NDN Blog

Latest iPhone Numbers...

Analyists vary, but the most recent estimates are that Apple has sold up to 950,000 iPhones to date, and the most recent estimate is that roughly by the 2008 election, there will be about 14 million iPhone users.

As I've mentioned before, this is a key number in and of itself, but also as it forces the competition to raise the bar on friendly media capable phones... and makes mobile media in general more of a factor for outreach for the 08 timeframe and beyond.

Also, the very high satisfaction rating current iPhone users are showing also points to the iPhone as living up to a good deal of Job's hype for the product. Good for Apple. And good for the industry as a whole. And it should be an accelerant for mobile media effecting the politcal sphere as well...

Post on Mobile Use in Politics (Part II)

It's interesting to read (thank you, Technorati) some of the blogs pointing to the Post article Simon Just mentioned. My favorite so far has been written by John Bell, who works at the Ogilvy PR's 360 Digital group...

John writes:

"I have posted before about wpp's investments in mobile marketing and their view of 2007 as a 'try-and-learn' year for most marketers in North America and even Europe. That means that terrific things are possible...

So, we have built mobile marketing into our strategic plans for all 360° Digital Influence projects. Sometimes it extends a concept. Sometimes it leads the creative thinking. But there are several milestones that are being reached right now that will make this very timely:

'...As a Mass Media, mobile has six unique benefits, that are not able to be copied anywhere else.

  1. Mobile is the first personal mass media (even the internet is only semi-personal)
  2. it is the first always carried media.
  3. It is the first always on mass media
  4. Mobile is the first mass media with a built-in payment channel
  5. It is the first media device available at the point of inspiration
  6. mobile is the first mass media with near-perfect audience information'"

Early Reviews of the iPhone

Early reviews of the iPhone are coming in... most so far point out small issues but by and large they are mirroring the feelings in this Newsweek review:

"If you’re looking for quibbles, flaws and omissions, you’ll certainly find them in this first version of the iPhone. (I’ll get to these below.) But the bottom line is that the iPhone is a significant leap. It’s a superbly engineered, cleverly designed and imaginatively implemented approach to a problem that no one has cracked to date: merging a phone handset, an Internet navigator and a media player in a package where every component shines, and the features are welcoming rather than foreboding. The iPhone is the rare convergence device where things actually converge."

Sign of the Times: iTunes is now the 3rd Largest Music Store in US

As NDN has been charting the trend of media moving to become more networked and digital, here is another sign of this change this week.

As reported by NPD research... For the first quarter of 07, Apple's iTunes store is now the 3rd largest music retailer of any kind - those selling physical CD's or digital downloads - for the US. They now have a 9.8 market share.

"Wal-Mart currently holds 15.8% and Best Buy has 13.8% (BestBuy.com has 1.1% market share) to place ahead of Apple's iTunes Store. Amazon.com Inc. dropped to fourth with 6.7%."

Pew: 59% of US Latinos use Text Messaging, More Than Go Online Via PC

Here is the latest Pew Study - that just went public today - on Latino’s online…. A key quote:

“Mexicans, the largest national origin group in the U.S. Latino population, are among the least likely to go online: 52% of Latinos of Mexican descent uses the internet. Even when age, income, language, generation, or nativity is held constant, being Mexican is associated with a decreased likelihood of going online.

Some Latinos who do not use the internet are connecting to the communications revolution in a different way – via cell phone. Fully 59% of Latino adults have a cell phone and 49% of Latino cell phone users send and receive text messages on their phone.

Google, Mobile Search and 2008

One of the trends I post about here is the merging of web search and mobile media. On that note there were interesting quotes from Google CEO Eric Schmidt during an analyst conference call discussing their recent billion dollar 4th quarter results.

He was asked about Google's mobile strategy and he responded that they were thinking of how mobile search, video, and video advertising could combine...and it is interesting from a political timetable that he believes this mobile search would substantially grow in 07, and begin to make a financial impact in 2008.

Here is the quote(with emphasis being mine):

“It is clear that 2007 will be the year that mobile search query traffic grows substantially.

Our current model is to use targeted text ads and we have evidence that the monetization of those ads is higher than in non-mobile uses. So it looks like the advertising revenue on a per-search query is likely to be significantly higher on mobile than on non-mobile.

As part of that, we are investing in new categories of using mobile devices. For example, YouTube content is being used and can be viewed on mobile devices in various partnerships that we’re doing. Those are as much opportunistic for us, and they’re not really driving revenue yet; although in theory, you could imagine a combination of video, video advertising on a mobile phone that would have the best entertainment value but also very, very high monetization rates.

...It’s not material today in a financial sense, and more importantly, it’s still emerging. We are making a significant investment in technology around mobile because of the growth rate of mobile and the ultimate scale of that business. You won’t really see its financial impact until ‘08."

Micropayments, Political Giving, and Microsoft

I’ve long been a fan of the theory of net based “micropayments”….the idea that content providers (or political causes) could ask for much smaller fees or donations than credit card based fee systems currently could allow…often times as low as .99 cents and lower.

The space was littered with dead dotcom businesses that tried and failed to offer this service. There was an ongoing debate that these companies failed due to the idea of micropayments itself was flawed, or due to poor implementation…until iTunes proved the business model that .99 cent digital items sold in mass works, having made over 1 billion dollars selling over 1 billion songs.

As micropayments begin to slowly take hold beyond theory, I have a strong curiosity as to how micropayments can be relevant to political giving.

Well today Microsoft in Davos just announced they’d be launching a platform aimed squarely at the micropayment space… Here is an excerpt from the Dow Jones news story:

"Gates described a system that would undercut credit card fees, making it profitable for an online newspaper to charge small fees for individual articles, for example.

'If you want to charge somebody $0.10 or $1 a month, that will just be a click…you won’t have to manage some funny thing or pay some big credit charge, where half of it goes to the clearing,' Gates said."

New Media News and Trends to Watch Part II

Steve Job's Apple Mac World keynote just ended.

In a quick update from the last posting on new media news this week...

In what may take the wind out of almost any other announcements from CES this week... Apple just made two major product announcements, both important, and both illustrating the trends I mentioned in the previous posting...

The first announcement was that after selling over a2 billion tracks of music, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies, that they were now selling a new product dubbed AppleTV that promises to seemlessly link the iTunes content to your living room. It was an impressive demo and the Apple TV orders are open now for the product shipping in February.

Next came the hoped for announcement of a new Apple phone, named the iPhone.

The expectations for this were sky high and Jobs seemed to delivery an amazing looking product.

All flat screen with only one physical button, this product was in development for over 2 years, and uses a new touch screen interface called "multi-touch" that Steve claims is as revolutionary for phones as the mouse was for desktop computing or click wheel was for the iPod.

It touts an extremely high res screen, is sthinner than any current Smartphone on the market (beating out the Motorolla Q or Samsung Blackjack) ... It is a full featured 8 GB iPod music player, including widescreen video playback... RSS Video Podcasts just found a new mobile home... In addition to supporting Cingular's standard phone networks, it also supports a full WiFI hot spot connectivity and Bluetooth...

And it what looks like the most advanced web and email functionality yet shipped on mobile devices, with email support as robust as the Blackberry, along with messaging from SMS messaging and internet enabled Widgets or small applications for things such as stocks, weather, etc... And it is a camera phone with a 2 Megapixel camera built in.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, it claims to be a superior phone as well, enabling one touch dialing, contact management, and simple conference call support. It support a wired phone headset and music earbuds, and an amazingly small looking bluetooth wireless earpiece. And it claims a much better and easier "visual voicemail."

It also has sensors that detect if you are viewing it in "portrait" or "landscape" mode and automatically redraw the screen appropriate to which direction you are holding the device.

A Flash animated tour of the iPhone is now up here...

This will be available this summer from Cingular and Apple stores. The iPhone was announced this early as the FCC approval was about to start and Apple wanted to be the first to announce it rather than have details leak from the FCC website.

Jobs announce an early target was to sell 10 million iPhones.

Both products, but especially the iPhone look to be "game changing" devices for how media including political media -- is distributed and consumed...

New Media News and Trends to Watch

UPDATE More announcments:

Apple announces the final details on ITV, Renamed Apple TV, and looks like a great product. 

And, this is huge: the  Apple iPHONE debut.

Both very likely "game changing" products. And both illustrate the trends below:


With this week being a convergence of both the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas and the latest MacWorld developers conference, there is a ton of news relating to new media this week.

Travis sent me on this article that is a good overview of the mobile news and the rumors of both these shows in general. Check it out.

I'd like to highlight a few specific CES announcements that point to trends which I think are important for political practitioners trying to make sense of the evolving post-broadcast media space.

First is the trend of "Internet media continuing to advance to the living room." See Bill Gates announcement of Internet TV and Media Downloads to the 10+ million Xbox 360's that are already in consumers hands -- and to all future Xboxes...

...and also see the details on the likely Apple announcements about their new ITV paltform linking Itunes Music and Video services to the home living room...many companies - including Microsoft - have failed at the PC to TV link before. Expectations are high that as they did with the iPod, this could be the new product that Apple gets right where so many others almost did.

...and on a more minor key but still worth note: Sony announced that their new Bravia TV's would allow users to directly browse internet video services, including user generated content from the video service Grouper, that they bought late last year...

Next is the trend of "Web Search morphing to the mobile space." See Yahoo's announcement about Yahoo Go! Service and thier bundling deals with major phone manufacturers. NPI has highlighted the key value of using search effectively for political use. As Search moves into the mobile space, that value gets amped up even further.

Lastly for today, there is the trend of "Mobile Media evolving and maturing." For this see the announcement that Qualcom, Verizon and MediaFlo will launch about 8 to 10 channels of live streaming TV to mobile phones this quarter in the US, this should broaden to be about 20 channels by end of 2007. Launch parters are announced as CBS, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, NBC, and Nikelodeon. I can personally vouch that the quality level of this service is amazing.

(And it's hard to miss the rumors of a likely upcoming Apple Phone)

Mobile Campaign to Help Push the First 100 Hour Agenda

Working Assets just launched a service to help push the new Democratic agenda for the first 100 hours of the new Congress… This is worth trying.

From their site:

“We’ll text you during the first 100 legislative hours (which could be four weeks or longer) when there’s an urgent vote on an issue where your participation — with a simple phone call to your representative — can make a difference.”

Check it out… you can just text JOIN to 30644...

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