Spoken Like a True Media Mogul

Why Microsoft ceo Steve Ballmer wants to dominate online advertising:

"...I have to admit that I'm annoyed by the four 20 seconds [of ads], but not annoyed enough to pay a buck . . . I think at the end of the day most people say, "Heck, if I can get something that's pretty good that's ad-funded and the ads don't kill me, I'll take that over the thing I gotta pay for."

Quote lifted from an interview in the Washington Post.

The New Agency Network

Mary Beth Kemp

The most future-friendly agency network is the networked agency.  Perhaps this network could be called a soft network.  It depicts a web of agencies who want to work (well) together, each bringing their expertise to a client or group of clients….or to a consumer community. 

You’ll notice I didn’t say they all needed to be in the same group or belong to the same holding company.  Like siblings, having the same parent doesn’t guarantee that the agencies get along or that they work well together. 

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Verizon ' s Bid for Alltel - Implications for Sprint?

I heard the concrete rumors yesterday, but this topic has been one that folks have been speculating about for a long time. All morning long, people have been asking me what it means for Verizon Wireless?

Short answer: #1 wireless carrier in the US with 80M subscribers. Alltel adds 13M to their rising total.

Other highlights:

  • Common network technology and roadmap
  • Both use BREW
  • Similar ARPU though VZ has higher data ARPU
  • Fills in coverage gaps in rural areas
  • Cost synergies - $9B quoted in the press release. Always a lot of work to achieve.
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Full Page Opener Ad on NYTimes.com

The New York Times is running full-page ads that show before you get to the home page. They load quickly and don't take very long to run. I was not annoyed, although it is my job to be interested in this stuff. So far I have seen one for SAP (I'm not a good target) and Jet Blue (just bought a ticket there yesterday.) Newspapers are the bete noire of the advertising world these days. If the New York Times can keep visitors' attention long enough to make it to the home page, they might have a good money-maker on their hands.

Screenvision Speaks to Audience with Txt ' ing

Verizon made an announcement today (see Fierce) that they will be enabling an interactive text polling program to poll users on their music tastes. Results will appear on the screen. There will also be some marketing around Verizon's Vcast service.

I don't get the polling on music tastes.

What I wonder about a deal like this is which way the money flows. Screenvision sells advertising, but Verizon and/or Screenvision seem to be adding infrastructure to the theaters that allows the results to appear onscreen. A number of vendors have web-based programs that allow this - they use them with radio DJ's, TV show hosts, clubs, concerts, etc.

It's also not clear from the announcement if this will be limited to Verizon Wireless customers. Could also be an equipment/services "play" from Verizon.

I think this announcement has more potential for Screenvision. Rolling out the ability to interact with their audiences could have significant implications. Polling and trivia are entertaining - why not get people to the theater early to eat more popcorn and soda?

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DoCoMo becomes docomo

On April 18, NTT DoCoMo Inc. announced that it was revamping its brand. The company is ditching this:


In favor of this:


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Mobile Content: It ' s Not Just About Ringtones Anymore

So, we knew this and we've been showing this in our forecasts for sometime.

Personalization applications have been phenomenal for wireless carriers for the past few years, but we've believed that it would take more applications oriented towards entertainment and utility (e.g., information services, mapping, etc.) to drive demand beyond young adults and teens.

AT&T Wireless released their top ten selling applications and games for Q1 2008. Entertainment takes three if not four of the top spots - depending on how you want to define MusicID. MySpace Mobile - social networking - is the third ranked. One could argue that those with ringtone or wallpaper applications may have downloaded them long ago and are simply adding content. Still, it's a very different list than we would have seen two years ago.

Q1 Top Selling Apps

2)XM Radio
3)MySpace Mobile
6)My-Cast Weather
7)The Weather Channel
9) eBay
10) Billboard Mobile Channel

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LOST! (in Tokyo) Part 3

I apologize to all both my readers for the trainspotter-ish nature of my recent posts. I'll wrap up my thoughts on this topic today and I promise not to write about trains and maps again for at least a couple of months:

It's impossibile to say that one map or diagram is better than another without considering how well it serves its users. A subway system diagram can utterly distort the distance from one point to another, but succeed very well at helping people to decide where to change trains.

(1) H.C. Beck - a genius at putting himself in the shoes of his users

Much to the chagrin of my fellow passengers on the number 63 bus, I have recently been reading the excellent book "Mr. Beck's Undereground Map," on my way to work. At almost 27cm X 24cm it belongs on a coffee table rather than in the hands of a bus passenger. But it's a beautifully made chronicle of Mr. Henry C. Beck's obsessive desire to make the London Underground diagrams more useful to passengers.

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Umm, That'd Be "Women," Not "Girls"

Somebody explain to me how David Carr at the New York Times can write about women's sites under the headline "Slumber Parties Go Digital"?

BREW 2008 - My Thoughts

I attended my first BREW conference in San Diego last week. It was an excellent event by all measures - good sessions, announcements, and people. It's easily one of the best wireless events I've ever attended.

Qualcomm introduced a number of new components into the BREW platform. I had seen many of these concepts before, but from smaller companies. When I see them added into the BREW platform, I think, "OK, this is going to be mainstream. We're not simply talking about the dreams of a handful of entrepreneurs."

One of the first introductions of the week was with Adobe.

Full support of the Adobe three screen initiative with FLASH is big deal. A richer media environment eventually making it's way on to a lot of cell phones (Qualcomm stated that they had 100M devices in the market) is a good thing and will drive use of data services. Also made me wonder what else Qualcomm has in mind longer term - they had a demo of MediaFLO in the car. Will we see the BREW platform move beyond cell phones to portable media players or into the living room?

Support for off-deck content sales. This should open a lot of opportunities for smaller publishers as well as brands to get their applications on to more handsets.

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