MediAvataar's News Desk
TI Media is partnering with tech company Ownable to make it easier for readers to place orders for the products they see featured in the pages of its homes magazines.
Bringing together print and e-commerce, a new Ownable app allows readers to jump straight from an inspiring magazine feature to product checkout within a few clicks. TI Media is launching the service with the October issue of Livingetc and it will also become available with the November issues of Ideal Home, Style at Home, Homes & Gardens and Country Homes & Interiors.
Simon Whittaker, group enterprise director at TI Media, says: “Our homes magazines have always had great strength and expertise in curation and recommendation, but providing inspiration is only the start of the journey for readers. This partnership is exciting because we can now bridge the gap between product discovery and purchase. Through the Ownable app, readers can place orders for the items they see in our magazines in an instant, which is a fantastic service to provide.”
Ian Woof, managing director at Ownable, adds: “When designing Ownable it was essential to preserve the authority of each magazine title, allowing editorial freedom of choice. We simply wanted to create a seamless service that enabled readers to buy on impulse whenever inspiration strikes, without having to disrupt the sit-back pleasure of reading a magazine. And for publishers, Ownable provides invaluable insight into reader behaviour, giving them attribution data for the first time as well as a new source of revenue.”
Magazine pages featuring an Ownable thumbprint image will signal that products are available in the Ownable app. Within the app, readers select the magazine they’re reading, enter the page number and then choose the product they want. They can click to buy, save or find out more, while Ownable takes and manages all orders through brand authorised channels.
Entire Smartwatch Market Grows
By 2020, smartwatches will overtake activity trackers in popularity, steadily increasing further over the next few years. ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, forecasts that smartwatch shipments will increase from 40 million in 2018 to over 108 million in 2023, while activity trackers will rise from over 52 million to over 67 million. This shift in device popularity has influenced the vendor share of the smartwatch market, with Apple’s share dropping 14% between 4Q 2017 and 1Q 2018, allowing other vendors to contribute more.
“A growing number of features are being added to smartwatches, including activity tracking capabilities, which is increasing their desirability and popularity by consumers and enterprises,” said Stephanie Lawrence, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “Users do not want multiple devices that can do the same thing. It’s natural that they will opt for the smartwatch which has more functionality, and as the number of different smartwatches available continues to grow, an increasing number of customers are opting for devices other than the Apple Watch.”
Many companies that provide smartwatches offer them with activity tracking capabilities included. For example, the Apple Watch 3, Samsung Gear S3, and LG Watch Sport are all smartwatches with these features, ensuring that users only have to purchase one device that has it all. With this increasing popularity of smartwatches, customers are opting for a wider range of devices rather than just the Apple Watch. Vendors such as Samsung, Motorola, and LG saw an increase in market share between 4Q 2017 and 1Q 2018 as the number of shipments grows.
Fitbit is also taking part of this share, as two of its latest devices are smartwatches, indicating that the larger companies are aware of this market shift. The company was originally focused on activity tracking devices, but the latest smartwatches offer this tracking functionality as well as all the usual smartwatch features. These devices come with a higher price point than the original activity trackers but prevent users who desire both smartwatch and activity tracking features from purchasing and using multiple devices. Fitbit’s share of the smartwatch market is already at 10%, higher than that of Samsung, Motorola, and LG.
“More and more companies are expected to offer smartwatches with extended functionality as the demand by consumers increases, indicating a further spread of the vendor share of the market,” Lawrence concluded.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Wearable Device Market Share and Forecasts report.
Pay-TV Research, Analysis and Commentary
As Sky advised its shareholders on Monday to accept a $40 billion takeover bid from Comcast, Futuresource Consulting explores the opportunities and potential outcomes of the acquisition.
Closing in on a Comcast Global Play
Rival bidder, Twenty-First Century Fox, already owns 39% of Sky. As a result, for the Comcast deal to be successful, it needs 82% of the other Sky shareholders to vote in its favour. Should that happen, Comcast will expand its footprint into Europe, developing its international reach and benefiting from economies of scale.
“Sky is one of the world’s best-in-class Pay-TV operators,” says David Sidebottom, Principal Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Its interests span the entertainment spectrum from content production to distribution, with the goal of providing ever evolving customer experiences.”
Say Hello to 23 million Customers
Sky’s presence in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy will allow Comcast to tap into more than 23 million retail customers and enjoy some of Europe’s highest Pay-TV ARPUs, averaging £45 in the UK. These ARPUs are possible due to Sky’s continued investment in premium content across sports, movies and entertainment, a strategy that will be strengthened by NBC Universal’s potent content division.
Late last year Sky also launched an OTT service in Spain, and this deal may provide further impetus to expand deeper into Europe, which could mean a raft of further acquisitions.
“What makes this acquisition so special is the innovative approach to technology that the companies share,” says Sidebottom. “They are no strangers to the leading edge, investing in high-end boxes and delivery platforms on a mass-market scale, perhaps more so than many of their competitors.”
The Importance of Sky’s Netflix deal
Whilst the potential deal will strengthen Comcast and Sky’s propositions in an increasingly competitive video subscription environment, there is clearly complementary usage between traditional Pay-TV players and streaming subscription services. “Sky has also recently been given the go ahead to embed Netflix directly into its platform, allowing Sky customers to navigate a host of content, including Netflix originals, directly from the Sky EPG. This keeps viewers contained within the Sky platform, rather than having them leave the Sky domain to access Netflix through a third-party platform, ultimately helping to reduce churn.”
A recent Futuresource consumer research study, Living With Digital, revealed that over 50% of Sky Q subscribers already use Netflix in the UK. Combine this with Sky’s increasing investment in original content, which would benefit from Comcast’s international distribution capabilities, and all the pieces begin to slide into place.
Challenges for the Future
There are challenges on the horizon, with viewing and subscription habits among younger age groups evolving as consumer choice increases. Many millennials are wary of tying themselves into contracts, while other video platforms such as YouTube and eSports provide ample competition for younger eyeballs. Sky and Comcast have to consider how they will address those potential customers moving forward. Sky also continues to explore ways of growing its subscriber base beyond traditional satellite TV, with plans to launch a Sky over IP service to reach more households, without the need for a satellite dish.
“This deal will need to address a saturated Pay-TV market and indifferent attitudes to Pay-TV use in the under 30s,” says Sidebottom. “It's not that younger generations don't want to pay, it's more that psychologically they don't want to be tied into a contract. Sky’s Now TV service provides an alternative, allowing binge watching and catering for the new freedom-loving breed of consumer.”
Beyond Pay-TV and into the Smart Home
Comcast and Sky have both continued to invest and diversify their operations, ensuring future growth beyond Pay-TV, offering multiplay, embracing broadband and mobile, while pushing forward into new technological territories. Amazon has invested heavily into its smart home strategy in recent years, but Comcast and Sky are well positioned to become the gateway to the smart home, bringing potential new services and increased ARPU.
“As we wait for shareholder approval of the Comcast acquisition, the question remains what Fox will do with its 39% share of Sky,” says Sidebottom. “When Disney completes on its purchase of Fox, it will own 60% of Hulu, with Comcast holding a 30% share. Could there be an opportunity for a deal which delivers Comcast further control of Sky and locks Hulu deeper into the Disney family?”
If the deal were to go ahead, it would further enhance Sky’s reputation in the battle for the living room, and beyond.
Telecom service providers in India have been riding a prosperous wave over the last few years.
However, after the 4G launch in the second half of 2016, call and data rates have corrected sizably. Handset prices followed suit, as several manufacturers sought to capitalise on the unprecedented market demand. Seizing the opportunity, new Chinese and Indian handset companies debuted models for less than INR 5000, offering an economical alternative to models that range up to twice what these manufacturers are charging. This sudden influx of affordable smartphones created a whole segment of new consumers who either upgraded from feature phones or were new mobile users altogether.
Profile of Users
Our study revealed that almost half of India’s entry-level users are between 15 and 24 years old, mostly students, and can be assumed to be data-hungry, though less affluent than premium handset owners. Among premium handset users, 60% are over 24 years old, primarily working professionals or self-employed. These users are usually affluent and data-hungry. Expectedly, the ownership of expensive handsets is most prominent in towns with populations of more than 10 lakh people. More than half of the users with entry-level handsets are from small towns with a population of fewer than 10 lakh people.
Consumers from the eastern region of India prefer entry-level phones, with the proportion of premium handset ownership being very small compared with the rest of India.
Two thirds of all the growth in global advertising expenditure between 2017 and 2020 will come from paid search and social media ads, according to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts.
Between 2017 and 2020 total spending will increase from US$86bn to US$109bn on paid search, and from US$48bn to US$76bn on social media. Paid search will grow by US$22bn over this period, while social media will grow by US$28bn, making it the single biggest contributor to growth.
Paid search has undergone constant development in recent years. Search platforms, agencies and brands are applying ever more sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques to improve targeting, messaging and conversion. Search is becoming more integrated with commerce, both online – as brands shift budgets to e-commerce platforms – and offline, as retailers use location and store inventory data to match active shoppers directly with the products they’re searching for. All these developments are attracting higher performance budgets from brands, often new expenditure rather than being diverted from brand awareness activity. Overall we expect them to drive an average of 8% annual growth in paid search adspend between 2017 and 2020.
The next step in the evolution of search is voice search, but so far there has been little direct advertising through voice assistants. When users make a voice search on a smart speaker, they will normally only be presented with the first organic result; voice searches on smartphones may present more results, but not as many as manual searches. The rise of voice search therefore makes it more important for brands to identify the keywords they absolutely need to own, and to build content that sends them to the top of organic results. We expect the search platforms will eventually make paid search work with voice assistants, but for now brands need to concentrate on voice SEO, limiting the growth potential of paid search in the short term.
Much of the recent rapid growth in social media advertising has come as platforms have replaced static ads with more engaging video ads. So far these social video ads have acted more as complements to television ads than competitors, but the platforms are now competing with television more directly by hosting long-form content like sport, drama and comedy, and inserting mid-roll ads like those seen in television breaks. Overall we expect social media adspend to grow by an average of 16% a year to 2020, twice the rate of paid search.
The fastest-growing traditional medium is cinema, which we forecast to grow by 16% a year thanks to rapidly rising admissions in China. It is a tiny medium, though, representing just 0.8% of total adspend this year. Otherwise outdoor is the strongest performer, with 3% annual growth. Outdoor is benefiting from its wide reach and ability to create mass awareness, which allows it to complement highly targeted online advertising for premium brands. While targeted online ads move buyers along the path to purchase, premium brands still need to create widespread awareness among non-buyers – a premium brand will only remain one if everyone recognises its premium value.
Global adspend forecast remains stable
We have held our forecast for global adspend growth this year at 4.5%. Some markets have strengthened since we published our previous forecast in June (notably Canada and the UK), but these have been counterbalanced by markets that have weakened, particularly the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Our forecast for 2019 is also unchanged at 4.2% growth, while we have reduced our forecast for 2020 from 4.3% growth to 4.2%. Growth will therefore remain within the 4%-5% range it has maintained since 2011.
Economic growth has picked up this year in Canada and the UK, and demand from advertisers has been stronger than expected, so we have revised our forecast for adspend growth in Canada this year from 3.8% to 5.6%, and in the UK from 0.7% to 2.4%. These two revisions alone will add US$581m to the global ad market this year. We have also made substantial upward revisions in Vietnam (US$131m), France (US$121m), and Taiwan (US$104m). Western Europe is the most improved region, revised up from 2.3% growth in 2018 to 2.6% growth.
MENA adspend total revised up, but downturn has been worse than we thought
After conducting new research into true levels of expenditure in MENA, we have thoroughly revised our estimates of historic ad expenditure in the region. We have also added figures for Iraq, Jordan and Syria, as well as channels targeting Asian-language speakers across the region. The net effect of these changes is that our estimate of regional adspend is now higher than it was previously, but so too is our estimate of the shock the region has suffered from the drop in oil prices since 2014, political turmoil and conflict. We now consider that adspend shrank by 40% between 2014 and 2017, more than our previous estimate of 33%. But we estimate that ad expenditure across MENA totalled US$3.6bn in 2017, ahead of our previous figure of US$2.4bn. We now forecast an average annual decline of 5.5% to 2020, well below our previous forecast of 1.4% average annual decline.
“Better use of AI and integration with retail is driving continued strong growth in paid search,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence. “As voice search becomes more important, though, brands will need to focus more on content and SEO to secure first-place organic results for their most important keywords.”
“Voice search is just one way in which AI is transforming the way consumers search for information and entertainment, and the way brands communicate with consumers,” said Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s Global Brand President. “By linking media investment with commerce, and broad awareness with personalisation at scale, technology is giving brands new tools to create growth.”