I am very excited about the Internet TV Boom that is on the horizon. And the opportunities that it will bring. Verizon is leading the race to have a extensive fiber-optic network and replace copper wires with Optic fibers, especially for the “last mile” i.e. the edge of the network leading into people’s homes. Verizon will spend about $18 billion (!!) by 2010 to make this upgrade and expects to sign up 175,000 TV customers by year-end. It expects to introduce product-placement based advertising on Internet TV.

Nikon Coolpix S7c

September 29, 2006

remember taking all those pictures on your digital camera during your holiday? and coming back home to download them on your computer before sending it to family and friends?

Nikon is making it easier. I mentioned about T-mobile launching cellphones that can roam into wireless networks at home or other hotspots. Now Nikon has released a camera, the $350 Coolpix S7c, that can log into the nearest wi-fi network and sends the photos in thumbnail images in an email. Recipients can download the photos or watch them on Nikon’s coolpix connect website.

Walmart is promoting a low-premium, high-deductible plan for new incoming employees. Premium can be as low as $11 a month with a relatively high deductible of $1000.
Roughly 46% of Walmart’s 1.3 million store-level workers are enrolled in its health care plans.
This new plan is not helping Walmart’s image. Critics like wakeupwalmart contend that the new plan discourages unhealthy people from seeking work at its stores.

Intrusive Marketing?

September 27, 2006

Retailers already use bar-code data to understand consumer behavior and to create and segment customer profiles using purchase data. This data tells the retailer how often you visit, whether you visit the same store or different ones in the chain and ties individual users to their purchases during each visit.
Now retailers are going a step further. They want to understand what customers do inside the store. A consortium of major retailers (including Walmart, Coca Cola and P&G) is testing a system that uses infrared rays to track which exact aisle shoppers visited and which ones they ignored. This will help them refine their in-store marketing initiatives like aisle displays or for buying ads on in-store TV networks.

Do you think this is a bit intrusive?

Potato Burial

September 27, 2006

A WSJ article (subscription req) talks about how a growing co-op of farmers is trying to boost potato prices by controlling supply. In the process, farmers are destroying part of their crop to avoid oversuppy. The article gives an example of one farmer who buried $10,000 worth of perfectly fine potatoes.
Hello! Are we losing perspective here?? There are millions in the developing world without food to eat. And here we are trying to influence demand-supply by intentionally destroying food. It seems to me that our perspective is being heavily skewed by economic gain, at the cost of being blind to the broader Human context.

T-Mobile

September 27, 2006

I use T-Mobile for my cell phone service. However covereage in my area is practically non-existent. I am planning to switch but T-Mobile’s big expansion plans is giving me second thoughts.
T-Mobile has commited more than $4 billion for new radio frequencies in FCC auctions. Its launching a new generation of interet phones that can roam into wireless internet connections at home and T-mobile hotspots. This seems to be a first among all the wireless carriers. I am somewhat excited about this since it might finally give me a chance to be connected, if I stay with them.

Three subscribers have sued AOL. Their search data was released as part of an intentional release by AOL of some 19 million search requests made by 650,000 users. The three subscribers are seeking a class-action status for their lawsuit. My guess? This lawsuit will soon gain class action status.

Threadless.com sells T-shirts. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Yes, but they are doing something that leverage the community aspect of the internet. Users submit designs for T-Shirts. The Threadless.com user community votes on these designs. The best designs win prizes. And of course, you can order T-shirts with any of the designs.
Sounds like a cool business model? I think so!

The number of people who use TiVo and other DVRs is growing at a healthy rate. This presents a rather unpleasant challenge to advertisers: How to get users to watch an Ad when they are skipping through to the next program?
The Answer: Engage them. KFC did it earlier this year by hiding a clue in it’s ad that can only be seen on recording and playing back the video (aka TiVo users).
Yesterday, Sony launched an ad targeted at TiVoers for its new line of LCD TVs. The ad has two different endings. One for men and another for women. The engagement part? Viewers will have to click on one of the two radio buttons presented to them on the TV screen: “ending for men” or “ending for women”. Of course, after this point, imagery appealing to each gender is presented.
Will this work? we shall find out soon. KFC saw a 40% increase in traffic to its website when it ran the Ads!

HP’s Dunn Resigns

September 27, 2006

Finally! The writing was on the wall for a few days now. The question now is if Mark Hurd will survive the storm. His testimony next week in front of the house comittee will be an interesting turn of events in this saga.