Posts from date: January 2012
Now this is what smart phones were invented for. Skip to about 35 seconds to see what the app is for and i'm then sure you'll want to download it.
Following on from other successful initiatives where points have been rewarded to customers for watching movie trailers online, on the 30th November 2011 loyalty card scheme Nectar teamed up with Adpoints to conduct a three-month trial to incentivise customers to view ads online. The trial website was launched to an invite-only panel of 7,500 Nectar collectors, giving them the opportunity to earn a maximum of 850 points per month (4 points per video watched). Additional points can be earned for answering questions about brand preferences and habits, by visiting the advertisers’ sites and by sharing activity on social networking sites. To encourage participation, Nectar offers a selection of over 400 advertisers’ videos to choose from, and 1000 points just for signing up! The trial has appeared to be tremendously popular with all places filling within the first few days of its launch.
Adpoints are innovative leaders in what I think will be an inevitable movement in which online advertising becomes a consumer-driven space. Advertisers are constantly seeking ways to win the attention of their audiences with their creative campaigns. By daring to break away from a conventional online strategy and effectively paying consumers to watch their ads, positivity towards advertising will be raised and advertisers may finally see the engagement levels they desire. In particular, provision of incentives in exchange for user interaction will be crucial. In a time when social media is spiralling and when consumers are increasingly motivated by special offers, advertisers will capitalise from using content which drives their compensated viewers to interact with the brand after the video content has ended.
Nectar will be focusing on analysing viewing behaviours during this trial, and ultimately I think this is where the greatest benefit of this type of scheme will lie. Offering viewers monetary encouragement to complete a corresponding survey regarding their attitudes towards the ads that they view, will allow advertisers to build very meticulous audience profiles, which will be invaluable for future targeting.
Adpoints is expected to roll out to the remainder of Nectar members later in 2012.
The popular US streaming service Netflix launched last week in the UK. Now people of Britain have even more variety of choice to watch the TV they want, when they want. Most of us are now familiar with all the main broadcasters VOD services; Smart TV’s market is getting bigger and bigger as the technology becomes more affordable and Home DVD rental and video streaming service Lovefilm has now reached 1.6 million customers in the UK. So where does this leave the counter rental business?
Back in 2004, this industry (dominated by Blockbuster) was worth £350m. However in 2011, the figures dropped to less than £75m (Screen Digest data). With newcomer Netflix, 2012 is more likely to be a declining year in revenue for video rental. But are Blockbuster the only company that should be worried? Netflix are a direct competitor to Lovefilm and their aim is to overthrow Amazon’s DVD rental and streaming service in the UK. If we are to compare like for like, Lovefilm are cheaper as their online viewing option is only £4.99/month while Netflix fixed cost is at £5.99.
Netflix have been a household name in America since 1998. Stateside Netflix follow the current Lovefilm format by offering both online streaming & DVD delivery service but only plan to offer the streaming service in the UK & Ireland.
With more than 20 million subscribers in the United States (6% of the total population) Netflix would be hard pushed to match the same percentage in the UK given they have a lesser offering than Lovefilm for a similar price.
From a viewer’s perspective, Lovefilm’s product would appeal to a wider audience given the wider platforms available to view upon: on top of online streaming, tablet and consoles, the service allows you to rent DVD & Blu Rays to watch on TV with friends and family. With Netflix being only available online & via game consoles, one could consider that the service would be intended for individual use (watching movies on a laptop or a tablet). Although online VOD viewing figures keep on growing, people still consider TV as the best device on which to watch a film or TV programme.
Selection is also a current negative for Netflix with limited ‘stock’ amid a growing army of online films available on Love Film (5,500) but Netflix has contracts with all the major UK broadcasters which could turn into a strong VOD offering.
The other player in this market and the most established (and most expensive) is Sky Movies sitting at a cool £16 a month not including box office movies which are £3.50 a pop!
The positives of Sky are quick release to Sky customers following the cinema period (due to their deal with the major Hollywood studios), multi-platform viewing (TV, online, mobile and tablet) & available in HD & 3D. The negatives are obviously price, on demand selection is very limited, as is the period in which a film is available.
Taking all of the above into consideration Lovefilm remains in a very strong position in the UK & Irish market given the strong marketing support & crucial backing from Amazon.
Netflix requires wide broadband coverage to really establish critical mass which in some areas of the UK such as the Northern regions & Ireland is an issue as regards distribution plus, there are already two well established multi-platform brands in the market.
Last week the great and good of the tech world landed in Vegas for the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. The largest trade show of its kind. Last year I blogged about the sheer volume of tablets on display, however this year the stars of the show have been slightly different. Connected TV’s were far more prominent, 4G smartphones created a lot of buzz and we saw a slew of ‘Ultrabooks’.
‘Ultrabook’ is the term currently being used to describe a new generation of notebooks that take their design cue from the MacBook Air. Super slim and super light but with the processing power, memory and SSD storage of more traditional laptops. Samsung’s 2nd gen series 9 notebook (they don’t call it an Ultrabook, despite hitting all the requirements) has had a lot of praise, due for launch in February this year the changes are subtle but important, the shell has been sand-blasted to minimise finger prints, something the original suffered from badly, it feels significantly more sturdy, runs Intel’s new i3/i5/i7 processors and has what is being described as the possibly the best screen to ever hit a laptop. It is only 12.9mm at its thickest and weighs a tiny 1.16g despite packing a 13.5” screen, a wake time of just 1.4secs and 6 hrs battery life. Along with the likes of HP, LG and Lenovo, Samsung are redefining the concept of portable when it comes to laptops.
The really exciting part of this sector is unlikely to been seen on shelves until Q4 this year, Ultrabooks with touch screens and the new Windows 8 which is a genuine departure from the norm. So much so that some analysts belief Microsoft’s biggest hurdle is going to be convincing consumers to get on board with something that is such a radical departure from the if not loved, then incredibly familiar Windows 7. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is the best I could find, running Windows 8 with a 360 degrees flip and fold design that effectively turns it into a tablet. Very cool. So, it looks like laptops, in their latest incarnation may be back!
When it comes to connected TV’s it seems that delivering content ‘over the top’ was something of a given at CES. The talking points really revolved around OLED (especially the 50”+ ones from Samsung and LG) and the subsequent amazing picture quality, voice activated controls and compatibility with smartphones and tablets. It seems that when it comes to TV’s it is still all about ‘connected’ but now it really means to other devices!
In the smartphone war, there were two that grabbed the most attention and unsurprisingly both boasted 4G LTE compatibility. The HTC Titan 2 sporting a massive 16 megapixel camera and the Nokia Lumia 900, a pumped up version of the Lumia 800 launched in Europe in November, aimed specifically at the US market and exclusive to AT&T. The interesting thing though is that both these handsets are Windows Phones. Now whilst success at CES far from guarantees success with the consumer, it does seem that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership is starting to make waves. HTC have lead the way and I think we’ll see far more importance put on WP from the other handset manufacturers. The fact is grids of apps are old and tired, and the Windows Phone UI offers a great alternative.
So what of Apple? Well, they don’t exhibit at CES, however many a journo argued that they’d ‘won’ before the show even started, simply because every bit of cool tech on display is enviably compared to an Apple product. Got a cool new TV? How does it compare to the soon to be Apple iTV? 4G, massive camera and crystal clear screen you say? Thanks but I’ll wait for the iPhone 5…and so on. A slightly blinded view in my opinion but more evidence of the strength of their brand.
I think the main take out from the show this year from a media perspective is that we are no nearer convergence (in terms of ecosystems) than we were a year ago. When it comes to mobile we need to embrace all the ecosystems and encourage mobile web over mobile apps if we‘re going to have any chance of achieving significant, cost effective reach.