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Amazon Goes After Dropbox, Google, Microsoft With Unlimited Cloud Drive Storage

TechCrunch

Last year, Amazon gave a boost to its Prime members when it launched a free, unlimited photo storage for them on Cloud Drive. Today, the company is expanding that service as a paid offering to cover other kinds of content, and to users outside of its loyalty program. Unlimited Cloud Storage will let users get either unlimited photo storage or “unlimited everything” — covering all kinds of media from videos and music through to PDF documents — respectively for $11.99 or $59.99 per year.

And those who want to test drive it can do so for free for three months.

The move is a clear attempt by Amazon to compete against the likes of Dropbox, Google, Microsoft and the many more in the crowded market for cloud-based storage services. It’s not the first to offer “unlimited” storage, but it looks like it’s the first to market this as a service to anyone who wants it. Dropbox, for example, offers unlimited storage as part of Dropbox for Business, Google also aims unlimited options currently at specific verticals, with its enterprise version, Drive for Work, its closest competitor; Microsoft also offers a business user-focused service for those who subscribe to Office 365.

The idea here is to tap into the average consumer who has started to reach a tipping point with the amount of digital media he or she now owns, potentially across a range of devices and in not a very organised fashion (hello, me).

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive, in a statement. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space–they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

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Are Smartphones Taking Over?

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Are Smartphones Taking Over?

According to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, the combined total market of smartphones, tablets plus 2-in-1s, and PCs is set to grow from 1.8 billion units in 2014 to 2.5 billion units in 2019. During that time, smartphones will grow to represent the overwhelming majority of total smart connected device (SCD) shipments, dwarfing both tablets and PCs in terms of shipment volumes.

As recently as 2010, PCs still made up the lion’s share of the total SCD device market, with the combined desktop and notebook categories accounting for about 52.5% of shipments versus 44.7% for smartphones and 2.8% for tablets. By 2014, smartphones had grown to represent 73.4% of total shipment, while PCs had slipped to 16.8% and tablets had increased to 12.5%. By 2019, IDC expects the distribution to be 77.8% smartphones, 11.6% PCs, and 10.7% tablets.

“Smartphone growth continues at an astounding pace, while growth in the PC and tablet markets is proving to be more challenging,” said Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President for Devices at IDC. “There are clearly some bright spots in both markets: Detachable 2-in-1s show strong growth potential in tablets, and convertible notebooks are beginning to gain traction in PCs. But ultimately, for more people in more places, the smartphone is the clear choice in terms of owning one connected device. Even as we expect slowing smartphone growth later in the forecast, it’s hard to overlook the dominant position smartphones play in the greater device ecosystem. And it’s not likely that anything—including wearables—will unseat it from this dominant position anytime soon.”

“Not all smartphone growth will be equal. Going forward, the future of smartphones lies in emerging markets, sub-US$100 price points, and phablets,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for Mobile Devices. “In 2014, 73% of smartphones were shipped to emerging markets, 21% were priced below US$100, and 12% had screen sizes between 5.5 and <7 inches. By 2019, these categories will all increase – 80% of smartphones will be shipped to emerging markets, 35% will be priced below US$100, and 32% will have a 5.5–<7-inch screen size. So far the market has very much focused on premium models and brands, but emerging market consumers are looking for greater value from a single device.”

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How Millennials Get News

American Press Institute

This research was conducted by the Media Insight Project — an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

Introduction

For years, researchers and social critics have worried that the newest generation of American adults is less interested in news than those who grew up in the pre-digital age.

ap phone apps 300x200 How Millennials Get News
Social media and mobile play a large role in Millennial news consumption. 94% of those surveyed own smartphones. The average Millennial gets 74% of her news from online sources.

Much of the concern has come from data that suggest adults age 18-34 — so-called Millennials — do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch television news, or seek out news in great numbers. This generation, instead, spends more time on social networks, often on mobile devices. The worry is that Millennials’ awareness of the world, as a result, is narrow, their discovery of events isincidental and passive, and that news is just one of many random elements in a social feed.

A new comprehensive study that looks closely at how people learn about the world on these different devices and platforms finds that this newest generation of American adults is anything but “newsless,” passive, or civically uninterested.

Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined, according to the new study by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

How Millennials get news

Percent of Millennials who…
Say keeping up with the news is at least somewhat important to them 85%
Get news daily 69%
Regularly follow five or more “hard news” topics 45%
Usually see diverse opinions through social media 86%
Pay for at least one news-specific service, app, or digital subscription 40%

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A New Way To Get Your News

Business Insider

Blendle, an exciting Dutch startup that has attracted 200,000 users in the region to a platform that lets readers make micropayments for individual newspaper and magazine articles rather than having to sign up to monthly digital subscriptions, has just got even more exciting.

The New York Times (which is also an investor in Blendle), The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal have signed up to the platform.

That’s huge. Until now, only Dutch publishers had signed up to Blendle. The company had managed to convince pretty much all the major newspaper and magazine publishers in the Netherlands to come on board, but its chances of scale were limited at best because its content was restricted to the Dutch language.

But now, as Blendle’s founder Alexander Klöpping states in a press release: “It’s a great honor that three of the most important newspapers in the world will start working with us.”

It also shows that major US newspapers are willing to experiment with how they charge readers to access their content online.

Earlier this week, at the Digital Media Strategies conference in London, Klöpping hinted that Blendle is looking to expand in France or Germany next. Blendle’s press release announcing its new partners confirms the platform will be expanding internationally this year.

Here’s how Blendle works: Users register for Blendle and put in their credit-card details just once at the beginning of the process in which they create a newsfeed of stories about the topics in which they are interested. When they click on a headline, the app/website takes a small payment. And — perhaps the most intriguing part of the whole offer — if readers don’t like an article, they can get an instant refund if they provide feedback.

On average articles cost 20 cents each, according to Blendle. The pricing per article is set by the publisher. The revenue split is roughly 30/70 between Blendle and the publisher.

Take two steps back from journalism: What are the editorial products we’re not building?

Nieman Lab

The traditional goal of news is to say what just happened. That’s sort of what “news” means. But there are many more types of nonfiction information services, and many possibilities that few have yet explored.

I want to take two steps back from journalism, to see where it fits in the broader information landscape and try to imagine new things. First is the shift from content to product. A news source is more than the stories it produces; it’s also the process of deciding what to cover, the delivery system, and the user experience. Second, we need to include algorithms. Every time programmers write code to handle information, they are making editorial choices.

Imagine all the wildly different services you could deliver with a building full of writers and developers. It’s a category I’ve started calling editorial products.

In this frame, journalism is just one part of a broader information ecosystem that includes everything from wire services to Wikipedia to search engines. All of these products serve needs for factual information, and they all use some combination of professionals, participants, and software to produce and deliver it to users — the reporter plus the crowd and the algorithm. Here are six editorial products that journalists and others already produce, and six more that they could.

Some editorial products we already have

Record what just happened. This is the classic role of journalism. This is what the city reporter rushes out to cover, what the wire service specializes in, the role that a journalist plays in every breaking story. It’s the fundamental factual basis on which everything else depends. And my sense is we usually have enough of this. I know that people will disagree, saying there is much that is important that is not covered, but I want to distinguish between reporting a story and drawing attention to it. The next time you feel a story is being ignored, try doing a search in Google News. Almost always I find that some mainstream organization has covered it, even if it was never front-page. This is basic and valuable.

Locate pre-existing information. This is a traditional role of researchers and librarians, and now search engines. Even when the product is powered entirely by software, this is most definitely an editorial role, because the creation of an information retrieval algorithm requires careful judgement about what a “good” result is. All search engines are editorial products, as Google’s Matt Cutts has said: “In some sense when people come to Google, that’s exactly what they’re asking for — our editorial judgment. They’re expressed via algorithms.”

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Bloomberg’s Justin Smith: ‘Platforms have done a better job at media.’

DIGIDAY

It has been a year and a half since Justin Smith became the global CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group with the mandate of making the Bloomberg LP media arm a household name with business executives around the world. Since then, Bloomberg Media has made a slew of new hires across sales, marketing and editorial. The unit has introduced Bloomberg Politics, with other verticals to follow, and relaunched its flagship site, Bloomberg.com.

In an interview, Smith talked about how publishers can compete with Facebook, why print still has a place at Bloomberg, and what he admires about Snapchat.

Bloomberg Media just launched a new ad campaign. What’s the message you’re hoping to get out?
The thing that we’ve been doing, and the reason I came to Bloomberg, is that I believe we’re one of the few companies — large, established, global media companies — that’s truly trying to marry the best of traditional with the most cutting-edge approaches and formats that are emerging from startup media. There’s a global road show, and we’re getting positive feedback. So while the brand has been well-known, I think the exciting part of these conversations is some of the new products. We’re already seeing double-digit traffic growth on the unique front as well as on the page view front.

Which startups do you look to for inspiration?
It’s hard not to admire what all the technology platforms have achieved, from Google to Facebook to LinkedIn and Snapchat now. They are at-scale, large organizations; they have figured out modern media in a better way than traditional media has. To look at how those technology platforms have created mobile content interfaces that have become market-leading, or advertising solutions they have developed that are market-leading or beating because of their measurability — they have to be the first stop in any media watcher’s process.

Publishers are approaching them with some wariness, though. Where do you stand?

I think it’s interesting that traditional publishers always complain about the platforms taking away eyeballs and not sharing. This frenemy type of dynamic: Facebook being the latest focus. The reason for their complaint is quite simple: These platforms have done a better job at media than media themselves. They’ve created better media content mousetraps. They are to a large extent wiping the table on digital advertising solutions that are measurable and data-driven.

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Smartphone Sales To Stall In Russia

Bloomberg Business

(Bloomberg) — Smartphone sales in Russia are set to stall this year as Apple Inc.’s iPhone volumes decline while households bear the brunt of the blowback from the Ukraine crisis and falling oil prices, according to researcher IDC.

Sales of devices surged 46 percent last year in the country to 27 million smartphones and will remain at that level this year, Simon Baker, a Moscow-based analyst at IDC said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We expect Apple volumes to drop after the boom.”

Apple doubled iPhone shipments to Russia to 3.25 million last year, garnering $2.14 billion in sales, according to the researcher’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

While Samsung Electronics Co. remained the market leader, shipping more than 6 million smartphones last year, its revenue share was overtaken by Cupertino, California-based Apple.

In the fourth quarter, when Russians rushed to spend their tumbling rubles on big-ticket items including premium handsets, iPhone sales reached $827 million, or a record 46 percent share in the Russian smartphone market, versus Samsung’s 18 percent slice, according to IDC.

“Cheaper Android handsets will undoubtedly do well this year as consumers cut outlays,” Baker said, declining to comment specifically on Samsung. Lenovo Group Ltd., LG Electronics Inc. and Sony Corp. increased their share in Russia last year, according to IDC.

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UK startup Clippet targets millennials with audio news to go

DigiDay

Clippet News has emerged as the U.K.’s first serious contender offering on-demand, audio news for young mobile audiences.

The London-based startup was launched in September and comes with an impressive pedigree: James MacLeod, grandson of Rupert Murdoch, is a co-founder. Each day Clippet offers a selection of 10 news stories digested into one-minute audio clips. It is an interesting twist on the current vogue for daily news digests, such as Yahoo News Digest, NYT Now and others.

The further, perhaps inevitable, twist: Clippet is going after millennials. Its team of six journalists are all under the age of 28. Young, often regional newscasters stand in contrast to the typical tone of British radio news bulletins. Eventually, it’s planning to pursue content syndication and sponsorship deals to turn a profit.

 

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The State of Digital Marketing

Econtent

Ask 10 consumers to define “digital marketing” today, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Some consumers may reference irritating browser pop-ups and spam, while others will cite YouTube tutorials and email newsletters. No matter what form it takes, digital marketing is only going to increase–especially in a world where ad-supported free apps and content are more popular than ever.

For George Schildge with Matrix Marketing Group, digital marketing in 2014 and beyond means creating a more connected customer experience via marketing that makes use of every electronic device imaginable to engage stakeholders. “In the past, digital marketing was disconnected. We had sales force automation and email platforms, but the systems weren’t connected. Today, we are beginning to see a full-blown marketing backbone where marketers have greater visibility over consumer habits,” says Schildge.

Consider that marketing leaders will, by 2019, spend more than $103 billion on search marketing, display advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing-exceeding their spend on cable and broadcast television advertising combined-according to Forrester Research. Additionally, a greater majority of industry professionals are taking digital marketing more seriously. Results of a new survey by Demand Metric found that 91% of marketers indicated that digital marketing was “important” or “very important.”

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2015 Will See The Rise Of Dark Social

MediaPost

Dark social is the sharing activity that is somewhat invisible to traditional analytics. It’s the culmination of referrals and sharing of content that originates from instant messages, e-mails containing links, and most recently, the rise of ephemeral social communication platforms such as Snapchat, WeChat and WhatsApp.

A majority of focus today is on social broadcast platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. With the tides shifting toward ephemeral social communication applications as a key driver of sharing, the attribution data of the share — and all of the value that comes with it — is essentially untapped and, in some cases, simply unknown.

According to a recent Radium One study, 59% of all online sharing is via dark social. Further, a whopping 91% of Americans regularly share information via dark social methods. This study also showed that 72% of sharing is simply users copying and pasting long URLs and either e-mailing or texting the information.

There are a significant number of conversations — and more importantly, potential intent — from a marketing perspective that is simply being ignored and untapped. Currently, there’s an over-reliance on retargeting. Dark social could represent an opportunity to bring balance to the equation.

Read more here…