Friday, 25 May 2012

Shoutomatic. Facebook, Twitter and more, now goes audio. Terrific chance for a brand to be first.

A lot of Social Media is generally text based - from Twitter Tweets to Facebook Posts. And a lot is picture driven - like the ubiquitous Facebook wall and the wonderful Pinterest Pins. Of course, some of it is video sharing largely in the guise of YouTube.

Little of it is audio led. 
Until now. allows you to update Social Media using voice. So your Tweet, becomes a spoken Tweet. You blog becomes an audio blog. Your Websites tells you stuff, rather than show you.

It's far more interesting to hear people than read them. Especially if they're people you haven't heard in a while.

And it's new - which is why I could only find The Fox News video above to explain it. There's not a lot about.

Having a real voice is more engaging, in that by hearing a message, you get the inflection as well as accent. Ideal for a brand who has a spokesperson for example, like Tesco have with my old pal, Marty Whelan. Nice to get Marty to say it on Twitter, than just to tweet it.

And what's interesting too, is the opportunity to deliver celebrities to do your shouts for you. Ideal as well for voice-overs looking for work whom brands might prefer to use to get more professional sounding shouts.

So you are literally "shouting out" your message and the fact that's it's novel now, is great opportunity for a brand to be first out. Target McConnells for Tesco with Marty

Of course one of the first I heard anyway was musician Dave Stewart who is always an early adopter. So not only was I able to see what he was interested in on Twitter but also to hear him, which was a different experience + a better one.

Of course you can shout to your Facebook wall which again brings possibly long lost friends voices back to life to say, wish you a Happy Birthday. Here's that link for you,read_stream,friends_birthday,friends_events

So it's a great extension of Social. Although mind you ShoutOmatic could do a bit more on their www which apart from the content, lacks total coolness. And they've made it all terribly difficult to register and manage. 
Still, it's early days and they seem to know what they're doing.

We wish them well cause it's great!

It's a new driver again for Social Media which fits with live streaming meetings such as on Google+. It's all becoming more real, more live.

Yeah you're right too.
I should have shouted this.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Google's YouTube launch FREE live music concert venues online. It's good, really good. Live Bands, Big breakthrough.


Here's an earthshattering breakthrough in the music and live concert world from YouTube

Now I love it, adore it, but in one way, I feel sorry for a number of local venues online who've tried to do this but not effectively (I was involved in one venue in Dublin for example), largely due to funding. And now overnight, their game is up.

They're faced with the power of Google and YouTube basically wiping them out. YouTube have done this live concert concept really well - and, as they say, such is life......

For a long time, music has been a part of the digital space. Indeed, itunes now dominates the market in album sales and so much so, it's meant the detriment of offline retailers such as HMV.

Music sharing online of course too, has become the BIG issue for music labels as content is passed around for free. I saw a recent reliable statistic that only 6% of music is paid for - or if you like, 94% get music for free. And if that's not totally accurate as a stat, it makes a very clear point - most online music is free.

I've also blogged before, about the power of Google owned YouTube and its great ambitions to become the world's dominant broadcaster. We know about its terrific free video platform and recently, the launch of 100 pro-channels to allow third parties provide programming. Including live streaming.

(You'll see that blog from May 10th on the right hand side or here

It works, it's great and it's powerful. And it moves YouTube from being a home for "Kirstys home videos" to being a serious broadcaster.

So now they've moved the goalposts again by bringing in live music channels, showing live gigs, by cool bands, linked through Social Media (so you can interact with the session or indeed, chat up a friend) and guess what? All for free.

The quality is fantastic and notably one channel called 'The Bowery' which they launched in February + is featured at the top of this page, with regular top line gigs using full digital sound. And it's free. Did I say it's free?

So YouTube is bringing live concerts to a global audience - a really good close second to actually being there - with the power of Google behind it. Added to that, you can actually click through for tickets, band updates, fanzines, merchandising and so on. Of course there's a "live" conversation going on too with viewers commenting on the concert. It also shows relevant tweets, Facebook posts and so on.

It creates a global community of people with shared interests in particular music or band types.

It also allows unknown bands to reach out too - thanks to YouTube.

So quickly but surely, YouTube is knocking down all the entertainment sectors one by one in bringing itself into glory. Live concerts? Done. And done really well.

What's next? Sports. 

Watch out. 
There's a Train a'coming.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Facebook. Shares Fall, Nasdaq suffers, Wall Street Shamed and now a major investigation. It doesn't get any worse.

In what was to be the greatest IPO ever, nevermind for a tech company, the Facebook IPO has really become a loser and beginning to be despised.

With the price falling to new levels today (-18%) and the only people who made money are the early investors (Facebook people themselves) it's a disaster.

Add to that, the intervention by the Brokers to prop up the price at 38 usd meant they're left with shares that are now in starting into freefall. Nobody wants these shares and already it looks likely to have cost Morgan Stanley 2 billion usd+.  

Add to that the 30 minute Nasdaq delay which has now resulted in a series of class action suits.

“It’s dreadful for the markets,” former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt told Reuters of the IPO and its handling by Wall Street banks and Nasdaq. “It’s an event with long-lasting negative implications for an industry that can ill afford this kind of blemish, and the last chapter hasn’t been written. Nobody looks good here".
And today it just got worse.
Just when you thought it was as bad as it gets, 'Time' magazine reveals an IPO "probe"/investigation. This is serious stuff.
What's being reported is that just days before the IPO, analysts lowered their forecasts for big clients after receiving briefings from Facebook executives that cast doubts about the social networks financial prospects.
Probably not illegal as such to lower a forecast but if proven, it could show insider knowledge which was used to the benefit exclusively of big clients of big banks. And that's a whole heap of problems. In other words, they used priviledged information for their own benefit.
So a shining IPO has quickly become a total debacle with further rumours now, on foot of the investigation, that Wall Street looks after Wall Street and it's basically a game, rigged against the ordinary investor.
I remember before The IPO I was involved in, Brokers buying shares themselves at the lower pre-ipo price and then passing them to clients at a profit. In other words giving advice to clients to buy a share, simply because they were selling them, unbeknownest to the client. And I was told it was illegal which clearly it is. But it was widespread from what I experienced.
IPO's are an opportunity to make big money and so that leads to corruption. It has to anywhere there's money like there is around an IPO.
But this has damaged Facebook seriously already and it could get worse. And it has damaged investors, Nasdaq and Wall Street.
But it's now beginning to expose questions about whether Wall Street is corrupt.
Which it is. Was. And Always will be.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Zuckerberg IPO goes middling-ish. So he gets married Saturday.

Looks like Mark Zuckerberg (28) decided to marry Saturday after his IPO on Friday, to longtime sweetheart Priscilla Chan (27) at his Californian house. They had met in Harvard. It was a real insider affair it seems only 100 invited but thought they were going to an IPO/graduation party rather than a wedding.

If you look at Zucks Facebook page, you'll see he's changed his status to "married" on Saturday too. The pic above? Good photoshop? Nah, it's true.

So obviously Mark felt he had a good Friday and then a great Saturday.

For most others the Facebook IPO...hmmm bit of a disappointment? 
Not if you were an early investor and got a 104 billion us dollar valuation!

Bono earned more on Friday from his Facebook investment, than he did in his whole career. Imagine.

But it is being viewed as a bit of a damp squib. 
A story in Forbes for example, ran the headline "The Failure of Facebook's IPO". And the New York Post??!! Not happy as those 'Mom+Pop' share buyers showed no gains whilst Mark walked away a billionaire. At least he made their cover (fame at last)...

So what happened on Friday's IPO?

It opened at a high 38 usd (I had forecasted 37 usd) and closed at around the same price. In fact, brokers had to step in to keep it at that price as the share closed. Completely unexpected. 

And the intervention was big, probably wiping out the fees to lead brokers Morgan Stanley/JP Morgan/Goldman Sachs. 176m usd in fees gets quickly eroded in an IPO when you have to support the price. Feel sorry for them? Hard to, isn't it.

Equally too, most were surprised that the Facebook IPO was considered generally so unexciting, it had a direct and bad impact on other tech stocks such as Zynga and Linkedin with their prices declining on the day.

There was a contagion effect that if Facebook couldn't deliver then maybe we're in a tech bubble. Maybe we are.

So it all ended with a small gain on the day overall - but what needs to be remembered that it did show a gain during the day of +12%. The reason the price fell (and had to be maintained) was the volume of shares that were traded. 565 milllion. A real record.

So what happened was that the initial price was probably "about right" and led to huge selling as early investors took their profit. I think too, a lot of traders held off and adopted a "wait and see" approach. They'll be trading this week and at opening Monday am. But it was the record level of selling that kept the price depressed.

So....what's going to happen this week?

I'd expect that with that known broker intervention to maintain the price and with the overall sense of the IPO being a bit unexciting, you won't see the drive into the shares that I was expecting anyway. 

And that broker intervention cannot happen again so price will now be supply/demand based. This is important that those brokers are going to look to offload those shares they bought, quickly. Bringing the price under downwards pressure on Monday as it opens.

So no massive gains. 
But potentially massive loses...even a bear attack.

In other words a deliberate attempt to drive the share price down.

So that's the wrong side of risk.
If you bought and didn't sell on Friday, you're in a danger zone on the balance of risk and probability. Watch what you're doing if you're holding shares early on Monday.

The Facebook IPO has gone well for the original investors and of course, Zuck. He's had a great weekend - don't let that mean you have a bad week.