet
The people at Estimote have done much to shape the market, and this article considers how they see the potential – including indoor locations. We think that Beacons will be used for simple ideas that improve various situations. For example when Starbucks get around to pre ordering, how do they stop the coffee going cold before you get there? A beacon could detect when you arrive at the store and the coffee is made then and there – and you don’t need to wait.
This example of coupons in Passbook working really well shows the potential – and Beacons could add another dimension. There is a huge opportunity for good old fashioned sales promotion thinking (or Shopper Marketing as its now called).
We’re keen to help kick start this area, so hungry to work with retailers, restauranters etc to test out ideas and try and make some progress.
Apple have bought a firm that makes it easy to create magazines for mobile. Another sign that content creation is being democratized. Will we see the return of the fanzine?
More proof that Apple are only human. After the live screening debacle at the launch event, the latest iOS update has been withdrawn.
Finally…we are big believers in the sharing economy and are looking to rollout our collaborative consumption platform SkratchMyBack in more regions. But the some elements of this movement are proving controversial.
In New York lots of people don’t approve of their neighbours renting to strangers and this long piece looks at both sides of the argument. And the way Uber treats its drivers is questioned in this MIT article. Enabling people to share their assets makes perfect sense but we need to consider the losers as well as celebrate the winners.
On a recent project we did looking at mobile and money we found a great quote from US economist Paul Volcker
The only useful thing the banks have invented in the last 20 years is the ATM
For all the advances in online banking and mobile banking, essentially it’s the old paper statement made available on a screen. And whilst it’s now possible to pay someone using their phone number, you don’t get the impression any of the banks really wants to innovate. Most banks look at tech as a way of reducing costs rather than driving new services or innovating with products.
But tech doesn’t always deliver in the way people want. The ATM led to people reducing bank visits and online/ mobile banking has eaten away at brand visits too. A few years ago people went to their bank branch twice a week. Now it’s likely to be twice a year or less. New research shows the era of the traditional bank branch is dead.
One of the best thinkers on banking is Brett King and his presentation at the Wired conference on money is well worth watching. His start up Moven is one of the most interesting start ups in banking – but the whole FinTech movment is massive – Accenture estimate there is almost £3bn invested in these start ups.
Talking with VCs about why there is the focus on FinTech reminds us of the Butch Cassidy quote; When asked why he robbed banks.
Because that’s where the money is.
The payment industry is a $500 billion industry (or larger, depending on how you measure it). That means banks and payment companies charge $500B per year in fees to provide a service that mostly involves moving bits around the Internet. There are other services they provide like credit, security, and dispute resolution, but in any reasonable analysis these services should cost dramatically less than they currently do. The payment industry should be at least an order of magnitude smaller than it is today
Just like every other sector digital is transforming the money industry and smart people are reimagining the business. If the incumbents don’t step up, they will be stepped over.
Google & the Future
One of the many things that came out of Google I/O the other week was Material Design which – just like Swift from the Apple WWDC – didn’t seem that big a deal at the time. But on reflection these are significant changes to how digital experiences are designed and built. This is a deep dive into the implications of Material Design.
Just as the web is evolving from a text medium to a visual one, so will apps move from flat pages to something more like motion graphics.
And if you want more on where Google is going watch this long interview with Larry & Sergey. Lots about the benefits of long term thinking versus the short horizon most companies have and some thoughts on how society will have to change as robots take over more and more jobs.
In one of our talks on GAFA & Vertical Stacks this week we had a great new example of the intense competition in GAFA – Google are taking on Amazon in the grocery home delivery market
Why would Google get into that space? Simple. Ads and Delivery.
On the ads they know many people go directly to Amazon when looking for a product, which impacts their search sales. So the more product they sell, the more search revenue they are likely to get.
But more importantly, grocery brands are amongst the biggest spenders on TV and if Google can link advertising with actual sales – measured by their grocery deliveries – they open up that market. Imagine how powerful the sales case for YouTube is when you can show the effect on sales through people seeing different frequency or sequence of ads.
And delivery is going to be key in ecommerce. Having vans driving around making grocery deliveries is a convenient tool for Google to deliver other goods – as is Uber. And we can expect driverless cars to be an ingredient too.
But Google isn’t neglecting the day job and Jason Spero talks here about their latest mobile ad innovations.
Samsung & China
Talking about GAFA we were asked if we think anyone can threaten their dominance? We have always felt the answer was probably no, as the other big players (Microsoft, eBay, Twitter etc) tend to have a narrower focus.
But we are rethinking this as we watch the Chinese BAT (Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent) grow. They are only really active in China right now, but as the latest Samsung financial results show China is a big enough market to impact global performance.
One of the biggest factors in Samsung troubles is Xiaomi – the Chinese device manufacturer. New data from Flurry shows that their user base is very mobile savvy – spending 8% more time using apps than iPhone users in China
Xiaomi are spreading out across Asia – with a launch in India imminent – and if they continue to attract the most mobile savvy users they represent a significant threat to Apple as well as Samsung.
As and when BAT follow and start to look outside China they could threaten the GAFA dominance – especially in emerging markets. The size of BAT is already impressive – but bear in mind that vast majority of their revenue is from China where only around an third of the population have internet access. When the whole country catches up with big cities and has levels similar to the West these 3 companies could be 2 or 3 times bigger.
newTV – the 7% switch
The Sunday Times chose a new TV show called Extant for its pick of the day for yesterday. And if you have been watching the World Cup you will have seen lots of ads for it. A SciFi thriller it looks like the latest attempt to capture viewers who liked Lost and XFiles etc.
The unusual thing is that it isn’t on ITV or the BBC. Or one of the SKY channels. It’s on Amazon Prime
Most people accept our premise that TV is changing and the newTV ecology is being watched by most. But with the traditional TV industry in good health, many feel there is little to worry about
If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing look at chart 65. This makes the point any media planner knows – the last few points of a TV spend are inefficient as they just deliver frequency rather than extra reach. Smart planners are always looking for the elusive light viewer and already that is driving much of the investment in online video.
But this deck makes the point that taking the ‘inefficient’ 7% and switching it to digital would double the digital market. And it wouldn’t be that good for traditional TV businesses margins.
Of course the digital experience needs to improve – right now there are two many ads and the balance needs to be improved – this research says there are 1 minute of ads for each 2 minutes of content.
There is a lot of money in flux – and those that make the moves quicker and smarter than the other brands in their sector can get real competitive advantage.
The whole world of Programmatic is moving very quickly and we suspect there is an element of emperors new clothes here; do brands and agencies really understand how this works and what the pros and cons are for them? This interview with GroupM top buyer shows the market is still evolving and his comments tend to make sense
One of the key issues around Digital Transformation is whether you need a Chief Digital Officer or not. Smart Fix friend Peter Kim (who has just gone to Cheil as Chief Digital Officer) has written a good report on how best to approach this
Last week we mentioned Google Wave as a product that Google tried and failed with – but probably learnt loads. This is a link to the Google wave homage to Pulp Fiction that actually works
Finally As more and more companies gather more and more data on consumers, the issue of ethics and responsibility is becoming more prominent. I just signed yet another 80+ page Ts&Cs for iTunes – I have no idea what I have agreed to and whilst I don’t worry that Apple is about to do evil, I do believe people are starting to get concerned. A story about the NSA may not get much traction with people yet we find consumers don’t like retargeting and when they realize that there data is being used to drive this they find it a little creepy. They don’t see being stalked by a brand as acceptable. This good article argues that GAFA etc need to act responsibly
The arms race continues. On Wednesday Google held their I/O developer event – the Android version of the Apple WWDC a couple of weeks ago.
As well as sharing growth figures and a long list of new features, products and ideas – and having a bit of a pop over who does what first – the event was notable as evidence Google want to take back some more control over how Android is used.
Android is only really useful to Google in two ways;
More Android devices means more distribution for Google products – feeding more data back to Google and giving them more eyeballs to sell ads against
More Android devices means less Apple devices. Every high-end android sale is probably a lost sale of an iPhone. So Google is less at risk to the ongoing Apple deGoogling of their ecology.
But when people can use Android without baking in Google, there is little advantage and Google have spent the last couple of years tightening their grip on the platform
Benedict Evans made the point that when people fork Android – creating their own flavour of Android – they lose much of the Google magic ingredients and that looks increasingly pointless (other than China where Google has different issues).
Like Apple, Google see a world where people effortlessly switch between devices – smartphones, watches, Chromebooks etc and Android and Chrome recognise and enable this. For example when you are wearing an Android watch your smartphone wont require you to use the pattern to unlock the home screen
As predicted when Pichai took over Android – whilst still running Chrome – the distance between Android and Chrome is shrinking. What this means for the ‘distance’ between native apps and the web is a topic for another day – but its clear that Google – essentially a web company – are looking to close this gap.
To get more on I/O its worth reading VC Fred Wilson and this interview with Sundar Pichai is good background on Google and their take on GAFA. And if you want to dig deep then check out the I/O site – lots of good video on topics that are going to be really influential – like Material Design
Its also worth remembering what didn’t get mentioned – Glass, Robots and more
One element of our talk at Facebook last week was about how little creativity gets applied to mobile advertising. Because many see banners as the work of the devil, they are ignored by most creatives and usually end up being worked on by junior staff. And doesn’t it show?
If you look at the Cannes winners in mobile little could be called advertising and we think that’s a problem.
Yet if you treat banners as little billboards or posters you can convey an idea with them. You just need to have an idea to start with.
It’s clear that we need new formats and new ways of working to breathe life into mobile advertising and win back the attention of the talent. French publisher Le Monde are pushing a new format, which looks quite elegant.
But the other issue around mobile and digital creative is the production costs – delivering a campaign that works across a whole range of different formats usually means that a disproportionate share of the budget goes on repurposing assets to fit a range of different shapes and sizes
Just as responsive sites is the right approach for most people building a web presence these days, we are convinced that responsive advertising is the only real answer for anyone wanting to unlock the value of digital advertising. We are working with our friends at Responsive Ads to bring their really effective platform to Europe. Beta trails at with the LA Times, Mashable and Mastercard and more have proven really successful at delivering Rich Media creative that can be adapted in real time. Google have a similar, though arguably less sophisticated tool and it has proven very effective for TalkTalk – reducing eCPA by 12%.
We will soon be knocking on the doors of European publishers and agencies to find partners for Responsive Ads – if you would like to jump the queue let me know.
Internet of things
Just prior to their I/O event Google made a further play in their internet of things strategy with Nest buying Dropcam – the video monitoring camera system – for $555m. They also announced they are launching a developer programme – with Mercedes, Jawbone and Whirpppol amongst the launch partners. This will be a space whare Google and Apple go head to head – how long before Apple stop selling Next and DropCam?
This interview with a garage door company gets into the detail of how these partnerships are being forged.
Recent Pew research suggests the internet of things will be thriving by 2025. We don’t think it will take that long. The CEO of the newly merged Dixon Carphone talks of the connected home as part of the logic for the merger.
More on different ways to measure engagement or media performance. Upworthy use engagement minutes. Back in our Mindshare days we tried to get minutes earned – ie YouTube views – accepted as comparable to minutes bought (they are actually more valuable because people are viewing by choice rather than through interruption) Hard to get traction with the idea but as video gets real scale we think there is mileage in this.
Interesting take on the inexorable rise of Product Placement. The effect of this type of tactic is debatable but we did see evidence that Coke ads in the breaks of the US XFactor – where they had lots of product placement – performed much better than the same ads on other shows.
The Daily Mail have hired the mastermind of Buzzfeeds advertising success. Should we look forward to brands in the sidebar of shame
Finally if you think the animosity between GAFA and especially Apple and Google is bad take a look at BAT in China. People wanting to place World Cups bets with the Tencent mobile betting site QQ Lottery, were told they couldn’t pay with Alipay – the payments arm of Alibaba. Whilst it was claimed to be a technical issue many people suspect it’s the BAT vertical stack at play.
Both companies resorted to social media and things got a little heated. At least GAFA remain fairly civil to each other.
The Apple event this week did what it was meant to. Despite being a developers event the real audience was the rest of the industry, the press and Wall Street.
And it seemed to work. The coverage has been (mostly) favourable and the share price even went up a little. The general view is that – for the first time without Steve Jobs – Apple have momentum. Lots of ideas and incremental things that roll up into a big picture view of what Apple offers for the future.
Remember their business model is all about selling high end hardware – so the real test is when they unveil the iPhone 6
But in the meantime they are creating more synergies between Apple devices – so if you have a Mac then the iPhone is the natural companion. Content can now be shared between devices and you can even makes calls and get texts on your PC
Not much on the other Anchor – the Passbook cum wallet – but at a developers event we weren’t expecting too much. The brief mention of TouchID does set up the wallet idea – what better to keep your money and financial info safe than your fingerprint? (83% of iPhone5 owners use the fingerprint scanning) When the iPhone 6 launches we’re sure Apple will leverage those billion credit card relationships to announce a wallet.
There is some gentle sniping that Apple iOS 8 has learnt a lot from Android and others pointing out that a number of apps look a little superfluous now that Apple has embraced their function. DropBox, WhatsApp, Skype all seem a little less essential than last week. Of course they are arguably better than the iOS8 version but Google maps is better than Apple maps but most iPhone users go with the default.
Another interesting move is the addition of privacy focused search engine Duck Duck Go as option in Safari. We have banged on about the fact the only Google left baked into the iPhone is as the default search. This doesn’t change that but is another option. In Siri Bing has already replaced Google as the default search and we still expect further moves.
Apple is now allowing app extensions so apps can talk with each other – as on Android) and it will now be possible for any app to offer a Notification Centre widget – which look like they would work really well on a watch or other wearable. And a new coding language that will make it easier to build apps.
There is so much to digest here – and little things keep being spotted – like the ability to quick launch apps from the lock screen. This is a good attempt at a list of everything you need to know and if you want to dig deeper the Ben Evan post is worth reading as is the Fred Wilson one.
Hardly mentioned at the last Apple event iBeacons and Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) have proved to be big news. Much of the clever stuff in HomeKit and HealthKit relies on BLE
This is a good summary on just what a big deal it is. Yet few people have actually done much with the technology yet – lots of talk and little action. But a Fix friend has taken their beacons out of the box and started to experiment – read the learnings here.
There has been a bit of a backlash to the new Mary Meeker deck. One thing that welcome is an attempt to improve the charts themselves – as this example shows the data can be even more powerful when presented well.
Of course the money and time are never going to balance – we know that the analogue dollars of Print turn into digital pennies in mobile – but there is a lot of money in flux. Someone points out that chart overstates the case as some of the mobile time is spent on email etc but we think that is angels on pinheads stuff.
You can watch the full presentation video here – Meeker talks even faster than me.
One other piece caught our attention this week – Michael Wolff makes the point that even in decline print does generate a lot of cash. Clearly the smart Print people are using this cash to build a digital future, but some are just taking the money. We loved this quote;
Print is the hopeless past, but one left with enough cash flow to be somebody’s excellent future
Amazon are about to launch their much anticipated phone. This video shows people amazed by the mystery device. Will it be 3D? All will be revealed on June 18
The Google lab that gave us the intriguing Field Trip app also has a game. We have played with Ingress but never really understood it. This Guardian article suggests it has really caught on.
Programmatic continues to be a hot topic. P&G have announced plans to but the majority of their digital advertising that way. And GroupMs Irwin Gottleib talks a bullish game on their approach to programmatic in this video interview.
A look at the amazing scale of Tencent -one of BAT the big 3 Chinese digital players.
Finally…at the excellent Prince concert on Wednesday they made a big thing about people not filming with their phones. So for once the view wasn’t blocked by peoples phones – or even worse their iPads.
This piece we happened to the same day highlights the Attention Deficit Disorder type behavior that smartphones bring out in people. We think we are going to a new mobile etiquette develop where people consciously wean themselves off mobile for sometime each day. The emerging trend for old Nokia phones is part of this – in Asia you seen taxi drivers with a Phablet for videos and games when on WiFi and a featurephone for calls. Try Phone Stacking – at a bar you all stack your phones and the person who cracks first and checks theirs pays for the drinks
New Mary Meeker
And she’s back. Mary Meeker shared a new deck at the recode conference yesterday and whilst there is not that much new, it’s still hugely influential. The stats on growth no longer surprise but her thoughts on the changes caused by this growth are always interesting.
Her most shared chart is the Money one – showing that time spent remains out of kilter with where advertising money is spent. Her estimate of the Big Opportunity for Digital (AKA the Big Problem for Print) is that $30bn is in motion in the US – so probably over $50bn globally. And the vast majority is mobile.
As we have discussed before there is a lot of friction slowing this change, but we are convinced it is happening and it will probably accelerate.
One other key theme from this deck is that Meeker refutes the idea of a bubble and shares some convincing data to support that view.
The whole deck is worth spending time on, but if you want a quick take on the key points this Guardian piece is a good cheat sheet
Content, Curation & Anchors
So finally we have confirmation that the Apple beats deal is happening. It continues to divide people – Ben Evans calls it a Rorschach Blot – it confirms your view of Apple – visionaries or past it.
We have come back around to seeing Apple as real innovators and we think that they are poised to use content and services in really smart ways to protect and build their core hardware business.
Some analysts support our view that the software side of Beats – is the streaming – is more important than the hardware- even though Apple say headphones will drive profits for them straight away. And their awesome production and sourcing skills should see that product improve and maybe even come down in price.
Another makes the point that Apple are now getting involved with Pop culture and you can understand the Beats acquisition by understanding Lady Gaga. Think back to the Beyonce deal where her album was debuted on iTunes as an exclusive with great success.
This type of promotion can be a win win and Apple have been actively looking for more – the Beats team should make that process a lot more effective and Tim Cook has been very vocal in his praise of the Beats team. Their role in bringing curation the Apple services will be really important.
Interestingly the Beyonce product was innovative in format as well as how it was promoted; it was all about video. We know that YouTube has a huge share of the music market with views counting towards the US charts. Could Apple use Beats and music as a way to kickstart their ambitions for TV too? Again a curated service could beat the slightly anarchic discovery within YouTube.
Either way Apple is going to use music as one of its Anchors. A service that is so useful – addictive even – that customers will be reluctant to consider a switch to an Android. Beats will almost certainly be available on Android devices but we expect it to be so baked into iOS that it’s a noticeably better experience.
And it looks like home automation could be another Apple Anchor. Once your smartphone turns on your heating and your lights, moving to another device becomes a chore.
We couldn’t make the IAB Mobile Engage event the other week, but we heard lots of good reports. One thing that got a few mentions was Twitters’ Bruce Daisley talking about how mobile users consume content in a stream. He makes the good point that even the newspaper sites now constantly update and some use a stream – the Guardians Politics blog works that way.
He also refers to the very interesting talk that Evan Spiegal of Snapchat made a while back where he talks about profiles no longer being necessary in a world where everyone is constantly connected. Your stream says everything about you – and if you don’t update it you are just not present.
This is a parallel to the death of the home page – as the New York Times lamented last week people just go to the stories they want to read – underlining the Big Problem for Print, as the key locations that are so valuable in the real world don’t translate into digital. And remember when we had homepages – the places we started our web session when we turned on the PC? Now most people never turn their device off and most browsers open with all the tabs you had open last time, so we’re sort of in our own stream even on PCs
In our work for media owners on what advertising needs to look like to deliver on that $50bn Big Opportunity for Digital we talk about Flow. This is our term for advertising that doesn’t disrupt the Stream – like banners do. The most successful ad formats fit the Flow of the Stream – best evidenced by Facebook and Twitter, but also true of Google PPC ads and even TV. Look, I am searching for coffee shops and there are all these useful links to ones just around me. Or I am watching an extended piece of video and it occasionally stops and shows me short pieces of video that (sometimes) entertain me and inform me.
The quest for native is about trying to fit with the Flow but sometimes its more about masquerading as editorial – and the New York Times is writing a rule book on native
Bruce showed some good examples of creativity on Vine in his talk and makes the point that only people who consume media as a stream can really crack making content that fits. Here is a good selection of recent Vines and this is a good example of how a brand can use Snapchat by fitting with the Flow.
As these new short formats can deliver significant reach there is more interest in how to make them. As well as Vine and Instagram video, GIFs are getting used more and more in art as well as in marketing. And this new tool to make them is interesting.
We are keen to meet people with skills in this area – people like Son who get new ways of doing things – so please point us in the right direction. The space is getting more commercialized and there is a big opportunity for brands to benefit from these new skill
Programmatic, Context and Fraud
The new ways of doing creative are moving more slowly than the new ways of doing media – and that may prove to be an issue.
Especially as the context of the message seems to be increasingly absent from the channel thinking. Is a Guardian reader really just as valuable when she is checking her Yahoo Mail as when she is reading the Guardian? We have pointed this out as a real problem before and liked this new thinking about the issue from a US publisher. We agree and are happy to work with anyone who can make some progress on this – is it an opportunity for a smart research programme? We tried last year and couldn’t get enough publishers to get involved. But proving the value of context might even help with the Big Problem for Print.
The FT have a good round up of how advertising is getting automated. If you are not too sure about the pros and cons of Programmatic its well worth a read. Especially as the scale is increasing with two major players partnering to better compete with Google and Facebook.
But as the ways of doing things evolves so too does the appetite for ad fraud. A Mercedes digital ad was seen by more computers than actual people. The fraud in adtech is a growing problem and will slow the shift to digital unless it is dealt with quickly and effectively.
Interesting thoughts on web apps vs native apps. We still think that open standards will win out and the power of search makes good browser experiences essential for the vast majority of brands. Native apps are good for some brands but probably only really worthwhile for a minority.
No one has come close to cracking mobile and money. Yet. A new survey from Accenture looks at attitudes to banks in the US – and a large proportion would be quite happy to bank with Google or Apple. Here in Europe Vodafone still have ambitions in this space and their new partnership with Bluesource to scan in plastic loyalty cards is interesting. GoCompare tell us most people don’t make the most of card based loyalty schemes, but we suspect Apple intend to solve this with Passbook as they create a money focused Anchor.
Visual recognition has been a promising feature of mobile for a while and the Google acquisition of WordLens reminds us what can be done with the camera. Camfind is an interesting app that combines algorithms with Mechanical Turk to identify products and provide links to buy them. How long before Amazon buy them? The most interesting uses of visual search are in Fashion and this interview with the CEO of London start up Cortexica is worth reading.
McKinsey think that companies must stop experimenting with digital and commit to transforming themselves into full digital businesses. We sort of agree – experimentation is a good way to learn about news things like Streams and Flow – but it’s no longer enough to treat digital as emerging media. It’s now mainstream and a machine for making money. McKinsey have 7 habits of highly effective digital businesses. How many are you doing?
Finally….. the lure of Apple devices has been a core factor in their success since the early days. Here are some of their prototypes from the 1980s. But we don’t get the Bashful branding?
Apple, Beats & Anchors
Is it happening or isn’t it? Almost a week on and it is still unclear whether Apple are going to buy Beats.
But the lack of news hasn’t stemmed the opnions and speculation. As someone on Twitter said; when Google, Amazon or Facebook announce something everyone goes – Ooh Interesting move. Yet when Apple announce something (or even a rumour) lots of people say Oh Stupid move.
We don’t think Apple is at all stupid and believe this could be a great deal. Beats is a very successful company with a really string brand
First reason is that Beats could resolve the issues around a cheaper iPhone. Many people have pointed out that a lower price iPhone – an iPhone Nano – could allow Apple to take the fight to the mid price androids that are doing so well all around the world
But the problem has always been about what a low price version does for the brand and does it affect the higher price iPhone? We have termed Apple the Audi of smartphones before and its worth considering how that brand deals with market segmentation.
There are many flavours of Audi but all at the top end of the market. For lower price points they have VW and Skoda -all sharing the same technology as Audi but each operating in its own market sector.
So a Beats phone at around $300 could be a big hit; iPhone 5 technology – which is still top parity with the best androids even though it’s a year old – with the very popular Beats branding, sold through the awesome distribution networks of Apple.
The second reason why is would be a good deal is that it should allow Apple to reinvent its music offering. Remember the renaissance of Apple was driven by the iPod and iTunes. As streaming grows in importance iTunes Radio – which is to be ad funded – probably isn’t a strong player. Now Beats streaming hasn’t done that well so far – but with some Apple love it could do a lot better.
Music industry insiders are very excited about the potential of streaming – but they see a different model to Spotify etc. Mark Geiger, the head of music at talent agency William Morris Endeavour believes streaming can transform the music industry . He envisions Streaming revenues of $72bn – 5 times the total music sales (globally) in 2013. Lucian Grange who heads up the biggest label Universal tends to agree. But Geiger thinks it will take one of the the big players – GAFA – to make it work and they need to have all music on it, not the relatively limited supply that current players have.
In his presentation at Mipcom he makes it clear that the people behind the streaming firms aren’t from music – but the Beats people clearly are. Could Apple deliver the 500 million users who pay $15 a month for all you can eat streaming music?
One other point on this – we are told that he music rights that Beats have can be transferred in the event of a takeover whilst the Spotify rights can’t. So Apple may have pulled up the drawbridge behind them with this deal.
Music as an Apple Anchor
Is music that critical for Apple? Sure they built a big business with iTunes but everyone now has a music offer and many thought that it had become a commodity – something you have to offer but unlikely to make a big difference to a customer.
We disagree – we think if you can get music right then it can be very powerful. Along with sleep, music is the most underrated drug in the world. Hearing the right song at the right moment can enhance your mood just as well as any narcotic
But whilst the music that does that for me may be Marvin Gaye, Frank Ocean or 1960s Brazilian Jazz, yours will be different. And that’s where music services have to go next – to discovery and personalization. Jimmy Iovine of Beats talks about curation;
What better raw material to start with than someones iTunes collection, and scrobbling that (remember how clever LastFM was at that) to deliver a curated stream.
If Apple can use their knowledge of my music and deliver a great personalized stream – helping me discover new music that I love – they have something hugely powerful. And 500m people paying $15 a month generates $72 billion a year – and a 30% share gives Apple over $20bn a year in new revenue.
Apple Anchor – Passbook
We see music as a crucial Anchor – something that will cause Apple users to pause before moving over to android and losing something they value.
Right now getting your music out of iTunes is a huge faff and that acts a sort of negative anchor – as does the way iMessage buries your texts once you quit Apple.
If you are Apple though you now want to build positive Anchors that keep people with the iPhone. The Appstore used to be an anchor but now most of the top apps are on Android too.
Music can be one and we are convinced that Passbook could be another. If I have a passbook full of my loyalty cards, coupons and boarding passes, will I just leave that behind as I switch to a Galaxy? And if Apple get the Passbook working really well with iBeacons to offer a new level of utility around shopping, will I just leave it?
When Apple leverage their 600m credit card relationships to offer a real wallet service it becomes even more of an Anchor. Like moving banks – I know I can be done but do I really want to?
Apple Anchor – Health
If Apple do make health a key part of the new iPhone experience this quickly becomes another Anchor. The breadth and depth of your records from the iPhone apps and wearables (peripherals) will become crucial to health. Friends built a simple Diabetes app for sufferers to record their eating habits, mood swings etc. This has transformed the way Doctors treat them as the diagnosis is now based on fact rather than a selective memory. As the next generation gets smarter and more intuitive, the data gets richer and the barrier to churn gets stronger. A key Anchor
If you accept the premise that the hardware is no longer going to be a key differentiator (the Amazon smartphone and the Tesco one are not going to be that different to the new iPhone or the next Galaxy etc) then services are key. What else could Apple do to create differentiation and Anchors?
Everyone in the TV business knows sport is a key to differentiation. Sky built their business around football and BT is trying hard to emulate that strategy. Could Apple decide to invest in sports content as way of driving uptake and loyalty?
Charmath Palihapitiya – very early Facebooker, VC and owner of NBA team Golden State Warriors – believes it’s a 100% likely that Apple or Google or Amazon will buy the rights for a major sports league in the next couple of years
The US rights to the Premier League are with NBC and seem to be doing well. What if Apple wanted to buy global mobile rights for the Premier League – leaving the TV rights with the current players?
That would be some Anchor – and a great way of making a Beats smartphone a must have in emerging markets too.
Idle speculation on our part, clearly. But there is something happening here and the question is what do brands do?
We advice all our clients to have a GAFA strategy; a real understanding of how they are involved and connected with Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon and an appetite to test and learn on new opportunities as soon as they arise. For Apple we think Passbook is a huge opportunity for many brands and it is fairly straightforward to start learning what works and what doesn’t.
Mobile Gaming ads – a bubble?
Finnish gaming company Supercell is insanely profitable – this article says that one day last October just two of their games totalled over $1m in revenue. The actual games are free – like most of the rest of the gaming market these apps are free to buy, but make money through in app purchases.
Most people don’t buy the gems or smurfberries, but a small number do. This chart from a great presentation at Facebook F8 conference shows the math.
Around a quarter of paying customers – a very small proportion of all players – will spend over $1000 in a game and account for 90% of the game revenue. This writer thinks gaming is essentially gambling and worries we may end up with regulation.
Should we be worried that a large proportion of the booming mobile ad market is focused on finding these whales? Are we building an industry on sand?
The sooner we get real brands spending real money on mobile advertising designed to build brands and sell product the better.
There have been lots of new services that offer privacy – although Snapchat isn’t as private as people thought and they are proving very popular. Secret has raised more money and new data from Sandvine shows SnapChat is bigger than Whats App in the US
The same data source says “On several LTE networks in Asia 3rd-party messaging apps such as Line or WeChat R used by 40%+ of mobile subs each hour”
And Yahoo have bought Blink – a snapchat style service – which they intend to close suggesting they wanted the people more than the product.
Square in trouble?
Whilst a Bain report talks of the next step in mobile money being imminent, former mobile wallet poster child Square is in trouble. Reported to be losing $100m a year the business started by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is up for sale. Despite a plethora of startups in this space we can’t see that anyone other than GAFA or maybe a Operator backed business can win. And only then, by solving a real customer problem. Paying for something with cards or cash still works fine. In our opinion, bundling payments with offers seems to be the only way forward.
The new Square app – replacing their wallet app – may be the last throw of the dice but being able to order on advance does solve a problem.
Foursquare are unbundling and their new Swarm app is now available. This Techcrunch piece sees Swarm as a service layer – using context to see when your friends are around.
This video from F8 is worth watching. Titled Disruptive Mobile Business it feature a panel with key people from Nike, Square, Pinterest, Estimote and Beats . It’s 45 minutes but if you are short of time the Beats bit starts at 19 minutes.
It’s that time again. The financial results for Q1 are out for Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon. Google was a few days ago and despite a 19% year in year increase in revenue the results were seen as a disappointment. Why? Because whilst paid clicks were up by 26%, the average cost per click fell by 9%. This is clearly a mobile factor and until brands can see mobile conversions are as good as desktop, the value of a mobile click remains in question. Better attribution of transactions that cross multiple screens is a focus for the whole industry. But until brands have sites that work as well on mobile as they do on desktop, the potential of search is reduced. More on this below.
It is worth listening to Nikesh Arora talk about the 4 sectors of Googles business on the earnings call. One topic pulled out was how Super Bowl advertisers nearly all used YouTube to extend the reach and life of their TV ads.
But when asked about mobile pricing Nikesh reiterates his view that in the medium to long term mobile pricing will be better - and talks through the reasons why.
Facebook had no such problems – their success with mobile continues. The two issues that plagued them at the IPO – where would revenue growth come from and how would they deal with mobile – are both now non issues.
With revenue up by 72% and user number growing in all regions – and mobile grew to be 59% of all ad revenue – they are being lauded as a big success story.
They look likely to maintain growth – and the pressure on Google – with their own ad network seemingly imminent.
An interview with Zuckerberg a few days before the results, is worth reading to get an idea of the issues he is focusing on; innovation and privacy feature heavily.
And this interview with the WhatsApp CEO is worth a look too – 500m active users each day and 700m photos shared each day.
Whilst Google and Facebook both talked up their plans for the future, Apple did nothing more than share their latest figures. The figures were good enough though. Increased iPhone sales e surprised everyone – and success in China and Japan seems to have been a big factor. More worrying was a 16% fall in iPad sales, which no one seems to understand. We are going to look at this more next week.
Couple of bits of speculation that relate to Apple;
As we have been saying for ages we expect Apple to switch the default search in Safari from Google – they can’t be happy at giving that amount of data and insight to their key competitor. Seemingly Yahoo want the deal and are pitching hard. Given that the Yahoo search product is essentially Bing we don’t expect Bing to let this go. Danny Sullivan doesn’t think a Yahoo deal is likely either.
But we now advise all our clients to pay more attention to BING seo – especially on mobile.
And Nike this week downsized their Fuelband team, whilst denying they were closing the programme down. They never did do an Android app so we stopped using the Fuelband as without the app it’s just not that useful. We also found that apps like Moves (just bought by Facebook) do the job of the wearable/peripheral equally well. Should we expect Nike to have their fitness app baked in to the new Apple Health everyone expects with the next iPhone?
The Amazon results are out and they are pretty much right on the estimates – so no real news. But this pre results speculation from an analyst shows the scale of the change Amazon is going through;
We see the digital advertising world separating into two states; those players that have rich data on their users (GAFA plus Twitter are clearly in the lead here) and those who have rich data they can apply to raw inventory bought from media owners (The Agency RTBs and some of the ad networks).
Mobile network operators have long been considered as possible players but despite lots of talk there has not been much action. It is changing; Weve have got some good traction on the UK and now Telefonica have made an aggressive statement of intent with the launch of Axonix.
This new company is jointly funded by Telefonica and Private Equity firm Blackstone and is built around the tech from Mobclix – a fast growing mobile ad firm that ran out of money after Velti bought them. With the cream of the Telefonica Digital ad team running the business and a tech platform that enjoyed a good reputation, this looks like the first credible ad play from a MNO. If they can leverage the rich data they hold on over 300 million customers, they could have an impact on GAFA etc.
This move by Telefonica highlights the various false starts by US Operators – and most of the others – although AT&T are investing in an interesting deal around ad supported video, working with a former head of News Corp. This sort of deal demonstrates the issues around net neutrality – will AT&T customers who want to watch YouTube or Netflix get as good a service as those who want to watch the AT&T service?
The Home Screen battle
If you want to be a player on mobile advertising you need rich data. One way to get that is through knowing what’s on someones homescreen. Flurry have evolved their research business into a good ad network and become probably the only non GAFA firm with insight into the apps people have.
But with the new crop of homescreen apps, this data is becoming more widely available. We mentioned Yahoo buying Aviate a few weeks back and then Twitter bought Cover – and Facebook arguably kicked off the trend with Home. Newer players like EverythingMe are emerging.
All these apps – and their Chinese equivalents – take over the home screen and intend to serve up the right apps at the right time. The ambition is to emulate the Google Now type contextual service and these apps want access to all the data on the phone – diary, contacts and email. So privacy is an issue. The FT have a good round up here.
Is the first big mobile trend that started on Android? Of course Apple don’t allow anyone to mess with their homescreen.
New data from the IAB shows that slowly, brands are getting around to having mobile optimized sites. Now it’s only around a third of top brands that don’t have a site that’s works on mobile. The next problem is that many of the optimized sites aren’t actually that good. We see many that are slow loading – and this research suggests that two thirds of responsive sites load unacceptably slowly
It’s actually not that hard to build a site that is Fit4Mobile but it requires ongoing work to sort the basics like image size etc as well as looking to improve conversions and actions on the site. Every time we have done the math, the value that can be unlocked from search means the investment in getting the site right is paid back quickly.
We remain convinced that Google will start to reward optimized sites with better placing in organic search when people are using mobile, so this value could soon be dramatically increased. A good story this week was around the new Ryanair website where the amateur approach meant it performed really badly in search. We took a look and found they hadn’t bothered to make it mobile optimized either.
Here is more on the Twitter ad network play, using the MoPub marketplace they acquired last year.
YouTube continues to push for TV budgets and a new interview with Susan Wojcicki outlines the next step – making YouTube stars famous in the real world with press and outdoor ads and even local TV spots.
There is also more and more information on the habits of youTube viewers – with this infographic debunking some of the key myths.
China continues to fascinate and this look at the digital landscape is well worth reading
The team at Flurry have put together a great deck called The Age of Living Mobile. As well as celebrating the immense progress made by the industry in the last few years it also points out that there is still lots more potential for growth.
It’s time to experiment
Mobile Innovation at risk?
I am currently rereading Burn Rate, Michael Wolf’s excellent book on his adventures running a content business in the early days of the web. Starting in 1996, his stories of VCs and startups still sound quite contemporary. The figures are amazingly small though – he talks of Excite having a $40million warchest.
But the thing that resonates most is the description of the shift taking place from AOL, Genie, Delphi and Prodigy towards the web – and the huge excitement as people moved from a controlled environment to the free web, where anyone could do what they want.
I’m old enough to remember that era – we had just started Poppe Tyson in London – and many prospective clients were still investing marketing budget in AOL and Compuserve.
As we discussed last week, the web seems to be taking a back seat on mobile and the rise of apps is arguably taking us back to that controlled era. Chris Dixon of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz points out;
Apps have a rich-get-richer dynamic that favors the status quo over new innovations.
VC Fred Wilson agrees that the dominance of apps is stifling innovation and looking at the top 200 apps sees very few that are recent venture backed businesses.
GAFA are crucial in the discovery and distribution of apps and we all know that without a substantial budget for Facebook app install ads (etc) it’s nearly impossible to get an app to scale. And the appstore tax of 30% is a major factor too. Are the Vertical Stacks the new Walled Gardens?
The Net Neutrality arguments are designed to give similar status to the Mobile Networks – which, as we know, stifled innovation in mobile prior to the GAFA era. This is a good summary of the various points of view on apps and the threat to innovation.
Yet the combination of the mobile web and mobile search are still low cost options – and therefore great opportunities for innovation. And in our research we find that people think of apps as the icons on their home screen; click on them and something happens. Few know or care about them being native apps or bookmarks for mobile websites. If it solves a problem, it will probably earn its place.
So in our projects we usually advise that a blend of mobile web and native apps is the right way to go – together with smart thinking on how to use search and social to drive discovery and get than icon on the home screen.
As Ben Evans points out, the mobile opportunity is still wide open and current trends are no real indicator of where we might end up. The size of the mobile opportunity means that everyone needs to get involved and invest smartly in learning what works and what doesn’t for your business.
Reading Burn Rate you remember that those early days were just the start of the digital switch that has changed how millions of people live their lives and transformed every business sector.
We are now just at the start of the Mobile switch where billions of people are going to have their lives changed. And every business sector is going to get transformed again.
It’s time to experiment.
A very experienced smart marketer slightly stumped us this week when he posed the question Why should I spend any effort on Facebook? He totally saw it was a valid media channel for ad buys, but with a modest number of followers he wonders why he should invest in time and content to grow his likes, when there is now little benefit in free reach. Of course as part of a social strategy of ubiquity, the effort in Facebook improves results on Twitter, Google+ etc as some content can be reused. And knowing what content resonates with fans does help improve ad performance.
But as the Facebook Feed evolves we see both users and brands frustrated with the experience. This TechCrunch piece gets into the details on how the Feed is now constructed and looks at the various complaints, but we don’t see a solution yet. John Batelle argues – quite convincingly – that Facebook should let the user take control.
It is essentially the same challenge that Twitter potentially has. Twitter is a hugely valuable service but you always have the nagging doubt that you may have missed some good stuff if you haven’t checked for a while. But I prefer that to a feed that Twitter have decided is the right one for me. Again we thinks lists are an underused asset for Twitter; setting up some specific lists allows for an occasional browse of a certain set of Twitterers, without needing to have those feeds in your timeline.
With a whole swathe of new ad formats on the way, Twitter is ramping up their advertising push and by redesigning profile pages potentially make them much more usable. Some think that these profile pages could evolve to be someones main profile on the web; you may have a blog and a LinkedIn page but an improved Twitter profile would probably be a better representation of you.
Just as Facebook and Twitter share similar problems – and similar ad formats – the new profile pages makes Twitter look a lot like Facebook.
A couple of other useful bits on social;
This is a good roundup of thinking on what the ideal length of a Facebook, Twitter or Google+post is. We were told a while back by Facebook that the average brand message is much much longer than the average users posts – the challenge for a brand is finding a way to convey their character in as few words as possible. It has always amazed us that brands often leave their most important language – search ads and social – to inexperienced media buyers and project managers. There is wealth of copywriting talent that should be employed for these crucial tasks; the easiest way to double response to both search and social is great creative.
Twitter have shared why people follow brands; people want to hear from these brands – especially with promotions and special offers
It’s clear that messaging is going to change social and Facebook are keen to stay ahead of the curve. They demonstrated this when they bought WhatsApp, but many questioned the role for their own Messenger service. They are now stripping out the Messenger functionality from the Facebook app, so users have to download the separate app – continuing the single purpose app strategy they showed with Paper.
Ex Facebook exec Christian Hernandez has a good look at these new apps in this piece on the pros and cons of relying on someone else’s platform. Well worth reading.
Hardware – Cheap & Useful
Working on an ebooks project a few years ago, we recommended the backers ( a number of publishers and a major retailer) to ignore the siren call of developing their own hardware and instead develop for the nascent tablet market as well as smartphones. As it turned out that was sound advice. Then
Now it is possible to develop hardware that is cheap enough and good enough to differentiate your business. Tesco are making a pretty good job of it with Hudl and Google are having a lot of success with Chromecast (we are less convinced about the Chromebooks).
Amazon have done a brilliant job with the Kindle, straddling both hardware and software, and Fire seems to have started well – it’s the bestseller in electronics on Amazon.com.
Their latest piece of hardware is really intriguing. Dash lets users scan a barcode of any product to add it to their shopping list – and it can also work with voice too. It is only available to customers of AmazonFresh – their grocery home delivery service currently in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The biggest problem for people like Ocado and Tesco is online grocery basket size tends to be smaller than a shopper in store as the impulse buys don’t happen. But once on the list they tend to be reordered again and again.
So for Amazon to have a tool that people can use around the kitchen to reorder should be great for both retention and revenue. And as a physical object it should also help with customer acquisition as people see it in their friends’ houses.
Most of the smart people we know in the Grocery business are convinced that its only a matter of time until Amazon launch Fresh in the UK. This is a good look at the US market for home delivered grocery and it reminds us that dotcom casualties like Webvan actually did have market impact – it was just way too early.
Interestingly Dash has dotcom ancestry too. Does anyone remember CueCat? Launched in 2000 this barcode scanner needed to be plugged into a PC before it could read a code on a product or in an ad. Called one of the 25 worst tech products of all time, it didn’t last long. But as we see with Dash, these ideas have real potential once you unlock them from the desktop and define the problem that needs solving.
“All the dot-com ideas were correct,” “They were all too early. They are happening now.”
We’re looking for content ideas in Burn Rate to reimagine for today.
Dropbox is looking to play a bigger role in its millions of users lives, with new apps for email and photo sharing.
The Music business isn’t in as bad a state as many think. This profile of Lucian Grainge suggests streaming will soon turn into a major revenue stream
The New York Times has an interesting new app called NYT Now and it’s getting good reaction. With a subscription model and native ads, the key question is whether it differentiated enough from the Times itself?
There is a lot of interest in news content at the moment, with a focus on niche plays. But the business model is in question; as the writer of Burn Rate points out, the ad business wants scale.
Finally.. a couple of our agency friends questioned our take last week that the Agency world hasn’t embraced tech yet.
But this week Agency bible Campaign is running a story saying;
Another survey suggests many Marketers don’t really get the idea of ROI and hence struggle to demonstrate the true value of marketing to their board.
And client de jour Bonin Bough suggest Creative agencies aren’t necessarily the best partners for brands
Now obviously this is a generalization and there is some great talent within Agencies producing great work. For smart clients who really do get it.
But nearly 20 years into the Digital Switch it’s still a little patchy and you have to ask yourself if you are getting the right thinking on mobile, social and content from your existing partners.
Or do you need some provocative Big Picture thinking?
(No Fix next week as we will be eating Chocolate in St Ives. If you fancy a change from Eggs check out our friends at CocoaRunners who can send you a box of fabulous artisan chocolate. If you use this link and use ADDICTIVE as the code you get a £3 discount and we get a free bar. Enjoy.
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