It's discussion time, folks. I want to hear what you think about the potential for Facebook and Twitter on the TV screen. No, stop laughing, I'm serious.
I ask because I published a report for Forrester earlier this month called Five Things We Want From Social TV (click here to read). It was partly in response to Verizon FiOS's new Facebook and Twitter TV widgets which were released in early July. (Look at a demo on YouTube here). Here's the summary so you know what I wrote about:
Thanks to Verizon, the first meaningful Facebook widget in the US has come to the TV. Some question whether the active Social Computing experience has any place in the so-called "lean back" living room experience. Those people are wrong. Once Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Computing platforms are properly ported to the TV screen, a new explosion of media and technology convergence will occur, affecting the product strategies of device makers, content providers, and pay TV providers. In this report, we propose the five things that Social TV providers should prioritize — steps that will lead to a converged future of Social Computing and TV viewing.
All my cards are on the table: I obviously believe in this because I said it would be a new explosion of media and technology convergence and them's fightin words.
Today Digeo went live with its Moxi Mate, the companion to its Moxi HD DVR, designed to provide whole-home DVR functionality. I sat down with Greg Gudorf, CEO of Digeo, a few weeks back and he previewed the box for me. A couple of my reactions were: 1) the quality of box-to-box streaming is phenomenal; 2) they even designed it so you can turn the panel lights off at night, assuming it will be a bedroom accessory.
The real secret power of this, however, comes with the free inclusion of PlayOn software, which allows your PC to stream online video from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube (and really any other online media content you want including music and photos) to your Moxi Mate box. This is a clever end run around the problem of trying to get the rights to integrate Hulu content into the box directly. (As we saw with Boxee, this is not something Hulu is excited to enable as it threatens their relationships with content owners.)
Love the device. But the fight over how media content will get around the home has only just begun, let the games begin!
Good play by Amazon. There is a lot of buzz around mCommerce right now - what is it? what does it mean? how fast will "it" grow? what role will it play in the multi-channel retail experience?
One of the top reasons consumers give for buying in a physical location after conducting research online is immediacy - can get it/buy it now. On a cell phone in a physical location, comparison pricing has the potential to either finalize the deal (if the store does indeed have the lowest price) or take the customer out the door - either to another store or online.
SnapTell - already popular with cell phone users - adds to Amazon's growing portfolio of mobile services (which I find impressive already) - and is a bit of a defensive move. I think they may yet bring a few people back to online (or one of their retail partners) with this service.
I confess I spent much of a recent illness on the couch watching movies and catching up on TV shows. I still claim it was time spent on your behalf, gentle reader, because in the process I put some of my video gadgets to the test, trying to see which one would earn the majority of my viewing. I post the results in greater detail on my OmniVideo blog, feel free to read that post to find out which box I like best and why. But what I found more interesting than which box occupied my time, was the realization that I am starting to develop specific habits for meeting my content needs.
Here's what I mean: Imagine you feel an urge to watch some video right now, this very instant. What are the first two or three ways you imagine satisfying that need? Okay, go ahead and imagine you're at home if you're not, so you'll have some options to consider. Here are some options that may come to mind:
It's time to finally address the elephant in the room. I've been writing for several years about the power of online video -- specifically the catalytic effect of online TV shows -- to change consumer behavior and the TV consumption model. Then this recession got in the way.
We're busily examining the ways that this will effect everything we cover, whether devices, services and consumer sentiment. But one specific area I want to collect evidence on is the question of online video advertising. For the last year, the rise in spending has been tremendous. The rise of Hulu.com as a destination site as well as a video syndicator plus while a few minor things like YouTube finally tinkering with a viable (read: harder to litigate against) ad model and the rise of Hulu+CBS aggregators like TV.com or Fancast have meant a flood of new inventory, most of it premium.
But when an economy gets as bad as this one, the only thing more predictable than US Democrats trying to insert protectionist trade policies into a stimulus bill is that advertisers will cut ad spend across the board. This excellent and gritty piece from Broadcasting & Cable yesterday discusses the expected bloodbath in the US broadcast upfronts later this year. That has to affect online video ad spend, simply because a lot of online TV show sponsorship is presold in upfront bundles each year (think Sprint + Heroes).
I want to share with you the link to my recent Forrester Research Webinar called Why Convenience is King. This free webinar is the kind of thing we usually reserve for clients only, but it's a big idea and we're eager to share it with the world. It includes a very detailed description of our Convenience Quotient methodology, something that is getting great traction among our clients and will form the backbone of much of our research for the next few years -- starting with media devices since that's what I cover, as well as other consumer technology products (hence this post on this blog). Yet many of my colleagues in financial services, retail, automotive, and even healthcare are working to apply the method to their own research areas. Should create a very fertile field of research. To stay on top of it, click through to the free replay of the Webinar.
Why Convenience Is King - creating winning product strategies
On demand Forrester Webinar available. Original air date: Jan 29, 2009.
To successfully launch or revamp products or services, you must keep convenience high. Achieving high levels of convenience requires offering compelling benefits while reducing barriers to consumer use. Principal Analyst James McQuivey explains how to identify the specific improvements required to increase the benefits or decrease the barriers that stand in the way of consumers. James covers:
- Why Convenience is King
- How the Convenience Quotient can guide your strategy
- What Forrester can do to increase your CQ
If there is one other research company that we've continued to encounter, respect, and see as real competition in the interactive media space, it is JupiterResearch. While the company ownership has changed hands several times over the years, the analysts have continued to do great work.
That's why we're very pleased that Forrester Research today announced it is acquiring JupiterResearch.