I was asked today how I define Cloud TV. To me Cloud TV means the consumer is pulling content and programming from a web service. Programming doesn’t sit on the TV box but rather on the web. This means a consumer can leave a viewing footprint of their TV habits like they do today their web surfing habit. It brings the advanced nature of web traffic measurement to the TV.
I was lucky enough to attend the Web 2.0 Conference this week as a guest of Federated Media. It was definitely one of the best lineups I’ve ever seen for a tech conference. The CEOs of most major digital media companies (Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Foursquare, eBay) were there with the exception of Yahoo (they don’t have a CEO) and Facebook (they sent their CTO). The theme of the conference was data and while that sounds boring it’s actually quite a compelling story if you are watching what’s happening with digital convergence. The one notable company missing was Amazon who is arguably the biggest data miners of all. It’s fascinating to hear how start ups are creating business models out of behavior patterns revealed through our online and mobile footprints. The theme throughout was challenging web developers and digital companies to build business practices steeped in data because it’s all there for the taking. Digital companies can manage work flow, supply chain, inventory and customer support centers better if the data is shared across all of them.
Below are a few snippets of themes that emerged;
Flash Sales are all the rage – The darling of the show was One Kings Lane. Other examples are Guilt and HauteLook. Flash sales sites combine immediacy with deals and limited inventory drives the urgency to buy. One Kings Lane has seen exponential growth in the last year.
Signal to noise issue is prevalent – This is a concern for Twitter in particular. There is so much chatter on Twitter it’s hard to sort between what’s relevant to the user (signal) and what’s not (noise). In order for people to find enough value in Twitter to come back there has to be a better way to curate the amount of content coming through. Facebook has a similar issue but not to the extent of Twitter because most people have a much smaller Facebook community. To find real value in Twitter users need a better why to sort through the constant noise.
X.Commerce – eBay’s new developer platform to build commerce business. But the term can be applied more generally than that. Consumers are not looking to have one type of shopping experience; Ecommerce, Mcommerce (mobile), Fcommerce (Facebook) or brick and mortar. It’s the combination of all of them that brings the greatest value. Consumers now have transparency to pricing while in the shopping experience. That transparency makes consumers more confident and educated when making their purchases. It’s not enough to provide one shopping solution, or even optimize for one. A shopping ecosystem should include touch points across all commerce experiences so a brand doesn’t lose the sale to competitors while they are standing in the isles.
Social network traffic surpassed portal traffic for the first time in June, 2011. This is a fundamental shift in how consumers are getting their information from the web. Rather than surfing portals like MSN and Yahoo where content is chosen for you, consumers are curating their content by choosing who the follow and like and getting information from their status updates and Twitter feeds. Personalization for all.
Social/Local/Mobile – the combination of these functions and how they connect is driving digital commerce like never before. It’s when the three feature work together that consumer have the greatest value. Consumers will likely begin to opt into push messages if they see enough value in the offerings and services local and mobile tied with their social graph allow.
More to come…..
Will the digital and TV worlds finally come together? One can hope.
It’s Friday morning and I’m heading home from Ad Week 2011. I had some great conversations with folks from media companies, ad agencies and brands. Each conversations spurred different thoughts of how I will apply what I heard when I get back to Redmond and need to contextualize the content into my world which is Microsoft. Lot’s of talk of mobile and social, no surprise there. I did find it somewhat amusing when I sat in on a Ad Age panel where two ad men (that’s what they call themselves) reminisced about the good of days when an ad was and ad was an ad. No confusion about is it social, is it viral, will people share it, tweet it, view it?? I also was struck by what a disconnect still exists between the NY ad world and Silicon Valley. While New Yorkers certainly know and love Facebook and Twitter I was hard pressed to find folks that had actually been out to the Bay area and immersed themselves in that culture. There is certainly still a line that exists between Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley – which surprises me. New York is still talks in TRPs and San Fran is about CPCs. These worlds need to come closer together to find value in each others offerings.
At the end of my panel on Thursday I was asked by a reporter from Dubai what I think the next three biggest things are for marketers. I thought it was a pretty good question and would make a good blog post so here is what I told her;
- New Markets of Time – I stole this phrase from a great presentation I saw given by the VP of Marketing at ESPN. The evolution of mobile usage with smart phones and tablets have opened up a whole new opportunity for media. Where we all used to stand at bus stops, ride on trains, fly on planes and stand at kids ballgames with nothing else to do but watch we now have devices that entertain and inform wherever we go. This is a new market of time that used to not exist for media opportunities. Now people shop 24/7 and retailers should understand how to better communicate value to their customers while they are standing in that grocery line. What’s more ESPN was able to measure across their 4 screen strategy to understand that these new distribution channels (ipad and smart phone apps) do not cannibalize their TV viewing time but in fact increase usage time of their moderate to heavy users. Where before a consumer would turn on ESPN when they got home to check scores, now they check scores during the commute or in the grocery line, but they will still tune it at home. This is key to understand because it will determine how content providers should be thinking about their content distribution.
- Content is fluid – I was asked by someone how Microsoft thinks about the 30 second spot and I told them that I hope we don’t think about a 30 second spot anymore. What we should be thinking about is how to create great content that tells compelling stories and let that content take whatever format fits the channel. It may be cut into 15 and 30 second spots for TV, but have long form video for YouTube and Facebook to entertain. Maybe it’s a series of customer testimonials that get posted on our .com site but also run in vignettes on XBox Live. I want to think of content as great stories and great entertainment rather than fitting it into the model of a media format. A great example of this is what Mercedes Benz is doing. They have a series of compelling customer testimonials around car safety and how the technology in a Mercedes Benz can actually stop an accident before it occurs. These stories take several forms, including; 30 second spots for TV, web content on MercedesBenz.com as and video display as part of their media strategy.
- Consumer data footprint across 4 screens – This I didn’t hear much of at Ad Week but am personally very interested in. Consumer like never before are leaving vast amounts of data across all four screens through credit card purchase, rewards cards, set top box viewing, web browser, app usage and c-commerce shopping and buying. Today much of this data is disperse and doesn’t talk to each other. The real value is when you overlay all the data together to have an optimal picture of an individual consumer. Mobile payments systems are promising to bring this data together to make the best consumer experience possible by linking couponing, rewards cards, past purchase behavior and even budgeting constraints to the shopping experience. If I could be marketed to by a brand more efficiently it’s likely I would be open to push messages. For example; I walk into Nordstrom and Nordstrom knows I am a purchaser of Sam Edelman shoes and frequent their tbd department (all true). It makes sense that I would be interested in new items or discounted items within these departments but I probably would be much less interested in a mens furnishings sale. That’s hyper targeting me as a individual consumer based on data I have already given the merchant.
These are just a few of the areas I think are going to emerge as great topics for discussion as we continue our innovation planning.