Latest industry insight - October 2012

Apple 12 months on

How time flies. It doesn’t seem long ago that the digital world (and beyond) was mourning the passing of Apple’s icon leader, Steve Jobs. Twelve months on and allowing for a few, almost customary functional/technical hitches, Apple is itself in rude health. With Cook at the helm, Apple’s share value has risen 75%, whilst share price has almost doubled from $372.50 to $700 in September. But what can we learn from this impressive growth and value performance? That Cook is a capable and appropriate replacement for Steve Jobs, albeit acknowledging the irreplaceability of Mr Apple himself? Or, that Mr Job’s legacy continues to live on. iPhone5 was very much his baby and has shattered all sales targets to date. The real test will come now, with products and pricing models moving on to the post-Jobs influence and input phase. Current and prospective Apple consumers will certainly be paying close attention to quality of execution (functionality and form) and restrictiveness of core accessories and add-ons. It’s not just the stock-pickers who’ll be keeping a close eye on Apple in the coming months, that’s for sure.

Facebook’s billion

Whether or not you believe Facebook truly has hit the magical billion user mark (just think about those “fake” and auto-created accounts for example), this figure is almost incomprehensible. In a modern day equivalent of the space race, Facebook, admittedly by its own metrics, has won the sprint to the moon that is social networking. But, lift off the lid and Facebook’s own financial performance since the launch of its initial public offering is less than impressive. Facebook shares currently trade at a little over half their May opening share price.  Zuckerburg, clearly has some work to do to show investors and markets that he’s the man for the job. But, how? Conquering new markets and usurping resident incumbents surely must feature strongly in future plans for action. For example, Russia and China, have strong established networks in place. For example, China’s QZone, has more than 530 million users, whilst Vkontakte is the most popular social network in Russia, with 110 million users by May 2012, vastly exceeding Facebook’s 6.4 million. Facebook’s execution of their entry and market development strategy is going to be really interesting to watch not least in China and the political and legislative ramifications that come with a market with such huge potential.

Primetime TV and not just quick chilled

What’s in a channel, after all it’s just a way of delivering content. Rude tube, a pastiche of appropriately bizarre YouTube clips has been gracing some our late night TV screens in the UK for some time now. So, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that state-side, Recipe Rehab is hitting the digital headlines, having transformed into a Saturday morning televised competition show on ABC. It’s the first series from a YouTube original channel to make it to broadcast TV. Unlike Rude tube, this isn’t about raking through content that’s already there and pushing it out via a different-ish medium, but adopting an approach for one format and applying it to another. Nice to see some cross-media action working the other way for a change.

Look who’s just signed up to Twitter…

Clue, first name David (aka Dave) second name, Cameron. That’s right, the Conservative PM himself and by all accounts he’s built up a 70,000 plus following already. There must be a joke in there about politicians and restricting themselves to communications of 140 characters or less, but I’m trying to resist the urge. Still it might be a good way of backbenchers keeping a track on where the leader is and what he’s up to. I noticed his account showed him following 8 tweeters at a recent count, I wonder who they are and what is their political persuasion.