Friday, 4 May 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: consumers worry about the future, physicists worry about Moore’s Law, Red lays down own law in camera shootout, Dubai plans underwater hotel; Australian Titanic hopes not to join it.

Digital economy

People who “like” brands on Facebook are more likely to purchase from those brands. A great headline, but it looks to me that reasons they do so are that they’re already loyal customers...

...something that might become ever more important if the findings of this survey on the attitudes of consumers to progress manifest in their actual behaviour. According to this, young consumers are going to reduce their consumption, think the world is heading in the wrong direction and are worried that we’re all getting dumber (thanks to the Internet). Personally, I’ve definitely reduced my consumption, but I don’t necessarily think we’re collectively going the wrong way, it’s just that the pace of change is scary and difficult to comprehend.

US advertising spend grew again in 2011, with network TV leading the way – 7.7% YoY growth plays 2.2% overall. So much for its demise.

On the subject of advertising, Simulmedia just look another $6Mn in funding. I’m not a great believer in targeted TV advertising, however Simulmedia at least have a lateral take on the topic – they use a sample of audience data to find targets for unused inventory. Neat idea...

...but not as neat as Boxfish, a company whose technology uses the information in closed captions to improve the search functions in programme guides. Effectively you can now search for things you’re interested in within content, not just based on their programme guide entry. Smart.

Anything would be a better bet than Brighcove, the now-floated online video platform for brands and (no) broadcasters. Ten years from their launch they still haven’t turned a meaningful profit and all of the content owners of scale have their own (non-Brightcove) solutions that will impede the company’s growth. I’m not a fan.

Business models

Red are really shaking up the professional video camera industry. I wonder if any of their competitors will turn up for the “camera shoot out” they’re proposing?

An article about Nokia’s issues in emerging markets. I have to admit to be a bit surprised that Nokia haven’t managed to shore up some of these go-to-market problems as they seem well known an addressable.

Fascinating. Home entertainment revenues in the US are on the rise again after years of decline. I need to think about that one! Initial thought is that it represents a retreat of customers back to high quality products on high quality formats.
 New technology

Moore’s Law was originally about transistor counts, although nowadays it gets used to illustrate the progression of all kinds of other technology. The linked video explains that it has only 10 years to run. What it doesn’t say is that there are other ways of increasing computing power on a chip – 3D arrangements, new materials and new architectures for a start. Computers will keep getting faster.

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 launch was a bit of a bust in my view. I have a Galaxy Nexus and to be honest it’s just too big for my hands – I personally can’t see the iPhone going up to that size in September, so I suspect Samsung might have shot itself in the foot on this one.

There was good mobile technology news this week though as the US broadcasters have finally been satisfied that white space radio technology won’t interfere with their broadcasts. This decision paves the way for a generation of super-fast, super-wide area networking. Very exciting!

Finally, someone’s building an underwater hotel. Stingray, here I come...


Text spam is a growing problem in the UK too as the cost of a message is effectively zero. Current means of interdicting it (read: legal action against the sender) only work against legitimate companies. This report is about the US, where 4.5Bn spam texts were sent last year.

Emerging markets

Self-evident, but advertising growth in BRIC will outpace the global average as more companies seek to get their share of growing consumer wallets.

A great article about how the US government preaches an open Internet, but simultaneously allows companies to sell DPI technology designed for closing it off to regimes that would rather like to do just that.

Superpower politics

Microsoft’s investment in Nook is a smart one, despite the obvious issues with the device itself running Android! MS are too late to the table to launch their own e-reader and content ecosystem so it makes sense to get into the only one that doesn’t belong to a competitor.

Just for fun

Some pretty cool images of New York from the 1980s. Interesting retro design on show.

Fools and their money... an Australian billionaire wants to build a replica Titanic. I’ll only go if Kate Winslet doesn’t...

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