TechJournal South Header

Posts Tagged ‘Pandora’

Streaming holiday music makes the season merry for many (infographic)

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Christmas stampDo you have holiday music streaming from the Internet? Pandora, the Internet radio service, says listeners have already played more than 2 billion holiday tracks since November.

What are they listening to? Pandora says three in four people who responded to a survey it conducted prefer classic holiday tunes from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or Nat King Cole, rather than new releases from current chart toppers.

It created this infographic detailing the findings of its “Who’s Listening in a Winter Wonderland” survey.

The impact of digital on the music industry (infographic)

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

SpotifyMost of the time these days, I listen to streaming music services rather than the digital music I downloaded or my collection of blues, folk and classic and rock music CDs. Pandora is usually my service of choice, although numerous others, such as Spotify, have their fans.

I still use my MP3 player when I walk and travel, but at home I play music on my computers or on Internet radios, which I’ve used for a couple of years now.

So the music industry, seriously disrupted by the digital revolution and all those file sharing sites that led them to sue individual users and have sites shutdown, is changing yet again. Now, even small bands can use kickstarter campaigns to fund albums and the Internet to build a fan base.

You have to wonder how these changes will affect the sales of downloaded music and CDs.

Here’s an infographic that takes a look at the impact of digital on the music industry. –Allan Maurer.

Netflix, YouTube, Amazon video, must have apps for smart TVs

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

TVHave you purchased a smart TV or a connected device such as a DVD player or set top box that connects to the Internet? If so, which streaming video apps would be must-haves for you?

Smart TV manufacturers are hoping that the popularity of apps with smartphone and tablet users makes its way to the living room.  Manufacturers and retailers are selling more and more televisions preloaded with Internet-connected functionality, frequently referred to as Smart TVs.

Internet ready devices that connect to home wireless networks are also popular, including many that cost a tenth of what smart TVs are currently going for. Most come with pre-loaded apps.

This provides an environment where consumers can use apps to do anything from surfing the Internet using a fully functional web browser, to streaming their favorite movies, TV shows and music right on their TV sets.

We’re not crazy about trying to do much browsing via the somewhat awkward methods used – such as typing with a remote control – similar to typing with a phone keyboard – but the built-in apps on our Sony Blu-ray player are a pleasure to use.

Streaming video apps most popular

Streaming video apps are the most popular apps for both Smart TV owners and consumers who don’t yet have a Smart TV.

Three of the top five “must have” apps are Netflix (Owners 47%/Non-owners 34%), YouTube (Owners 44%/Non-owners 31%) and Amazon Instant Video (Owners 34%/Non-owners 23%).  Social media giant Facebook (Owners 35%/Non-owners 29%) and online radio leader Pandora (Owners 28%/Non-owners 18%) round out the top five.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,634 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) surveyed online between May 7 and May 15, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Younger adults (those 18-35) chose YouTube (Owners 57%) as their top “must have” app over the more traditional experience offered by Netflix (Owners 54%) and Amazon Instant Video (Owners 38%).

Potential barrier to purchase consideration

Almost three-quarters (73%) of non-Smart TV owners indicate that they are not that familiar (39%) or not at all familiar (33%) with Smart TV or Internet Connected TV, despite the fact that shipment data suggests that manufacturers are continuing to ship more and more Smart TVs.

This could be a major barrier to future purchase consideration, as only 7% of those who are not familiar with Smart TV are likely to purchase a Smart TV within the next 12 months.

Conversely, non-Smart TV owners with a greater level of familiarity are four times (4x) more likely to purchase a Smart TV, with 29% suggesting that they are likely or very likely to purchase a Smart TV within the next 12 months.

So What?

“Younger adults desire a more social TV viewing experience,” says Manny Flores, Senior Vice President at Harris Interactive.”

He adds, “With the proliferation of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, younger adults are not only more tech savvy, but are accustomed to being able to share their online experiences with their friends and family. So why not add TV viewing to the list of online experiences to share?”

“As the TV becomes a more overall entertainment device, it is only a matter of time before we see the mainstream use of additional content apps, such as Facebook, being used on the TV,” added Flores.

“Yet, manufacturers and retailers evidently have to do a much better job of educating their consumers on what a Smart TV is and the benefits of a Smart TV experience. Increased familiarity appears to be the key to driving purchase consideration. Also, manufacturers need to hope that familiarity with smartphone and tablet apps translates into greater interest and adoption for apps that can be used on a bigger screen in the living room.”


TABLE 1
SMART TV MUST-HAVE APPS
“Which of the following are “must have” apps for your Smart TV or Internet connected TV?”

Base: Smart TV owners

Total Generation
Echo Boomers

(18-35)

Gen Xers

(36-47)

Baby
Boomers
and Matures

(48+)

% % % %
Netflix 47 54 48 37
YouTube 44 57 42 29
Facebook 35 45 32 23
Amazon 34 36 35 30
Pandora 28 33 24 23
ESPN 21 19 23 23
Hulu + 21 26 18 18
Twitter 17 23 13 12
Syfy 14 16 11 13
HBO Go 13 13 19 10
Rhapsody 9 13 7 7
MLB.com 8 7 8 9
Vudu HD Movies 7 8 12 2
Conema Now 7 9 7 4
Vimeo 5 7 8 1
None of these 23 28 23 28

Note: Multiple responses allowed


TABLE 2
FAMILIARITY WITH SMART TVS
“How familiar are you with Smart TV or Internet connected TV?”

Base: Do not have a Smart TV

Total
%
FAMILIAR (NET) 27
  Very familiar 6
  Somewhat familiar 21
NOT FAMILIAR (NET) 73
  Not that familiar 39
  Not at all familiar 33

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding;

TABLE 3
LIKELIHOOD OF PURCHASING A SMART TV
“How likely are you to purchase a Smart TV or Internet connected TV in the next year?”

Base: Do not have a Smart TV

Total Familiarity with Smart TV
Familiar Not Familiar
% % %
LIKELY (NET) 13 29 7
  Very likely 3 9 1
  Likely 10 19 6
NOT LIKELY (NET) 75 62 80
  Not that likely 31 38 28
  Not at all likely 45 25 52
Not at all sure 12 9 14

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding


TABLE 4
SMART TV MUST-HAVE APPS
“Which of the following are “must have” apps for your Smart TV or Internet connected TV?”

Base: Non Smart TV owners

Total
%
Netflix 34
YouTube 31
Facebook 29
Amazon 23
Hulu + 20
Pandora 18
ESPN 17
HBO Go 14
Syfy 12
MLB.com 7
Twitter 7
Cinema Now 6
Rhapsody 4
Vudu HD Movies 4
Vimeo 3
None of these 36

Note: Multiple responses allowed

Comments by TechJournal Editor Allan Maurer.

Pandora listener hours up 87 percent from last April

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

PandoraDespite serious competition from Spotify and numerous other Internet radio services, Pandora saw the number of listener hours for April soar to 1.06 billion, an 87 percent increase from the same period last year.

It’s other metrics for April were similarly good.

  • Share of total U.S. radio listening for Pandora in April 2012 was 5.95%, an increase from 3.11% at the same time last year.
  • Active listeners were 51.9 million at the end of April 2012, an increase of 52% from
    34.0 million during the same time period last year.

We’ve tried several of the other Internet radio services and use them occasionally on our stand alone Internet radio. But at the computer or on our tablet, we pretty much stick to Pandora. Part of its success has to be how easy and intuitive it is to use.

Pandora is releasing key audience metrics on a monthly basis until third party measurement services are in place to provide accurate information on Pandora’s users and usage across platforms.

Early registration for Atlanta Digital Summit ends this week

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Digital Summit 2012The upcoming  Digital Summit in Atlanta May 9-10 offers two jam-packed days with more than 75 speakers from  Google, Twitter, Pandora, Mashable, Huffington Post, Klout, StumbleUpon, Gilt Groupe, Adobe, The Onion, YouTube, Discovery Channel and many more. You can still grab an early registration rate to the Digital Summit but only until Friday, April 13.

What will I take away? How does my company benefit?

  • With over 50 presentations and panels to choose from you’ll be up to date with the latest digital trends & best practices.
  • More than 75 speakers from brands you know & trust provide real world scenarios and solutions to the issues you face.
  • Over 7 hours of networking makes Digital Summit a excellent and effective way to connect and make important contacts with 1,500 peers & professionals.
  • 3 hours of open bar!!! (okay, perhaps your company won’t benefit… but hey, it’s a great way to break the ice).

 Check out the ROI on how Digital Summit stacks up against other conferences and see who else might be attending.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Alexis Maybank – Co-founder, Gilt Groupe
  • Joel Lunenfeld – Director of Global Brand Strategy, Twitter
  • Frederick Townes – Sr Technical Advisor, Mashable
  • Tim Mahlman – Chief Revenue Officer, Klout
  • Loni Kao Stark – Group Solutions Manager, Digital Marketing, Adobe
  • John Trimble – Chief Revenue Officer, Pandora
  • Michael Greer – Chief Product Officer, The Onion
  • Simon Heseltine – Director of SEO, AOL/Huffington Post
  • Catherine Cook – Co-founder, myYearbook
  • David Perry – Business Development, Software & Services, Google
  • Jack Krawczyk – Senior Product Marketing Manager, StumbleUpon 
  • Prerna Gupta – CEO, Khush
  • Chidi Afulezi – Product Director, Turner
  • Ro Choy – COO, Formspring
  • Tom Lowry – Director of Technology, YouTube
  • Michael Bayle – Senior Vice President, ESPN Mobile
  • Amanda Steinberg – Founder & CEO, DailyWorth
  • Ian Wolfman – Principal & CMO, imc²
  • Jeff Ragovin – Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Buddy Media
  • Matt Crenshaw – VP of Marketing & Analytics, Discovery Channel
  • Matt Peters – Co-Founder & Creative Director, Pandemic Labs
  • Laurie Hood – Vice President of Product Marketing, Silverpop
  • Bryon Morrison – President, Mobile Marketing, The Marketing Arm
  • Tony Haile – CEO, Chartbeat
  • Eric Orme – Chief Technology Officer, Remark Media
  • Kurt Krejny – Director of Online Marketing, Fathom
  • Sean Cook – CEO, ShopVisible
  • Jordan Franklin – Director of Social Strategy, Clickable
  • Grey Garner – Market Strategist, Emma
  • Barry Nelson – Social Media Analyst, Microstrategy
  • John Lawson – Founder, ColderICE.com
  • Todd Sawicki – Chief Marketing Officer, Cheezburger Network
  • Adam Harrell – Founder & President, nebo
  • Brianne Keating Forst – Director of Ecommerce, Plow & Hearth
  • Gavin Finn – President & CEO, Kaon Interactive
  • Amy Ellis – Head of Integrations & Partnerships, MailChimp
  • Kevin Lee – CEO, Didit
  • Michael Loban – CMO, InfoTrust
  • Joey Sargent – Principal, BrandSprout
  • Mick Winters – SVP, E-commerce, National Builder Supply
  • Kelly Quattlebaum – Social Media Trainer & President, Global Marcoms
  • Jenny Schmitt – President & Senior Spark, CloudSpark
  • Joseph Dickerson – User Experience Architect, Fiserv
  • Efi Rodik – Co-Founder & CEO, Relevantor
  • Richard White – Creative Director, Sojo
  • Maria Peagler – Founder, SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com
  • J Cornelius – VP Operations, CoffeeCup Software
  • Garrett Kuk – Social Media Strategy Partner, Speakeasy Media
  • Anthony Franco – President & Co-founder, EffectiveUI

Digital Summit 2012 is presented by TechMedia, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic’s Leader in Digital and Entrepreneurial Conferences. The TechJournal is a TechMedia division.

Digital Summit bringing top brands to Atlanta’s largest Digital media & marketing event

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Digital Summit 2012ATLANTA – Nearly 1,500 interactive marketers, digital and new media strategists, entrepreneurs and technology professionals will connect at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, May 9-10. More than 75 speakers will deliver over 50 presentations and panel discussions about today’s hottest digital business and marketing trends.

Speakers from Google, Twitter, Mashable, Klout, The Onion, The Huffington Post, Pandora, Google and StumbleUpon will provide insights, techniques and tools you can use as soon as you get back to the office.

Topics include social media, mobile applications, e-commerce, SEO & paid search, Internet usability, analytics & measurement, streaming & interactive video, cloud computing and online advertising/branding.

Co-founder of the innovative online shopping destination Gilt Groupe, Alexis Maybank will deliver the keynote presentation that promises to be enlightening, inspiring and engaging.

The Digital Summit conference opens Wednesday, May 9th at 1pm with Maybank’s keynote launching the event. Attendees have more than 50 educational and thought provoking presentations and panels to choose from. Conference goers will also get a glimpse into some of the industry’s newest Internet entrepreneurial products and tools featured in the Demo Showcase and Startup Lounge.

Doors open day two at 7 a.m. for a power networking breakfast, and the day kicks off as featured thought leaders Joel Lunenfeld, VP of Brand Strategy for Twitter and Michael Greer, Chief Product Officer of The Onion share their insights. Later, the keynote panel discussion: The Future of Digital Media & Marketing will feature executives from Twitter,Mashable and Klout.

To register for what is expected to be a sold out event and get the latest about Digital Summit 2012, visit www.digitalsummit.com

Zuckerberg tops Page in Peakscore list of social firm CEOs

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Time Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is going to be extremely rich after a Facebook IPO (not that he isn't now!)

Initial public offerings of stock by innovative social Internet firms are making a major impact on the markets, these days.

Below is round-up of CEOs who have all watched their companies grow from small start-ups to publicly traded juggernauts.  Each CEO is ranked based on their PeekScore, or digital footprint, from around the Web.

PeekScore is a rank from 1 to 10, assigned to every person. The higher someone’s score, the “more important” they are on the web. In calculating your PeekScore and updating it often,  PeekYou takes into account your known presence and activity on the Internet, including but not limited to; your blogging, participation in social networks, the number of your friends, followers, or readers, the amount of web content you create, and your prominence in the news

1 Mark Zuckerberg Facebook / 2012 10.00 / 10.00

2 Larry Page Google / 2004 9.50 / 10.00

3 Andrew Mason Groupon / 2011 8.25 / 10.00

4 Mark Pincus Zynga / 2011 8.19 / 10.00

5 Tim Westergren Pandora / 2011 7.96 / 10.00

6 Jeff Clarke Orbitz / 2007 7.85 / 10.00

7 Arkady Volozh Yandex / 2011 7.09 / 10.00

8 Chen Tianqiao Shanda Games/ 2009 7.03 / 10.00

9 Shi Yuzhu Giant Interactive / 2007 7.03 / 10

10 Jeff Weiner LinkedIn / 2011 7.02 / 10

Generic shopping and discount terms dominated November searches

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

ChompNot surprisingly, mobile device users queried “shopping” and “discounts” significantly after Thanksgiving, marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season, according to app search engine Chomp.

Query traffic for the terms spiked over 1200% and 3000% above normal on Black Friday and stayed consistent over the long weekend before bottoming out after Cyber Monday.

On Android, larger categories such as games, utilities, and music increased their category share by at least one percent, while books, finance and sports saw small decreases in their shares.

For iOS, games decreased their share from 32.6% to 31.7% and social networking decreased from 7.1% to 5.5%. Lifestyle apps saw a small uptick from 5.2% to 6.1%.

Paid app downloads decreased from 7% to 3% on Android. The decreases were concentrated at price points lower than $2.00. Weakness was also seen at the premium price points between $4.01 and $5.00, and $9.01 and $10.00, decreasing from 0.6% to 0.2% and 0.3% to 0.1%, respectively. On iOS, paid downloads increased from 20% to 27%.

The increase was concentrated at the $.99 and $1.99 price points. The former increased from 10.3% to 15.9%. The latter increased from 4.2% to 5.2%. Price points above $10.00 also increased their share from .7% to 1.3%.

“Free” was again the top search term across all countries sampled on Android. Contract Killer debuted on the international top app list along with StumbleUpon. The top five Android apps were Dropbox, eBay, Handcent SMS, Movies and WhatsApp Messenger.

More diversity abroad

App search abroad showed more diversity on iOS. Pandora and Facebook stayed incredibly popular internationally, with the game Fragger debuting on the international top app charts. The top iOS apps for November were TuneIn Radio, Instagram, Zombie Highway, TuneWiki and Doodle Jump.

Over two billion apps are being downloaded each month and the number of available Android and iOS apps has surged to almost one million. As the number of apps increase, so does the need for effective app search.

On the Android platform, 84% of searches were made by app function (e.g. “adventure games,” “books,” etc.) and only 16% by the actual app name. On the iOS platform, 83% of searches were made by app function and only 17% by the app name.

It’s interesting that many shopping searches start with generic terms such as “free” or “games” or “discounts,” and that many app searches are also generic.

How does the download data match up with your own experience? We downloaded StumbleUpon, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Facebook, among those mentioned, and Angry Birds, Evernote, Night of the Living Dead (game), and Twitter apps for our new Kindle Fire, which is an Amazon customized Android device.

Just as an aside, the only app that presented trouble so far was for Tumblr, which just would not accept our password, although we did access it ok from the Kindle Fire web browser.

Mobile Internet, broadcast radio listening running neck & neck

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

PandoraMarketers, pay attention: broadcast radio and mobile music listening are neck-in-neck, according to a new survey from -Mobile Posse, Inc.,a provider of mobile home screen CRM.

According to the digital audio experts at TargetSpot, the world’s largest digital audio ad network, not only are consumers listening more at home and in the office, but on tablets, mobile phones and PCs.

And while terrestrial radio remains strong, it’s the online broadcast and/or pureplay stations that are gaining clicks and listenership.

This makes sense to us. If you start using digital music services – whether customized stations, mixes, or cloud-based collections of your own music library – you can get addicted to personalized programming and choices. Some consolidation in the field is likely down the road, though.

Pandora a clear favorite

Similarly, Mobile Posse reports that nearly 60% of consumers listen to music on the go: at home, in the office, on their commute, and at the gym. When it comes to online music services, 35% of consumers choose Pandora as the clear favorite, followed by Rhapsody, Last.fm, Spotify and Slacker.

Personally, we still prefer Pandora ourselves. To some extent, that may be due to the fact that if was the first of the Internet services we used and we’re familiar with it and have it set up to our satisfaction.

We tried Spotify and found it less intuitive to use and dislike anything that makes us sign-in via Facebook. We’ll decide what we want to share about media we like. We don’t need Spotify or Facebook doing it for us.

While 89 million weekly listeners tune into online radio, according to Mobile Posse’s survey, many are not willing to pay for a music service. 63% of consumers would consider paying for a music service, while nearly 20% adamantly refuse, preferring free ad-supported music.

We’re still considering paying for one of the music services we use (in our case, Pandora, which is still our favorite customizable Internet radio service, or Radio I/O, which does deliver a good quality stream). Even without paying, these (and other online radio services) provide excellent products. We went so far as to buy a small portable Internet radio that also receives regular FM broadcasts (a Pocket WiFi Internet Radio. We also listen on our new Kindle Fire (via a Pandora app) and our music stored in Amazon’s cloud).

“Mobile is becoming a clear leader in music consumption, as it provides numerous channels for listening to and discovering new music,” said Nathan Hamme, Analyst with Mobile Posse.

“Between already available music apps, streaming radio, podcasts and personal music libraries, consumers find drastically better customization and portability in this new generation of mobile phones. And when it comes to empowering users to discover new music, mobile must be a key aspect in any promoter’s marketing arsenal.” — Allan Maurer

TechCrunch, AOL, losing top talent; 200 labels drop Spotify; 40K apps for Windows Phone

Monday, November 21st, 2011

AOLHas TechCrunch seemed anemic to you since founder Michael Arrington left following a dispute with management? It seems to have less bite. Now, the Financial Times reports, top editorial and management talent is deserting AOL and TechCrunch.

FT says three top names left this month, including Brad Garlinghouse, head of AOL’s Silicon Valley office, Sarah Lacy, a senior TechCrunch writer, and Saul Hansell, a former New York Times reporter who was senior editor at the Huffington Post (now owned by AOL, as is TechCrunch).

TechCrunch already lost senior writers Paul Carr and MG Siegler, and rumors say it may also lose Heather Harde, the chief executive.

AOL bought TechCrunch for $25 million last year, but  sacking Arrington was not the firm’s smartest move.

Music labels drop Spotify

More than 200 music labels from UK distributor STHoldings have dropped Spotify, saying in a statement, “We have concerns that these services cannibalise the revenues of more traditional digital services.”

The distributor also pulled its content from Rdio, Napster, and Simfy.

STHoldings said in its statement that it feels the music of its artists “Loses its specialness by its exploitation as a low value/free commodity.”

We’re not sure they’re right about that. While we’re not particularly fans of Spotify, which wants to tell everyone on Facebook every thing you listent to and requires a Facebook connection, we do use Pandora, which recently removed the 40 hour restriction on how much listeners can tune in free, and Radio IO, which streams FM quality music.

Both have introduced us to new music, new genres, and new artists and music purchases.

Windows Phone 7 marketplace features 40,000 apps and games

windows-phone-7We’ve tested half a dozen phones, including a Windows Phone 7 from HTC, and several phones running the Google Android system and the Windows Phone was had the most intuitive, easiest to use operating system. Microsoft was late to the smartphone game, but that may turn out to be an advantage.

We recently saw a Tweet from one of our most tech savvy friends and an Apple iPhone fan who tested a Windows 7 Phone for an article in another publication who said just about the same thing, admitting he was tempted to switch to it.

But when buying a smartphone, users want not just the phone but the apps that make them smart and Apple’s AppStore is loaded with 140,000 of them.

The Windows Phone Marketplace, though, now has more than 40,000 apps. Since many apps are just variations of others – there are multiple apps to do common tasks, from taking notes to losing weight. Developers are getting on the Windows Phone 7 wagon – there were only 35,000 apps available for it in October and 30,000 in August, so its adding 5,000 apps a month.

We’re not the only ones who think the Windows Phone 7 may grab a significant chunk of market – both Gartner and IDC have forecast that it will be the number 2 platform by 2015.  — Allan Maurer

 

 

Sharp spike in tech savvy shoppers expected on Black Friday (infographic)

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

SocialVibe, a digital ad tech company, shows that 70 percent of tech-savvy consumers plan to shop on Black Friday – the Friday after Thanksgiving – which is a steep increase over 52 percent of respondents who reported they shopped on Black Friday in 2010.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 70 percent of the more than 1,000 consumers surveyed plan to shop this Black Friday, up from 52 percent who reported they did so in 2010
  • 61 percent of surveyed consumers plan on taking advantage of Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving) deals this year
  • The most popular items on people’s shopping lists are Computers/Laptops (40 percent); Clothing (38 percent); Electronics (34 percent); and TVs (32 percent)

SocialVibe Holiday Shopping Infographic

    “Our research shows that about two-thirds of consumers intend to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so brands should really be looking for effective ways to draw people into stores, as well as drive site traffic on these mega-shopping days,” said Jay Samit, CEO of SocialVibe.

“The key to reaching consumers is to interact with them, rather than rely on a display ad, in the environments where they are already engaged and then provide a valued benefit along with your message. It’s not too late to look beyond banners and fuel holiday sales by incorporating engagement ads into your media plan for the holiday shopping season.”

Throughout October 2011, SocialVibe surveyed the most active social media consumers across eight of the top 10 Facebook apps and other social sites about holiday shopping trends.

The study, which was opt-in and garnered more than 1,000 responses, ran throughout SocialVibe’s network of premium publisher sites including Pandora and Causes.com and social games such as Zynga’s FarmVille and CityVille.

SocialVibe’s  value-exchange advertising platform offers consumers something they value – such as virtual currency for a social game, premium content, or a donation to charity – in exchange for paying attention to and interacting with an ad. Consumers who completed the in-ad unit survey were rewarded for their participation with virtual currency or a free donation to charity, for example.

“Online advertising campaigns that incorporate interactive features and provide an incentive in exchange for a consumer’s attention to a brand message can increase website and in-store traffic, as proven by the research we announced last month with KN Dimestore,” Samit continued.

According to the company, the ads work well.

“Consumers exposed to SocialVibe’s engagement ads are 161 percent more likely to visit a brand’s website and 36 percent more likely to shop for a brand at the store after interacting with the ad—key metrics brands should be thinking about when it comes to holiday-driven marketing campaigns.”

Ten social media events that shook the world (video)

Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen's Twitter meltdown is cited as one of the ten top social media events.

In advance of Social Media Week, September 19th, event organizers released list of the “Top 10 Social Media Events that Shook the World.” These events, from the Arab Spring to Wikileaks to Charlie Sheen, were all fundamentally shaped by the use of social media, and in many cases would have never happened without social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Social Media Week was launched by Crowdcentric in 2009 as the world’s first truly global conference designed to help increase understanding of the complex and integrated role social media plays in society. Unlike other conferences, Social Media Week is free to anyone, and those unable to attend in person can participate online to in many of the more than 450 events around the world.

Top 10 Social Media Events that Shook the World (In no particular order of impact)

1.  Arab Spring and the uprisings in the Middle East

  • The “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, have proven that social media can transform society and politics on a global scale. Throughout the past several months, social media has been used to organize protests, highlight injustices and government crackdowns, and sway public opinion. Whether democracy will flourish remains to be seen, but social media’s impact in the movement so far is indisputable.

2.  Japanese earthquake and tsunami

  • Millions of people from around the world watched the aftermath of a 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan in real-time via social media. Tweets and videos from Japan were posted within minutes, and viewers across the globe witnessed what would have been impossible to document before the widespread use of social media and handheld devices.

3.  Wikileaks scandal

  • Is Julian Assange a champion of transparency in democracy and freedom of speech? Or is he just a criminal? Wikileaks continues to spur controversy, but the fact is Wikileaks would not have been possible without the rapid advances in digital and social media.

4.  Charlie Sheen’s meltdown/use of Twitter

  • Charlie Sheen’s public meltdown spawned the hashtag “#winning,” which quickly became America’s favorite new catch phrase. Sheen subsequently amassed one million Twitter followers, faster than anyone else in history, and proved that our cultural obsession with celebrity is only growing now that we have more ways to interact online.

5.  Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal

  • This was America’s first political scandal that unfolded – and then broke — over social media, putting a spotlight on the way social media tools are utilized both publicly and privately and will undoubtedly impact the way politicians communicate with their constituents and the public for years to come.

6.  Rebecca Black’s viral YouTube hit and subsequent backlash

  • How is celebrity defined in the age of social media? Does Black’s music video “Friday,” which racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube earlier this year, count as a ‘hit’? The answers are up for debate, but it’s a fact that the traditional business models used by the entertainment and music industries are being upended by advances in new technology. (see video at bottom).

7.  Social media coverage of British royal wedding

  • The royal wedding stole the social media show with upwards of nearly one million related Tweets in the month leading up to the nuptials. In the days leading up to the wedding, this single event accounted for more than 70% of all social media mentions.

8.  UK Riots

  • After three nights of rioting in London, politicians blamed the violence on text and instant messaging on mobile devices. British police broke into smart phones to thwart planned attacks on local establishments, and even considered blocking access to social networking sites altogether

9.  Hurricane Irene

  • Storm chasers didn’t need to leave their home to follow the path of Hurricane Irene, as it made its way up the East Coast in August, conjuring tweets on par with the traffic after the Japan earthquake.

10.  Social Media IPO’s

  • Successful startups like Pandora and LinkedIn have gone public and there is growing speculation Groupon, Xanga and Facebook will soon follow suit

“2011 has been a profoundly important year as platforms and technologies have become so ubiquitous that the conversation has shifted from what they are, to how they are being used,” said Toby Daniels, founder and executive director of Social Media Week.

“Globally, the use and application of social media is changing lives, disrupting business, reshaping governments and redefining popular culture, and it’s our responsibility as a global platform to advance people’s understanding by capturing emerging trends and insights.”

The Rebecca Black “Friday” video

LightSquared won’t hurt GPS; Kindle Cloud Reader; MS update fixes 22 flaws

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

LightSquaredThe U.S. Federal Communications System says it won’t permit LIghtSquared’s proposed middle broadband service to interfere with GPS signals.

The FCC is considering whether or not to let LightSquared’s service proceed.

Some tests showed that GPS receivers pickup interference from spectrum beyond that used by the devices.

In a backgrounding event for reporters, FCC officials said that it won’t allow the LightSquared proposal to use spectrum from 1526 to 1536 MHz and a satellite service in part of the 1600 band if it interferes with nearby GPS spectrum at 1559 to 1610 MHz.

New Microsoft update fixes 22 security flaws

On 8/10, Microsoft issued 13 security updates that patch 22 security flaws in IE, Windows, Office, and other software. Three are rated critical.

The updates fix, among other things, critical vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 9. Security experts say the IE9 updates should be deployed first. They prevent drive-by downloads of malware when visiting infected web sites.

Market volatility scotches some tech IPO plans

The Wall Street Journal reports (requires a subscription to read entire article) that two of four tech firms planning initial public offerings of stock this week have “hit the pause button.” Both Pandora and LinkedIn shares fell substantially in August and the S&P downgrade, political instability and economic uncertainty are shuttering what once looked like a wide-open IPO window for Internet companies and other tech firms.

VC-backed 3D motion sensor maker InvenSense and Portuguese mobile payment company TIM and Wageworks have all gone into drop back ten and punt mode. Boston-based online backup company Carbonite, still plans to price Thursday night (after slashing its offering range from $15-$17 to $11 to $12.

Amazon releases Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon For over two years, Amazon has been offering a wide selection of free Kindle reading apps that enable customers to “Buy Once, Read Everywhere.” Customers can already read Kindle books on the largest number of the most popular devices and platforms, including Kindles, iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, PCs, Macs, Android phones and tablets, and BlackBerrys.

Today, Amazon.com has released the Kindle Cloud Reader, its latest Kindle reading application that leverages HTML5 and enables customers to read Kindle books instantly using only their web browser – online or offline – with no downloading or installation required. As with all Kindle apps, Kindle Cloud Reader automatically synchronizes your Kindle library, as well as your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights for all of your Kindle books, no matter how you choose to read them. Kindle Cloud Reader with its integrated touch optimized Kindle Store is available starting today for Safari on iPad, Safari on desktop and Chrome at www.amazon.com/cloudreader.

Features of Kindle Cloud Reader include:

  • An immersive view of your entire Kindle library, with instant access to all of your books
  • Start reading over 950,000 Kindle books instantly within your browser
  • An embedded Kindle Store optimized for your web browser makes it seamless to discover new books and start reading them instantly
  • New Kindle Store for iPad is built from the ground up for iPad’s touch interface
  • Your current book is automatically made available for offline use, and you can choose to save a book for reading offline at any time
  • Receive automatic software updates without the need to download new software
  • Select any book to start reading, customize the page layout to your desired font size, text color, background color, and more
  • View all of the notes, highlights, and bookmarks that you’ve made on other Kindle apps or on Kindle
  • Sync your last page read across your Kindle and free Kindle apps so you can always pick up where you left off

Kindle Cloud Reader is available for Safari on iPad, Safari on desktop and Chrome starting today. Kindle Cloud Reader on the iPad is optimized for the size and unique touch interface of iPad. Without even leaving the app, customers can start shopping in the Kindle Store and will find a unique and immersive shopping experience built specifically for iPad’s Safari browser.

Kindle Cloud Reader will be available on additional web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, the BlackBerry PlayBook browser, and other mobile browsers, in the coming months.

Amazon.com customers can start reading their Kindle books immediately using Kindle Cloud Reader at www.amazon.com/cloudreader.

Amazon tablet by fall; Google+ vs. Facebook may be costly, Spotify launches in U.S.

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

AmazonAmazon’s much anticipated tablet computer is expected to hit the market by October, according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said the Seattle-based online retailer expects people to use the tablet to buy and rent content.

The Journal positions the Amazon tablet as another field of battle in its clash with Apple Inc., noting that it competes with the Mac-maker over digital books, music and mobile apps.

It also notes that Apple CEO Steve Jobs poked fun at Amazon’s Kindle, saying few people read and multiple purpose devices such as the iPad are better.

We like dedicated devices

We beg to differ. While the iPad has done extremely well in the marketplace (selling 19.5 million as of March), we’re still not sold on tablets. They are too heavy (currently at a about a pound and a half for the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy) for easy handheld reading or photography and virtual keyboards are not work friendly. Like all devices with LED screens, they can be harder to use outside in sunlight.

Also, we find that dedicated devices are often best for many purposes. If you do read, the WiFi Kindle 3, while it has drawbacks, is easy to use and its E-ink tech doesn’t add to LED screen eyestrain (which can be a problem if you’re online as much as we are). A full-fledged digital camera – many of them now pocket sized – will far outperform a tablet for any photo purposes beyond snapshots.

The Amazon device, the Journal says, will have about a nine-inch screen, run on Google’s Android, and probably won’t have a camera.

Analysts say Google’s Facebook challenge will cost $200M

Google logoAnalysts say Google’s challenge to Facebook with Google+ will cost the company something north of $200 million and likely slowed its second quarter growth, according to Bloomberg.

Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners, told Bloomberg Goolge probably spent about $100 million on Google+ so far, half in the second quarter.

Some analysts Bloomberg quotes think it is “money well spent.” We recently saw a post by a Tumblr user who tried out Google+ and said right now, at least, its a poor cousin to Facebook and none of his family or friends are on it or likely to switch from Facebook to use it. Meanwhile, Henry Copeland, CEO of Blogads, stirred up some electrons with his article on Why Google+ will fail (opinions, we note, are his,  not necessarily those of TechJournal South).

On the other hand, we’ve seen lots of positive vibe around Google+ from early adopters, many of them tech savvy folks Google invited to be early users. Let us know what you think of the service and its chances at giving Facebook a run for its money.

Spotify launches in the U.S.

SpotifyEuropean music service Spotify launches in the United States today (Thursday, 7/14). If you signed up for an invitation when Spotify disclosed it was entering the U.S. market, you can probably access the site today. If not, you’ll have to sign up for one of its subscription plans, one of which is a free version with ads.

Based in Sweden, the service has about 10 million users globally, about 1 million of them paying customers.

By contrast, Pandora, a similar service that raised $235 million via an IPO, has just announced that it has reached 100 million users and launched a redesign that addresses some previous user problems.

Spotify and Pandora face competition from Amazon and Google cloud music services that allow users to upload their digital music and access it on any device, as well as Rdio, Last.fm, and other streaming music services.

Business Insider, quoting leaked documents that suggest Spotify expects to have 50 million users in a year, says the company “is crazy” to think that and cites several reasons, including the fact that people are spending less for music, the American market is crowded with similar services, and its Facebook deal may not be exclusive (and might not help if it were).

Here’s Spotify’s news release on its launch.

 

Security holes in iPhone, iPad; Facebook music; Google+, Groupon privacy

Monday, July 11th, 2011
iPhone 4

Apple's iPhone 4

A German security agency has disclosed a security hole in the Apple devices, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that could expose them to hacker attacks. Apple says it is working on a patch that will be included in an upcoming software update. Meanwhile, you might want to be careful about opening PDF files.

Hackers could use the security hole to trick users into clicking on an infected PDF file, according to Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security, which called the security holes “a critical weakness.” Here’s the Associated Press report on the security flaw.

Facebook may stream music and become a full multi-media platform

Mobiledia reports that programmers have found a line of code in Facebook’s video app that leads some to predict that it may team up with the Swedish online music company Spotify, which plans to launch in the United States soon. Spotify, a music service similar to Pandora, Last.fm and other Internet radio apps, lets users play music on PCs or mobile devices for free.

The report notes that Facebook may be moving toward being a more complete multi-media platform and has already signed a deal with Warner Bros. to stream films such as the most recent Batman epic, “The Dark Knight,” on the site. The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, has joined Facebook’s board and it’s possible Netflix may also stream movies on the site.

Of course, Facebook would add the social component of allowing friends to listen to music or watch movies together or share music and videos with each other.

Groupon changes privacy policy

GrouponGroupon, the Chicago-based local deal firm has changed its privacy policy. It says it will start collecting more information about users to share with its business partners. It also will use geo-location data to market deals.

It disclosed the changes in an email to ist 83 million subscribers. The company, which plans to go public soon at a valuation analysts say could reach $30 billion, also disclosed the details of how it collects, stores and shares data.

While polls have shown that privacy is a major concern among mobile device users, others suggest that people actually like getting targeted ads they may actually be interested in because of their location or interests. But the changes do suggest that people will have to give up one to get the other.

These daily local deal firms have been the hot potatos on the electron griddle for some time now, but one analyst suggests they may not have a sustainable business over the long term.

Google+ mass notifications due to exhausting disk space

GoogleIf you’re an early Google+ user you may have seen an avalanche of email from the the service Friday.

Google’s head of social, Vic Gundotra says it was because the company ran out of disk space on the service tracking notifications for about 80 minutes. So the system kept sending notifications over and over. He said the company did not expect to hit its thresholds as fast as it did and pointed out that Google+ is still in “a field trial.”

Google+, though still limited to invited users, has already stressed Google’s infrastructure. The company is often criticized for keepting some of its services in perpetual Beta.

Google+ has created more buzz by a rocket shot than Google Buzz did, although the later may get a boost from Google+.

 

Pandora share price tumbles as media notes negatives

Friday, June 17th, 2011

PandoraPandora, (NYSE:P) the online radio service, saw its share prices tumble below its offering price of $16 in its second day of trading. The company’s shares were trading at $13.26 Thursday as the markets close.

Although the company’s shares rose as high as $26 following its initial public offering of stock Wednesday, they fell to $17.42 by the day’s close.

Following the smashing success of business social networking site LinkedIn’s IPO, Pandora’s debut on the NYSE was highly anticipated.

The company, however, has yet to make a profit, despite having 90 million users, and much media commentary about the Pandora IPO focused on the firm’s downsides. Those include a small advertiser base compared to its user base, the cost of its contracts with music labels (to which it pays a royalty every time a user plays a tune), and its losses despite increasing revenue.

Every time Pandora gains a customer, it has to pay more music royalties. Pandora also must renegotiate its contracts with the music labels in two years.

Pandora doubled its first quarter revenue in 2011 to $51 million, but also doubled its losses to $6.8 million compared to the same period last year.

LinkedIn (Linkd) , by comparison, is profitable and saw its first quarter revenue rise to $93.9 million, up 110 percent over the same period last year.

Groupon, the daily deal site that has raised a billion dollars in venture backing and filed to go public earlier this month, has also faced significant losses, chalking up a profit only in the first quarter of 2010. It lost $146.5 million in the first quarter this year.

A Rice University study says that daily deal sites are not developing a sustainable business. That could affect how Groupon’s IPO performs.

 

Pandora turns up the volume on coming IPO

Friday, June 10th, 2011

PandoraPandora, the popular Internet radio service, has boosted the range of its initial public offering of stock to $10 to $12 a share, up from $7 to $9. The company disclosed the change in a new version of its S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The change brings the company’s valuation to $1.9 billion.

Pandora plans to trade on the NYSE under the symbol “P.”

The company said in the filing that it will offer 6,000,682 shares of its common stock while shareholders sell 8,683,318 in its IPO.

Pandora has 94 million registered users (including us. We frequently have it playing softly in the background as we work). The company says it adds a new registered user every second. It had revenue of $52 million in the first quarter of 2011, up from $29.6 million in the same period last year.

The company charges for ad-free premium memberships with higher sound quality and for listening more than 40 hours in a month.

Pandora attracted $56.3 million in venture backing. It is one of a handful of upcoming digital media IPOs highly anticipated by investors and the venture community following LinkedIn’s (Linkd) smashing IPO.

 

 

Pandora’s Internet radio, news, social media sites grabbing mobile users

Monday, June 6th, 2011

PandoraThe Internet radio site Pandora, which set terms for its initial public offering of stock last week, is nabbing more users on mobile devices than it does from its desktop PC users, according to the first “beta” Total Universe report from comScore, the digital measurement firm.

Of Pandora’s total traffic of 31.8 million users, 20.7 million came from mobile devices and $18.2 million from desktops. Cameron Meierhoefer wrote in a comScore blog post, “o exclude the mobile media channel from Pandora’s audience is to ignore the majority of its audience. And while Pandora may still be somewhat of an outlier case, the example highlights the extent to which mobile can drive traffic for certain brands – especially those whose value proposition largely relies on mobility, such as Internet radio. It’s also an indication of where the digital landscape is headed.”

Pandora Total Universe Audience by Unique Visitors (000)

Email and social networking and going to news sites are also a major use of mobile devices, the comScore report says.

The mobile audience reached by the New York Times, the largest digital newspaper, represents almost one million readers, too large an audience to ignore, while other papers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune are seeing even larger percentages of their audiences coming to them via mobile.

Meierhoefer concludes that “mobile media usage is only going to become an increasingly large piece of the media consumption pie. Smartphone and tablet users are shifting a meaningful share of their total media consumption away from traditional PCs. Continued adoption of these digital access platforms has significant implications for publishers who get paid by advertisers to reach specific audiences at scale.”

He notes that at present, 70 percent of Americans do not use smartphones, so increasing penetration coupled with mobile optimized content and services is likely to see an even greater migration from PCs to mobile devices.

Pandora sets IPO terms, would have $1.4B market cap at high end of range

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

PandoraPandora Media Inc., the California-based Internet radio company, has set the terms for it planned initial public offering of stock. It will offer 13.68 million commons shares at between $7 and $9 a share, which would give it a market cap of about $1.4 billion at the high end of its range.

The company plans to trade on the NYSE exchange under the ticker symbol “P.”

Pandora is probably the best known of the Internet radio stations that allow users to create their own stations themed around music genres, bands, or performers and uses an algorithm to serve up other music users may also like.

Pandora raised about $56 million in venture backing from investors who include, according ot PE Hub: Crosslink Capital (22.92% pre-IPO stake), Walden Venture Capital (18.67%), Greylock Partners (14.06%), Labrador Ventures (8.46%), The Hearst Corp. (5.73%) and GGV Capital (5.15%). Reports say Hearst plans to sell approximately half its stake.

We use Pandora almost daily and have even paid to continue using it when we listen for more than 40 hours before a month ends. The site also allows users to buy tunes or albums they like and serves up ads as well. It also sells a premium, ad-free, no limit service with higher quality sound.

When we first started using the service and mentioned it to friends, most had not heard of it. Now, nearly everyone we know uses it from time to time.

We expect it’s IPO will make another big splash, assuming the economy as a whole hasn’t stalled due to continuing problems.

Chicago-based Groupon, the daily deal site, has also filed for an IPO, and other big Internet players such as Facebook, Twitter and Facebook game-maker Zynga are also expected to line up for IPOs within a year or so if not sooner.

 

Adobe patches 11 security holes, Starbucks tops online, LinkedIn IPO

Monday, May 16th, 2011

General SentimentAdobe has released patches for 11 security holes in its Flash Player software, including one reports say is already being exploited via email Microsoft Word or Excel attachments targeting Windows operating systems.

The vulnerabilities affect Flash versions 10.2.159.1 and earlier. Adobe issued this advisory.

You have to worry about all the holes in the products that make the digital world go round. I’m beginning to think we’ll eventually all need the kind of separate sandboxes that keep the bad guys out (of the sort Herndon, VA-based Nzero makes.

LinkedIn plans IPO Thursday, leading a parade of digital firms likely to go public

Business social network LinkedIn expects to launch its initial offering of stock Thursday, May 19, hoping to raise up to $274 million. It is the first major social media firm to go public, but certainly won’t be the last.

Facebook, Zynga, Groupon, Pandora, Yelp, and Angry Birds maker Rovio are also likely to launch IPOs in the next year and half.

Eight-year-old LinkedIn, an elder among those newcomers, hit 100 million users this spring (March) and achieved profitability in 2010. It was valued at $2.51 billion going by trading on SharesPost.

It plans to sell 7.84 million shares in the $32 to $35 each range.  It had Q1 revenue of $93.9 million, up 110 percent from the same period last year. It had net income of $2 million.

Starbucks dominates quick-service online discussion in Q1

Starbucks racked up an online media value of $77 million in Q1, dominating online quick service brand discussions, according to measurement firm General Sentiment. It was followed by McDonald’s, which managed about half that at $37 million.

Starbucks introduced its smartphone prepaid payments system in January and processed more than 3 million transactions, generating the more than $77 million in what General Sentiment calls “Impact Media Value,” its patented metric for measuring brand reach, discussion and exposure.

McDonald’s got a boost from its allegedly “healthier” breakfast oatmeal item, which stirred considerable skepticism online, because it actually has more calories than a regular McDonald’s burger. Download the full report.

Ad serving Kindle tops Amazon best-seller chart

According to Amazon’s bestseller chart, its new, less expensive ($114 vs. $139 for the regular Wifi version) Kindle e-reader that serves up ads is outselling the other new versions, although they’re two and three on the chart.

Amazon noted sometime back that ebooks outsold hardcovers, then paperbacks as well on the site. I can understand why. I love regular dead tree books. I have a house full of them and no where to put more, but I’ve bought half a dozen ebooks for my Kindle without further straining my already sagging shelves. –Allan Maurer

Email TJS Editor Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com.