Keep an “I” on our week (31 March)

The top three stories this week were

  1. Dot Scot is flying on World Whisky Day!
  2. Apple leads the World – Smart device sales to double
  3. A Potter round J.K. Rowling’s sites

We have a feeling that it was the whisky wot dunnit!

Our favourite video(s) of the week were the US & UK versions of the Kindle Touch promos.

Kindle Touch quick tour

- UK Version

- US equivalent

Life without TV, your mobile or the internet & LOL in Bradford!

As part of it’s statutory duty to “promote media literacy” Ofcom has just published, its annual research document, Adults media use and attitudes report 2012 (pdf) “The purpose of this report is to support people working in this area to develop and promote media literacy among these groups. The core focus of our research work is to understand UK adults’ usage habits and attitudes across TV, radio, internet, mobile phones and games.”

A lot of the media  have followed Ofcom’s press release with their headlines concentrating on privacy calming! But others pick up on our internet addiction  hmmmm!

Apart from feeling that one way Ofcom could reduce its costs even further, in these difficult times, would be to cut down on the sheer size of their reports. This one has 137 pages and an annex with another 14.

We couldn’t help but notice the response to this question:

“Which one of these would you miss doing the most?”

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Their graphic is for all adults 16+ (that’s 1,823 in their research sample in 2011). Lots more analysis in the report on pages 23-25.





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For 2011 we have used their colour coding, but simply, for practical reasons, have shortened some of the an  attempt to isolate and highlight these results as we find them unbelievable.

We’re not research experts but wonder about the overall context of the survey and the specific question asked as to whether these responses reflect the general public view.

Let’s imagine, in turn, what would happen if these media (excluding the internet) were unavailable:

  • TV – Watch it on the various Players around or on another device.
  • Mobile – Problematic but twitter facebook and emails would have to suffice
  • Radio – Listen on the various Players around or on another device
  • Papers – Read online from the numerous sources
  • Music non MP3 – Listen via MP3 player or online
  • Music MP3 – Listen online using another device.
  • Games – Play online using another device
  • Videos  – Watch online using another device
  • Tablets – Use another device

So whilst we are possibly cheating by mixing content and devices, for our arguments benefit, you hopefully will get our drift. Life without the internet would be at best very difficult and at worst disastrous – much worse than eg a fuel strike for example!

Some evidence from within  the report which we feel may add to our case comes from the 14 page annex we already mentioned (pdf) on the relative usage/popularity of the internet and TV (it lists the top 50 websites and top 20 TV programmes again with copious analyses)

On the Top 50 web entities accessed by adults the unique audience figures for the top 10 (starting at Google – brand, 24.1 million, through Microsoft – brand, 12.0 million) totals 163 million ish. This relates just to the month of October 2011. On the top 10 TV programme audiences throughout the whole of 2011 (from Strictly Come Dancing (17/12/11) 12.3 million through Eastenders (3/01/11)  10.2 million) totals 102 million ish. That’s a 60% greater “audience”.

There may be a counter argument concerning average hours spent using watching but this is closing and will get confusing as “TV” gets connected one way or another. The relative figures (both from Ofcom of course) are watching TV 24.35 hours per week  and internet usage (page 4) 15.1 hours a week. Thats a 61% greater length of “use”of TV!

So we do spend a huge amount of our Life online which is the title of  “…. the world’s first gallery dedicated to exploring the social, technological and cultural impact of the internet. This permanent gallery will trace the history of the internet, uncover how it has changed people’s lives and track the latest trends.”

It’s part of the National Media Museum in Bradford (which is obviously city of the day!) and it opened yesterday. Events list  and a short promo video:


Apple leads the World – Smart device sales to double

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IDC  have looked at smart connected devices as a “family” projecting growth rates through 2016. We have compared their and Apple’s actuals (extracted from their quarterly SEC filings ) for 2010 and 2011.

Description: This data comes from IDC’s WW Quarterly PC Tracker, WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, and WW Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker.Tags: Tracker, mobile phones, tablets, forecast, PCs, devices, consumer, IDC …Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts


IDC forecast total unit shipments of 1,877 million by 2016 with iOS based devices having a 17.3% market share, which implies 325 million devices. As these are all likely to be Apple products this represents an increase of 113%.

The platform markets share changes from 2011 to 2016 IDC  envisage as being:

2011 2016
Android 29.4% 31.1%
Windows 35.9% 25.1%
iOS 14.6% 17.3%
Other 20.1% 26.5%
100.0% 100.0%

“Android’s growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC’s research director, Mobile Connected Devices. “So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain.”

So whilst Android and Windows will have at least dozens of vendors iOS will be Apples sole preserve and as such they are and will continue to be the leading worldwide supplier of smart devices.

In the Tablets v’s PC battle IDC do not foresee a “takeover” occurring and in fact envisage tablets reaching just under 40% of the volumes of PC’s by 2016 with we calculate an underlying compound annual growth rate of around 23.5%.

We wonder if this might be an underestimate, particularly if some of the educational aspirations of Governments such as Thailand‘s  and India’s result in low priced product availability for students in a large number of countries including China.

The other family member who will likely join at a slightly later date of course is the Smart TV! There are some rumours around that Apple’s version may now not appear until 2013.

We shall see

A Potter round J.K. Rowling’s sites

It is now possible for the first time to obtain the official Harry Potter books in eBook format.

J.K. Rowling, arguably sensibly, retained the digital rights and has (from yesterday) made the complete seven book collection available via her (still Beta) Pottermore  site in the “Shop” section . The downloads are said to be compatible with most ereaders  (including all Kindles and the main Apple devices running iOS v 4.2 or newer) and she has partnered with the main reading services:

  • Sony Reader online account (US and Canadian based customers only)
  • Amazon Kindle (available in most countries)
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK (US and Canadian based customers only)
  • Google Play (This service is currently available in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States)

In the UK amazon have set up a separate page for the titles in their Kindle store which they announced with a press release yesterday. It’s

The pricing for the first three books is £4.99 and the subsequent (slightly longer) four £6,99 (the complete collection can be acquired for a discounted {10%} £38.64). This is in English (GB) format with the (US) version being marginally cheaper! The comparable US pricing is we understand $7.99 and $9.99 (which is a reasonable £ exchange rate compared to some devices prices we have come across!)

Talking about devices we are delighted to see that amazon have today announced that the Kindle Touch reader is now available for preorder in the UK with deliveries taking place from 27 April. Two versions basically non 3G and +3G for £109 and £169 respectively. Lots more info and a preorder ability here  Already having a 3G Kindle reader ourselves they come highly recommended. No Kindle Fire UK launch date announcement yet unfortunately!

Back to Potterland!  The Pottermore site announced sometime ago by JK Rowling and only currently available to those who are part of the Beta says it “… will  be open to everyone in early April”.

If you can’t wait, then perhaps, a visit to The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour (London) might be in order – it opens from 31 March and adults (16+) £28 and kids (4-15) £21 will get you in (with the predictable “family” deals) – info and booking from their site.

A sneek preview follows the promo ad (which is a bit loud!) 

We have no affiliate arrangements with Pottermore or Warner Bros. Studios. We have affiliate arrangements with amazon who are one of our promoted links.

Here’s amazon’s video for the Kindle Touch Quick Tour

Or if you prefer the US original here it is!

Dot Scot is flying on World Whisky Day!

According to several reports one of  ICANN‘s (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) hurdles has been overcome to enable an application for a new gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) to be made for .Scot.

It appears that the acquiescence of the Government for the application exists! Two of the main Scottish broadsheets (The Scotsman and The Herald ) sort of confirm this and the Daily Mail has also contributed!

Nominet are handling we believe the only other two “country” applications from the UK that’s both .Wales and .Cymru. Following our previous post it doesn’t look as if .Eng got off the ground and .Nie seems to have been a non-starter.

The apparent registry Dot Scot Registry  will hopefully be in a good position to finalise everything before ICANN’s  closing date of 12 April  with only a couple of days left to register.

We still wonder if Scotland did achieve independence whether it would revert to .So which we believe might be the only available formal (2 letter) country code which might apply under ICANN’s practices as .sc (Seychelles) .st (Sao Tome and Principe) .sl (Sierra Leone) .sa (Saudi Arabia) .sn (Senegal) and .sd Sudan are already operated by IANA. A practical solution could be simply to redesignate .Scot as the official country code.

Anyway on this momentous day  – the first ever World Whisky Day 27th March 2012 (hopefully comprehensive detail here a little later as the site seems to be down at present! – In the meantime here’s some background) lets all toast .Scot! Slange var!


Update 1pm BST World Whisky Day is now trending worldwide on Twitter so we guess his site may have some traffic volume problems!

Site problem confirmed on his twitter account which you could follow for updates!






Update 7pm BST And as a taster here’s an STV video of the man himself!


How and where will we watch our movies in 2016?

IHS/iSuppli are forecasting in their  Screen Digest Broadband Media Market Insight report that, numerically, online views of movies will overtake physical purchases for the first time this year in the US and will exceed 3.4 billion plays.

Within their release they use these  definitions – “The physical segment consists of retail sales and rentals of VHS, DVD and Blu-ray discs (BD). The online portion is comprised of electronic sell-through (EST), Internet video on demand (iVOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD).”

They are forecasting that online views will grow to around 5 billion by 2016 which we calculate to be a compound annual growth rate from this year of about 12.5%. The total movie views/transactions they envisage growing from the 2012 figure of 5.8 billion to, we think from  inspection, about 7 billion in 2016.

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Whilst not completing the “consumption” scenario, a quick look at box office attendances in the US/Canada as provided by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) should help. From their Theatrical Market Statistics for 2011(pdf) the total admissions are given as 1.28 billion and whilst declining (about 3% a year if we go back as far as 2002) they possibly might be around the 1.25 billion level this year. (Maybe The Hunger Games will help!)

So the total US views/transactions/ admissions for 2012 in billions look like:

  • Online views – 3.40 (48%)
  • Physical transactions – 2.40 (34%)
  • Box office admissions – 1.25 (18%)
  • Total – 7.05

As IHS/iSuppli rightly point out on the volume side  the “Key to the surge in consumption of online video has been the rise of all-you-can-eat subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which offer customers unlimited on-demand movies for a flat monthly or annual fee. The result is that subscriptions in 2011 accounted for 94 percent of all paid online movie consumption in the United States, compared to just 1.3 percent of units consumed that were bought on an ownership basis via electronic sell-through.”

As far as market shares are concerned IHS/iSuppli comment “Netflix, while unquestionably the market leader, is not the only online SVOD game in town. Last year saw both Amazon and Hulu develop online streaming businesses at levels unheard of just a couple of years ago. For Amazon in particular, 2011 marked the transformation of Amazon Prime from a discounted shipping offer into a diverse entertainment proposition in its own right, allowing subscribers who paid the $79 per-year service access to a range of movies and TV shows.”

The revenue analysis is, as one would imagine, slightly different in total terms (using a similar extrapolation from the 2011 $10.6 billion actual figure for the US/Canada Box office takings) and look like, in billions:

  • Physical transactions – $11.1 (49%)
  • Box office –  $10.0 (44%)
  • Online  - $1.7   (7%)
  • Total – $22.8

IHS/iSuppli are forecasting that “The pattern will likely remain unchanged even by 2016 with online accounting for 17 percent of revenue, compared to 75 percent for physical video, and pay-TV video on demand taking the remaining 8 percent” These percentages only of course relate to physical and online which comprise 56% of our total.

The unit prices are:

  • Ticket – $7.93 (2011)
  • Physical $4.72
  • Online $0.51
  • Average $3.23

As far as the UK/Europe  is concerned the current online market leader recently announced “…. that in February, for the first time ever, LOVEFiLM members streamed more films and TV series instantly over the Internet via LOVEFiLM Instant than rented DVDs, Blu-rays and Games.” NETFLIX have arrived and Sky through their new brand NOWTV are getting in on the act!

MPAA report that in 2011 we here in the UK spent $1.7 billion at the box office ranking 4th in the world outside North America. The world market they report, incidentally, as being $32.6 billion in 2011. which is more than 3x the North American market.

We think there’s a lot more disruption on the way and by 2016 there will likely be premium prices payable for online acquisition of new movies/programmes/content which will most definitely move the unit price of online up significantly. The future of physical and Box office markets must, as with the newspaper and recorded music industries, give them cause for concern.

Its the dozen W’s again -  “Where we can watch – what we want, when we want it and where we want it.” The where is by and large – at home or on the move with a “destination” location coming way behind as the third choice.

Apple shares drop nearly 10% – sort of!

“A single trade for 100 shares executed on a Bats venue briefly sent Apple down to $542.80, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The order was executed at 10:57 a.m. New York time (23 March). Two more transactions, which sent the stock back above $598, were made before the halt. The stock stayed around that level once trading resumed five minutes later.” Bloomberg

And our favourite headline “Apple goes Bats!

Anyway back to the serious stuff – Time for our update on Apples share price movement following the launch and first sales of the new iPad a week past yesterday.

The analysts/commentators you may recall came up with some historical analysis which indicated price rises up to a new device/iPad going on sale followed by some weakness in the following week after it goes on sale.



So this is how it ended up:

  • Between launch and sale – Actual1 to on-sale + 9.9%
  • Week before on-sale – Actual2 to on-sale + 8.0%
  • Week after on-sale – Actual3 to week after on- sale +2.4%




So history repeats itself x 2 and x 3ish on the first two events but the jury was discharged late Sunday night re the latter price movement as there was of course, on Monday 19 March, what one might call a fundamental event that invalidates any conclusion. As we noted elsewhere the share price moved up $15.53 from Friday close to Mondays close  (it must be said though without huge volumes). If the whole of this rise were to be attributed to the Dividend & Buyback announcements then maybe just maybe one might say there could have been a marginal fall but………

Actual1 The closing price on 6th March the day prior to the media event was $530.26. At the actual start (10am PST) of the event the price was $535.16. We have used a rounded average of the two of $533 as the “launch” price.

Actual2 The closing price on 8th March was $541.99. We are using this as the start point for the week before on-sale.

Actual3 The on-sale price which is the closing price on 15th March was $585.56.

The week after on-sale price (ie the closing price on 22nd March) was $599.34. 

Dot com’s strong start to year – signals higher US & world growth?

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The .com new registrations in January and February this year were 5% and 14% respectively above 2011. The cumulative registrations were just under 10% ahead of 2011.

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Even if March registrations (typically the strongest month in the year) show no increase over 2011, the first quarter’s growth could exceed the last couple of years. This might just indicate a higher than forecast (2%-3%)   GDP increase in Q1.


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The world economy continued to decline in Q4 of 2011 to 2.5%. Whilst from our graphs this seems to lag the other indicators we might just be at a turning point!




Whilst on the topic of domains, as we forecast, the .uk registry reached the magic number (10 million) last week (one day before the ides!) and Nominet duly celebrated with:

The lucky domain, which is the 10 millionth, is apparently registered to Steven Northam of  SN Technologies Ltd Group who describe themselves as  “ ….. a holding company with a diverse range of interests expressed through the range of SME’s across the UK.” Swarve Magazine is listed under their Group Portfolio as a new investment and the BBC elicited that it was a photography based publication launching later this year. They have embryonic  Facebook and Twitter presences

We read that Lesley Cowley the CEO of Nominet is allegedly on a short list, for the rather hot seat to replace the increasingly infamous Rod Beckstrom, for the CEO and President’s role at ICANN. We sort of hope she doesn’t get it!

“ICANN is currently interviewing his potential successors in Costa Rica. The shortlist is believed to have been whittled down to a handful of names including Lesley Cowley, CEO of .uk registry Nominet”


Internet retail sales power ahead again in February

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It’s the third Thursday of the month so the Office for National Statistics (ONS)  have just published the monthly retail sales figures for February (pdf).

There have been significant revisions to January’s reported overall figures, justifying all the associated health warnings. February, at best, disappoints many of the pundits. It is negative economic news!

January’s Internet figures previously declared as £640.4 million a week have, we calculate, been revised to £567.3 million much closer to our estimate of £555 million. The February figure is £573.6 million an increase of 1.1%

The ONS say:  “Internet sales

In February 2012 the non-seasonally adjusted average weekly sales value of Internet retail sales was estimated at £573.6 million which was approximately 10.7 per cent of all retail sales (excluding automotive fuel). In February 2011 non-seasonally adjusted average weekly sales value of Internet retail sales was £432.6 million which was approximately 8.3 per cent of retail sales (excluding automotive fuel).”

That’s a 33% increase on February last year. The cumulative year to date figure compared with 2011 shows an increase of  28%. The year on year figure for the 12 months ended February 2012 v’s 2011 is +21%.

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The moving annual total, which we now also report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since January 2008) to an all time high of £27.85bn an increase in the month (adjusted re revisions) of 2.1% annualised 25%. This is in line with the long term compound average growth rate of 28%.



Our forecast for March is a little under £600 million a week with the 12 month moving average increasing to possibly £28,5bn.

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We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from 2008 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we mentioned recently, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity) that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.


ONS words – “The experimental Internet Sales estimates include sales made over the internet by all retailers that is they include on-line sales from supermarkets, department stores, clothing stores and predominantly non-store retailers.”

Our words – The statistics understandably get revised each month and January’s % Internet sales have been revised down to 10.6% from 11.9%. We revise our data in line with the ONS. Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS. To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January and the last one was in 2008 which explains the exceptional figure of £1.2bn which would otherwise have been £1bn!

Sky Go to NOW TV

Having introduced Sky Go for both existing customers and others (primarily on a subscription basis). “Sky today announced that its new internet TV service, offering access to Sky content on a wide range of broadband-connected devices….” will be called NOW TV

It will launch this summer with Sky Movies and other content will follow.

Sky are pushing (at least in their Press release) that this is a new brand and we have to admit that we are initially impressed with the logo which has an immediate impact.

Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch  on its announcement says “The launch of a second brand is an exciting opportunity for us and the rationale is very simple. Having two brands will allow us to meet the needs and preferences of different customer segments more effectively.”

The release continues “The Key features of the NOW TV experience will include:

  • Great content – the new service will offer some of Sky’s most popular programming. Sky Movies will be available from launch and the service will expand to offer sport and entertainment soon afterwards.
  • Flexible pricing – with no minimum contract, customers will be able to choose from a variety of pricing options. For example, people will be able to pay monthly for unlimited access to Sky Movies or rent a single movie on a simple, pay-as-you-go basis.
  • Easy access – the new service will roll out across a wide range of connected devices, including PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, games consoles and connected TVs.
  • Ease of use – with immediate streaming through an intuitive interface, backed up by recommendations and editorial support, customers will quickly and easily find the content they most want to watch.”

The announcement was made at the Media Guardian Changing Media Summit 2012 today as part of Jeremy Darrochs keynote speech which can be downloaded in full as a pdf.

It sounds to us as if some of the flexibility, announced as part of Sky Go to receive non subscription services, is being transferred to the new NOW TV . The differentiation made in Jeremy Darroch’s speech between the two offerings is:  “We’ll offer two distinct ways to watch:

  • the full, market-leading Sky service for the whole family, complete with the widest range of channels, high quality products like Sky+, HD and Sky Go, as well as the peace of mind of a monthly bill;
  • or the flexible, more spontaneous, pay as you go service of NOW TV”

We’re in favour as it recognises the importance of internet TV and can be on a pay as you go basis  which, as we previously mentioned we think is the future where we can watch  “what we want, when we want it and where we want it” S’pose we could call it the dozen W’s!


Sky have set up a holding page where you can register your interest in  NOW TV  (Not sure if we’ve got the name right ie the TV element!)

The domain name, held by MarkMonitor, was last updated yesterday and was originally created on 14th May 1995 which actually just predates (14 July 1995).