According to the new Adobe Digital Index “U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report,” 20% of online video views in the fourth quarter of 2013 came from mobile. What’s really surprising is that smartphones have overtaken tablets as the preferred mobile method to view video on mobile devices. Even more impressive is the popularity of watching video on gaming consoles such as the Xbox and PS4 which registered a 365% increase in views over last year.
The important fact here is that the screens we’re watching video on are getting smaller which is why it’s important your videos look good in that format. Social plays a key role in referring viewers with Facebook way out in front with a total of 80% of all referrals. Twitter comes in at a distant second at under 12%.
The vast majority of video views are on branded sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, but the report also states that Tumblr and Facebook have a slightly higher “video view rate” than YouTube. This assumes the video views are on the platform itself as opposed to video referrals where someone clicks to see the video on a different site.
For marketers, more video views translate into more video ad opportunities, which is great for business.
According to a new report from the CFI Group and eBay Enterprise about Black Friday shopping and the “showroom effect, 30% of those surveyed said they expect to spend more than 50% of their holiday gift budget between November 28 and December 1. This is up 27% over year. That means more retailers will pull in more revenue earlier in the season. On the downside, CFI says consumers will be spending less overall. That’s why they’re counting on Black Friday deals so heavily.
Looking at spending by age groups, 15% of Millennials plan to spend more than $700 on gifts while 24% of those 35 and older plan to spend more than $700. As expected, women say they’ll be buying gifts for more people. That being said, 36% of women said coupons significantly impact their decision to buy. Only 22% of men said they tend to use coupons.
Amazon announced this week that their Prime members are getting another benefit to go along with free two-day shipping and streaming videos: free, unlimited photo storage. The new service is called Prime Photos and allows members to store photos in their original resolutions to Amazon Cloud Drive from any device, including iOS, Android, and Fire phones and tablets, as well as Mac and Windows PCs.
The app, previously available but with limits on free storage for photos, lets users view photos in a timeline format, auto-save photos as they’re taken, and share their photos through Facebook, email, and other apps. Amazon says the additional benefit won’t impact the cost of Amazon Prime membership, which costs $99 yearly.
While Amazon is not the first to offer a large-scale photo storage plan, Google, Facebook, Yahoo’s Flickr and Apple do the same, but there tend to be restrictions. In the case of Google, users can upload an unlimited number of standard size photos, but full-size photos will count against their Google Drive storage limits. Facebook offers unlimited photo storage, but limits albums to 1,000 photos and defaults to lower resolution photos unless you choose otherwise. Flickr offers 1 TB of free storage, but limits individual file size and overall amount of uploads and Apple’s 1 TB plan, its largest offering, is more expensive then the rest.
This week Amazon introduced a new product called Echo, a Siri like voice activated personal assistant device. The cylindrical piece of hardware is able to answer a variety of Questions and perform simple functions like playing music.
Connected to the cloud and Amazon Web Services, Echo is designed to learn and gain functionality over time. An accompanying Amazon Echo app (Android/Fire OS only) or web interface is what lets Echo create alarms, music playlists, shopping lists, and more.
According to Amazon, Echo uses far-field voice recognition technology utilizing seven built-in microphones to listen for audible requests from anywhere in a room. Its downward-firing speakers “can fill any room with immersive sound.” Echo gives users access to Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. With its built-in Bluetooth, Echo is also able to play music from a phone or tablet.
Echo is priced at $99 for Amazon Prime members and $199 for non-Prime members, but currently users must request an invitation from Amazon to be allowed to purchase the device.
Guests at Starwood Hotels will soon be able to access their guest room using their smartphone via a new Bluetooth-connected app. The initial rollout will involve 10 of its hotels. Eventually keyless access is expected to roll out to all Aloft, Element and W Hotels sometime in 2015.
To use the new system, guests simply sign up through the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) app and check-in for their booking. They will then have the option to use SPG Keyless to access their room. The app also allows guests to view the details of their stay and receive push notifications on the status of their room, such as information on upgrades.
The big benefit here is the time saved. Guests will be able to bypass the front desk when arriving, managing all aspects of their stay through the app. Starwood Hotels promises advanced security, partnering with smart lock company Assa Abloy to ensure that specific room keys only work on specific phones and allowing digital keys to be wiped if a phone is lost.
Tech start-up Bionym has developed a wristband that uses your “unique cardiac rhythm” to verify your identity and is launching a pilot payment program for users to test the wearable device as a way to pay for things. Since Nymi is not required to be tethered to another device (think typical smart watches) to work, Bionym is confident its wearable will more useful and differentiate it from the competition.
Payments and security are only parts of the wearable’s appeal. According to Andrew D’Souza, Bionym’s president, Nymi could eventually act as a replacement for your password, and it could unlock your car and even work as a remote control for your Netflix account.
The Nymi wristband relies on three levels of security: your heartbeat as a biometric ID, the wristband itself and an authorized authentication device like your smartphone. It only reads your electrocardiogram when you put it on, then uses sensors to make sure it’s still on your wrist. Each time you remove the wristband, you’ll have to re-authenticate your heart rhythm when you put it back on.
Dan Thorn, a news anchor for WVNS, a CBS and Fox affiliate that serves a portion of West Virginia, is proving the news isn’t all bad. His series of entertaining and infectious music videos will surely make you smile.