Archives: May 2007

CNET: Apple’s Move Could Force Everyone’s Hand

Greg Sandoval at CNET wrote a solid analysis of Apple’s iTunes Plus launch.

“For the record industry, it once again may find itself being herded into a direction of Apple’s choosing. In this situation, the record companies can only benefit,” said Greg Scholl, president and CEO of The Orchard, a New York-based music distribution and marketing company, in the article.

“The only way we’re going to discover the right way to grow the market is by experimenting,” Scholl said. “I think the price Apple is charging is still too high and will probably inhibit (sales). But right now there isn’t enough data to know what the right pricing is or how to market digital music. At least Apple is trying something new.”

The key here is that non-protected tracks can be played on any device, not just iPods. Not many cellphones support the AAC format yet; that’s the kind of music file that Apple sells in the iTunes Store. The Sony Ericsson W810i is one nice example that does.

But since AAC is an open standard, not something that Apple owns, the wireless industry is sure to embrace it on next-generation, music-capable cellphones.

Will music industry dance again to Apple’s tune? [CNET News]

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Carriers Lose $100M a Year to Poor Phone Usability

According to FierceMobileContent, market research firm Strategy Analytics just reported that carriers are losing $100 million per year in revenues as a result of poor interface designs on cellphones.

This is a follow-up to their earlier report about how difficult it is to find mobile TV, games, and other media on handsets from different carriers.

In other words, if the statistics don’t scare ‘em into making cellphones easier to use, maybe that dollar figure will.

Report: UI issues cost carriers $100M a year [FierceMobileContent]

Third Screen Media Adds Gaming

hovrgame.jpgMobile advertising company Third Screen Media just announced a partnership with Hovr, a mobile game publisher, to open up a new avenue for cellphone ads.

According to Telephia, almost 19 million customers downloaded at least one game to their cellphones in the first quarter of this year. That’s a pretty impressive number by any measure, and MediaPost reports that it’s a 47 percent increase from the year-ago period.

Third Screen Media Partners With Hovr To Deliver Mobile Gamers [MediaPost]

YouTube Comes to Apple TV

It’s been a busy day for Apple. Steve Jobs just announced in an interview with tech columnist Walt Mossberg that starting in June, Apple TV owners will be able to watch YouTube videos on their living room televisions.

We shudder to think about the video quality, given how poor some of the videos look on our laptop screens. But this is an important step for Apple TV. YouTube enthusiasts who are used to crowding people around their computers now have another reason to buy one.

The next step here would be to let people watch YouTube videos on their iPhones. We’ll have to wait until next month to find out whether or not this will be possible.

Apple TV: Take a Tour [Apple]

Fortune: Apple TV is a Dud

appletv.jpgBrent Schlender, editor-at-large for Fortune, wrote a well-reasoned piece on Apple TV and why it’s not performing up to expectations.

There are also some amusing photos showing uses for the Apple TV, such as a doorstop, a sushi platter, or a furniture leveler. (It’s worth clicking on the link below just to see the pictures.)

We’ve touched on some of the same stuff here. The Apple TV is not junk by any means; it’s yet another reliable, well-designed product that’s easy to use compared to the complicated “media hubs” available on the PC side. But iTunes videos that look great on a tiny iPod or the upcoming iPhone look grainy and fuzzy on big screen televisions. There’s no DVD drive, and you can’t use it to record programs like a DVR either; you have to buy movies or TV shows from Apple.

Schlender makes a particularly good point in that you can’t even order videos from the iTunes Store directly with the Apple TV, despite the fact that the thing has an Internet connection. You have to buy them on your computer first and then transfer them over.

We still think the unit could be the start of something good. Maybe the second time around, the Apple TV “2″ will be worth it.

The trouble with Apple TV [Fortune]

Coming Soon: Too Many Commercials?

Business 2.0 magazine is reporting on the coming deluge of cellphone commercials. (Wow, that sure sounds appetizing.)

Ad-sponsored cellphone content would mean that we could eventually get lots of programming for free. What remains to be seen is whether or not advertisers can put together ads that don’t annoy us.

No one loves commercials, but we’ve made peace with the “blocks” of ads that run during broadcast television. We’re less enthused with some of the tricks used on the Internet, such as pop-up windows, and pre-roll ads that play before the video you want to see. Banner ads are basically fine as long as they don’t take up half the screen.

But with mobile TV set to hit cellphones, the whole game is changing.

The cell phone service nobody wants [Business 2.0]

Breaking: Apple Introduces iTunes Plus

itunesplus.jpgThis morning, Apple just launched iTunes Plus, their new service that allows consumers to buy unprotected music tracks from the iTunes Store.

The upgraded tracks cost $1.29 each, and offer better sound quality as well as unrestricted use on any device that supports the AAC format. Currently EMI is the only major label to offer unprotected tracks through the iTunes Store, but more labels are expected to follow later on in the year.

The original 99-cent, DRM-equipped tracks are still available.

Steve Jobs has an announcement scheduled for later today at the All Things Digital conference, so it’s possible we’ll hear more about this. Stay tuned.

Apple Launches iTunes Plus [Apple]

CBS Enters the Widget Business

cbs_csi.jpgBusiness 2.0 blog is reporting that CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith is going widget crazy. He just announced a bunch of partnerships with software vendors that will help spread CBS content around the Web.

The list of companies reads like a who’s who of Web 2.0 developers, all of which are involved in widget development or content syndication.

Money quote: Chris Marentis, the CEO of Clearspring, one of the new CBS partners, said that “the networks realize the distributed content world is where it is going. They have to take their content, unleash it, and expand their audiences. They need to be where people are.” And that, notes blogger Erick Schonfeld, is not necessarily on

CBS Goes Widget Crazy []

CD Sales Continue to Plunge

The New York Times just ran an article on the huge decline in CD sales, and the resulting trouble at the big music labels. This is nothing new; what’s amazing is how, with the exception of EMI, most of them continue to do nothing.

In the article, Jeff Leeds reported that some music executives are saying that dropping copy-restriction software, also known as digital-rights management, would stoke business at iTunes’ competitors and generate a surge in sales. Others predict it would have little impact, though — drum roll please — they add that the labels squandered years on failed attempts to restrict digital music instead of converting more fans into paying consumers.

“They were so slow to react, and let things get totally out of hand,” said Russ Crupnick, a senior entertainment industry analyst at NPD, in the article. “They just missed the boat.”

Few people remember them, but there were early online music stores aside from Apple. They were truly horrendous – you basically couldn’t do anything except listen to the music on the computer you bought it on, the selection was very thin, and you had to pay a monthly fee and buy tracks with some of them. By the time they started to get closer to Apple’s model, it was already too late. And it remains a crapshoot to buy tracks from other music stores and get them to play reliably on most MP3 players and cellphones. (Some combinations work well, but you need to do research first.)

Plunge in CD Sales Shakes Up Big Labels [NYT]

First Year Of Blogging

Maybe you have noticed that in 1st May turned one year old and as present for my readers I switched design. It is new and unique theme developed exclusively for this blog to offer better readability and content organization. It wasn’t just a quick idea – I have thought how to make better quality blog and it is one of the things I have learned since I started to blog. But that’s not the story…

In this post I wanted to show you the whole picture – things behind this one year of blogging – stats!

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