Monday, 13 September 2010
I read an FT article on a research note put out by a Tech analyst at UBS over the weekend. It predicts Apple will shift 28 million I Pads globally in 2011 - having already seen 3 million fly of the shelves since launch in April.
I myself have seen how Apple's rolling release approach gets markets literally frothing with desire. IPad hits Poland later this month - and tech nuts are getting quite over excited
Seeing these "conservatives' figures from UBS will probably have Apple pretty chipper too - whilst the competition will be playing a long, painful game of catch up. This infographic (courtesy of http://analyticsarbitrage.blogspot.com) really demestrates Apples enviable position in this market.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
I'm not a gamer - I flirted with games on the various computing devices I've owned since the age of 10 - but they have never dominated my life in the way that serious 'gamers' tend to allow.
Its also very possible that your 30-something blue-chip client - either a brand manager or media specialist - isn't a gamer either. Far too busy to waste hours on some driving or combat game.
Perhaps a reason why the true power of games has yet to be realised by brands. The lack of client empathy held internet investment back for years in my opinion. Clearly there are great examples of brands using gaming as part of the communications mix. Notably Burger King's 'King Game' series - sold at their restaurants. Plus examples of brands involved in MMO like Puma and Football Superstars (a ZO client and newcast deal).
My attention was drawn again to the subject today when I saw a story on Mashable about the hugely successful Madden NFL franchise begin translated into a Social Game. It grabbed my attention because as an NFL nut, this is one gaming franchise I have sunk some cash into over the years. Most recently buying the highly addictive IPad app for Madden 11.
Then I started to do some reading, and the numbers are really quite startling:
Around half of Facebook's now 500 million users play social games
56 million Amercians play social games
Facebook's hit games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars have made their developer - Zynga - a $4bill (valued) company
This was a trend that very few people saw coming. The fact is that Social sites, well lets just say Facebook shall we, has lowered the barriers of access to gaming (console, game cost) much like You Tube has done for video. People are playing, often relatively low quality, but free games on a regular basis in huge numbers.
"Now playing games is literally a click away, and you don't have to look for them because your friend will tell you where they are. That's been a key driver" said Kristian Segerstrale, co-founder of Playfish: a social-gaming company, one of the big successes on Facebook and bought by Electronic Arts for nearly $300m at the turn of the year. Playfish indeed developed the Madden NHL social game for EA.
So millions of consumers are welcoming and enjoying these "15 minute" gaming experiences. what amazes me is how few brands are really utilising this massive opportunity. A chance to build 'old fashioned' media metrics like reach (just look at the hours spent on social and gaming by obvious audience like teens but also less likely ones - Housewives with kids). Plus building unique brand experiences - that are sharable, competitive, fun.
Chocolate manufacturer, Cadbury, have seized on this opportunity with the launch of their hugely innovation London 2012 campaign - Spots Vs Stripes. Reading the background to the thinking, it was all very analogue - the simple pleasure we get as humans from competing on any level - a race up the stars, thumb wars in the pub. So Cadbury have created a massive social gaming platform http://www.spotsvstripes.com/homepage.aspx
With many client companies still at the early stages of their social media development - indeed maybe we'll always be at the beginning of the learning curve, as the curve tends to accelerate at pace - more should consider the potential in developing social games as part of the on-going strategy. I know plenty of non-game playing brand managers who'd love to have key consumers spending 15 minutes with their brands.
Monday, 16 August 2010
I just read the news of a gastly accident during the "California 200" an off-road truck race event that occured this Saturday night.
A racing truck, travelling through at dusk through the Mojave desert flipped when taking on a 'rock pile' and crashed into a group of spectators. The resulting carnage left 8 dead and many more badly injured.
Naturally in the digital age, people were filming the event on phones and cameras - some of this footage found its way very quickly to the traditional news outlets and then to You Tube.
Unfortunately, it seems no one at Google/You Tube pre-checked the pre-roll ad that CBS had running in the lead into this horrific news item. The result - an ad (at least when I viewed twice) for All-State insurance featuring a car getting rear-ended.
Clearly this is a hugely unfortunate error - probably due to lack of proper tagging, but also due perhaps to a lack of supervision by the agency/CBS/You Tube/and maybe even the client Allstate. Either way, lessons need to be learnt form this as more and more digital display money goes into pre-roll ads and more viewers use You Tube as a primary source of news footage.
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Today came news that BSkyB (owner of pay-TV platform Sky TV in the UK) had signed a whopping content deal with HBO - the hugely successful cable TV operator and producer.
The deal will give Sky access to HBO's first class library of productions - including The Wire, The Sopranos, True Blood and Martin Scorsese's eagerly-awaited crime drama Boardwalk Empire. It is believed to be worth around £150m over five years.
I think this illustrates a couple of interesting developments at Sky.
Clearly as Sky have recently been forced to relinquish their monopoly on Sky Sports channels, by allowing BT Vision to carry live Premiership games for example, Sky are looking to diversify their consumer offer. Whilst Sky claim that only 5% of their viewing is football related, it doesn't take a genius to understand that a far higher proportion of their subscriber revenue is directly football related. If this revenue comes under any kind of threat (not sure how much impact the BT deal will have in the short term), then clearly Sky must find other reasons to encourage subscribers to choose Sky, stay with Sky and ideally become a high value customer through taking Sky + and HD options too - which seems to be going very well right now.
So there is diversification going on to shore up subscribers, but also I feel this is part of a confident Sky move to strike for audience growth also as rivals ITV and Channel 4 go through a period of upheaval and re-gearing - with new management teams and profit short-falls.
Sky is reported to have a content development/acquisition pot of 1.7 bn GBP - versus BBC 2 (who originally screened The Wire to great acclaim) having c. 500 mill GBP. It is certain that Channel 4's programming budget will be under increased public scrutiny - indeed this HBO deal really feels like the sort of deal Channel 4 would have been 1st in line for 4-5 years ago. And ITV seem to struggle for consistency in either produced or bought in formats.
That said, Sky also have had their own troubles with self-made programming. Davina McCall's big budget Got to Dance failed to pull in big audiences earlier this year.
It also means that The Wire will soon be on the broadcast sponsorship market - who will be first in the queue? The Baltimore Tourist Authority perhaps?
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
As we enter the end of the group stage of the World Cup finals in South Afirca. It's not just teams like England. Germany and Portugal who nervously await their fate, the lack of progress into the knockout stages will have serious financial and status implications. The financial gold-mine that is the World Cup is also a vital time for many of the world's biggest brands. Will there huge investments to become FIFA partners pay off? Brands such as McDonald's and Hyundai have spent 100s of millions of US$ to be part of the world's biggest sporting event over the last 10-12 years.
Another brand looking nervously at its investment is Adidas. As official sportswear partner of the World Cup finals, Adidas gets a huge boost at every finals - from player and team endorsement through to pitch-side perimeter boards and sponsored TV coverage in certain territories. However there is a dark spectre making Adidas very nervous, and that is its old rival Nike. Nike have continued their policy of become official partner of the FIFA event, but they stick to their 'ambush marketing' strategy plus massive sums paid to individual players and football federations to supply kits.
Nike have already claimed to be the winner in this mammoth head to head of the sports giants. This seems a little premature but Nike feel they are winning the battle of the buzz. According to Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Nike have achieved a 30.2% of the brand buzz around South Africa 2010, while Adidas trail with 14%. Time will tell but it does throw up interesting questions about how brands track and quantify their social media efforts.
One interesting tool that came to are attention a little while ago is Famecount http://http//www.famecount.com/all-platforms/Worldwide/all/Brand a free service which creates a % Famecount or index for brands by aggregating their performance across Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Topping the Famecount brand charts right now is Starbucks, mostly due to its 8 million Facebook friends and near 1 million Twitter followers. Starbucks embraced social media some time ago, so they have been adding friends and followers in a gradual organic manner, hence their Famecount of 68.8%. In second place sits uber-brand Coca-Cola with 52% and Pepsi nowhere to be seen. Coke's closest category rival in the social space appears to be Red Bull, thanks in part to more You Tube channel subscribers. Clearly a reflection of the original content Red Bull as a brand prides itself on and which indeed its brand DNA is built on.
What is interesting is that few of the top 20 brands in the survey are doing particularly well with their You Tube strategy. While Famecount assigns the lowest value to You Tube (25% vs 45% for Facebook and 30% for Twitter), a well executed You Tube channel can be incredibly powerful for brands. Hence the virtually unknown outside of social media, Blendtec, achieving a position of 39th, just behind Pizza Hut and ahead of Blackberry. All on a spend in the region of a few $100,000 versus $100,000,000. The Blendtec channel, "Will it Blend" is a cult success, with brand owner Tom Dickson blending everything from golf balls to an I Pad. As of mid June 2010, the brand has received over 117 million views on You Tube.
Famecount certainly does illustrate how smaller brands can and are outwitting their bigger spending rivals with smart social media strategies. Both Jet Blue and South West Airlines are 2 smaller US airlines with Famecounts in the top 20. In part this is due to their long-held customer service principles but also their novel use of the this newer media space. Southwest have games imbedded into their Fan-page that encourage the user to share with their Facebook friends. Easy, simple tactics that more brands should try to emulate.
And so back to Adidas and Nike. Well according to this slice of social media life, it is Adidas who are trumping their Amercian rival. Adidas Orginals has a score of 37.8% driven by its 3 million Facebook friends. As a follower of this myself, I know its good rich and engaging content, not just ads. This week for instance, we had the chance for a live chat with Adidas-star Snopp Dogg. I'm sure he'd love to know his famecount before he re-negotiates his next contract, well now he can use this great tool to find out.
Friday, 28 May 2010
A few months in the planning, 4 hours of content, 3 excellent Google speakers, 163 happy delegates.
Zoogle Day Poland has launched, here's to next year.
Steve Paler, Tango Zebra/You Tube @ Zoogle Poland
Artur Waliszewski Google PL @ Zoogle Poland
Jakub Potrzebowski ZO PL CEO @ Zoogle Poland