Category Archives: Tech Predictions

Disney announces name of Netflix competitor

Disney this week announced the name of its new streaming service, said to be a direct competitor to Netflix.

I’ve been listening to The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding via Audible. Great read…or listen.

A section that really caught my attention was on naming a company, particularly when entering a new category.

According to the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, if Disney wanted to compete with Netflix, it should have gone with a completely new name.

Instead, they went with Disney+ (Disney Plus).

Disney-Plus-Logo

This was a mistep for a couple reasons. For one, the Disney brand means a lot more to people than movies, so having a Disney Plus doesn’t really signify what the product is.

And secondly, Plus is common word, one used in recent startups like Google Plus (shut down in 2018); as well as Nike Plus; and most notably with Hulu Plus (which Hulu later dropped), another streaming service, owned by none other than The Walt Disney Company, along with 21st Century Fox (acquired by Disney), Comcast and AT&T.

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Zimedium Podcast Ep 2

5 Tech Predictions for 2014

5 Tech Predictions for 2014

Welcome to the third-annual 5 Tech Predictions, where I analyze trends from the previous year (compiled on http://twitter.com/ericzimmett) and predict what will take shape within the next year. Centered around social media, streaming TV and technology.

5. Amazon Prime becomes No. 2 streaming service behind Netflix

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 9.40.09 AM

Amazon, already a force in the UK with LoveFilm, will make some noise with Amazon Prime and look to challenge Netflix.

YouTube’s king for shortform video, Netflix for longform TV and Movies. But Amazon stakes claim at No. 2 in 2014 behind Netflix.

4. Original Programming Unloads

netflix_logo

Netflix credits original programming for its big gain in 2013. Netflix, Amazon, and other players unload on original programming in 2014.

Original programming puts Netflix on a similar level as HBO. In fact, Netflix is becoming more and more like the HBO of the cable-cutting generation. We’re already seeing original programming from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and more. Watch for it to continue in a big way in 2014.

3. Online Recommendation Engines 

recommend

From Netflix to Foursquare, recommendations will reign in 2014.

Netflix has built its dashboard on recommendations; Foursquare is changing its focus to a recommendation search engine; Redbox is sending movie recommendations via email; and dozens of others will follow.

We’re submitting mounds of data online through clicks, purchases, and check-ins. All of that data finally pays off in 2014 by providing excellent recommendations. Watch for all of our online services to start recommending content, including advertising.   

2. Mobile surpasses desktop

Deskopoly_DESK_Mobiles_iPhone_iPad_android_HTC_Windows_Mobile

YouTube mobile use is currently at 40%, up from 25% the previous year. Social network use is already at more than 50 percent mobile. In 2014, the rest of the web will catch up.

Nearly 200 million Facebook users are mobile only, and mobile accounts for 30 percent of Facebook’s revenue. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat are built for mobile. From browsing to socializing, streaming and shopping, mobile is where it’s at in 2014 as it overtakes desktop usage.

1. HBO introduces standalone streaming service

hbo-logo

Netflix has now surpassed HBO with the most subscribers, at 40 million, though HBO’s revenue is still above the streaming leader.

The peer pressure finally gets to HBO as it releases a standalone streaming service, likely late in 2014.

Though, like cable, it’s higher priced than most want to pay. In the $25 per month range. Showtime is another contender for standalone premium cable.

Both have cable-invested backers in Time Warner (HBO) and CBS (Showtime), which will delay a standalone subscription model, but watch for either one to roll out this option in 2014.

~

A LOOK BACK AT 2013. 

Eric’s Ad Blog 5 Tech Predictions for 2013

5. Second Screen takes off

4. Facebook loses market share

3. Mobile Payments become mainstream

2. Free city-wide Internet

1. Big Netflix Competitor

Read the full 2013 predictions report here.

Where Google+ one-ups Facebook

There’s one thing that Google+ already does better than Facebook: engagement. It’s the backbone of Google+. The network’s social graph is either better built than Facebook or they’re playing a different game.

google_plus_music

Google’s mission with Plus has been to make it more like real life. Its Hangout feature is suppose to resemble a real-world encounter of bumping into someone on the street. Circles is like our own circle of friends. Its Communities resemble actual conferences, grouping together people with like interests, whether it’s Geeks, Photographers, Programmers or Artists. Even the social graph itself seems to encourage more interaction and chance encounters.

Meanwhile, Facebook has its eyes set on becoming a digital newspaper. In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a press conference in Menlo Park the company’s new newsfeed layout will serve as a “personalized newspaper.” Facebook appears to be content with connecting friends and family. Though its goal “to make the world more open and connected” seems to ring better with Google+ than Facebook.

Shortly after its closed beta release, in July of 2011, Eric’s Ad Blog took a look at the two networks and the public opinion that I believed would follow. As Facebook becomes a place for everyone, it loses its cool. If everyone’s doing it, it’s not cool; it’s just there.

The truth is, with the launch of Google+, Facebook risks losing all of its cool factor. Google+ is following in Facebook’s footsteps, making its initial release available to a small audience in a closed beta. Facebook was at first open only to college students (Major cool factor).

Google+ is using an invitation system (Equally cool).  Those who were selected to join Google+ were able to invite other users to the network. These invite-only users are like VIP guests to Google’s party.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s busy hanging out with your mom and dad (Not so cool).

I also speculated how the 18-24 demographic would view Google+ and Facebook, particularly when everyone is on Facebook, even our parents and in some cases grandparents.

…how will the 18-24 demo, Facebook’s biggest user base, view Goolge+? (And even 25-34. Users under 35 make up more than 62 percent of Facebook users, according to iStrategy Labs.)

Very likely, they’ll view Google+ as a cool new hangout where they can connect with friends, chat, share photos and status updates without mom.

“It’s almost like they’re the only ones on there. All your relatives are constantly commenting on your stuff. I appreciate the gesture and wanting to keep up with my life, but it’s kind of annoying,” Baret Steed, 15, told TIME in “Is Facebook Losing Its Cool? Some Teens Think So,” from March 8, 2013.

Based on what we’ve seen from Facebook and the words of Zuckerberg, Facebook is a newspaper to stay up-to-date with friends and family. Google+ is more akin to a  networking convention.

Which means the two can co-exist for now.

In time, however, our friends will be on Goolge+ too.

Then things will get interesting. 

5 Tech Predictions for 2013

5. Second Screen takes off – The second screen takes on the big screen.

The second screen is taking over. Users are splitting their time between the main screen and a second screen  companion devices and apps. For live shows, users turn to Twitter. For movies and streaming content, users stick to GetGlue to check-in and provide live commentary. (If you’re into streaming video like Netflix and Hulu Plus, you’ll want to check out GetGlue.) In November, GetGlue was acquired by TV-loyalty service Viggle for $25 million in cash and 48 million shares.AirPlay-like devices also allow users to stream media from a tablet or smartphone wirelessly to a television set. It opens up content from apps or the web and makes it playable on a user’s TV. Apple AirPlay on Apple TV is one of the first and best. More are on the way in 2013.
4. Facebook loses market share– due in large part to audience fragmentation.Facebook has an enormous lead when it comes to audience share among social networks because it’s always one step ahead of the competition. The same changes that infuriate some users are the ones that keep others wanting more. MySpace lost users because it was stagnant. Facebook doesn’t want to suffer the same fate.
But users will begin to explore other options in 2013, including LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Path and others, all of which have adopted the “Newsfeed” layout. Users will spend more time on these sites, which means less time spent on Facebook. Foursquare, for example, has de-emphasized its leaderboard and put more focus on the newsfeed and its “Explore” feature. 

3. Mobile Payments become mainstream –  Square launched in 7,000 Starbucks coffee houses in November of 2012. Today, Square is processing $10 billion in annual mobile payments. In 2013 mobile payments will become mainstream.

Joining Square in the mobile payment race are competitors Google Wallet, PayPal, Intuit, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, VeriFone, among others.

2. Free city-wide Internet – Public Wi-Fi gets closer to the streets in 2013. Already available at many restaurants and stores, more hotspots are on the way. 

But more than just hotspots: Google has been working on a city-wide Wi-Fi network for some time, with the first attempt around 2007. It’s Google Fiber project seems to have taken the spotlight, as the company rolled out the high-speed broadband network in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2012. 

I feel like now is the time to break some ground on city-wide Wi-Fi. 

The Tel Aviv municipality announced in December of 2012 that it would be deploying a city-wide Wi-Fi network in Israel, headed by Motorola Solutions, that includes 80 relay stations for free wireless access. Watch for a similar service to hit the United States in 2013.

1. Big Netflix Competitor– I predicted it for 2012. Redbox Instant by Verizon launched in Beta in December of 2012. Could it be the Next Netflix? Others are rumored to be teaming up for a service. Amazon Instant Video is gaining steam, though is part of a much larger plan for Amazon. It will take a lot of financial backing which is why we’ll likely see businesses teaming up on this one. Hulu is handcuffed by its owners (Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Disney and News Corp.).
Whether it’s Redbox and Verizon, Amazon or another new service, watch for it to take off in 2013. 

5 tech predictions for 2012

Read last year’s 5 Tech Predictions here.

Five Internet TV Predictions for 2013

Some early Internet TV predictions and Trends to Watch in 2013.

1. Cloud Takes Off – Movies in the cloud in 2K13

example: Vudu

2. Direct Access is King– Skipping the middle man

example: Louis CK, selling his special online and later tickets to his show

3. Original Programming for Web TV

example: Hulu’s Booth at the End. Netflix Lillyhammer, YouTube original programming, etc

4. HBO Breaks from Cable

example: First sign was HBO offering free premieres of Newsroom, Girls and Veep…. Later,  deal with Hulu in Japan…consumers are pushing for it at takemymoneyHBO.com

5. Internet TV viewing surpasses cable and satellite

example:  in June, Netflix subscribers watched 1 billion hours of video…more than cable, the first time web video surpassed cable. This will become the norm in 2013.

Pandora and the Evolution of Radio

All media must evolve to stay relevant in our lives. We’re seeing it now on four levels: news, communication, commerce and entertainment.

The way we get our news is changing, from print to web and apps. We communicate and interact daily on Facebook and text messages. We shop online more than ever before. We’re entertained not by video-rental stores but by Netflix and Hulu. The radio dial we used to turn is now a digital dial.

Shifts in consumer behavior force media to evolve. Today that shift is toward personalization.

Pandora, the leading Internet radio service, is the evolution of FM radio. Its customized radio plays songs it knows we’ll like – it learns our tastes – using Pandora’s Music Genome Project.

Image provided by Pandora

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on StateCollege.com in Tech Talk, a biweekly column by Eric Zimmett. Click here to view the original column.

Pandora announced Tuesday at the International CTIA Wireless 2012 conference in New Orleans that it has surpassed 150 million registered users, nearly 52 million of which are active listeners. It is now one of the most-used online services in the United States.

In April, Pandora users clocked 1.06 billion listening hours, an 87 percent increase over the same time last year.

Audience measurement and consumer research company The Media Audit revealed last week that Pandora is the No. 1 listened to station in Los Angeles, beating out KIIS-FM.

The Media Audit found that Internet radio has reached 20 percent saturation; which means there’s still plenty of room to grow. Among 18 to 34 year olds, the saturation – or market presence – hits 36.6 percent.

Ways to Tune In:  some of today’s popular destinations for music

  • Pandora: Personalized Internet radio service that creates stations based on your favorite artists and songs. Pandora offers free and premium Pandora One, which features ad-free listening for about $3 per month.
  • Sirius XM: Subscription satellite radio service starting at $14.49 per month featuring more than 140 channels including 71 commercial-free music channels plus news, talk, sports and more. You’ll need a Sirius or XM radio to use the service, unless you opt for an online-only subscription for about $13 per month. Sirius XM is also available in select vehicle models.
  • Spotify: On-demand music. Enter an artist and play the tracks you want to hear. Spotify also features genre-specific stations and the new Playlist Radio. Free on desktop or laptop computers – but to play on mobile devices or tablets Spotify Premium ($9.99 per month) is required.
  • Slacker: Slacker plays songs based on your favorite artists or tracks, in addition to genre-specific stations. Slacker has a free level and two premium options: Slacker Plus ($3.99 per month) and Slacker Premium ($9.99 per month), with Slacker Premium featuring on-demand music like Spotify.
  • Songza: Songza sets itself apart with its Music Concierge featuring situation-based music, from Waking Up, to Unwinding After a Long Day, or even A Sweaty Dance Party.
  • Others: Grooveshark, Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody

According to the annual Infinite Dial study released last month by Arbitron and Edison Research, weekly Internet radio listening jumped more than 30 percent in the past year. The study includes streaming AM and FM stations.

Pandora listeners hit 22 percent of people 12 years and older who’ve listened in the past month, up from 16 percent last year, according to the same study.

New car tech is catching up, too. Including “Infotainment” systems that connect to Internet radio services like Pandora and satellite radio service Sirius XM. Pandora is available in 48 vehicle models across 18 brands and an array of aftermarket multimedia systems.

Cars with built-in iPod sync and audio jacks enable a driver to either wirelessly sync a device or plug it in, playing the audio through the car’s stereo system.

More than 70 percent of Pandora’s listening hours were from a device other than the computer, the company announced Tuesday. This correlates with the growing number of mobile devices and users accessing the Internet – and Internet radio – away from the computer.

In the past two years, smartphone ownership has tripled. The percentage of people who’ve listened to Internet radio by connecting a mobile device to the car stereo has experienced a 50 percent increase in the past 12 months, reaching 17 percent, according to Arbitron and Edison Research.

More than half of users between 18 and 24 years old have listened to an iPod or mp3 player in the car as their main source of music. One in five is streaming Pandora, according to a separate study by Arbitron and Edison Research.

In-car listening is the biggest area of potential growth for Internet radio services. In the next five years, Internet radio will gain more ground in the car. It’s only a matter of time before the technology hits the streets and moves along the adoption curve.

Turning the dial

Like television and newspapers, radio is evolving by adapting to shifts in the way we live – and listen.

The consumer’s desire for personalized media is driving the shift. We’re responsible for the changes that are occurring. It’s happening because we asked for it. Companies like Pandora and Spotify exist because they noticed it before the others, maybe even before we noticed it.

Consumers told them what they wanted; and they were listening. They responded with services that are transforming the radio landscape.

“Mobile connectivity has allowed us to deliver on our mission of providing people with music they love…” said Pandora President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Kennedy.

“The continued growth of Pandora shows that personalized radio is fundamentally changing the way people listen to music.”