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Why Publishers Should Hate Apps But Don’t (Yet)

publishers-hate-apps

The Huffington Post

In April 2010, Apple released the iPad. News and magazine publishers were ecstatic. The digital platform allowed a lot of extras such as photos, videos and interactive elements that made for a much richer experience.

Apple’s innovation opened the floodgates for publishing companies to crash the mobile party by using Apple’s new device to showcase their beautiful print publications the way they were intended to be seen. Apple capitalized by setting up an easy-to-use pay wall for publishers to upload their content.

Enter the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an organization that monitors circulation and customer base information for magazines and newspapers in North America, which declared that “rate base” would once again be the foundation for setting online advertising rates…

In: Huffington Post

 

Santa Should Retire

bezos-sleigh

Santa (aka Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon) is expanding operations this year to include a warehouse large enough to house 28 football fields.  That’s on top of 40 more warehouses or fulfillment centers  of similar size across the country. That is because online shopping is expected to grow 16.8% to $54.5 billion year-on-year. A massive upswing.

Of course, Santa needs to deliver all those presents. Luckily to help out Santa’s reindeers there is Fedex and UPS.

UPS said that it expects to deliver 527 million packages this year. That’s about 300 packages delivered each second of every single day between now and Christmas Day.

FedEx is predicting about 280 million deliveries this year up from 247 million shipments last year.

Both companies expect to beef up their elf(man)power this year. UPS is hiring a 55,000 person seasonal workforce, and FedEx 20,000 more Santa’s helpers.

It’s probably time Old Saint Nicholas got out of the production and distribution business and left that to Amazon, UPS and Fedex. Instead he should spend all of his time doing what he does best. Marketing.

Microsoft’s Tablet Is Here, But Will Buyers Surface?

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft’s Surface might be worth the $499 price tag. It certainly has lots of nice features. Here they are:

The Surface has a detachable top cover. It can be converted into a keypad or users can opt in for the built in screen keypad. The removable cover that can be connected to the tablet using a remarkable magnet, strong enough to hold the tablet upside down! Compared to the iPad’s 9.5” height and 7.3” width, the Surface is 10.8” x 6.7”. This gives it a wider and thinner rectangle which in turn makes it a better fit for movie playback. It has stereo speakers and its front and back video cameras are 720p high definition. It has a memory-card slot to expand the storage, a video output jack and a USB 2.0 jack. Any USB device can be easily connected to it: keyboard, mouse, flash drive, speakers, hard drive and so on. The battery lasts up to eight to ten hours. The screen is a very sharp 1,366 by 768 pixels. The Surface uses Windows 8. The Start screen is a patchwork of colorful, interactive tiles. You tap one to open an app, swipe down on one to “right click” it, swipe across to reveal more pages. Each tile is also a tiny dashboard, showing your next appointment, latest Facebook post, today’s weather and so on. It is fast, fluid and fun to use.

 

Who gives a sh*t?! (I hope you skipped reading the previous paragraph).

 

Consumers no longer care too much about features. The quality of most products is now so good that most people find it difficult to pick one camera or screen pixel count over another.

What we really care about now is the extras. Apps.

And that is where Microsoft is a long way behind the market. Apple has 700,000 or so apps. Google’s app store has 675,000. Surface has maybe 10,000.

In the early days, consumers will weigh this up in their decisioning especially as there is no price differential buying a Surface or an iPad. In fact, you can get the iPad Mini for $329.

This leads to another point: a tablet that has a keyboard in the cover is ostensibly a very clever feature. However I am not so sure consumers will decide to make a purchase based on this feature alone. We all have laptops. We are buying the tablet for another reason. It is a content consumption device. Not a workstation. I don’t see tablets replacing laptops anytime soon despite the fact that I now use my tablet as much as I use my tablets (yes, I have a few). When it comes to banging out complex multi sheet spreadsheets a tablet won’t cut it even if it has a keyboard.

As a consumer, I welcome the competition. It is only going to lower the price of tablets and speed up the pace of tablet adoption. And as a business owner in the space (we serving advertising to tablet users), more tablets in more hands should mean more business for us.

Nevertheless it’s going to be a long uphill climb for Microsoft’s Surface.

 

What do you think?

AOL Revenue Is Up (Almost). Aren’t They Dead Already?

AOL was supposed to be dead by now. Or at least on it’s last gasp. That is, of course, if you believe some of the headlines in the technology press in the last few years. Here’s what is really happening.

AOL advertising sales jumped to 7% to $340M boosting net profit for the third quarter to $20.8M compared with a loss of $2.6M a year ago. Overall group revenue was flat at $531.7M. That’s the first time year-on-year revenue has not fallen in seven years. A remarkable achievement.

The Company is trying to reinvent itself.  It has steadily moved from receiving the bulk of its revenue from customers paying a monthly fee for Internet access (remember those AOL CD’s you kept in your sock draw?) to a media and news group. They seem to be getting it right.

AOL’s video network is now the second largest video network by views according to comScore. And the company experienced double-digit growth in video revenue. Ok. It’s not YouTube but it is still a credible performance.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong confirmed that the main focus of the Company is now advertising and video. AOL.com provides news, trends, life tips, style, food reviews and lots of other video content. And Armstrong is going where the people are. He plans on making AOL compatible with tablet and mobile (Tim, if you are reading this call me. We can help).

Armstrong commented on releasing Q3 results, “We have positioned AOL for growth in 2013”.

I think he may just be right.