Notes of Note from John F. Ince

Archive for the ‘Social Marketing’ Category

Warner’s Facebook plan hits Netflix shares – MarketWatch

Facebook ‘s empire expands …  Warner Bros. Studios’ plan to start streaming its films to Facebook users is taking a bite out of shares of movie-rental giant Netflix Inc., sending its stock tumbling nearly 6% Tuesday.

The proposal, which would allow immediate streaming of the venerable studio’s movies on the popular social-networking service, puts a new wrinkle in Hollywood’s adaptation to a digital world.

Warner is starting out the service by offering screenings of its 2008 hit “The Dark Knight,” which made more than $1 billion in worldwide receipts — seventh on the all-time box-office list. Facebook users who say they “liked” the film can rent the title from its page on the social network. Users would use 30 Facebook credits, worth $3, to pay for the rental.

Warner is calling the venture a “test,” saying it plans to put “selected” films on the site for rental or purchase. Users could watch the film via their Facebook account for up to 48 hours on demand, and be able to start and stop the stream whenever they choose. They could also network with others while watching the film on Facebook.

“Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, president of the Warner Bros. digital-distribution unit, in a statement. “Making our films available … gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.”

Facebook, however, insisted that the Warner plan does not constitute a exclusive transaction between the two parties. Facebook said it has consulted with Warner to get its project going, but it helps other content providers do the same, including CBS Corp. (CBS 23.70, -0.02, -0.08%) , Comcast Corp.’s (CMCSA 25.57, -0.02, -0.08%) NBC network and Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS 43.20, -0.03, -0.07%)  ABC network, as well as Netflix (NFLX 195.08, -0.37, -0.19%)

Facebook officials said in a written statement: “Right now, more than 400 games and applications use Facebook credits to give people a convenient and safe way to buy virtual and digital goods on Facebook. We’re open to developers and partners that want to experiment using credits in new and interesting ways, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with.”

Privately held Facebook said it gets a 30% cut from every showing via its network.

via Warner’s Facebook plan hits Netflix shares – MarketWatch.

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Groupon Pulls Controversial Super Bowl Ads

What your take on this …..?

Groupon announced on Thursday that it is pulling its controversial Super Bowl commercials from the air.In a blog post, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason apologized for the ads, which many said were offensive–especially the one that aired during the Super Bowl, which featured actor Timothy Hutton talking about the plight of the Tibetan people before unexpectedly shifting gears and boasting that he could still save money on Tibetan restaurants, thanks to Groupon.”Our ads offended a lot of people,” Mason wrote. “Tuesday I posted an explanation, but as many of you have pointed out, if an ad requires an explanation, that means it didnt work.”In the explanation, Mason defended the ads, saying they were actually meant to bring awareness and raise money for the various issues they mentioned other spots talked about the Brazilian rainforest and whales. But that stance clearly was not enough, causing Mason to go further.”We hate that we offended people, and were very sorry that we did – its the last thing we wanted,” Mason wrote on Thursday. “Weve listened to your feedback, and since we dont see the point in continuing to anger people, were pulling the ads…we thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didnt come through. I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads.”

via Groupon Pulls Controversial Super Bowl Ads.

Google Acquisition of Groupon Seems Likely, Say Sources | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

According to sources close to the situation, Google has offered $5.3 billion for Groupon, in what would be its largest acquisition yet, if completed.

Sources said the deal for the Chicago-based social buying site seems likely to be struck, even as early as tomorrow, although it certainly could fall apart right up to the end.

But, if done, it will move the search giant instantly to the top spot in local commerce online and give it huge troves of data about consumer buying habits and merchant information across the globe.

Combined with its pending $700 million acquisition of ITA Software, the travel data firm, that should freak out regulators worldwide and could be considered Google’s own version of a jobs plan for antitrust lawyers.

That said, it is a killer move for Google–despite the high price–given it has long tried to enter the local advertising space, with decidedly mixed results.

With its more than $33 billion in cash and strong stock, it had previously tried to buy local reviews site Yelp, in a deal that fell apart for reasons that are still unclear.

In contrast, Groupon, founded in 2008, has taken off like a Roman candle and dominates the huge market for social shopping and discounting.

While the $6 billion Google is considering paying seems high, Groupon’s fast-growing revenue and profitability make its multiples less daunting, said those familiar with the matter.

It will certainly be a big payoff for Groupon’s investors, including Silicon Valley’s Accel Partners, as well as Battery Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Russia’s DST Global.

Groupon has gleaned about $170 million in venture funding from them, most of which it has not needed.

That’s because it has reportedly attracted upward of $50 million in monthly revenue.

It has done this by offering “daily deals”–getting a massive discount from local retailers in return for delivering customers via marketing via email and on social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter.

via Google Acquisition of Groupon Seems Likely, Say Sources | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD.

Will the Mobile Payments JV Trounce MasterCard and Visa? – pymnts.com

Judging by the breathy press reports yesterday of the new, sort of, kind of, maybe joint venture between mobile behemoths AT&T and Verizon (with T-Mobile in the mix too) MasterCard and Visa are sitting around conference tables today white-knuckle-gripping their blackberries and iPhones. Bloomberg first broke the story that these carriers were teaming up with card network laggard Discover and Barclay’s, a big worldwide bank with a small US footprint, to take on the big guys. The plan is to turn the smart phone into a contactless debit and credit card killer. Discover would run the transactions over its network and Barclay’s would manage the accounts.

Details were sketchy so we will need to wait for more of them to really know what this is all about. Based on what I know, I have two observations. First, as I have been saying for about the last 18 months I’m a firm believer that smart phones will eventually become the main way to pay at the point of sale. Second, that we’ll see a lot of shipwrecks on the way to this destination. This purported match up sounds destined for the ocean floor to me. Here’s why.

Most joint ventures fail because the partners can’t agree on things. If they actually get to signing on the dotted line—the article suggests they have since they are in search for a CEO—they will have gotten farther than Simpay, the proposed mobile carrier payment JV that cratered in Europe in 2005. Starting a new payment system is hard enough without having to get AT&T, Verizon and Discover to agree with each other.

Then there’s the contactless smart phone angle which who knows how many wet-behind-the-ear entrepreneurs assume is the path to payments Nirvana. In the near term it does not seem likely that pursuing this approach could ignite a new payment system.

The first problem involves the smart phone, the very form factor that this new network has embraced. You, me, and our circle of friends probably all have smart phones and because of that we have a tendency to think most people do. They don’t. This is still is very expensive technology that has a small share of mobile phone subscribers.

The second problem is that merchants just haven’t been interested in installing contactless terminals. One of the articles on the new JV emphasized that there were 140,000 merchant locations that have contactless readers. Wow—140,000. Of course anyone who knows this business knows, to use a highly technical economic term, that represents just about bubkus.

via Will the Mobile Payments JV Trounce MasterCard and Visa? – pymnts.com.