Less than a year ago we published the Listening Platform Landscape report, laying out the evolution of social media monitoring. That research continues to drive many client inquiries today, but in the months since it published a very unsurprising thing happened: the landscape continued to grow up.
Since the last report published a lot has happened. There are dozens of new players in the space – from simple brand monitoring dashboards to large listening platforms - new startups to technology behemoths. We've seen consolidation, acquisition, and expansion. The vendors we covered a year ago now offer more advanced tools and features and as a result marketers too have evolved, finding new ways to use the social media data these platforms collect. Further, we're watching new tools emerge – collecting and analyzing social data and pushing the boundaries of what we’d call a listening platform.
When you regularly have conversations with your colleagues about social media activities, the platforms, and the impact on consumers you might find this 'Conversation Prism' graphic useful. Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas of JESS3 build this helpful chart that shows the activities and the networks that make the Social Web.
As the dust settles on Apple’s acquisition of Lalaand MySpace’s acquisition of imeem and iLike it is clear that 2009 is shaping up as the year that the social music marketplace consolidated.The trend was started back in 2007 when CBS snapped up Last.FM for $280 million (though you could make an argument that News Corp inadvertently kicked things off with its $580 million purchase of MySpace in 2005).
So the fact that there is a lot of money pouring into social music shows us this is a prosperous segment right? Wrong.Last.FM’s purchase price contrasts sharply with the reported $1 million that MySpace paid for imeem. imeem was no small fry (it has approximately 30 million users in the US). Instead imeem found itself straddled with the burden of insurmountable debts and a fundamental inability to make its business model work. And therein lies the rub: social music may have audience momentum but the business model is currently broken.
All of which might make it appear strange that Apple and MySpace would want to invest in this space. They are doing so because of two key reasons:
ACCOR, the global hotel chain, just launched an iPhone application.
This is just one of the many examples of travel brands leveraging the mobile momentum. Airline companies have always been at the vanguard of integrating mobile into their strategies, but it looks like many other travel brands from hotel chains, airports, rail companies, car rental companies, and travel-related brands (from Lonely Planet to luxury brands) are now tapping into existing mobile opportunities and building mobile products that meet burgeoning customer demand.
Travel is indeed inherently mobile. Now that the promise of location-enhanced services is beginning to be fulfilled on mobile phones, travelers are starting to use their devices as personal travel assistants. More than 10% of European Internet travelers use their mobile phones to look up flight or train schedules. Frequent business travelers are the ideal target group, as they are more likely to be regular users of the mobile Internet and are more likely to spend while traveling. More than 30% of them are interested in booking train tickets or checking in for a flight via their mobile phones.
Another interesting announcement was made this morning at the LeWeb conference in Paris, where Orange officially announced the launch of its Application Shop (available in beta in the UK and France for several months). This shop will first be available to 1 million customers in these two countries before being roll-out to millions more customers throughout 2010. For now it gives acess to 5,000 applications.
Replicating Apple's success will not be an easy task and operators should not follow this route. They should on the contrary leverage their key assets to offer:
The timing of two stories this week spurred some television talk around the office: Nielsen's latest Three Screen report and CBS' cancellation of "As the World Turns." Nielsen's panels and surveys show that Americans still watch 99% of their video on traditional TV, but that DVR time-shifted viewing and online viewing are each increasing a
Frankly I am surprised that it took this long. But today, we read in the Wall Street Journal that two major publishers have decided to pull a music industry mistake. Simon and Schuster and Hachette Book Group have announced that they will not release most eBook editions until the hardbacks have been on shelves for four months.
And I quote David Young, CEO of Hachette Book Group, whom the article cites as saying: "We're doing this to preserve our industry, I can't sit back and watch years of building authors sold off at bargain-basement prices. It's about the future of the business."
Correction: This move is about the past of your business.
I'm just being a historian here when I point out that language like "We're doing this to preserve our industry" is a classic symptom of what we at Forrester loving call The Media Meltdown. I wrote a whole report on this ailment and its many symptoms, chief among them is that media businesses attempt to preserve analog business models in the digital economy, even when analog economics no longer apply. This is exactly that scenario.
I have two very important messages to offer the book industry (most all of them clients, so I'm trying to be delicate here, the way a group of friends running an intervention for an alcoholic have to act even if it involves summoning tough love). The first message is the hardest to hear and it will make me some enemies. But the second message offers some hope and I encourage you book types to give it a fair hearing, because I have history and economics on my side.
Overall, Christmas 2009 may be far better for retailers than expected, following a turbulent year for the retail sector. Many retailers have successfully adjusted their tactics to maximize sales and margins — such as reworking their assortments around lower price points. According to Kelkoo, sales in the six weeks to Christmas are expected to reach £44.7 billion this year and account for 18.5% of total annual retail spending. And the best bargains are likely yet to come in the final week before Christmas.
Today the long-anticipated joint venture betweenConde Nast, Hearst, News Corp, Time Inc and Meredith Publishing became official. These firms -- all of them up against the ropes in an effort to deal with declining magazine ad revenue and the lackluster performance of online ad models -- have decided that to face the digital future, they'd rather do it hand-in-hand.
The motivation for the union is simple: eReaders are taking over the book publishing world, meanwhile magazines are left in the dust, with no devices they can call their own.
I mean, really, have you tried to read Business Week on your eReader? It ain't pretty. And on the Kindle, most magazine publishers want to charge you for the painfully slow page turning experience of the device all in exchange for the convenience of automatic delivery to your portable device. So the industry -- seeing a world that is evolving without their interests in mind -- is joining hands to solve two problems: