The official announcements about the Nook went out yesterday and much has been said about the device, such as whether it trounces the Kindle (it does not) and whether the delay in shipping (units you buy today, for example, are expected to ship January 15) will permanently keep the Nook out of the running (it will not).
Because so much has already been said, we paid attention to what hasn't yet been said -- as far as we can tell, by anyone. It's this: the Nook is the first eReader to hit the market that has any kind of social connectivity built in to it. I'm referring to the "loan a book" feature the Nook offers. Read reviews like the one at CNET and you'd think that the book loaning feature is a flop because: a) it only applies to select books (at the publishers' whim) and b) it only lasts for 14 days.
I'm gonna tell you a secret: it doesn't matter how limited today's loan a book feature is, it's a huge step in an increasingly important direction for eReaders.
People share books. They share them, and then they talk about them. A lot. This fact is so critical to the way people read books that it is amazing that none of the eReaders yet offered to the market have any meaningful book sharing built into them. So even though the Nook is shipping late (folks, this is the eReader market, demand has been outstripping supply for the past two years now, stop acting surprised that Barnes and Noble and Sony are experiencing delays), we applaud its arrival because it opens Pandora's social box in this space. Once it's open, this box will set free all kinds of goodies that we are excited to have, including:
Information on teens' behavior, as we saw from the coverage of Morgan Stanley’s efforts to map the zeitgeist earlier this year via the musings of a 15-year-old intern, is in great demand.It’s not only useful to baffled parents, it’s also crucial for content providers, advertisers and marketers seeking to engage with teen audiences.
Based on a European wide survey of nearly 1,400 internet users aged 12-17 across seven major territories (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and Sweden), we captured a number of key consumer trends that help us identify the challenges and opportunities ahead, including the following:
TV is still the main media channel for teens. Reports of TV’s death have been greatly exaggerated. European teens still spend more time watching TV (10.3 hours per week on average) than they do using the internet for personal purposes (9.1 hours). But gaming – 11.7 hours per week if you combine time spent playing games on a PC and on a console – now consumes even more time than TV for European teens.
Social interaction online is an integral part of media consumption. European teens have embraced social media heartily – not only Facebook, which 44% visit at least weekly, but blogs, which 30% read at least weekly. And teens are twice as likely to comment on someone else’s blog as users aged 18+. For teens, the separation between ‘content’ and ‘social media’ is an increasingly irrelevant one – the latter is integrated into the former as part of a wider content experience online.
Apple has confirmed the acquisition of streaming music provider Lala.The move is significant (even though Apple appear to be trying to suggest otherwise) because it is one more piece in the gradually emerging puzzle that is Apple’s future music strategy, which for a few years now has remained relatively static.
Why is Apple’s music strategy in need of revision?
If the iTunes Music Store had evolved half as much as the iPod had over the last few years we’d have a cutting edge music service. Instead we have one that remains market-leading in terms of basic functionality (i.e. store to device synching) but behind the curve in terms of experience, discovery and community. Whilst the web threw up the likes of imeem, Spotify, Last.FM, MOG etc. the iTunes Music Store stuck to selling 99 cents downloads.Don’t get me wrong the iTunes store is a crucially important platform that accounts for the majority of the current paid download market, but it isn’t yet equipped to drive the digital music market to the next stage.In its current guise it is essentially a transition technology: with one foot in the distribution paradigm of selling units of stuff, and one in the consumption era of on-demand access.It has done a great job of helping consumers take baby steps into the digital age, but has pretty much reached the limits of its potential as a music service. (You’ll note my continued and fully intentional implied distinction between the music store and the App Store – more on that in a moment).
Every week I talk to people who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help their companies improve the customer experience. Some have the support of senior management, but some don't - they first have to persuade others that focusing on the customer experience will be good for business.
I recently published a document about the always asked question of cross selling. My analysis showed that on average US adults own 8.2 financial products across a range of products including deposit, credit cards, brokerage, mortgage and insurance.
So which is the best bank at cross selling you may ask?
It's not a bank at all. It's USAA - a credit union dedicated to US military personnel. USAA members have on average 3.9 products with the firm, far above the average of 2.5.
We've been writing a lot about eReader devices, but let's focus on the content for a moment. Why? Because selling a lifetime of eBook content to consumers is the end game of many companies in this space, especially Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They sky's the limit here. Consumers don't own digital libraries of books, as they did with music: When mp3 players came out, most consumers owned CDs that could be easily burned to a computer and downloaded to a device. Not so with books.
And the market for digital books, while catalyzed by the existence of dedicated eReader devices, will extend across multiple devices including desktops, laptops, mobile phones, netbooks, tablets, MIDs, portable gaming devices, and devices that haven't been invented yet. As we discuss in a new Forrester report, Forrester's data (based on a mail survey of 4,711 US consumers conducted in Q3 2009) shows that 3% of US consumers read eBooks on their desktop computers today; 2% read on laptops; and fewer than 1% read on dedicated eReaders, mobile phones, or netbooks, respectively. When it comes to future demand, 19% of US consumers say they're interested in reading eBooks on their desktop PCs, 14% say they're interested in reading on eReaders, 11% voice interest in reading on netbooks, and 5% say they're interested in reading on their mobile phones. What this means: Consumers are reading books digitally on multiple devices, and they will continue to do so.
This year we saw a big jump in the uptake of social networks in Europe. Data from our European Technographics Media and Marketing Online Survey Q3 2009 shows that Italians are now leading in Europe: 59% say they visit or update their profiles on social networks at least monthly.
I’m Richard Gans, a Researcher on Forrester’s Customer Experience team.Ron Rogowski and I just published some research about designing sites to work in a high-resolution world.What did we find? The good old days of having simple choices for what size screen to optimize your site for are long over.Now, the majority of screens have surpassed 1024x768 with no single standard resolution in sight.