New magazine joint venture faces tough uphill climb

James McQuivey

Today the long-anticipated joint venture between Conde 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:

 

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The Nook changes the game with the first built-in social experience

James McQuivey

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:

 

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Customer Experience Evangelism - A Success Story

Megan Burns

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.

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The Impact Of The Recession on Market Researchers' Workload

Reineke Reitsma

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

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To better understand how the recession has changed market researchers' lives in the past year, we've conducted a survey of Forrester's Research Panel For Market Research Professionals about workload, the recession, and prioritization and I published a doc called 'The Impact Of The Recession On Market Research Professionals' Workload'.

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The Data Digest: Social Media Uptake In Europe

Reineke Reitsma


Reineke Reitsma

[Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

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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.

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Updating our research on support for eBusiness: Please participate in our current survey

Carrie Johnson

[posted by Elizabeth Davis]

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Designing in a high-resoultion world...help!

Ronald Rogowski

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.

 

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SaaS: Vendors Separated By A Common Language

Peter O'Neill

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is rapidly becoming “Everything-as-a-Service” (or, as a client said to me last week, “All-as-a-Service”).  I’ve been reporting the impact of SaaS on IT management software for nearly two years now and I keep saying that SaaS is really a phenomenon of new market entrants with compelling arguments against incumbent suppliers. Operators like ServiceNow.com, ManageEngine, Splunk, and SpiceWorks are leading a charge to replace HP, BMC Software, and CA installations. So it’s NOT really a trend impacting small and medium businesses only: many enterprises, even large ones, now also prefer a SaaS solution for their systems monitoring, IT asset management, service desk, or even discovery and CMDB management.

In the last weeks there has been a series of SaaS announcements by the megavendors. But the inquiries coming in from Forrester clients imply that things are not all that clear on these announcements. So here is a quick summary. As you will see, while riding the SaaS wave, they each interpret it differently.

CA now has a Service Desk On Demand offering based on their Service Desk r12 product. It’s run on dedicated installation in their data center or as a multi-tenant instance in one of CA’s partners installations also hosted there. CA clearly wants to limit the service to their target enterprise market.  They will control this by requiring a minimum 1 year contract (with financial incentives for signing for 2 or even 3 years), a minimum of 50 service desk analysts (you pay per analyst per month) and, most importantly, you cannot just sign up for the service on the web, you have to be approved by CA first.

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Why Comcast-NBCU really IS about digital

James McQuivey

Today is the big day: when Comcast announces it has taken a controlling share of NBCU in the latest mega media merger. And though the media have been covering it rapaciously for months now, the obligatory reaction stories are now being posted, analyzing something we should really know by now, namely:

 

This deal isn't about clamping down on runaway digital video content to save cable's collective hide.

 

If you're not careful, you may run into people who assert the contrary. Rafat Ali of paidcontent.org, whose opinion I generally value, earlier today titled his remarks "Comcast-NBC Deal Isn't About Digital." By which he means it's not about purely digital content (generation or delivery). While that's true, when he then goes on to say that Comcast's digital moves (thePlatform, Fancast) don't have "the potential to change the game for the cable giant," he is 100% wrong.

 

Because the future of cable is entirely dependent on digital. The future of all media of any sort is dependent on digital. Ergo so is the deal.

 

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Online Canadians Have Aggressively Embraced Social Technologies -- And So Have Canadian Marketers

Nate Elliott

I've spent the last year living and working in Vancouver, Canada -- speaking with many Canadian interactive marketers and agencies, and collecting survey data on Canadian consumers -- so I'm pleased to say that yesterday we released a new report, Canadian Social Technographics Revealed, and added our latest Canadian data to our free Social Technographics Profile Tool.

In researching this report, I learned that:

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