94% of display media buying respondents to a Google and Forrester Consulting survey released in September 2012 currently combine contextual (i.e. targeting based on contextual category or contextual adjacency) and audience targeting. The primary reasons these respondents give for doing so are higher performance and greater accuracy than using one type of targeting alone. For […]
Bad news for cable TV. According to a new report, some 2.65 million subscribers have abandoned cable or satellite TV since 2008 in favor of Internet and over the air delivery. Nearly half of that, 1.05 million, came in 2011 alone. Another million or so customers are expected to do so by the end of 2012. [Convergence Online via Bloomberg]
This chart (below) from ISI Group tells you all you need to know about the fate of cable TV in the age of the iPad: Since Q1 2010, 2.3 million people have stopped subscribing to pay TV as delivered by cable TV companies such as Cablevision, Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Dish, Verizon, and AT&T.
Currently, only 41.5 million Americans watch TV on pay cable.
I’ve been arguing for a while now that Americans are on the cusp of a dramatic change in how they watch video. They’re moving to video over the internet. Traditional TV is dying, in much the same way that in the mid-2000s we all largely stopped using hardwired telephones to make calls in favor of wireless mobile cellphones.
Hardwired phones are still a big business, of course, and most households still have them. But they’re really a vestigial offshoot of whatever bundled communications package you’ve bought.
It looks like cable is about to go the same way. Although its subscriber numbers are dwindling, subscriber numbers for satellite TV and broadband phone/internet service remain relatively healthy, as the second chart (below) shows. That suggests to me that there is a growing number of households choosing a broadband package with the internet as their top priority, and a dwindling number choosing it based on TV.
Ironically, the fall has come at a time when cable is making more ad money than ever. It’s a supply-and-demand issue: It may be that cable TV’s audience is dwindling, but it’s still one of the few venues that reliably delivers millions of eyeballs all at once.
First, the cable TV chart, based on numbers from ISI Group:
Here’s the market share situation. Note that 2011 was a threshold year, when cable slipped from having more than 50 percent of the market to less:
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Gift cards are the laziest, lousiest, most convenient, popular and widely given present. And this is your yearly reminder of just how much they stink. Since 2005, we’ve tossed out more value in gift cards than the entire GNP of Ghana.
$41 billion is pretty hard to defend. We’re lazy; we have things to do; we… didn’t really want the damn things in the first place. Things have gotten a little better over the past few years, since the Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act passed in 2009, but in 2011 there are already $2 billion in unused cards. That’s down from $8 billion in 2007, but still, $2 billion a massive amount of waste.
According to TowerGroup, which provided the gift card data, 85 percent of gift cards are used within 65 days. After that? Not so great. So do yourself a favor and get out there and actually spend the money your generous but highly inconsiderate family members gifted to you this holiday season. [ABC News]
The social bookmarking site Delicious is back. Those who loved saving their favorite links to a public (or private) profile page will find that experience unchanged. But there’s a new central focus to Delicious. It’s called Stacks.
Stacks is a quick and easy way for users to compile a focused list of links to share. While there’s no limitations to what your list can contain, the idea is that people will pick a theme/topic and run with it. You supply the links, Delicious takes care of the formatting and presentation for you. They believe that navigating through stacks, as opposed to navigating through personal profile, will make exploration and discovery on the internet much more meaningful.
According to AllThingsD, YouTube creators (and former bosses), Chad Hurley and Steve Chen favor human curation over the quasi-random, algorithm-driven presentation of links. And while Stacks is what they’ve decided to focus on right now, they say more features are coming (I hope that will include the ability to embed stacks on other sites). For now, Delicious looks like a good way to get lost in the internet for while when you have nothing better to do. [Delicious via AllThingsD]
Get ready, because this one may get big: 44% of all iPad applications being tested on the actual device are games. Hey Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, the iPhone/iPod titan is getting its tentacles all over the living room.
The iPhone/iPod monster has positioned itself as the preferred mobile gaming platform for developers and is quickly becoming one of the largest game platforms in the planet, with 75 million iPhone OS devices sold in just 2.5 years. The current king of all game platforms sold 125 million units of the much cheaper Nintendo DS in five years and two months.
Now Apple is moving the action into the living room. Would gaming be one of main purposes of the iPad? Would the iPad become the next casual home gaming juggernaut, like the Wii? The market will tell in time, but apparently developers think that the possibility is there. Their reasoning seems solid: The iPhone/iPod demonstrated that you don’t need buttons and a d-pad to offer a good gaming experience to most people (not only hardcore gamers). It’s the same road first taken by the Nintendo DS and then the Wii. Both have a big amount of incredibly successful games that don’t use buttons at all and require little involvement and time. In fact, it seems like consumers—not hardcore gamers—favor that kind of interaction, along with games that can be easily shared and enjoyed by a few people at the same time.
The iPad Sharing Factor
Like the iPhone/iPod Touch, the iPad is a continuation of this road. Unlike its handheld brothers, however, the bigger screen of the iPad is good to share the game experience with other people. I can easily picture two or three people sitting together on a sofa, playing with one iPad, passing it around in turns. I can also imagine multiple iPads in the same household, and people playing networked games in separate screens. Or people around a table, playing a board game touching the iPad and using their iPhones. Except this board game would have spectacular graphics and be fully animated. And perhaps have remote players connected too.
Given the general direction of the market and the possibilities of the platform, it’s not surprising that game developers are pushing so hard for the iPad. It’s yet to be seen if the Apple device would be a success or not, but having such a developer support is going to play a big role. The fact is that developers are betting that it will be a success in the gaming department. 44% is a huge figure, especially considering that the next category—entertainment—only grabs 14%. And especially considering that this is a completely unknown device. They don’t have too much to lose, since the games can target both the iPad and the iPhone/iPod Touch.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for a fully-networked Tron light cycle game for the iPad, with each device being a bike cockpit. [Business Week]
A recently disbanded click fraud ring in China racked up $3 million worth of clicks in two weeks. $3 million that we’re aware of. Just how detectable is this whole business of racking up fraudulent ad revenue clicks?
That intricate mess of lines above represents a portion of DormRing1, the click fraud bunch that was caught in China. The lines show the relationship of some of the IP addresses involved in the fraud and how they are connected to some fraudulent ad clicks. The whole network actually “involved 200,000 different IP addresses and racked up more than $3 million worth of fraudulent clicks across 2,000 advertisers in a two-week period.” Impressive and scary at the same time.
The trouble is that no one really knows how much ad revenue DormRing1 collected before they were caught. Click-fraud monitoring services such as Anchor Intelligence, the ones behind this catch, are evolving to keep up with the scale on which these rings are operating. It’s still difficult to judge just how well they’re doing as they’re having to infiltrate forums and gain the trust of the perpetrators in a manner reminiscent of drug busts. But as the criminals are getting more elaborate, the investigations are too.
That good news aside, do me a favor: after you read this post, comment, and all that jazz, refresh the page a few times and—Ah…I mean, heh…just kidding. [Tech Crunch]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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