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digital moves

Comcast Boosts Digital Offerings to Better Face Netflix, Aereo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2013 07:17 PM

Comcast Corp. may be the largest US cable provider, but it still has some work to do on its digital side. After this year, critics may not be saying that anymore as the company is rolling out a cloud-based interactive TV guide, a voice-activated set-top box, and the ability to watch programming on tablets and smartphones and then move it to larger television screens at will.

The cloud-based X2 TV guide that will come out later this year will help viewers find content they desire faster by segmenting it into different groupings, such as kids, movies, sports, and recommended, Bloomberg reports.

Also, for Comcast subscribers who don't want to bother pushing a bunch of remote buttons, the company has come up with a new set-top box that allows users to push one button and speak commands, Bloomberg reports. To add to the interactivity, the box will also give access to “Facebook, Pandora and other online media” as well as provide reviews of movies by Rotten Tomatoes and the ability to see what people are tweeting about a show as it happens, USA Today notes.Continue reading...

digital moves

Print Brands Try to Hold On with Native Advertising, Social Strategies

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 30, 2013 06:07 PM

Time Inc. and Conde Nast are doing it, Buzzfeed and Gawker have been doing it for awhile, and now even the venerable Grey Lady is stepping into native advertising as old-school brands up their digital prowess as print becomes less and less relevant. 

After a decade of declining ad sales, the 161-year-old New York Times saw ad revenue fall by half to $711.8 million in 2012 from $1.27 billion in 2006. “What we’re looking at is ways you can use journalistic storytelling techniques in how you could present a narrative for our clients without misleading or confusing the reader,” Todd Haskell, VP Advertising at the Times told AdAge

The Times just announced sponsored content in its Scoop mobile app guide to New York City for Citi Bike, the new bicycle-sharing program, with a feature that helps users find bike stations. “If most native advertising tries to make sponsor-provided content look a bit like a news article, this tries to make it look a bit like a regular ol’ tab in a mobile app," Poynter notes. “What’s interesting is that the 'content' here is less a collection of words and pictures than a real-time data service. It’s a callback to the classic news advertising idea—we assemble the audience, you provide the content, we make a match—in a mobile, apped-up world. It’s a compelling match."Continue reading...

digital moves

GM Thinks OnStar with 4G Will Catapult Telematics Brand Ahead of Rivals

Posted by Dale Buss on May 28, 2013 07:20 PM

General Motors believes that OnStar finally may be ready to leapfrog other automotive "telematics" players who got ahead of the brand over the last several years even though OnStar was the industry's original infotainment platform.

The key? GM's deal wtih AT&T to provide 4G LTE connectivity—the fastest type of wireless Internet connection now available—through Onstar next year, according to Automotive News. OnStar already is a profit-margin powerhouse for GM, but CEO Dan Akerson told analysts recently that the 4G deal will open up "what I think are potentially lucrative lines of business that don't exist in OnStar today. So when we look at what we can do with a 4G pipe into a car," said Akerson, whose background is in telecom, "you can change the business model almost entirely."Continue reading...

digital moves

Tech Hungry Target Eyes Crowded Streaming Space with Launch of Target Ticket

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2013 05:28 PM

Folks have plenty of options when it comes to streaming online movies and TV shows: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple's iTunes come to mind, but Target apparently thinks the space has room for one more.

The retailer is reportedly testing a beta version of Target Ticket, a TV and movie-streaming service with access to 15,000 titles.  

It will also provide “new releases, classic movies, and next-day TV,” the beta site claims. Right now, it’s just being tested on Target’s own employees, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports. This joins another employee-only beta test currently underway that allows people to order products online and pick them up at the store.Continue reading...

digital moves

YouTube Looks to Homegrown Comedy Stars to Drum Up Original Content

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2013 02:42 PM

YouTube may very well be the king of user-generated video, but the site has recently been making a push to create more original content as it takes TV head-on. This week, YouTube launched its first-ever Comedy Week, an exclusive collection of comedy's biggest talents doing their thing nightly on the video network. 

Throughout the week, YouTube will air a series of live shows, new episodes from existing channels and curated playlists with the help of over 150 comedians and media channels including Sarah Silverman, The Onion and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. A third of YouTube’s top 100 sites are all comedy-related, according to YouTube marketing head Danielle Teidt, and the hope is that the series will show the viewing public that the site is a good place to find great content.Continue reading...

digital moves

Walmart Hopes 'Gamification' Can Engage Employees and Turn Things Around

Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2013 06:40 PM

There can be a lot of stress associated with working at Walmart these days: Financial results aren't improving, and there are a lot of haters, such as critics of the chain's strategy for improving working conditions at factories in Bangladesh that supply Walmart garments.

Good thing that Walmart employees have a new way to engage themselves more productively in their work: "gamification." In a move that echoes what other major employers are doing, the nation's largest retailer is working with a Boston-based marketing and consulting organization to improve more of its internal processes by lending them a digital-gaming aspect. In turn, greater "employee engagement" is supposed to lead to improving the experiences of Walmart customers.

Walmart executive Kurt Templeton, director of workforce planning, and executives of Inward Strategic Consulting were presenting their findings on the effectiveness of gamification at a Conference Board gathering this week in Chicago.Continue reading...

digital moves

Google Announces Music Streaming Service, Updates to Maps and Hangouts at I/O Conference

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 15, 2013 03:47 PM

Google confirmed speculation that it would launch a music service at its annual I/O developer conference Wednesday. The internet giant announced Google Play Music All Access, a subscription-based service that is a little bit of Spotify, Pandora and Twitter #Music all in one. Apparently, the internet behemoth's announcements went over well with Wall Street, as Google's shares closed at a record high of $900, putting the company's market cap over $300 billion. 

Unlike Google Music, its cloud music service that lets users upload up to 20,000 purchased songs to listen to on Android devices or on the web, the Google Play Music All Access subscription service launches it into direct competition with music streaming services like Spotify—which has 24 million active monthly users, 6 million paying subscribers and more than 20 million licensed songs in 28 countries—as well as Pandora. Though unlike either of the other services, Google's All Access won't have a free option. The service, which will be available across the web, mobile and tablets will cost $9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial. 

“It makes lots of sense for both YouTube and Play, which was built for Google’s Android devices, to sell music subscriptions,” notes AllThingsD. “YouTube is the world’s biggest free music service, which could make it a fantastic funnel for a Spotify-like paid offering, which can also help solve some problems with the music labels."Continue reading...

digital moves

Neflix is the Streaming King but Amazon, Hulu Aren't Doing Bad Either

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 14, 2013 05:40 PM

While Amazon, Hulu and grandfather HBO all crow about significant online growth, Netflix continues its lead, accounting for one third of all streaming into North American homes since 2010.

A new report from broadband tracker Sandvine finds that Netflix’s share of prime-time “downstream” traffic delivered over fixed networks is 32.3 percent, just a tad off its projected estimate of 33 percent last November. Amazon and HBO have held fairly steady, the former down from 1.75 percent to 1.31 percent, and the latter down from 0.5 percent to 0.34 percent, while Hulu actually gained, up from 1.1 percent to 2.41 percent. 

These percentages include what Sandvine calls “home roaming,” data transmitted from personal networks via WiFi to tablets and iPhones, up 9 percent from one year ago and accounts for 20 percent of 2013 traffic.

“2013 will be the year long-form video will make its move onto mobile networks,” said Dave Caputo, CEO, Sandvine. “The 'home roaming' phenomenon… combined with increased consumption of real-time entertainment on mobile networks globally, and the doubling of Netflix traffic on mobile networks in North America, suggests that users are getting comfortable with watching longer form videos on their handheld devices.”Continue reading...

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