During what I call the “black and white” days of the internet in 1995, when email was a green screen “app”, I presented a direct mail CEO with a business plan for direct marketing online. When he voiced his disbelief in the power of digital marketing, I walked him back to his office, installed the Mosaic browser, and stood behind him while he used the mouse to navigate a few sites I suggested. In about 10 minutes, he went into a trance of amazement at the data, the content and the interactivity. He went on to refocus the company on interactive media.
Today Roku launched two new players to complement the original $99 Roku player. Perhaps somewhat obviously, the two new players come in at $79 and $129, allowing Roku to test whether there's price elasticity in this market.
I'm not sure this was a necessary move. The cheaper box (called Roku SD), simply removes HD playback from the original Roku Player (now called Roku HD). The $129 version offers wireless-n wi-fi streaming to deliver dramatically better video quality. I don't personally need that since I hook up my Roku player -- which is in constant demand in my home -- via ethernet. (Yes, being a nerd has its advantages including a fully self-wired home that has over 24 ethernet ports in it.) So while I can see the value of the more expensive box for wi-fi users who have wireless-n routers (do you know if you do? betcha don't know), I think muddying the waters with 3 boxes instead of a maximum of 2 just feels like unnecessary complexity. A bit like Amazon announcing it would sell two versions of the Kindle in the US, one that's domestic only and one that can roam abroad, a decision doesn't appear likely to last very long.
Chatting with board members at a major apparel company last night, a few mentioned a story on NPR's Morning Edition about the social divide between young Facebook and MySpace users. I've been skeptical before, but am converting.
Forrester’s Consumer Forumis just around the corner, in Chicago on October 27th and 28th. In addition to our great line up of speakers from Best Buy, Pizza Hut, Hearst and E*TRADE among others, we will also highlight Forrester’s extensive
data capabilities. Forrester analysts will share the results from our global
benchmark survey data, as well as our forecast data, to help you examine
technology-driven trends in consumer behavior.
As usual, Microsoft gets no love from the commentariat. It's sponsoring a branded content variety show on Fox created by Seth “Family Guy” MacFarlane that will feature Windows 7 integrated into the programming. What does Windows 7 have to do with bawdy animated show tune parodies? I guess we'll see. Pundits are arming for bear.
We've been flogging the media industries for years at Forrester. So much so that we sometimes assume that people remember all the ways we've warned, cajoled, and exhorted for more than a decade. But based on the things we're seeing the pundits finally say, it's clear that "the end is near" is a pressingly recent recognition on the part of many. For examples, see Malcolm Gladwell's review of Chris Anderson's book Free; Mark Bowden's lament over the loss of journalism ethics in The Atlantic; or programmer/essayist Paul Graham's thoughtful reflection on Post-medium Publishing.
Don't get me wrong: we welcome these and more voices to a conversation we've been trying to start for some years now. (If you think I'm just posturing, I direct your attention to former Forrester VP Mary Modahl's July 1994 piece entitled Publications Get Wired where she first blew up the "print isn't going away" myth.) But there are some very fundamental things that are getting lost in most of the discussions we are hearing. Namely, people are stuck on processes, historical reinterpretation, future prognostications, and personal feelings at the passing of an era.
In the end, however, none of that will matter as the fundamental economics of digital media assert themselves. Basically, it's now cheaper to make, distribute, and consume media. That changes everything.
Adaptability is key
to any living organism.As the
environment changes, those who adjust and find new ways to operate survive. Those
who cannot or choose not to change die out.
Meaningful brands are
living organisms, shaped by the people who create the products and services
behind them, by the people who use them and create memories and associations
with them, and by the marketers and agencies who build stories and emotional
associations that resonate in people’s hearts and minds.
Two-thirds of online teens surveyed said they tell friends about
products — that's almost twice as many as adults — and more than 70% of
teens use social networks regularly.
So it's critical for marketers to
understand how to best use social networks to reach teens and to help
them spread the word. Forrester created a new audience analysis framework based on what teen social network users said were their motivations for using them. It turns out they use social nets for both communication and entertainment. (For teens, communication is entertainment.) Compared with adults, there are more entertainment-driven teen social networkers.