Wednesday 29 August 2012

TV Broadcasters watch out, Newspapers are coming......


There was a time when we all said, newspapers were dead.
Online news was where it was at.
Free online news. 

I didn't disagree and neither did most of us at the time. Wrong again.

Recent research (ABC) data seems to show that newspaper readership is in decline and whilst that may be true, it takes no account of the growth of their online assets, which are not.

What you're seeing is a switch of readers from one format to the other. And if I was investing, I'd invest in newspaper publishing - no doubt about it - because they are the new TV.

As Rupert Murdoch said recently, "news is the most valuable commodity in the world" and the recent, very excellent launch of Huffington Post Live, confirms that but the definition of "news" is changing.

I blogged here about that launch

Look at youtube. What people want to watch are short (the average youtube length is 2 minutes 1 second) video clips giving more entertaining news. No more press conferences but rather, interesting interviews and insights into opinions about the news - exactly what the huffington post is all about.

The problem was of course, that printed versions of newspapers can't show video. But their online editions can - and boy, are they moving fast. Plus they can not only show you video but give you the full news story. Extensive, informed news with live action.

Firstly, they can have video posted by the hour, whereas TV broadcasters hold their news until their traditional ad breaks (such as the 6 o'clock or 9pm bulletins).

So now newspapers can time beat TV broadcasters to delivering news/sport/entertainment/weather. 

Secondly it's what consumers want. When something happens, they want to see it now, not later and certainly not when it suits a TV broadcaster to show it. If something happens, out with the mobile phone and you view it there and then.

Thirdly, it lets newspapers enter the TV advertising market using the variety of pre, mid and end rolls (ads before/during/after the video) at a premium price and thereby attract in those TV advertiser brands that they never had before.
That means more revenue.

So it's the real magic combination whiich newspapers are perfectly placed to capitalise on. And they are.

Look at for example (the website of The Irish Independent, Ireland's largest daily and you'll see lots of video. Even daily weather video in a newspaper - who'd ever have thought it!

Which will bring lots of readers and consequently, lots of Ads., The Daily Mail and are well into the race too and all are to be congratulated. Meanwhile, TV Broadcasters are stuck showing old series through their iplayers. Successful, for now.

Because Newspapers have taken something which in the internet age, was a major threat and turned it into a new opportunity. As so few others did - such as Video rental businesses and music/book sellers.

Newspapers are the new broadcasters. 
It's TV that needs to look out.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Mario and Luigi 20 years old. The game that really started it all.

It's just twenty years old on August 27th, when the game of games got its first Japanese release.

Nintendo's Super Mario Kart.

And probably the game that started it all. A huge business that gaming is.

The best selling video franchise of all-time, it was 32nd in the Nintendo top 100 popular games of all time (although I think that's a little unfair).

It's basically the first Kart racing game and the 2nd biggest selling WII game with over 32 million copies sold. There's been 7 versions since.

Luigi was always the hero but Mario is best known serving as Nintendo's mascot and designed by Shigeru Miyamoto (whilst developing Donkey Kong). Mario was an italian plumber (although a carpenter in the first game) who lives in Mushroom Kingdom and probably the best known mascot ever. Both Mario and Luigi were designed as being from Brooklyn in New York.

And it influenced so many other games, practically solely responsible for the Nintendo Entertainment System success. The Guinness book of records dubbed it "the godfather of gaming". It fostered a movie (with Bob Hoskins) and a TV series.

Of course things have changed a lot in online gaming but it's important to note that it's only 20 years when it all started. We've come a long way.

Gaming is one of the internet massive growth industries especially with the development of Flash and Java and is worth more than 20 billion usd annually. The online gaming association recently announced that 20 million players on Xbox Live had spent over 17 billion hours playing. 78% play with at least one other player and in some ways it's an addiction. 58% are male and therefore surprisingly, 42% female. 'Call of Duty' is considered to be the most pirated game of all time.

Amazing business is gaming.
And we forget about it sometimes.
Happy Mario Birthday.

Monday 27 August 2012

Court ruling - Apple persist, Samsung shamed. Samsung phones could be banned, Google Android lose here too. Good news.

There's no doubt about it, Apple's persistence paid off handsomely yesterday. In a US Court ruling, the most critical place for future business, Samsung were ordered to pay just over 1 billion usd in damages to Apple. Shaming Samsung in the process, it furthermore now allows Apple to go back to court and seek to have Samsung phones banned in the USA to start. 

It also leaves the door open for Apple to pursue a number of other manufacturers of smartphones, which are based on the controversial Google owned 'Android' operating system. From now on, Android users may have to pay Apple a licence, which will ultimately switch users back to Apple because of that cost. In other words, Samsung and Android phones will no longer be as cheap as they are.

This will allow Apple to return to market dominance and absolutely right too. Samsung are shamed and the other loser here is Google.

Whilst Apple did less well in a Korean court (surprise surprise, the home territory of Samsung) where basically a court ruled they were both to blame, it is not in any way as relevant as the USA ruling and frankly, to be expected. The USA is the billion dollar market.

Everyone knows that the culture in Korea and the Far East, is engrained to simply copy stuff and resell it. It's just part of their DNA.

The USA ruling that Samsung copied critical features of both the Iphone and Ipad came as no surprise to the man on the street as anyone comparing the two devices, could see easily the copying. What happened is that Samsung copied Apple and then undercut the Apple price significantly and consequently, outsold the Iphone 3 to 1. 

Copy them and undercut them - a typical philosophy of the Far East. Regretfully.

Samsung have killed Apple Iphone sales by providing similar phones at less than half the price. Like you'd expect on a street corner...

The fight began last year but only took the US jury 3 days to decide in what was a pretty clear decision in favour of Apple.

Yesterday the jury foreman said that the most powerful evidence of Samsung's misconduct were internal emails and reports among Samsung executives discussing the iPhone's impact, describing the difference between the iPhone and Samsung's earlier smartphones as the "difference between heaven and earth." The exchanges also suggested that Samsung executives felt the iPhone's features should be duplicated.

The jury also was persuaded by Google's warning to Samsung that its products were too similar to Apple's.

“Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer,” Samsung said in an official statement. “It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices.” 


This only serves to show up Samsung - they really don't see the issue in copying other people's work because it's a cultural issue. They think they can just go ahead and undercut the inventor to the supposed benefit of the consumer. Apple's statement got it right....

"The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values,” Apple spokesperson Katie Cotton told the New York Times. “At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.”


This is a victory for innovation and R&D. A victory for invention and for bringing new products to the betterment of us all and being rewarded when you do.

Good for you Apple.
Good for you Tim Cook.
You didn't give up.