The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in digital media (19)

Wednesday
Jan022013

Will We Ever Really Get TV Anywhere?

I was raised on television and I consume a lot of it.  I am not a couch potato, but rather a road warrior, who likes to see favorite shows when and where it is convenient for me.  And, I subscribe to a lot of services that aspire to let me do that on my tablet, laptop or smartphone.

Admittedly, my family is not ready to cut the cord completely, but I have been evaluating several services that are meant to encourage just that.  Unlike Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, services like Aereo and NimbleTV (currently in beta) are pushing the envelope of broadcasting by enabling subscribers to watch live TV channels on a mobile device over the Internet, and providing cloud storage for recordings of the shows that I want to time-shift my viewing.

Where Aereo struggled to provide the breadth of programming I receive on a full cable package, Nimble TV has chosen to address this issue by subscribing users to a Dish Network account, which then streams most major basic cable channels in my area.  This opens up an array of programming that starts to make this solution truly viable as a cord cutting option.

Unfortunately, the quality of the stream has been sporadic, and this is particularly true of the recorded content.  Quality control tools appear in the UI (Low, High, and Auto) but, as of the beta, do not seem to allow toggling between SD or HD recordings.

Both Aereo and NimbleTV seem to struggle with executing robust DVR capabilities, one of the most essential experiences of my current home television provider. As an inaugural TiVo user, DVR features have become integral to my TV viewing.  On NimbleTV, programs appear to be available to be recorded in the guide even if they have already aired, but in fact can’t actually be recorded once they have aired.  Episodes appear in the “recorded” list, but actually won’t play back.  When I have been able to watch a recording, the image is pixilated, blurry and often unwatchable, even with full wifi connectivity. Riffing on what Seinfeld said about rental car reservations, scheduling a show to be recorded is only half the battle. Being able to actually view the recorded content really is the whole point.

 Which brings me back to my point about being a TV junkie and a road warrior. Streaming services are fine when coverage is strong, when there is wifi, and when data caps aren’t a limiter.  But as a traveler on trains, planes and subways, they fail to service my addiction.  Plane, rail and hotel wifi often provide me with inadequate bandwidth for uninterrupted streaming (and in some cases the airlines, Amtrak and wifi providers prevent streaming video services altogether.)  Many media players don’t effectively throttle to changing bandwidth, and my history with both Aereo and NimbleTV is that they have yet to perfect the user experience for variable bandwidth conditions.

 Without a complete solution for enabling quality television viewing when bandwidth is constrained, I find I still revert back to the dependability of purchased programming downloaded from iTunes paired with a streaming service from Hulu, Amazon, Netflix or a broadcaster’s own mobile app, like HBO GO.  Television substitute services may provide the convenience of aggregation and the benefit of smaller monthly bills, but if it is at the expense of quality and usability, they don’t feel like a better deal to me.

Editor's note: In fairness, I used both products in beta, and have assessed these experience based on my interest in switching from my existing services based on the interactions I had in beta.

Wednesday
May302012

Mary Meeker's All Things Digital Report - 2012 Internet Trends

Published May 2012 by Mary Meeker and Liang Wu

This report talks about today’s Internet growth and provides an in-depth look for the following new trends: 1) review of Internet stats and notes that Internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages; 2) run through a number of examples of business models that are being re-imagined and re-invented thanks to mobile and social; 3) highlight mixed economic trends and 4) observe that while there’s a lot to be excited about in technology, there are things to be worried about regarding America’s financial situation.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012

Monday
Apr232012

Video Advertising: How New Consumer Habits Are Driving the Advertising Community to Innovate, and the Challenges with Scale

Traditional television is moving to the Internet. Though today's consumer can effectively avoid watching advertising on TV through new time- and place-shifting technologies, the “opt-out” function and other choices make it easier than ever for consumers to skip ads online too. Yet when asked, 75% of consumers prefer advertising over paid subscription models. To keep up with these new consumer video viewing habits and trends towards watching video content online, content owners, advertisers, and technologists must turn into entertainers, or lose precious eyeballs and dollars. To keep audiences captive, advertising must become the new form of entertainment. As content owners, advertisers and technologists begin to better understand video advertising opportunities, one important challenge has come to light: SCALE. On top of creating compelling advertising content, the problem for video advertising isn't targeting or ad formats. 

Join me and the fantastic line-up of panelists at Digital Hollywood 2012 in Marina Del Rey, CA.

Dmitri Lisitski, Commercial Director, 1+1 Group of companies (Ukraine)
Michael Knott, Vice President, Meredith Women's Network
James Citron, CEO, Mogreet
Michelle Cox, Vice President of Marketing, Metacafe® Entertainment Network (M.E.N)
Dean McCormick, Vice President, Advertising Solutions, BlackArrow

Saturday
Jun252011

Will.i.am on Thinking Inside the Box at CM Summit

How does an artist like Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas take on a role at corporate technology giant, Intel, and maintain his personal brand as an innovative businessman? Oddly, he doesn't recommend thinking outside of the box.

Sunday
Jan232011

Marketing in the Age of Social Media

I enjoyed this presentation by Edward Boches (@edwardboches), Chief Creative Officer at Mullen, recently named #3 in Ad Age's A List. So, naturally, I thought I'd share it.

Sunday
Jan022011

Favorite Tweets Of The Holiday Weekend

@kenradio Why Bing "Likes" Facebook, Facebook should give Microsoft an edge against search rival Google -

@bgershon Ad Execs Gaze Into 2011 Crystal Ball - Great overview.... 

Social Media in 2011: Expect a Big Dose of STFU from my pal @

Great article from @ to start the new year, Design Thinking and the courage to do things 

RT@quirkyinc The NY Times Pogies celebrates product features which are "clever twists that make life just a little bit better" 

Sunday
Jan022011

Can You Define What Makes An Influencer?

Monday
Nov082010

What A Panel Looks Like As An Infographic

Today I moderated a panel for the Open Mobile Summit entitled "Beyond the digital living room: Entertainment Anywhere." The design firm, Fjord, had a "visualizer" onsite who, in real time, illustrated the salient points of the discussion in a mind map on the ballroom wall.  Here are snippets of the mural that reflected our discussion.  All I can say is that it was interesting to see the totality of the conversation in graphical form.

Graphics by Fjord

Saturday
Aug072010

Rickrolling and The You Tube Phenomenon

Online Schools
Via: Online School

Wednesday
Jun232010

Will Consumers Be Better Than Broadcasters At Programming Online Video?

First published on Technorati June 22, 2010

Most days, the average Internet user curates a flood of content from multiple destinations into a patchwork of information, updates and insights that help them stay connected. It’s a lot of work to hunt, gather, personalize and sample all the content available, and even more if you are part of the growing percentage of consumers interested in watching video. Tubemogul reports Web media brands posted 326 million video streams in the first quarter of this year, which is an increase of more than 300 percent compared to Q1 of 2009, and does not include all the user generated content uploaded to photo and video sharing sites.

“Some times you just want to push play, and see what’s on,” said Blair Harrison, CEO of Frequency, a real time video site that lets you lean back and watch samples of video playing continuously from all over the Internet. “But with so much video coming online each hour, there really is no way for a consumer to get a sample of what’s playing on the web” Harrison contends that consuming video on the web has become a laborious and disjointed experience, forcing people who want to enjoy rich media online to jump from link to link, collecting clips or navigating between embedded players and web pages just to sample video content.

Launched earlier this month by Harrison, the former CEO of IFILM, which sold to Viacom for $49 Million in 2005, Frequency aims to make it easy for anyone to quickly scan and tune into what’s playing online at any time. He brought together a crew of experienced digital media engineers from that company, and built a platform that offers content publishers a promotional engine for long form video clips. Frequency’s tools create a continuous stream of previews, auto-generated in different bitrates, from feeds aggregated by the company’s platform. Users navigate the clips which play like previews of coming attractions, touting the longer version on the publisher’s website.

When consumers enter the Frequency site, there is always something playing. Like a stream of 140 character headlines on Twitter, the Frequency player cycles through fifteen-second clips from across the web, categorized by topic and source. If you want to learn more on a topic, simply pick a tag, and the player pivots to play previews that share that term in common. If you like to follow a particular publisher or collector of videos, you can create a personalized channel that just tunes into their “frequency”, or channel of auto-play clips.

“There are over 200,000 video clips being posted to the web every hour,” said Harrison. “We want to make it simple for anyone to quickly discover and watch what is appealing to them at any particular moment they’re looking to tune in. “

Frequency is a privately funded, early stage video network, and is also client of Waldo Finn, LLC, a business and strategy consulting firm, which employs the author of this post.

Monday
Jun142010

Why Content Creation Innovators Are Content Delivery Conservatives

This post was first published on Jinni.com on June 14, 2010


Last week at the Wall Street Journal’s digital conference, D8, content creators, distributors and the Chairman of the FCC all shared the stage with iconic technology journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, and discussed the changing landscape for media in the post-econalypse, wireless age.

From Steve Jobs declaring the “balkanization” of television by cable providers who give away free digital video recorders, to Julius Genachowski’s realization of the national broadband plan, there were numerous proof points that consumers remain a long way from easily purchasing content once and viewing it anywhere, anytime, on any device. But if you are a tech savvy content creator like Steve Levitan or James Cameron, that’s not all bad, for two reasons: money and quality.

Click here for the rest of the post and to visit Jinni, a partner in Google TV and the Movie Genome Project.

Thursday
Apr152010

The M2 Generation, Mobile, Media and Marketing

As the video and presentation from the Kaiser Family Foundation below shows, kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend over 53 hours per week with media. The behavior of the M2 generation, as they are labeled here, creates significant challenges for digital marketers'. With multiple devices in play, it becomes harder to create deep and meaningful engagement with brands, and a marketer or product designer must become astute at embracing the environmental noise created by multiple tangential interactions with other forms of entertainment being simultaneously accessed by the consumer.

As a passive medium, television has maintained a role in the multi-tasking mix thanks to the emergence of DVRs, which enable a child to rewind and replay whatever was missed while responding to a text or playing a game. Fragments of conversations unfold via text message are actually more interesting because they have a different pace and rhythm than voice conversations, and they have the added benefit that they can't be overheard. On average, the M2 consumer spends 50% more time consuming media on a cell phone than talking on it, even though mobile devices represent only 12% of their music and TV consumption by platform.

The study is compelling not just because it shows how little parental oversight really exists, despite the continuing evidence that unsupervised media and Internet access is correlated with poor performance in school and social situations.  What is so interesting to me is the quantifiable evidence that media fragmentation is becoming the norm for this generation, because they are effectively driving it and not just adapting to it. 

 

Thursday
Mar042010

Favorite Tweet of the Day

 Time to Rewrite Brand Playbook for Digital (via @adage) Branding online must simultaneously address behavior & technology. http://ow.ly/1evii

Wednesday
Jan132010

The End of an Era 

The feeling of nostalgia comes with the end of the year, while optimism tries to accompany the new one. But it only seemed right today to look back once again at the end of an era, with the announcement of the departure of RealNetworks' CEO, Rob Glaser. I worked at Real during a very exciting time in digital media, and had the pleasure of learning the subscription business through the launch of GoldPass, then SuperPass and then RealOne and OpenPass. We broke ground with paid content services, like CNN, ABCNews, Nascar and Big Brother, and we launched the first Major League Baseball audio subscription for mobile.

Big Brother, Available Through Real.com

I met some whip-smart people, created some amazing memories with them, and learned some valuable lessons. Accordingly, I couldn't let the opportunity pass without posting my own homage about the news. You can read the full story on Technorati's Business Channel.

 

Thursday
Jan072010

Will I Ever Get to Be Judy Jetson?

One of the things I love about CES is how each year the optimists want us to believe that because two pieces of technology can be made to work together, consumers should be excited about the mere possibilities, if not the execution.  Instead of driving a car, we’ll be driving mobile hotspots. We’ll control every home system from a portable device that lets you program your thermostat and digital video recorder from some cloud of information that follows us from home to the car to our offices and onto an airplane.  We will never have the excuse that technology won’t connect us to people wishing to reach us, except when we have no battery power or AC outlet.

Not to worry, though, technologists are aggressively trying to solve the power problem, too. Induction charging mats, solar chargers, and charging sticks are all over the show floor. Pretty soon, we’ll all be wearing a battery belt which charges each of our portable devices while they hang from our belt loops.  Unfortunately, the market for electronic wearables has not gained much traction yet with manufacturers and retailers beyond iPod messenger bags and workout gear.

Computers have run a lot of our car’s mechanical systems for a while now, and computer-assisted diagnostics have shown consumer benefits which has enabled manufacturers to consider exposing the “operating system” and selling apps, downloadable directly to your car. Streaming video, voice over IP and shopping has the potential to make the distraction of text messaging look trivial.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press suggest that maybe the electronics industry has it right, and consumers are ready for these lifestyle changes. About two-thirds (65%) say the internet has been a change for the better, while just 16% say it has been a change for the worse; 11% say it hasn’t made much difference while 8% are unsure.



Monday
Dec282009

Majority of Internet Users Don't Share

CXP2WR2VBQHG - A recent report by eMarketer on the trends in user-generated content indicates that less than half of the world's Internet users maintain a social networking profile or upload photos and videos to a website. In addition, with more than 130 million blogs indexed by Technorati, less than 13% of US users surveyed engaged in writing a blog.

See the complete story on Technorati by clicking here.

And if you are wondering about the funky alphanumeric at the start of this post, Technorati elves are using it and you can ignore it.

Thursday
Nov122009

Behavioral Targeting, Will It Start to Be Creepier Than Ever Before?

Everyone hates a recommendation engine that thinks because you once bought a replica of medieval warrior for your nephew, you must be a fan of all things medieval. But we have all seen those ads on Facebook or Yahoo that seem to know where our brother went to college or when it's time to check the oil in our car. They always feel oddly relevant, yet creepy.

As advertisers migrate their communication to new channels like Twitter, iPhone apps and Facebook fan pages, behavioral targeting starts to notice my digital trail and not just my declared interest in a singular piece of content. Convergence enables the convenient amalgamation of my personal data for easy access from anywhere. I love it when I want to show a photo of my dog or a trip I didn't take with my phone to someone on an airplane over a wifi connection. Technology needs only to connect the dots in those moments to prove to me how innovation improves the quality of my life as a consumer.

Holly Brown, SVP MRM with panelists Vipin Mayar, EVP Global Analytics and Marketing Accountability, MRM Worldwide: Ben Straley Co-Founder & CEO, Meteor Solutions; Volkan Tekel,i Director Customer Analytics, Xbox Consumer Marketing, Microsoft;; Brian K. Walker Senior Analyst, Forrester Research

As a technologist, it is easy to understand the value of connecting the meta-data behind that interaction e.g., what sites i visit while on a plane, what ads I click on, what media I watch. What advertiser wouldn't want to know If their Facebook fans who also use airplane wifi are more active and engaged buyers or if a Twitter follower who also downloads games from their iPhone may likely be in New York when you open a new retail store and should receive a coupon? Targeting is highly valuable for an advertiser, but at what level is targeting creepy for a user?

When does technology enablement cross from being a benefit to stalking? I was recently followed by someone on Twitter who had a persona of a stalker. His tweets were "I see you" and "I know what you do on Monday after work'." I know, I did block MrBeanstalks as spammer, if only because he creeped me out. My rational mind knows he wasn't following me in the literal sense...but, he was following me in the digital sense, and that still felt weird.

After attending my first Digital Immersion Lab on Analytics at MRM in Seattle tonight, I couldn't help but wonder, will engagement hungry advertisers and developers of digital marketing solutions be able to responsibly meld social media and marketing so they don't seem like Mr Beanstalks?  Tell me what you think in the comment section here.

Monday
Nov092009

Objectified - Worth Pocketing This Film

"Bad design is where the customer thinks it’s their fault that something doesn’t work. So if you can’t make your GPS device work in your car — I mean, there should be a riot because they’re so poorly designed! Instead, the user thinks, ‘Oh, I’m not very smart, I can’t make this GPS thing work.’ People should demand more from the things they own, they need to demand that things work." - David Kelly, IDEO

"Objectified", a documentary from filmmaker Gary Hustwit, about our complex relationship with manufactured objects is now available on DVD, Blu Ray, and for download on iTunes. But it is also available through one of the most innovative delivery mechanisms for commercialized digital media that I have seen, the Limited Edition USB drive. I can't wait to see how the packaging contributes to my experience of enjoying this film again, but I guess I'll have to, since the site tells me "please note that shipping times can be between 1 and 4 weeks, depending on how far you are from New York City." I guess I'm likely to be 4 weeks far, up here in the Emerald City...

Check out the film trailer and read some other great quotes from a sample of the innovative minds explored within this entertaining documentary about consumers and our interactions with the products we love and hate.

 

Saturday
Oct312009

Favorite Tweet of the Day

I heart the last paragraph! RT@timleberecht: RT @SocialMedia411 For The Future Of Media Industry, Look In The App Store http://bit.ly/1OXzgk (via Tech Crunch)