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Majority Of Digital Media Consumption Now Takes Place In Mobile Apps

TechCrunch

U.S. users are now spending the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications, according to a new study released by comScore this morning. That means mobile apps, including the number 1 most popular app Facebook, eat up more of our time than desktop usage or mobile web surfing, accounting for 52% of the time spent using digital media. Combined with mobile web, mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60% of time spent, while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up the remaining 40%.

Apps today are driving the majority of media consumption activity, the report claims, now accounting for 7 our of every 8 minutes of media consumption on mobile devices. On smartphones, app activity is even higher, at 88% usage versus 82% on tablets.

App Users

The report also details several interesting figures related to how U.S. app users are interacting with these mobile applications, noting that over one-third today download at least one application per month. The average smartphone user downloads 3 apps per month.

However, something which may not have been well understood before is that much of that download activity is concentrated within a small segment of the smartphone population: the top 7% of smartphone owners accounting for nearly half of all the download activity in a given month. Those are some serious power users, apparently.

But no matter how often consumers are actively downloading apps, they certainly are addicted to them. More than half (57%) use apps every single day, while 26% of tablet owners do. And 79% of smartphone owners use apps nearly every day, saying they use them at least 26 days per month, versus 52% for tablet users.

Facebook Still #1

Here’s another notable tidbit: 42% of all app time on smartphones takes place in that individual’s single most used app. 3 out of 4 minutes is spent in the individual’s top 4 apps. The top brands, which account for 9 out of the top 10 most used apps, include Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay.

Facebook is the most used app, in both audience size and share of time spent among each demographic segment.

Social Networking, Games and Radio contribute to nearly half the total time spent on apps, indicating mobile usage is heavily centered around entertainment and communication.

On iPhone, users prefer spending time consuming media, with news apps, radio, photos, social networking, and weather as the highest-ranking categories, while Android users spent more time in search (Google) and email (Gmail).

Click to see charts 

Why Are PC Sales Up And Tablet Sales Down?

TechCrunch

When iPads first came out, they were hailed as the undoing of the PC. Finally, a cheap and reliable computing device for the average user instead of the complicated, quirky PC. After a few years of strong growth for iOS and Android tablets and a corresponding decrease in PC sales, the inverse is suddenly true: PC sales are up and tablet sales are “crashing.” What happened?

The tablet slowdown shouldn’t be a surprise given that tablets have hardly improved beyond relatively superficial changes in size, screen resolution, and processor speed. The initial market for tablets is now saturated: grandparents and kids have them, people bought them as Sonos controllers and such, and numerous households have them around for reading. People that want tablets have them, and there’s just no need to upgrade because they more than adequately perform their assigned tasks.

Businesses and consumers alike are again purchasing PCs, and Mac sales are on the riseyear-over-year. Businesses in particular are forced to upgrade older PCs now that Windows XP is no longer supported. When purchasing a new PC, the main driver to choose a PC versus a tablet is fairly obvious: If you are creating any type of content regularly, you need a keyboard, a larger screen, and (for most businesses) Microsoft Office.

Reigniting Tablet Growth with “Super Tablets”

For the tablet category to continue to grow, tablets need to move beyond what Chris Dixon calls the “toy phase” and become more like PCs. The features required for a tablet to evolve into a super tablet are straight from the PC playbook: at least a 13” screen, 64 bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 256GB drive, a real keyboard, an actual file system, and an improved operating system with windowing and true multitasking capability. Super tablets form factors could range from notebooks to all-in-one desktops like the iMac. Small 7” and 9” super tablets could dock into larger screens and keyboards.

The computer industry is littered with the detritus of failed attempts to simplify PCs ranging from Sun Micrososytems’ Sun Ray to Oracle’s Network Computer to Microsoft’s Windows CE. But this time, it’s actually different. The power of mass-produced, 64-bit ARM chips, economies of scale from smartphone and tablet production, and — most importantly — the vast ecosystem of iOS and Android apps have finally made such a “network computer” feasible.

Businesses Need Super Tablets

As the former CIO at CBS Interactive, I would have bought such super tablets in droves for our employees, the vast majority of whom primarily use only a web browser and Microsoft Office. There will of course always be power users such as developers and video editors that require a full-fledged PC. A souped-up tablet would indeed garner corporate sales, as Tim Cook would like for the iPad … but only at the expense of MacBooks.

The cost of managing PCs in an enterprise are enormous, with Gartner estimating that the total cost of ownership for a notebook computer can be as high as $9,000. PCs are expensive, prone to failure, easy to break and magnets for viruses and malware. After just a bit of use, many PCs are susceptible to constant freezes and crashes.

PCs are so prone to failure that ServiceNow — a company devoted to helping IT organizations track help desk tickets — is worth over $8 billion. Some organizations are so fed up with problematic PCs that they are using expensive and cumbersome desktop virtualization, where the PC environment is strongly controlled on servers and streamed to a client.

And while Macs are somewhat better than Windows, I suggest you stand next to any corporate help desk or the Apple genius bar and watch and learn if you think they are not problematic.

Continue reading…

Digital News Finally As Popular As Newspapers In The UK

TechCrunch

Reports of the death of print have been greatly accelerated, judging by research from UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom.

The research has found that in the UK digital news, consumed via apps or websites, has only just reached parity with news consumed via ink and dead trees.

Yep those old media newspaper thingies are surprisingly sticky — and not just in the way their column inches adhere to one’s fingers.

Ofcom found that around 41% of people say they now access news on websites and apps — up significantly from around a third (32%) last year.

But despite digital news’ rising popularity, rates of newspaper usage are remaining steady overall — unchanged at four in 10 people (40%), year on year. However Ofcom’s report does note a decline in print readership “particular among the under-35s” over the past year.

Both newspapers and apps still massively trail the UK’s main source of news: the TV, although once you segment Brits by age then digital platforms come out as the primary news source for the younger age group (16 to 24).

Overall, Ofcom found that 75% of respondents identified the TV as their primary news source, down slightly from 78% in 2013. The research also notes a fall in people saying a particular TV channel is their most important source for news (down to 54% from 62% in 2013).

Ofcom says the rising popularity of digital news is being driven by increased mobile and tablet usage among younger Brits.

Some 60% of these younger Brits said they are consuming digital news in 2014, up from 44% last year. And around 45% of this age group said websites or apps are their most important sources for news, up from 30% in 2013.

The research also found that young Brits are 10x more likely than those aged 55 and over to access news on a mobile (40% vs just 4%), and twice as likely to access news via a tablet (15% vs 7%).

The converse is true when it comes to TV news — with older Brits consuming considerably more hours per year of TV news than younger Brits. Ofcom found that the over 55s watch an average of 196 hours of TV news each year vs just 27 hours for 16-24 year olds, who in turn watch 88 fewer hours of TV news than the average UK adult (115 hours a year).

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Twitter’s Vine Introduces Direct Video Messaging

TechCrunch

Twitter’s Vine has introduced a feature that allows you to message other users directly via video. This adds both a direct messaging channel and video clips to its messages, a big addition to Twitter’s video app.

There is a direct parallel to be drawn here between Instagram’s Direct image messaging feature, obviously — and it goes hand in hand with Twitter’s renewed interest in its direct messaging channel. The allegory is interesting, as there isn’t a lot of public evidence that Direct has had any real traction. Still, it allows Twitter to experiment with video messaging in a separate silo, and it does make some sense to start with Vine before adding video messaging to Twitter.

You create a new Vine message by tapping on the Messages section, recording a video and sending it off. You can send to multiple recipients, but all of the conversations are one-to-one — much like competing messaging app Snapchat. If you send to multiple people, you’ll get separate threads for each one.

Notably, you can send Vine messages directly to anyone in your address book, regardless of whether they have Vine or not. This leverages your “private graph” in a similar way to WhatsApp’s early strategy. Twitter is likely hoping that this will spur growth much in the same way.

Offering a backchannel will also allow users to side-step the increasingly polished and professional community of Vine creators. This doubtlessly creates a barrier that stops some people from sharing because it’s not “good enough” to sit in their feeds. Like Snapchat, this allows people to post silly, stupid or funny videos that may not be as polished — or as pretty — directly to their friends.

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Pinterest Debuts A “Gifts Feed” Featuring Only Things You Can Buy

TechCrunch

Pinterest publicly introduced a new Gifts feed on Wednesday that only displays “Product Pins” – pins that are enhanced with additional details, including pricing, availability and where the item can be purchased online. The announcement was made on Pinterest’s Business blog, aimed at advertisers, instead of on the company’s more widely read, consumer-facing main blog.

The company describes the Gifts feed as a “work-in-progress” section on the Pinterest website where only those items that are available for sale are listed. These products can also be filtered by price by clicking on buttons that range from one to four dollar signs ($ – $$$$), equating to products that range from less than $50, $25-$50, $50-$200, and over $200, respectively.

Product pins were first introduced in spring 2013 as one of many new pin types on the service, which also included other new things, like movie pins and recipe pins, for example. In order for retailers to take advantage of the new functionality, they have to first update their website with the appropriate metatags (described here on the Pinterest Developers website). Afterwards, Pinterest users encountering those products on the social service would be able to see the product’s price and inventory levels, and could even click through on the provided URL to make a purchase.

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IDG CEO Friedenberg Sees a Data-Driven Mobile Future

PBS Mediashift

The words “International Data Group” conjure up an old era of computers that took up entire rooms with data-punching experts wearing white coats. And it’s not a coincidence that the International Data Group, or IDG, was founded in 1964 near Boston. But what started as a research firm turned into a series of tech trade publications (e.g. InfoWorld, Computerworld), consumer tech pubs (e.g. PC World, MacWorld), and events that spanned the globe. Now, the private company is looking toward a data-driven, mobile future.

“I think mobile will be fascinating in two areas: How do you gate that content and use that channel to deepen that relationship with readers? And from the advertiser’s perspective and with responsive design, how are you going to leverage video and native ads on those platforms?” said Michael Friedenberg, who ascended to IDG CEO last summer, and spoke to me recently via Skype.

IDG has been slowly moving its U.S. publications from print to digital, moving InfoWorld in 2009and more recently PC World went online-only, with an emphasis on charging annual subscriptions for tablet editions. While newer tech blogs such as TechCrunch and Engadget have gained prominence — and borrowed from IDG’s playbook of mixing content with events and research — IDG continues to plug away quietly. The company has turned its focus to programmatic ad sales with its Tech Media Exchange, and continues its global ambitions by focusing on the emerging MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) area.

While many people wrote off tech trade publications as obsolete in the digital era, IDG continues to expand, diversify and find new ways to serve the tech industry.

Below is an edited version of my interview with Friedenberg, with audio clips for some of his answers.

Read full article 

Where You Can Go Right, And Wrong, With Native Ads

TechCrunch

There has been a lot of talk in the digital media trade press about native advertising and the opportunities for advertisers. Yet, much less has been written about the opportunities and implications for digital publishers. But, first things first…

WHAT IS “NATIVE ADVERTISING”?

Native advertising is a concept that gained traction in the digital ad industry in 2012. It refers to digital ad formats that integrate more seamlessly (yet transparently) into website aesthetics, user experiences and/or editorial in ways that offer more value to both advertisers and readers. Put simply, native ads follow the format, style and voice of whatever platform they appear on.

Over recent months, the conversation about native advertising has focused largely on the pros and cons of just one facet of the larger movement: publisher-produced sponsored posts on editorial sites. However, native advertising is an umbrella concept that encompasses much more, starting with Google Search Ads and now extending to Promoted Videos on YouTube, Sponsored Stories on Facebook, Promoted Tweets on Twitter, promoted videos on sites like Devour and Viddy, promoted content on apps like Pulse and Flipboard, branded playlists on Spotify, promoted posts on Tumblr, sponsored check-ins on Foursquare, and brand-video content integrations produced by sites like Men’s Journal and Vice. 

What ties these seemingly disparate ad products together is one common theme: The ad’s visual design and user experience are native to the site itself, and these native ad placements are filled with quality brand content of the same atomic unit (videos, posts, images) as is natural to that site. 

Read more… 

IDC: Worldwide Tablet Shipments Hit A Record Total Of 52.5M Units In Q4 , Including 22.9M iPads

TechCrunch

Apple’s iPad led the charge as total worldwide tablet shipments hit a record 52.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to IDC’s preliminary data from its Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, but its market share continued to slide due to competition from Samsung. Meanwhile, PC shipments declined during the quarter for the first time in more than five years. The tablet market grew 75.3 percent year-over-year, and increased 74.3 percent from the previous quarter’s total of 30.1 million units, helped along by holiday purchases, lower average selling prices and a wider range of products.

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint. New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season,” said Tom Mainelli, tablet research director at IDC.

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59% Of All Android Tablet Usage Comes From The U.S., And The Forked Amazon Kindle Fire Is The Most Popular Brand

TechCrunch

Android tablets have nearly caught up to iPad devices as the world’s most popular tablet platform, and some project that they may even overtake iPads later this year. According to new research from app analytics company Localytics, the U.S., and specifically Amazon, should take the most credit for that trend: some 59% of all Android tablet usage came from the U.S., with over half of that attributed to Kindle Fire and Fire HD tablets, working out to a 33% share.

 59% Of All Android Tablet Usage Comes From The U.S., And The Forked Amazon Kindle Fire Is The Most Popular Brand

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Forrester: 84% Of U.S. Adults Now Use The Web Daily, 50% Own Smartphones, Tablet Ownership Doubled To 19% In 201

TechCrunch

Forrester Research just published its annual “State of Consumers and Technology” report. As usual, it’s chock-full of interesting statistics about how U.S. consumers use the Internet, but the most interesting statistic is probably that the overall online penetration rate in the U.S. has stabilized at 79 percent (the same number Forrester found in 2011). That’s the percentage of U.S. adults that go online at least monthly. What has changed, however, is how many adults go online at least daily: In 2011, that was 78 percent of U.S. adults, and in 2012, Forrester reports that 84 percent now go online at least once per day.

One of the reasons for this is, of course, the growing smartphone and tablet penetration. Forrester found that about half of U.S. online adults now own a smartphone and two-thirds even own multiple connected devices. Tablet adoption doubled since 2011 and is now at 19 percent.

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