Digital Media Strategies

We cover all of the major media sectors, including advertising, TV and video, music, games and social media.

September 5, 2007 11:09 dmercer
I noted back in May that news channels would soon come under pressure to move to HD, and sure enough CNN has made its move. The channel launched CNN HD on September 1st, which is basically a high def mirror of its standard definition US CNN feed. The notable phrase is "the company's global commitment to provide more news and information in that format (ie HD) for years to come". If anyone anywhere still doubts that HDTV is the future, this surely dispels those concerns. Over The Top or Round The Back? Exploring The Emerging Multi-Billion Web Video Landscape, Revenue Outlook and Adoption Scenarios Attend Strategy Analytics' Analyst Forum at IBC. Registration is Free. Add to Technorati Favorites

September 5, 2007 11:09 dmercer
as we reported some time ago... Akamai of course is referring to its own approach of managed edge delivery networks. We, on the other hand, have seen "good enough" HD over the open web. The key question, so far unanswered, for all the different approaches is if they can scale to supporting potentially millions of simultaneous users. Over The Top or Round The Back? Exploring The Emerging Multi-Billion Web Video Landscape, Revenue Outlook and Adoption Scenarios Attend Strategy Analytics' Analyst Forum at IBC. Registration is Free. Add to Technorati Favorites

September 5, 2007 11:09 dmercer
The world's largest broadcast technology convention gets under way this Friday in Amsterdam. Except that broadcast is becoming broadband and that's making things very interesting. We'll be addressing the theme of "Round the Back" web video at our analyst breakfast. We welcome almost anyone, and there's no fee, but pre-registration is recommended. The rest of the time we'll be watching for signs of how close the web is to matching traditional broadcast models. Streaming, network capacity, codecs, security, user experience and business models are the core themes. I'll provide regular updates as usual, depending on the usual connectivity issues. Over The Top or Round The Back? Exploring The Emerging Multi-Billion Web Video Landscape, Revenue Outlook and Adoption Scenarios Attend Strategy Analytics' Analyst Forum at IBC. Registration is Free. Add to Technorati Favorites

September 3, 2007 11:09 dmercer
The UK's largest retailer, Tesco, is offering a digital TV set-top box for £10, but is currently out of stock at its online store. Whether this is a result of unprecedented demand or limited initial stocks is unclear. Strategy Analytics predicted the arrival of the £10 box back in 2003. We were one year out - our scenario predicted they would hit the shelves in 2008, but I make no apologies. This was an aggressive prediction, and more accurate than anything else published that I am aware of. Its validity was, to put it mildly, seriously doubted by a certain leading component vendor. It turns out that even this price projection was not aggressive enough, and I'm sure the company concerned has adjusted its own planning accordingly... The £10 box may make no profit for Tesco, and very little for the manufacturer, but it brings new customers into the market for digital television and provides upsell opportunities. It is also another victory for open, horizontal markets and the DVB family of technologies. Over The Top or Round The Back? Exploring The Emerging Multi-Billion Web Video Landscape, Revenue Outlook and Adoption Scenarios Attend Strategy Analytics' Analyst Forum at IBC. Registration is Free. Add to Technorati Favorites

August 30, 2007 10:08 dmercer
Nokia makes the headlines today with the introduction of its services and software strategy. The company recently announced a major reorganisation, splitting its devices group from services and software. While the company is introducing new phones today, the key development relates to its new approach to the web. This is epitomised by the introduction of Ovi, a portal that will encompass its music, navigation, games, communities and other internet services. Also newly announced is the Nokia Music Store, which besides offering millions of songs, will integrate music buying and playback across both PC and mobile devices. It may be surprising that Nokia, the world's most successful mobile phone manufacturer, has set itself the challenge of transforming itself at a time when it is once again dominating the industry. The strategy of the last few years, built on different groups of phones carefully targeted at different user segments, appears to have served the company well as it approaches a 40% share of the 1 billion global market. But Nokia appears to be humble enough to recognise that this approach may not be appropriate for the demands of the next era in mobile devices. In particular, the company believes that software and related services will be just as important as the devices themselves as they evolve from standalone phones to what Nokia likes to call "multimedia computers". It sees the advanced internet, media and navigation capabilities of today's N series devices migrating steadily to all handsets over the coming years, putting web functionality into the hands of billions of users around the world. Many at yesterday's press event will have been comparing Nokia's approach to Apple's dominant iPod and much-hyped iPhone devices. The fundamental difference between the two is that Apple's success has been built on a closely controlled, vertical platform, whereas Nokia believes it can create an open solution that invites unrestricted competition to create the best consumer experiences. Nokia would appear to stand a reasonable chance of leveraging its dominance of the handset business into a leading position in internet services, but this is a long-term play, and devices will remain the core of the company's business for some years to come. Over The Top or Round The Back? Exploring The Emerging Multi-Billion Web Video Landscape, Revenue Outlook and Adoption Scenarios Attend Strategy Analytics' Analyst Forum at IBC. Registration is Free. Add to Technorati Favorites

August 21, 2007 17:08 dmercer

August 21, 2007 10:08 dmercer
Blu-ray has suffered a blow in losing titles from Paramount and Dreamworks but it is unlikely to make much difference to the final outcome. If rumours suggesting these studios received a combined $150m in order to commit exclusively to HD-DVD are right, they illustrate the lengths to which each camp will go to ensure victory, and how much they stand to lose if they fail. The Paramount/Dreamworks decision certainly seems strange given that Blu-ray titles are now outselling HD-DVD by 2 to 1 in the US. And the suggestion that lower HD-DVD player prices are the main reason is very short-sighted - as I pointed out previously Blu-ray player prices are set to plummet, minimising today's HD-DVD advantage. It's still early days in the high definition disc market. Disc sales are still tiny relative to DVD, so there's a long way to go. And the fact that Shrek 3 is not available on Blu-ray may make a few potential buyers hesitate a little longer. But the weight of exclusivity behind Blu-ray, not to say Blockbuster's support and the PS3 effect, will surely tell in the end. This could be HD-DVD's last throw of the dice, and Paramount and Dreamworks are simply helping to postpone the inevitable Blu-ray triumph. Over The Top or Round The Back? Exploring The Emerging Multi-Billion Web Video Landscape, Revenue Outlook and Adoption Scenarios Attend Strategy Analytics' Analyst Forum at IBC. Registration is Free. Add to Technorati Favorites

August 20, 2007 18:08 dmercer
OK, it was never on; nor was it ever likely. But with Ballmer and Chambers on the same platform it's understandable the rumour mills might be turning. The message from the joint CEO presentation is simply that both companies are cooperating in looking after their customers, which shouldn't be a surprise. And that their products will "interoperate", which will also be helpful. To be fair, they also share the same vision, of a world of connected devices interconnecting seamlessly, etc. etc., but then they are also hardly unique in that respect either. It would be strange if Microsoft and Cisco were not partners. One does software, one does pipes. The companies' core activities are naturally complementary, a point that seemed to be lost on interviewer Charlie Rose. His persistent questions on business overlap missed the central point of conflict in the companies' strategic visions, which has to do with openness and standards. As we identified in our February report: "Cisco's plans to become the consumer technology brand of the 2010s are only the beginning; the company’s proposed transformation of technology industry business models has the potential to threaten every established player, from Sony and Panasonic to Apple and Microsoft, while offering unprecedented opportunities to any new entrant that is prepared to invest in the connected consumer vision." Cisco's particular vision hinges on impartiality with respect to technology standards, hardly something that Microsoft is likely to agree on. At CES, Chambers suggested that the days of technology standards battles such as Blu-ray/HD-DVD (read Java/Microsoft) will be consigned to history with the emergence of horizontal IP open standards-based networked devices. Cisco and Microsoft may x-operate (cooperate, interoperate) because their common customers (notably service providers) need them to, but that doesn't make them any closer partners than other pairings of technology vendors and network builders. Ballmer and Chambers could only tie the merger knot if one or both of them are prepared to make a radical shift in strategic direction. Add to Technorati Favorites

August 20, 2007 11:08 dmercer
Rajar contacted me to clarify the unaccounted for 21% of radio share. Rajar goes to great length to explain to its interviewees how to fill in their diaries, but in spite of this 21% of respondents are unable to confirm what platform they are using when listening to radio. Sometimes this may be attributed to unfamiliar locations, for example listening at a friend's house. But most of the time it is genuine uncertainty about what technology is being used. Rajar suggests that it is a positive achievement to identify nearly 80%, and indeed they should be commended for introducing this valuable research. We will examine the next quarter's results with interest for first signs of trends between platforms. But the fact that more than a fifth of listening hours are unidentified, even after extensive research and interviewee coaching, demonstrates how fragmented and complex the radio industry has become in the space of only a few years. Programme producers and broadcasters will be concerned to obtain even better clarity in order that investment decisions can be justified. Add to Technorati Favorites

August 16, 2007 13:08 dmercer
Following my recent discussion on online radio, Rajar, the UK's radio research body, has confirmed just how minor a role online plays in the overall radio industry. Their platform share data indicates that only 1.5% of all radio listening is online, and that's after nearly 10 years of availability. The digital share overall continues to grow impressively, but although DAB - Digital Audio Broadcasting - accounts for most of this, it is still only at 7% of total listening. Digital TV accounts for another 2.6%. Analogue (AM/FM) is still at 66%, although a mysterious 21% is unaccounted for. We also know 8.9% of mobile phone users have listened to radio on their phones, although most of that is likely to be FM, not data streaming. These figures show how tough it's been to get listeners to change their habits with a ninety-year old technology, and indicate the scale of the challenge facing those who would like to switch off analogue radio broadcasting. That is looking like an extremely remote prospect at this point in time. Add to Technorati Favorites