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What comes first the solution or the problem?

Is it more profitable when a problem to find a solution or a solution to find a problem? Experienced engineers often ask “what problem are we trying to solve” as their analytic driven mindsets try to distill the many variables and complexity of a solution. While marketers and product managers typically first define the problem space and value proposition.

As marketers, we are atypically uncompromising in the belief that technology in search of a problem is the wrong approach to business development. The boxes, lines, clouds are just frameworks and organized concepts that have not found a problem and will not likely result in any meaningful opportunities. Needless to say if Google or thousands of others followed this method they would have found themselves in a much different place than they are today. This could be because it is hard to articulate the cost/value required to justify the opportunity. It also possible that the cliche is true, not understanding the problem will not allow you to find the right solution.

Big Bang Moment for Big Data

So what is Cloud Computing and why should we care? Is the Cloud a distributed computing system   enhanced by extensive IP networks and visualized with Web applications, mobile & micro apps enhanced by Big Data available with well designed API’s? Well maybe but there are probably a thousand such definitions for the Cloud, but the nice thing about clouds is that they are dynamic in shape, ephemeral in direction, and nebulous in definition.

In the world of clouds connectivity is pervasive with fields of growing content freely syndicated, self sustainable data generating patterns analyzed by crowd sourcing, machine learning to quickly discover, make decisions and derive knowledge while growing wisdom for a better life. So how will we make use of this great gift of Cloud that so many have worked so hard and spent so much passion to evolve?

Waiting for a big bang Cloud moment from the angels, venture capitalist, government research and social minded mathematicians, or scientist might be like waiting for Godot. But if you wake up and look around you will find “The Cloud” has always been in front of you. It’s the Internet and is simply changing shape, speed and direction just as real clouds.

Fact Sheet: U.S. advertising spend and effectiveness

Fact Sheet: U.S. Advertising Spend and Effectiveness | Nielsen Wire.

Key Takeaways:

  • Television advertising surpassed $18 billion in the first quarter of 2011, growing almost nine percent versus the same period in 2010
  • On average, ads that aired during the Super Bowl were 58 percent more memorable than all commercials that aired during regular programming in the first quarter of 2011
  • Recommendations from personal acquaintances was cited as the most trusted form of advertisement by U.S. Internet consumers (76%)
  • Only forty-nine percent said they trusted consumer opinions posted online
  • Mobile advertising is increasingly finding its way into mobile apps
  • Across 12 broadcast and major cable networks in primetime, there were 5,381 major product placements in 2010, up 22 percent since 2006
  • Reality shows dominated broadcast and cable with the most placement occurrences in the first quarter of 2011, accounting for over half of all placements
  • Consumers can better remember the brands of placements during Sitcoms
  • Placements in reality TV programs are the most effective at positively impacting viewer opinion

How the class of 2011 engages with media

Kids Today: How the Class of 2011 Engages with Media | Nielsen Wire.

Kids Today…

  • Are the Heaviest Mobile Video Viewers: On average, mobile subscribers ages 12-17 watched 7 hours 13 minutes of mobile video a month in Q4 2010, compared to 4 hours 20 minutes for the general population.
  • Are More Receptive to Mobile Advertising than their Elders: More than half (58%) surveyed in September 2010 said they “always” or “sometimes” look at mobile ads.
  • Out-Text All Other Age Groups: In Q1 2011, teens 13-17 sent an average of 3,364 mobile texts per month, more than doubling the rate of the next most active texting demo, 18-24 year olds (1,640 texts per month).
  • Talk Less on the Phone: Besides seniors 65-plus, teens talk the least on their phones, talking an average of 515 minutes per month in Q1 2011 versus more than 750 minutes among 18-24 year olds.
  • Grew Up in the Age of Social Media—and It Shows: While they make up just 7.4 percent of those using social networks, 78.7 percent of 12-17 year olds visited social networks or blogs.
  • Watch Less TV than the General Population: The average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week in Q4 2010, a year-over-year increase of two minutes. Teens age 12-17 watch the least amount of TV on average (23 hours 41 minutes per week).
  • Spend Less Time on their Computers: American 18 year olds averaged 39 hours, 50 minutes online from their home computers, of which 5 hours, 26 minutes was spent streaming online video.

Number of U.S. television homes down

The 2012 UEs also reflect a reduction in the estimated percent of U.S. homes with a television set (TV penetration), which declined to 96.7 percent from 98.9 percent. The last such UEs decline occurred in 1992, after Nielsen adjusted for the 1990 Census, and subsequently underwent a period of significant growth. Potential interrelated factors for the 2012 UE downward shift in TV penetration include:

  1. Digital Transition: The summer of 2009 marked a significant milestone with a shift from analog to digital broadcasting. Following the transition, consumers were only able to view digital broadcasts via a set with a built-in digital tuner (i.e., a newer TV set) or an analog TV set connected to a digital-to-analog converter box, cable or satellite. TV penetration first dipped after this transition; the permanence of this trend was acknowledged in 2010 after the number of TV households did not rebound over time.
  2. Economics: As with previous periods of belt-tightening, the cost of owning a TV is a factor in this UE decline; TV penetration first saw sustained decreases in second quarter 2009. Lower-income, rural homes were particularly affected.
  3. Multiple Platforms: Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms—rather than replacing one medium with another. However, a small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions. Long-term effects of this are unclear, as it’s undetermined if this is also an economic issue, with these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to viewing online and on mobile devices

Nielsen Estimates Number of U.S. Television Homes to be 114.7 Million | Nielsen Wire.

Is content a comododity?

We have all enjoyed the cost benefits of digitized media from Itunes, Amazon and a host of others embracing new digital media, devices and distribution channels.  The challenge for all of the publishers, distributors and subscription services is not only how to get more wallet share but also move into higher margin revenue.  Well I think the NY-Times is clearly looking to take high ground with their exclusive marketing approach. Only time can tell us if they are successful and reverse the current commoditization trend for content but lots of on-line eyes are on the prize.

According to Wikopedia a commodity is a good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.[1] A commodity has full or partial fungibility; that is, the market treats it as equivalent or nearly so no matter who produces it. So while others are distributing the same content companies like Magnolia Picture, AOL, Netflix, Comcast, New York Times and WSJ are looking to break away from the pack by providing premium content. Will this strategy work? Premium content exclusivity outside the winning Lotto numbers, sports scores or stock prices for next week will not likely demand a premium price point in a Internet connected world but if the content is temporal like MLB or straight from the theatre, or packaged with other memberships services the verticals become very interesting.

chart of the day, digital subscription prices, march 2011

Source: Business Insider

TV usage trends

Overall time-shifting by U.S. TV audiences increased significantly in the third and fourth quarters of 2010, with the average American watching nearly 10 and a half hours of time-shifted TV at the end of the year. The biggest year-over-year increase was in the third quarter, when time-shifting increased 17.9% over the same period.

TV Usage Trends: Q3 and Q4 2010- Timeshifted Viewing Grows in U.S. | Nielsen Wire.