Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Future is a Japanese Schoolgirl

Basically, just a few quick jottings tonight.... Per the WSJ, the average high school girl in Japan sends about 200 SMS messages a day. The source for that is quoted as Hiromitsu Sakuma, group director of 141 World Wide, a divison of Ogilvy that helps firms brand themselves in Japan. meanwhile cites a Gartner study saying that worldwide SMS volume will double by 2008. The research shows that an estimated 936 billion SMS messages were sent worldwide in 2005. Gartner predicts this will reach 2.3 trillion by 2010. The highest growth will be in North America, where high school girls are now sending considerably fewer than 200 messages a day.

Newspapers Turn to Local Video

This month's issue of OMMA reports on the trend of local newspapers (very local, in some cases) adopting video strategies. This multi-platform initiative is often done on a shoestring and shows some great initiative. Florida's Naples Daily News is cited as slick, well produced and ahead of the curve.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Newspapers, The Next Frontier?

Mark Cuban has some thoughts about the future of the newspaper in this month's issue of Esquire, where he is identified as one of the Best and Brightest of 2006. He says, "So newspapers aren't dying; they're just undergoing an indentity crisis. They don't know who they want to be." He follows up, that the unique function of newspapers is to provide in-depth reporting and context. Breaking news can come from other places. Finally, he believes it's still a good business. "Newspapers aren't dying. Newspapers are making tons of money; they just aren't keeping their shareholders happy, they aren't meeting their expectations on Wall Street."

No Such Thing as Free Lunch Department

Skype announced today that they will begin charging a $30 annual fee for unlimited phone service. And a Merry Christmas to you too.

The Network Comes Calling
We're sure you've seen it, and read it, but in the words of The New York Times' Virginia Heffernan, Amanda Congdon, "a droll, blond Rosalind Russell for the digital generation — has at last landed at"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Next Big Thing

I continue to believe that mobile technologies will be the next big thing to hit the U.S. It might not even happen next year, but it will happen. The mobile wars continue in Asia, which is literally light years ahead of where we are in the US of A.

In a recent study the GSM, the global trade association for mobile operators, announced that multi-media messaging (MMS), the older, wiser brother to SMS has already become a popular service overseas and is poised to pop. Mobile email may have even greater potential, according to the poll.

“This comprehensive survey shows that there is considerable appetite for rich messaging services that broaden the range of communications options open to mobile phone users,” said Bill Gajda, Chief Marketing Officer of the GSMA. “After a slow start, MMS has gained a loyal following, while mobile email is clearly emerging as a must-have service for many people.”

Not surprising mobile email was the most popular usage in the U.S. In Europe and Asia, it was text messaging, followed by mobile email and MMS. The preference chart is interesting:

Text messaging (SMS)
Alerts via SMS/MMS
Instant messaging
Web browsing and searching
Location-based services
Mobile radio
Financial transactions
Downloading content
Mobile TV
Video calling
Video sharing

The Year Behind, The Year Ahead

It's getting to be that time of year when the Top 10 lists are compiled. Of course, my top trend of the year was the momentum picked up by multi-platform technology and content, but that comprises a great deal. Read/Write Web has compiled a great list of trends and developments, vintage 2006. Among other highlights, it notes 2006 as the Year of the Social Network. Also, the year that still is was the year that many tech applications were made consumer friendly (e.g. Skype, IM) or at least adopted in larger numbers by consumers. It has also been the year when VC money returned to the fore, though in amounts smaller than the Bubble years. Ironically, there are fewer startups needing, wanting or willing to take large cash infusions. It has also been a hot year for video on the web.

Interesting.... the site also points out that world Internet penetration is 16%, and that 3/4 of web traffic to the larger sites is international.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pop Up Mania

It is a story that has been floating around for a while, but today the New York Times reported that and several other publishing sites have been inflating their circ numbers (I'm shocked, shocked I tell you). The way it worked is that content (actual content, not ads) was popping up all over the place. The result was that the site's traffic more than tripled from about 2 million to 7.6 million according to the Times. That translates into some serious cash. Others busted in Pop Upgate include (the site belonging to Conde Nast Traveler), and says that the content was placed by third parties, without its knowledge.

NYT New Media Saga Continues

Speaking of the Times, John Cook of the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that is linking to Facebook, Digg and Newsvine. Material on the Times' blogs and NYT Select will not be available for sharing. Thus, one wonders if the NYT is in the midst of making another online misstep, inviting the type of controversy that accompanied the introduction of the paper's select service.