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illustration Apple News Plus: Rotten at the Core
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Apple News Plus: Rotten at the Core

By Greg Wester, CMO 

Apple News Plus’ recent announcement spurred some in the industry to refer to it as a “Netflix for magazines”. I beg to differ. Sure, they both cost upwards of a Hamilton a month, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Let’s look at four key points.

  1. Netflix offers great discovery
  2. Netflix offers a path to lowering a consumer’s expenditure via cord-cutting, and therefore
  3. Netflix is a solution for the masses.

None of these three are true for Apple News Plus.

That said, give Apple some credit – at least Apple is brilliantly realizing that they have the opportunity to change content discovery by leveraging the UI/UX of their phones…  which brings me to my fourth key point.

  1. Why are we just talking about Apple? Better content discovery is something that carriers and OEMs alike, should be equally as assertive in exploring.

But I digress.  Let’s get back to picking apples . . . apart.

This Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Apple News Plus is self-serving. There’s been much written about how Apple News Plus is a crappy deal for publishers. Well it’s pretty crappy for consumers as well. Unlike Google, Apple isn’t nearly as big in the mobile ad space, so subscriptions fit better with firm strategy.

But unless you’re content to scrap multiple brick and mortar newspaper and magazine subscriptions, odds are Apple News Plus is solely an incremental expense.  Unlike Netflix, there’s no other cord to cut which would make it a cost saver.

And that’s before we even consider that the consumer experience falls short of what consumers actually want.

Apple Is Making People Pick Their Own Bushel When All We Want Is Some Sweet Sauce

The Netflix UI/UX for content discovery experience is brilliant. Apple News Plus’ discovery interface sucks.  Even though you’ve watched 5 episodes of Game of Thrones the last few nights, when you next turn it on Netflix, it salaciously and tempestuously promotes other compelling content. You may sample and/or save these recommendations or merely continue on with Thrones, but the net result is an endless mental or real Watchlist.

Netflix crushes it because it combines content with unique discovery – making it super easy to find what you didn’t know you wanted. It’s not successful simply because it stuffs more content than you could possibly know what to do with in one place.

It shouldn’t be different with smartphones.  On our phones, half the time we unlock our device, we’re Appnostic– or don’t have a specific app in mind. We don’t want to go-a-hunting, we want something served up.

As one reviewstates:

While the service is great as an all-you-can-read buffet, Apple does very little to help readers maneuver the massive mountain of magazines they now have access to.

This is like choosing bobbing to find an apple in a bucket versus having one hand-picked specifically for you. And besides, when it comes to how we discover content on smartphones, subscribers usually don’t want a massive sit down meal anyway – they want snackable Hors d’oeuvres.

It’s Time For Someone Else To Take A Bite

The success of Apple News, the “non-Plus” version, did show that people are looking for easier and unique ways to find and enjoy the content they love. In today’s increasingly frictionless world, no one has time or patience to dig around for quality (think the success of Facebook), we merely consume what’s convenient.

So why are we just talking about Apple here?  Sure we’ve also been following Google’s advances with Google News and Discover, but where are the large wireless carriers and other global OEMs?  They can create a similar service, not charge the customer a dime (i.e., actually make all users happy), and create a mobile ad revenue opportunity they’ve been yearning for.

My Last Bite

Pardon me carriers and OEMs, but “Wake up.”  It’s time to innovate. New mobile content discovery solutions can make you the apple of your subscriber’s eyes.

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What will be the Netflix Discovery Engine for the Smartphone?

By Greg Wester, CMO

Everyone seems to agree that content discovery on TV “sucks”… but what is being ignored is that it’s equally as bad on smartphones! While tech innovations have created TVs and phones that manufacturers have deemed “smart”, both remain relatively dumb to helping us discover content – something we do on each daily.

For television, at least the industry has awakened and realized that:

  • A multi-billion dollar opportunity is at stake.
  • New UI/UX discovery enhancements drive usage, retention, and revenue.
  • The cord cutting trend has disrupted the industry allowing everyone – from hardware makers to OTT players to networks – to compete.

The telecom industry, on the other hand, has been slow to realize that:

  • A multi-billion dollar opportunity is up for grabs in mobile advertising, but content discovery on smartphones hasn’t improved in over a decade.
  • New Ui/UX enhancements on smartphone content discovery isn’t even recognized, let alone adequately researched.
  • We’ve seen OEMs (Bixby and Apple News) and a few others use novel tech to influence discovery, but the pace is lethargic.

Easier, More Compelling, Content Discovery Is Now Expected – On All Devices

Our TV consumption habits have evolved. We no longer use it as Appointment TV – (e.g. “It’s Thursday at 8pm- time to watch Friends!”). Now we want to watch our shows in our own time, wherever we are. That’s why an innovation like Netflix has been a huge disruptor. Smartphones are going through a similar evolution.

While we used to only use our phones when we needed to read about something specific, unlimited data plans have enabled us to enjoy our content in our own time, wherever we are. Which is why the opportunity to create a Netflix-like discovery disruption is still there and ripe for the taking.

TV and Phones: Brothers from Another Mother

Let’s consider the other similarities between TVs and phones when it comes to content discovery. When we turn on our TV, we “discover” the last channel watched. When we unlock our phones, we “discover” the last app used. Neither of those are very effective at giving you what you want. The channel your kid was watching in the afternoon is unlikely what you want to watch in the evening. And the app you were just in is unlikely to give you something new and fresh.

Additionally, content options on both the TV and phone have both multiplied exponentially over the last decade. A proliferation of channels and on-demand video have given us more viewing options than we have time to consume. Which is why it’s not a surprise that 62% of people struggle to find something to watch. At the same time, 55% of people are regularly looking for something new to watch. This is similar to us unlocking our phones 50% of the time with no App in mind (or unlocking our phones and being Appnostic).

Consumer Behavior Drives Disruption: History Will Repeat

These behaviors are why Netflix – and also Tivo, Roku, Amazon and others – have been able to render traditional cable TV as endangered species. Innovators took notice in these consumption patterns and gave the consumer better options than the traditional set-top box was giving them. This is not to say that they are perfect – but they are vastly superior than simply getting the last channel watched or a scrolling guide.

Which is why it’s a head scratcher that not many people have noticed we face the same hurdles on our smartphone interface – the last app used (channel) or a sea of scrolling icons. That won’t last long though. People have noticed that improved content discovery on TVs are critical to driving customer satisfactionand brand loyalty. The same thing is undoubtedly true with smartphones. Carriers and OEMs should take notice, as they should be the ones driving the innovation and disruption. Otherwise, they cede the opportunity to be the “Netflix of the smartphone” to someone else, much like cable operators did years ago.

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March Madness…. The Mobile Media Version

What Might Dick Vitale Say?

By Jon Jackson, CEO

 It’s been a busy first quarter with all the news out of MWC and the industry’s media pursuits. March Madness is almost upon us so, I couldn’t help but imagine how the world’s most famous college basketball analyst might sum up the different carrier strategies when it comes to mobile media and advertising.

So, here’s how I’d imagine Dick Vitale might size up our industry and the Fab 5 media strategies making a run to change our media futures:

  1. The Crowd Favorite: Ad Targeting Through Customer Data
  2. The Traditional Powerhouse: Broadcast Television Advertising
  3. The New Kid on the Block: Streaming Video
  4. The Old School Ballers: Acquiring Content/Audience
  5. The Sleeper: Mobile Content Discovery Interfaces (CDIs)

Note: This is just for fun, of course.  I haven’t yet had the pleasure of “talking telecom media” with Dickie V.

 

A BALLER’S ANALYSIS OF THE FAB 5 OF CARRIER MEDIA STRATEGIES

The Crowd Favorite: Ad Targeting Through Customer Data

 Everyone likes it on paper. But a big step up to play in Division I.

Strengths:

  • Existing access to data. LOTS of data.
  • “Conceptual” appeal to advertisers

Weaknesses:

  • Legislation (Privacy)
  • Consumer distaste
  • Lack of expertise

Dicky V’s Take:

“Super sexy, but can they keep pace with the run & gun style of Google and Facebook’s platforms? They’ll have to build their bench to compete with the big boys.”

 

The Traditional Powerhouse: Broadcast Television Advertising

Never discount the perennial contender. But can it evolve with the times and make it deep in the tourney? 

Strengths:

  • Big market
  • Can extend reach beyond their monthly subscribers

Weaknesses:

  • Uncertain future
  • Revenue opportunity partially dependent on long-term appeal of O&O properties

Dicky V’s Take:

“If they can avoid a slow start, they might pick up a few wins. But uncertain what the long term outlook is – will Broadcast TV still be around late in the second half?”

 

The New Kid on the Block: Streaming Video

Looks like a quality pick.  No tourney experience and a tough bracket.

Strengths:

  • Easier than ever to stand up a solution
  • Multiple revenue streams (subscription and advertising)

Weaknesses:

  • Lots of competitors… and growing
  • Proprietary content required – can’t be an also-ran

Dicky V’s Take:

“On the surface, primed for a run – but Netflix and Hulu are in the same bracket. Carriers would need to beat them on their home court.”

 

The Old School Ballers: Acquiring Content/Audience

A throwback game strategy might struggle with today’s new fast-paced styles.

Strengths:

  • Immediate cash flow upon investment
  • Extend reach to beyond current subscribers

Weaknesses:

  • Future is trending towards discovery, not content
  • Investment immediately at risk since eyeballs can go elsewhere

Dick’s Take:

“Buying media properties is pretty old school – the equivalent of hoop’s high pick & roll. Winning in media today likely requires more “shooting from behind the line”. 

 

The Sleeper: Next-Gen Mobile Content Discovery Interfaces (CDIs)

Underappreciated. Nimble. Bound to surprise and blow up someones bracket.

 Strengths:

  • Carriers can own their own base
  • Leverage over competition
  • Speed to market

Weaknesses:

  • Not yet perceived as “shiny”
  • “Only” a $5B opportunity

Dick’s Take:

“Not the biggest names, CDIs float under the radar. But someone is going to draft them and they’ll be real PTP-ers (prime time performers)! Who will reap that reward?”

My Final Thoughts

March Madness always comes with drama and intrigue. It certainly will be fun to watch the games unfold on TV. When it comes to telecom media – Mobile Posse is stoked to be more than a fan and have our Next-Gen Mobile Content Discovery Platform in the game along with our partners. We’re shooting to have our partners, the mobile carriers, be the ones that “cut down the nets” and relish the opportunity to assist in creating their One Shining Moment.

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The Missing Metrics to Shape Tomorrow’s SmarterPhones

By Ravi Pimplaskar, Director of Marketing

The smartphone of tomorrow is taking shape. Thanks to unlimited data plans, the go-to source for quick content snacks during free moments has become our phones. This recurring desire to be satiated quickly with content has resulted in innovators “surfacing” content out of their app and search containers, and spawning new, “discovery-centric” interfaces that give subscribers easy access to that content. But one thing is still missing to perfect tomorrow’s smartphone: the right metrics.

Consider how these groundbreaking innovations have changed content discovery. We “ask” Siri to conduct our searches rather than typing. Google recommends content under it’s search browser. Android widgets give content previews viewed right from the home screen. Consumers have been quick to adopt these user-friendly solutions, meaning many more of these solutions will be on their way to market.

Living in an “App-nostic” World

App-nos-tic: The state of mind when using your smartphone to catch up on news, weather, sports, or entertainment without having a specific app in mind.

These solutions have made our phone usage “App-nostic” as opposed to “App-Centric”. Instead of finding a specific app to get to the content they love, consumers are pleased to get quick, low-touch access to content. As a result, you can’t measure these solutions in the same way as you would an app. Usage, adoption, and feedback would have to be in measured in completely different ways to determine effectiveness and consumer preference. Active users, session length, app ratings and other app metrics still have their place. But in the “App-nostic” world, we need something new.

The key difference of all these innovations is that they simplify the discovery of content. We aren’t digging into apps or typing anything. The “discovery-centric” solutions creates content engagement in different places on the smartphone. Yet, we have nothing that measures what you see when you open your smartphone. Or how content presented before you tap an app or type a search might affect a journey.

 “Discovery-Centric”: The Metrics We Need

If we want to build the perfect smartphone of tomorrow, we need to close this metrics gap. Carriers and OEMs have the most to gain as the proper metrics would allow them to guide their future innovation. Thanks to their influence over device development, carriers and OEMs are the ones that have the prevailing opportunity open to them, unless they choose to yield it to someone else.

These “discovery-centric” metrics would ideally tell us how engagement happens immediately after opening a smartphone – not only when someone enters an app or a browser. How often does the first thing someone see capture their attention? Are innovations that create new engagement changing user behavior? Measurement companies looking for the next big metric evolution (think of how MOAT scores were developed or Web analytics changed when News Feeds became more popular) should be jumping on this.

The Time is Now

Overall, there is an urgency for carriers and OEMs to dig deeper into the impact of “discovery-centric” innovations. The opportunity cost is too high for them not too. Other innovators will find their own “discovery-centric” solutions to circumvent the carrier and OEM advantage – sooner rather than later. So let’s move on from the metrics of yesterday and start building the smartphones we all want to see in the future.

 

 

 

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Mobile Posse Lean Back Series Part 2: The “Lean-Back” Revolution

By Ravi Pimplaskar, Director of Marketing

The “lean-back” is back! Last month we wrote about the power of the “lean-back” opportunity for publishers. But the power of the “lean-back” moment  is bigger than that – it is a consumer behavior trend that is also driving and creating different kinds of mobile engagement moments for consumers, wireless carriers, and brand advertisers as well.  The “Lean-Back” revolution is upon us – and it will not be televised. But perhaps streamed from your smartphone.

What does leaning back mean?

The definition of “lean-back” when it comes to how we enjoy media has evolved. “Leaning-back” when referring to content consumption first referred to our “ritualistic pleasure” of kicking back on our couch or feet up on a table channel surfing the TV or flipping through our favorite newspaper or magazine. Today, however, we now “lean-back” on our mobile phones when we’re on the go!

Now I know you are thinking “Dude, I have never used my mobile phone while walking like this.” But the spirit of the lean-back is less about our “physical posture”, and more about our  “mental psyche” when we engage with media on our devices. Think back of when you were in a doctor’s waiting room and you would see a plethora of magazines in front of you. You probably didn’t know whether you had 15 seconds or 30 minutes because, well, you know… they’re called waiting rooms for a reason. But you’d pick up something and just scan til something interesting caught your eye.

Contrast this with how you might have read the Sunday paper. In this case, we are pulling out our favorite sections (sports for me, please!) and savoring them to the last drop. This is much different – and referred to as “leaning in”. You are engaged in the specific items you are reading and therefore something else in the paper or even on the page is less likely to catch your eye.

 Lean-Back in the Computing Era

As you might imagine, the advent of computers and the World Wide Web changed “lean-back” and “lean in” moments dramatically. At first, computers were the ultimate “lean in” medium. We would sit stationary and “lean into” into our documents – whatever they might be. For a little while, the Internet changed that.

 Many credit Jakob Nielsen with being the first to discuss engagement difference in the digital era. In 1997, Nielsen wrote “People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. In research on how people read websites we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.”

 This “lean-back” (or passive) engagement led to blogs and other more “bite-sized” web writing that now has become the norm in the digital space. As the web became saturated with blogs, social media, and other short form content, another big development transformed computers once again from a “lean-back” medium to a “lean in” medium: internet search. Once we were able to quickly find the things we wanted without having to browse through myriads of pages – we would once again go to our computers intent on finding the specific things we desired.

 The Smartphone and the Lean-Back Revolution

 When internet on phones first came out, we didn’t quite use it in the way we do today. With limited data plans and slow speeds our usage was much more task-oriented. We needed something. There was an emergency. We would only use them to browse, search, and purchase things as we were planning. But then phones improved, networks got bigger, and data plans became unlimited.

 Now, with the shackles off, our smartphones have become our lifeline. When we have spare moments in our day, we habitually pick up our smartphone and swipe and tap our way through it until we find something that engages us. This “passive engagement” makes us more influenceable to content and ads we may come across on the way – much in the same way as we could be easily seduced by something shiny when scanning the magazines in the doctor’s waiting room.

 The “lean-back” behavior on phones is a growing trend. We have discussed previously in this space how we pick up our phones almost half the time without a specific task in mind. This leads to a lot of “snacking” on content that we didn’t necessarily intend to. These influenceable moments are huge opportunities for carriers and advertisers to engage subscribers. The key, however, is to be creative. Mobile Posse’s Firstly Mobile thrives in these moments because it utilizes new interfaces designed to intersect the user in the mobile journey and capture their attention. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to show you how it can work for you!

Check back in the Firstly Newsroom next month where we will be publishing our first ever “lean-back” metrics.

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Three Learnings from the Oath Write Down

By Jon Jackson, CEO

There’s a unique and massive media and advertising opportunity for Verizon and other carriers.  Sure, that may sound hyperbolic and somewhat off base after Verizon wrote down Oath as the result of “competitive pressures in the digital ad business”, as Business Insider reported. However, Verizon was wise to recognize the market opportunity for operators to meaningfully participate in the mobile advertising space. And in 2019, this market opportunity remains as achievable for carriers as ever before.

As Verizon documented when reporting their “comprehensive 5-year strategic planning review of Oath’s prospects” the media/tech landscape is evolving. Quickly. The pace of change and innovation makes competing with Facebook and Google the “traditional way” very tough. Carriers need to look forward, play to core strengths, and focus on lower risk, near-term media battles they can win.

 With that, here are 3 lessons Verizon and other carriers can take away:

 1) Build the Media Empire of Tomorrow . . . Not Yesterday

 Verizon aspired to be a media giant. To become one, they invested $9.1 billion in AOL and Yahoo – two of yesterday’s leaders in media, as recently visualized by Visual Capitalist, the challenges of this strategy was three-fold:

 1) Integrating two companies the size of AOL and Yahoo is difficult.

 2.) On the advertising side, the massive lead Facebook and Google has in reach and share makes it even more difficult to compete against, and

 3) Tomorrow’s technology disrupts.

The original idea was that under Verizon’s ownership, the ad and content businesses from these assets would blossom especially under a united data structure powering unique audience insights and segments.  But today, content is almost ubiquitous, and data and privacy are increasingly under the microscope of regulators. It’s almost irrelevant where a headline comes from – people will click on something interesting when it is presented to them seamlessly and easily. One initial strategy of preloading legacy Yahoo! and AOL apps on Samsung devices likely had inconsequential impact  — another app with content stories had limited impact on building and sustaining an audience. The tech that’s increasingly defining tomorrow’s media winners is “content discovery.”  By simplifying how subscribers find and access content, carriers can create a similar industry disruption.

 2) Focus on Your Core Strengths

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg has reiterated that the company remains strongly focused on 5G networks. Along with the 5G initiative, Vestberg has also indicated the company will also focus on another core asset they own – the smartphone. This is EXACTLY where they should be focusing. Verizon has ownership over 2 things – their network and the device. While they are building robust 5G networks, the ace in the hole for their 5G media strategy is the device itself.

As mentioned, people want media at their fingertips. Verizon can give it to them through new content discovery interfaces that give simple, convenient, and low touch access to content. Innovate content discovery on the device that’s already in millions of subscribers hands, and you’ll have a media play that Facebook and others cannot emulate.

 3) Win Smaller Empires Immediately, . . .  and Draft Your Team

Hundreds of millions of subscribers unlocking and looking for content on devices that carriers can influence is a home field advantage like no other. And engaging their base through new interfaces is a battle they can win – and win immediately with relative ease. They have the ability to understand the content their subscribers like and give it to them through convenient discovery BEFORE users go to their Facebook app or open a Google browser.

The best bet for carriers in 2019 is to hedge their investments in 5G and content/ad assets by innovating content discovery on the device. It’s a low cost solution that will allow them to start pleasing their subscribers and enter the media game right away. If they can do this, 2019 will be the launching pad that sends Verizon and other carriers towards their first real leadership position in mobile media. Not as big as Facebook and Google, but still holding the number one spot in a critical and growing billion dollar market.

To do this, however, they’ll need to partner. The lessons of Go90 speak to the challenges of going it alone and building internally. Carriers rolling out new interfaces to capture this opportunity will need to move fast. This requires real tech savvy, and a dedicated team with deep expertise and code base. Thankfully, innovative solutions like this are popping up all over the market – meaning nimble carriers will be able to move on this opportunity immediately.  I think I know a company that provides a solution like this… 

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Mobile Posse Lean Back Series Part 1: The “Lean-Back” Opportunity

By Kevin McGuire, VP Product

Recently, MediaPost chatted with our publishing partner UPI to do a case study entitled, “UPI Teams With Mobile Posse To Boost Engagement, Audience”. The results of the study prove that our Firstly Mobile platform unlocks tremendous value for publishers, brands and carriers – particularly through the platform’s unique ability to find people during “lean back” or “idle” moments.

Since partnering with Mobile Posse and using our Firstly Mobile platform, UPI has seen impressive lift in business metrics such as:

  • An increase of 30 seconds in average time spent on their web sites
  • An 86% increase in click-through rate
  • A 26% decrease in bounce rate
  • Doubling their monetization (2x mobile CPMs)
  • And “skyrocket growth” in their desired target market (25-44 year olds)

While some may discount these numbers as too good to be true, we consistently see these type of results with our publishing partners. By creating interfaces that allow subscribers to have “one-touch” access to content – via an unlock, a swipe to a minus screen, or a tap to open a browser – Firstly Mobile creates #frictionlessmedia experiences that our publishers rave about and mobile users love.

Like most publishers, one of the challenges for UPI is finding reliable, scalable, and cost-effective ways to get their content in front of the “right users at the right time”. When people know what they want, they “lean in” – utilizing their Smartphone to search, browse, launch apps, or complete a series of tasks. However, Research from Phoenix Marketing International shows that roughly half the time we turn on our device we don’t have a specific task or app in mind. Instead, we’re idly turning to it to see what can keep us informed, entertained, or inspired. In a world shifting to include more of these “lean back” moments, the time has arrived for new forms of content discovery. Users want content at their fingertips – without having to hunt and search through apps or browsers.

Firstly Mobile creates new interfaces that puts content discovery in the fastlane. It personalizes mobile content experiences that get to know your interests and likes over time without having to jump through hoops to declare them or configure settings. The result is more engagement during those “lean back” moments, with higher engagement and traffic for our publisher partners that outperforms their paid traffic acquisition from Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other typical mobile user acquisition campaigns.By unlocking the value of “lean back” moments, our publisher partners get engagement they desire, advertisers get value and strong ROI, and subscribers get a “lean back” experience they love – making it a win-win-win. Contact us to learn more!

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5 Things You Wouldn’t Believe People are saying about Next-Gen Content Discovery

By Greg Wester, CMO

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.

The Next-Gen of mobile content discovery are built-in innovations to the smartphone that make it easy for subscribers to find and enjoy the content they love. These device-native solutions creates experiences where the content finds the user rather than the current norm of the user finding the content. Instead of typing, tapping, swiping, searching, and waiting – people can get to the things they enjoy regularly with relative ease –  it’s there waiting for them, at unlock, with a swipe, or when opening a new browser.

While next-gen solutions continue to evolve, we’ve already seen several hit the market! And let us tell you – the reviews are in, and people LOVE them. From improved carrier loyalty, to better phone experiences, to staying informed, and helping us cure our boredom – people have been raving about next-gen solutions and how they have improved their smartphone. Removing friction, or the things that slow us down, from our mobile experiences have transformed industries. And now, with the next-gen of mobile content discovery upon us, we can see for sure that Frictionless Media is, indeed, the next big thing people need to have.  

Here’s some of what we’ve been hearing:

1) “I was contemplating which provider to use when I borrowed someone’s phone and saw content pop up on her screen. My mind was made up 100%! They have a customer for life.”
At the crux of next-gen content discovery is better subscriber engagement. Carriers have been looking for a way to engage subscribers meaningfully and this is one way they can do that. By creating a novel way to get content, including the content they own, in front of their subscribers, they are creating new experiences and engagements that people actually want. Customer loyalty doesn’t have to be created only through long-term contracts and cheap data plans – there are other ways to create happy and engaged customers.

 

2) “Having this on my phone has made things much simpler for me. It’s nice to be able to easily see news headlines when I want. It’s a good wide selection of news and information about other apps and sites along with current events that range from gossip to real news.”
Half the time we unlock our phones, we do so without a specific app in mind. Yet, our “smart”phones still end up giving us the same content discovery experience that we’ve had for over a decade – giving us the last app we are in or a sea of icons to sift through. This is despite the fact that the first app is dismissed in less than 8 seconds half the time. NextGen content discovery changes that by making the diverse variety of content we want conveniently accessible to subscribers on unlock, with a swipe to the right, or when they open a browser portal – providing a much improved experience.

 

3) “This app is very informative – I look to it for my daily information. The app keeps me in the know and “now”. ”
It’s no secret that the mobile age has us living on the go a lot more. Combine that with the 24/7 news cycle and the omnipresence of social media, and people have a inherent desired to stay informed. Next-Gen content discovery keeps people on the go and in the know by making it simple and easy to access the trending news, weather, sports, and entertainment news that everyone is buzzing about.

 

4) “It gives you great news…. And if you’re in a hurry, it gets to the point fast!”
The median mobile session is becoming shorter – currently at 27 seconds. People are quickly checking their phones in line at the cash register, waiting for a meeting to start, at the crosswalk, or when their lunch dates are running late. In order to fulfill this short moments with a meaningful content experience, precious seconds can’t be lost tapping, typing, swiping, and waiting. Next-Gen content discovery is the difference between creating a great, snackable content experience and an unfulfilled moment.

 

5)Frictionless Experiences are the Best Customer Experiences
OK – we cheated a little bit on this one quoting an analyst rather than a customer. However, from EZ-Pass to Apple Pay to Amazon Prime to Uber, speed and convenience has been the core of disrupting innovations that have transformed industries. As the author states, frictionless experiences have moved from novelty to mandatory. Next-Gen content discovery is the next big thing for media, reducing friction and bringing people the content they love, when they want it. “Good things happen when you leverage technology, take a risk and innovate, with the result being better, frictionless customer experiences.”

It’s time carriers take note and reap major dividends through next-gen content discovery with greater customer loyalty, improved experiences, and added revenue streams.

 

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.

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Down Goes Media Friction

By Greg Wester, CMO

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.

Carriers have lofty goals in media (e.g., broadcast video networks, video tech, non-video content, ad-tech, consumer data), but device-centric content discovery services may be their easiest opportunity to win the battle for consumer attention by knocking out the friction that hinders subscribers from discovering and enjoying the content they love.

Carriers’ other media opportunities are in well established markets with established companies with dominant market shares. They will face tough battles requiring considerable time and investment. Device-centric content discovery services is different. Carriers have the punch to influence OEMs to install tech on the devices they ship. Once done, this gives Carriers the first shot at delighting, informing, and engaging subscribers with news, the weather, sports, and other infotainment that is their lifeblood.

This type of content is where the battle for consumer attention is fiercest! We all want to quickly and easily be in the know of things like whether our favorite team won, what the impact is of the arriving big storm, what’s happening in our city, when the royal baby is born, and even what our president might have tweeted at any given moment. This type of content discovery drives billions of dollars in ad revenue that is for the taking for whomever can come out on top.

In our Four Aspects of Friction blog, we discussed how the future of all media consumption is being driven by new UI, UX and AI that remove friction in four aspects of how we find and discover media:

  • Search: Simplifying the effort required to find the content we’re looking for
  • Discovery: Removing the need to search for what we might enjoy
  • Access: Increasing accessibility to content no matter where subscribers are
  • Snacking: Serving content ideal for shorter sessions

Of all the contenders vying to win consumer attention (e.g., social media, voice agents, content recommendation solutions and device-centric content services) device-centric content services is the one that can “knock out” all aspects of friction the best. All that’s required is finding the right technology partner with the right mix of device UI/UX and AI.

With the device-centric of content discovery upon us, the frictionless media future will be marked by innovation. It’s time for those who influence the workings of our devices to get to work on a smarter phone. In particular, carriers have an opportunity to disrupt media consumption on the world’s number one media device – and they can do it through leveraging innovations we’ve already seen:

  • The “minus-one” screen (or launcher) you find by swiping left on a smartphone – providing a convenient place to go for news or other critical content.
  • A dynamic first screen that intelligently presents curated content right on unlock, eliminating the need to tap, swipe, or go anywhere else.
  • In browser portals, like Google’s Discover, which gives intelligent content recommendations before you have to type a thing.
  • The lock screen, which can serve as permanent, but dynamic, billboard to present content.

By innovating new engagement opportunities, carriers can unlock massive mobile ad revenue streams. And what’s more – they’ll be reaching their subscribers in new ways, paving the way to greater brand loyalty. The time is now for carriers and OEMs to innovate and create a better smartphone experiences for their subscribers.

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.

Firstly Blog

The Four Aspects of Media Friction

By Greg Wester, CMO

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.

In the world of digital content, the barriers are down. Different solutions and providers are fighting for consumer attention in news, local, lifestyle, and entertainment content. In this environment, the breakout winners of consumer attention will be those who best remove friction so that consumers can most seamlessly get the media that they want – when they want it.

Tech companies continue to use new UI/UX, machine learning and artificial intelligence to eliminate the swipes, taps, types, waits, pauses, confusion, indecision, and more – that are part of the media friction we have today and slow down the process.

These new solutions are targeting 4 distinct aspects of media friction that simplify how we discover and consume the media we love:

  1. Discovery: Removing the need to search for the things we enjoy is a central battleground since over half the time we use our phones we do so without a particular task in mind. Then, once we complete a task on our phone, we “seek out” something else. Content Recommendation solutions (Outbrain and Taboola), device UI/UXs like minus screen launchers, and the Apple News “widget” all take the dated notification to the next level. These advancements seek to conveniently bring us the content we love, no matter where we are on the phone.
  2. Search: Reducing the effort required to find the content we’re looking for is being changed by voice and image recognition. Siri, Alexa, and Bixby’s voice UI are all examples. Voice will be everywhere, including the phone, but the phone is primarily a visual device, so other technical enhancements are more dominant.
  3. Access: Increasing accessibility to content no matter where subscribers are has been done in many ways – for example, cloud access of music & video means you don’t need to carry your media, cloud-based location synching (e.g., where in a book, or where you are in a movie means you never leave your place) and voice agents that give access to content anywhere in voice range. Next-gen mobile content discovery solutions also ease Access by putting content at our fingertips as we transition between mobile activities.
  4. Snacking: Serving content ideal for shorter sessions is critical. The median mobile session is only 28 seconds long! While in line, watching commercials, or sitting in an Uber, we turn to our smartphone to engage our wandering mind. This has made the smartphone into “activity spackle” — something we use to fill those small gaps in our day. This increases the need for rich, engaging experiences that deliver value in small packages. Shorter content with faster delivery results in a yummy, quickly digestible snack!

Recent history shows that simplifying across any of the four factors has been a blueprint for success. The success of platforms like Netflix and Pandora greatly improved how we consume video and music respectively. And for content, we have already seen Google enhance its search by creating a new portal called “Discover”. Meanwhile, Facebook used their frictionless feed to virtually own media discovery.

These and other moves by media giants validate that there’s a massive opportunity to be a game-changer when it comes to consumer attention. Time will tell how other providers like carriers and OEMs leverage their control of the device to boost Discoverability, ease Search, create more Snackable experiences, and increase Access to the media we love.

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.