Archive for January, 2011

Study: 86% of people use mobile devices while watching TV

January 26th, 2011

Photo by Eelke Dekker

By Chris Hogg

According to a study published by Yahoo’s advertising division, TV fans are very active on the mobile front. The report indicates nearly 90 percent of boob tube watchers are using a mobile device at the same time.

It began as a passive past-time meant to escape from the everyday, but television today is turning into an engaging experience thanks to that smartphone in your pocket. Be it Twitter, Facebook, email or instant messaging, TV watchers are doing more than watching what’s on screen.

According to stats released by Yahoo/Nielsen, 86 percent of mobile Web users (and 92 percent of people aged 13 to 24) are using a mobile device while watching TV and one quarter of them are looking at related content to what they’re watching on screen. For this study, Yahoo interviewed 8,384 Americans aged 13 to 64. Of those, 5,313 were mobile Internet users.

The study (PDF) says TV watchers use their mobile to simultaneously text family and friends (56 percent); visit social networking sites (40 percent); browse content unrelated to the program on screen (37 percent); email friends and family (33 percent); use mobile apps (33 percent); browse for content related to the show on screen (24 percent); search for info based on a commercial that aired (23 percent); and instant message with friends or family (12 percent).

Courtesy Yahoo

“This data mirrors Yahoo research on PC users, as we see that mobile users often scan content unrelated to TV programming, participate on social networks and send email,” the study reports. “Mobile allows ample opportunity for brands to continue the conversation after the TV ad is flighted.”

In addition to post-program interaction, the real-time Web and mobile apps are changing how people consume content on television. Evidence can be found with shows like Glee or Obama’s State of the Union address where people took to social networks like Twitter to discuss what they were seeing in real-time.

Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, recently spoke about Glee’s use of social media with Kara Swisher, showing how mobile devices have changed the TV-watching experience.

“The characters on Glee actually tweet and they tweet during the show,” Costolo said. “When Glee starts, the moment it airs for the first time on the East Coast, the tweets per second for Glee shoot up. They stay up there at a super high level at hundreds of [times] what they are before the show comes on until the moment the show ends and then they drop. [...] People feel like they have to watch the show while it’s going on because the community is tweeting about the show and the characters are tweeting as the show’s happening so [they have to] watch it in real time.”

ReadWriteWeb notes the Glee phenomonenon has caused viewers to tune into the show in real-time rather than time-shifting or recording it on DVR.

For marketers who want to connect with today’s modern TV-watcher, Yahoo says mobile usage presents “a compelling opportunity for content providers and advertisers alike to complement the viewing experience on the mobile platform.”

[Cross-posted to Future of Media & Digital Journal]

Personal news service ‘Ongo’ blends aggregation with paywalls

January 25th, 2011

Ongo is a news aggregator that charges users for access to content

By Chris Hogg

It calls itself a “personal news service.” Others ask if it’s the craziest startup idea ever. The business is Ongo and it’s a news site attempting to blend aggregated content with paywalls.

“Premiering with more than a dozen top-tier titles in a single interface designed for readability, Ongo delivers full articles and convenient customization features, along with editorial curation that uncovers vital and interesting stories beyond the day’s top headlines,” a company press release reads.

Ongo says it offers an “immersive” reading experience where users can easily search, save and share stories — something it says other news aggregators fail at doing. “Many of today’s online news aggregation services are disjointed, distracting experiences — providing only snippets of articles surrounded by links and ads that require readers to jump from site to site,” the company says.

With its debut, Ongo will be carrying content from The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Guardian, Slate, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, USA Today, and selected content from the Financial Times and the New York Times.

Ongo promises to carry content from these sources, strip out ads, improve the interface and charge $7 per month for a base subscription (for select Financial Times stories, as well as content from the Washington Post, USA Today, select New York Times content and AP stories). It costs an additional $0.99 to add content from other sources (Slate, Boston Globe or other regional newspapers).

“Yes, Ongo is going to charge for news that’s generally free on the web,” Jay Yarow from Business Insider notes. “Crazy, right? We think so, but Ongo CEO Alex Kazim doesn’t seem rattled.”

Yarow compares Ongo to basic cable, where you pay a flat fee for content and you get more for a little extra cash each month.

According to Business Insider, Ongo execs estimate the service could generate $6.99 per user, so 1 million users would make it a $100-million business. With 100,000 users, it would be worth $10 million.

Kazim previously worked at Skype, PayPal and eBay and Ongo investors include USA Today, New York Times and Gannet who put $12 million into the company in September 2010.

The company launches today with mobile apps and a traditional website. More info on product features can be found via the company’s press release. A demo of the service is available via a company YouTube video:

[Cross-posted to Future of Media]

Some advice for Larry Page as he takes over as Google CEO

January 21st, 2011

Larry Page, Co-Founder and CEO of GoogleEric Schmidt surprised the world yesterday’s when he announced he was stepping down as Google‘s CEO and Larry Page was taking over. The tech and Web worlds are left scratching their heads about possible reasons, and analysts and observers are figuring out what it means for the future of the company.

If you follow tech and Web news, you’re likely familiar with a lot of Google’s challenges. The company is losing engineers to Facebook; it’s being criticized for it’s social strategy; it’s having trouble explaining to investors why Android is good for its future when it doesn’t make any money from it; and people are starting to question its once-famous motto “Don’t be evil.”

There is no question Google is a massive success, and the company is positioned well going forward into the worlds of search, advertising and mobile. But there is also a long list of things it needs to do to get back its mojo.

Danny Sullivan, the editor-in-chief of the popular Search Engine Land blog, has published a To-Do list for new CEO Larry Page and it’s spot-on in many ways.

“Welcome back, Larry,” Sullivan writes. “When you were last CEO of Google in 2001, the company was a much loved scrappy underdog with a bright future. Ten years later, you’re coming back to the helm. Things have changed. You’re soon to be steering a massive battleship that’s taking on water from a number of hits over the years. Let’s talk damage control.”

The blog outlines all of Google’s current problems, be they real or perceived, and offers the company some sound and good advice.

Google has to convince regulators it’s not a monopoly; get it’s foot in the social door; explain its mobile strategy; finalize its operating system and get it moving; show it’s not evil and prove it’s the place to be for top talent; incubate good ideas like a start-up; and figure out a way to get garbage out of its search results.

“Make no mistake — Google is a rich company, in actual cash, in quality products and in talent,” Sullivan writes. “It faces challenges, as any company entering its “adult” years can be expected to have. The question is, how well will the leadership shuffling tackle those challenges.”

For a great read on Google’s challenges, check out Sullivan’s post here: A To Do List For Google’s New CEO Larry Page

Study: Smartphones and tablets to outsell computers in 2011

January 19th, 2011

Duncan Stewart, Director of Deloitte Canada Research and co-author of TMT Predictions 2011, presents the company's forecasts for changes in technology to an audience in Montreal. - Photo courtesy Deloitte Canada

For the first time in history, cellphone and tablet sales are expected to outnumber computer sales, a study by Deloitte Canada predicts. The report says 425 million smartphones and tablets are expected to ship globally compared to 400 million PCs.

“In 2011, more than half of computing devices sold globally will not be PCs,” the report (PDF) indicates. “While PC sales are likely to reach almost 400 million units, Deloitte’s estimate for combined sales of smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks is well over that amount.”

Deloitte is a professional services firm that provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to businesses. This study was released as part of the company’s 2011 global Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions report.

“Unlike the 2009 netbook phenomenon, when buyers chose machines that were less powerful versions of traditional PCs (but still PCs), the 2011 computing market will be dominated by devices that use different processing chips and operating systems than those used for PCs over the past 30 years,” the report says. “This shift has prompted some analysts to proclaim the era of the PC is over.”

Deloitte disagrees with the belief that traditional PCs are dead, saying they are going to continue to be the workhorse computing platform for most people around the world. That said, Deloitte believes 2011 will be a tipping point as consumers move away from standard PCs to a new era of smartphones and tablets.

“[Consumers] will continue to move away from a predictable, but narrow, world of standardized computing devices like the PC, and vote with their wallets in favour of a diversity of choices including tablets and smartphones,” a Deloitte Canada news release says.

Deloitte’s study mirrors a lot of the predictions made by Polar Mobile, an app developer for more than 150 customers including Time, BusinessWeek and Digital Journal. In December 2010, Polar Mobile made 11 predictions for the future of mobile where the company forecast explosive growth for mobiles and tablets.

Mobile will become part of every business’ marketing and distribution strategy in 2011,” Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile, told in an email statement in December. “That’s where we all spend our time and brands, marketers and publishers will want to capture that opportunity.”

Anyone who ever wanted evidence of mobile growth need look no further than Apple, a leader in the mobile and tablet worlds. The company announced its Q1 earnings yesterday, boasting record revenue of $26.74 billion and record net quarterly profit of $6 billion. Apple says it sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. iPads also saw booming sales, with Apple saying the company sold 7.33 million iPads during the quarter and nearly 15 million in 2010. More than 17 million are expected to ship in 2011.

Furthermore, tech companies showed off more than 80 tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

With the growth of the smartphone and tablet market, Deloitte says price, performance, form factor and other variables will be diverse and thus make buying decisions more complicated for consumers.

“Choosing a device will take longer, and will need to be done more carefully,” the study notes.

In a news release, Duncan Stewart Director of Deloitte Canada Research and co-author of TMT Predictions 2011, said, “Like kids in a candy store, consumers and enterprises will be excited, yet overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options available to them. With PCs, netbooks, tablets and smartphones, buyers must choose among a wide array of functionalities, platforms, operating systems, sizes, features and price points.”

Deloitte’s top 10 predictions for 2011 include:

  1. Smartphones and tablets: More than half of all computers aren’t computers anymore
  2. Tablets in the enterprise: More than just a toy
  3. Operating system diversity: No standard emerges on the smartphone or tablet
  4. Social network advertising: How big can it get?
  5. Television’s “super media” status strengthens
  6. PVRs proliferate! The 30-second spot doesn’t die!
  7. Push beats pull in the battle for the television viewer
  8. What’s “in-store” for Wi-Fi: Retailers roll-out Wi-Fi
  9. Getting to 4G cheaply: Will many carriers opt for 3.5G instead? The proliferation of new computing devices doesn’t mean that we need new networks
  10. Wi-Fi complements cellular broadband for “data on the move”

More details on each of these can be found in Deloitte’s report (PDF) or via a livestream online.

[Cross-posted to Future of Media]

Hugh Hefner says Playboy to release uncensored iPad app

January 19th, 2011

© Glenn Francis,

According to multiple statements made by Hugh Hefner, Playboy will soon be available on the iPad and it will feature full, uncensored nudity. When asked by Digital Journal to confirm or deny Hefner’s claims, Apple declined to comment.

In a series of tweets made yesterday, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner says Playboy fans would be able to download the magazine’s uncensored iPad app in March.

“The iPad Version of Playboy will include the whole magazine from the first issue to the latest,” Hefner said. “Playboy on iPad will be uncensored,” he continued.

Apple is famous for its strict policy when it comes to nudity, and has stated on numerous occasions that its iOS devices are no place for porn. As TechCrunch reports, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been a vocal opponent of allowing adult content on iOS devices, saying, “We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone.”

With Heffner now claiming an uncensored Playboy will come to the iPad, it’s unclear if Apple has reversed its decision on adult content or if Hefner is speaking ahead of actual confirmation.

When asked for comment, an Apple spokesperson would not provide any more detail to confirm or deny the tweets, telling Digital Journal simply, “We will decline to comment.”

Opening the doors to nudity with a Playboy app could start a snowball effect for Apple, as other publishers and companies who produce adult content would surely line-up to get their apps on iOS devices.

But as Mashable notes, “When you’re a publication as big as Playboy, you can try to persuade Apple to place additional measures of protecting minors from accessing adult material, and it’s quite possible that we’ll see something along these lines in March.”

[Cross-posted to Future of Media]