Recent research from Pew shines light on the digitization of the news:

  1. consuming the news digitally now surpasses physically reading the news.  In 2004, 24 percent of respondents got their news digitally while today 39 percent do the same. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they watched the news on TV yesterday which is still the highest of any form, but is down from 68 percent in 1991.
  2. Only a third of individuals under 29 years-old watch the news on TV – down from 49 percent in 2006.
  3. Today almost one-in-five get their news through social networks – up from one-in-ten just two years ago.
  4. As you can see below, today more than half of the readers of the New York Times do so digitally and the similar figure is high for other major newspapers.

Stats #2 and #3 above taken together paint the most interesting picture of the future.  Now it is certainly true that as individuals age, their preferences towards things like broadcast news might change.  But I believe the first digital decade will have a profound impact on how news is consumed in the second digital decade.

The future generation of news consumers want something different from their news.  Given the rise of connected devices, individuals no longer need to sit through linear news for information like local weather and sports.  News going forward will be significantly more compartmentalized.  We’ve seen some of this with the rise of specialized and focused news services.

The digitization of news is also impacted by geography. News that is hyper-local is best delivered online because broadcast news by definition has to serve a broader market.

Portable devices with integrated GPS can deliver hyper-local news when it is most relevant.  So the time function becomes an important component of news delivery in the second digital decade.

Finally, curation and relevancy will be an important element of news consumption.  Facebook is a curated service where the individual user establishes parameters which dictate which streams of information they receive.  Increasingly, individuals get to dictate which news items are most relevant to them.

Last week I began looking for tickets for the weekend NLDS series between the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves.  The Braves of course were subsequently knocked out in the elimination Wild Card game against the St. Louis Cardinals and now the Nationals are playing the St Louis Cardinals in St. Louis.  But in looking for tickets in Atlanta, I noticed that Atlanta has implemented Demand Based Pricing.  You can read more here.

Here is a screenshot of the FAQs.

With large troves of data, I imagine most event ticketing will move to demand-based pricing.


My first two posts on the 2012 holiday season can be found here and here.

News out this week suggests things are looking “ok” as we head toward the holiday season.  I recognize the term “ok” is not a highly technical term, but I’ll publish my finalized retail sales forecast shortly and I don’t want to say “great,” because I think there are still many headwinds of which I’ll write more about in a future post. But first, onto some of the recent news that helps paint a picture of how the holiday season is shapping up.

Walmart announced plans to boost season hiring in 2012. Walmart plans to hire more than 50,000 seasonal associates which is up slightly from 2011.Target plans to hire 90,000 seasonal employees which is down just slightly from the 92,000 seasonal staff it hired in 2011. Kohl’s plans to hire 52,000 seasonal workers in 2012.  hhgregg plans to hire 1,000 seasonal employees and complete those seasonal hires by early October.

A recent survey by Snagajob finds more season jobs will be available this holiday season than in any of the previous five years. The survey found  63 percent of hiring managers will make hires this holiday season, the highest percentage in the Snagajob five-year survey and up 12 percentage points from last year (51 percent).  The hiring managers surveyed expect to hire 6.1 seasonal workers on average – a 50 percent increase over 2011 and a nearly 100 percent increase over 2009. According to the study, among the hiring managers who will be hiring, 57 percent expect to complete their hiring by the end of October. The same figure was 46 percent in 2011 which might suggest companies are expecting to satisfy their seasonal hiring earlier this year. The survey found nearly half (49 percent) of the seasonal positioned fulfilled will be for full-time hires.

The push to have seasonal hiring largely complete by October could suggest an early push to holiday promotions as I mentioned in my previous posts.  It could also be designed to get these new hires educated and trained in advance of the real holiday push in November and December.

Expect to see an expansion of retail storefronts this holiday season. This will keep retail continuously in front of consumers and within easy reach which should help contribute to positive retail sales this holiday season.  But it could also mean that retail sales dollars are spread across more retailers putting pressure on metrics like same-stores sales.  Best Buy plans to open 33 additional Mobile Best Buy stores in October and November. Microsoft is planning to open over 30 pop-up stores for the holiday season.

As I wrote about in my first two installments on 2012 holiday predictions, online versus brick-and-mortar is going to be an important battlefield in 2012. For the next three months, multichannel is the operative word.  Walmart announced this week that it would discontinue carrying the (Amazon) Kindle.  Target announced the same policy a few months ago. LG recently announced it would implement a new unilateral pricing policy (UPP) for LG-branded goods sold online.  LG noted that certain high-end products, such as the recently announced 84-inch 4K LCD TV and most-likely the 55-inch OLED TV still slated for introduction later this year, will not be available for online distribution. These moves by Walmart and LG together with moves by other manufacturers and retailers, have different purposes but all come down to the desire of manufacturers and retailers to differentiate the roles of online retail and brick-and-mortar retail – especially this holiday season. Related to all of this, comScore published research last week showing four in five smartphone users accessed retail content on their smartphone devices in July. Topping this list was Amazon with an audience of 49.6 million visitors, followed by eBay (32.6 million visitors) Apple (17.7 million visitors), Wal-Mart (16.3 million visitors), Target (10 million visitors) and Best Buy (7.2 million visitors).

Finally, last week Booz & Co. unveiled holiday-related research and predictions for 2012 holiday season. Related to the battlefield between online and brick-and-mortar, Booz found 40 percent of of surveyed consumers consider browsing in-store before buying online their shopping strategy. Many of their findings are consistent my previously posted predictions:

  1. consumers remain skittish – 52 percent of consumers will closely consider affordability in their shopping decisions
  2. consumer expect deals – 73 percent of consumers expect to find great deals this season, compared with 62 percent last year
  3. gift cards rule – More than 80 million shoppers plan to purchase gift cards this season, about 4 percent more than last year
  4. Consumers will give digital media this year (something CEA captured research on during the 2011 holiday season).  Some 45 percent of consumers expect to give at least one downloadable gift (i.e., an e-book, a music download or a movie)
  5. Fifty-three percent of consumers intend to buy at least one luxury item (up from 41 percent last year)
  6. Consumers are looking forward to the holiday more than last year; 53% expect to host multiple gatherings, compared with 45% last year

Booz & Co. also outlined the important role multichannel retailing is going to have in 2012. The report provided a laundry list of approaches retailers could take.

On August 6, 1998 the first HDTV was sold in San Diego.  It was sold by Tom Campbell, who was then Corporate Director at DOW Stereo/Video.  (Footnote: DOW Stereo/Video would later be bought by Ken Crane’s and Tom Campbell would become Corporate Director of Ken Crane’s.  Ken Crane’s ceased operations and liquidated in the summer of 2010 after 60 years.)

The first HDTVs sold by DOW on that Thursday in August was the 56-inch Panasonic PT-56WXF90 which was described as a “56-inch-on-the-diagonal, cinema-style wide-screen” television. It cost $5,499 and was sold to DOW by Panasonic’s then Television Director, Bill Mannion.  DOW was the first store to have HDTVs for sale and those first  HDTVs were bought by Ed David with the second and third sets going to Bruce Colby (mentioned in the Newsweek piece) and Alan Farewell who was then general manager of the Hyatt Hotel in La Jolla.

Since this time, there have been many firsts sold.  The first DVD player, the first digital camera, the first mobile phone, the first iPhone. Later this year, the first 4K or Ultra HD television sets will make their US introduction. LG plans to sell an 84-inch 4K TV for $20K ($19,999 MSRP to be exact) which it will release in October 2012. It is currently available in Korea.  A month later, Sony’s 4K TV (also 84-inch) which make it’s US debut at $25K.

I caught the recent story of a man arrested for drug possession in Orlando.  Apparently police monitoring a live video feed sent officers to the scene who then made the arrest.

In the accompanying video, one of women being interviewed about the role of video cameras says something interesting. When asked if it is acceptable to use live video feeds to monitor behavior she responds, “around here they need to be watched.” Note, she doesn’t say, “we need to watch.”  She suggests the video doesn’t apply to her behavior, but rather the behavior of others. As we transition fully into the digital decade there remains diverse opinions on the role of data, but many seem to share this similar sentiment – that this broad movement doesn’t apply to oneself.



Google recently introduced Google Now – an app/service available on android.  Essentially, Google Now attempts to predict the information you want. Standing on a train platform – Google Now will deliver up details on the next departing train.  If you have an appointment across town, Google Now monitors traffic and alerts you when you need to leave so you aren’t late.

Here’s a quick commercial video on the service.

The real estate of mobile devices is an incredibly valuable resource.  Clearly Steve Jobs recognized this when Apple provided new app review guidelines back in the fall of 2010. When users are overrun with choice, making a choice can be difficult at best.  Use-case for mobile devices – and especially phones – is one of bit-sized information/content and speed. Consumers also value recommendations and these recommendations can come in a myriad of forms.  The key is these recommendations have relevancy. Google Now tries to take advantage of known information to offer useful bit-sized information in a quick format.  It takes advantage of the clock, the GPS coordinates, and search history.  In the past I’ve written about the sensorization of consumer tech – and how devices moving forward will integrate more sensing technologies.  Ultimately that should mean more meaningful recommendations with greater relevancy.