Tuesday 20 December 2011

Dear TV Trolley, RIP!

It’s quite interesting to reflect, how evolving technologies impact the business of home furniture. Be it phone tables, hi-fi music systems ensconced in the safety and compactness of a wall unit or Television trolleys.
I still remember the year 2005, when I bought my first 21 inch Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TV, ONIDA Black. Buying it from an online shopping portal was much easier than searching for a befitting TV trolley (Back in 2005, I did not come across any online shopping portal that sold home furniture).  And trust me, the joy of watching those colorful satellite channels soon faded when the reality of buying the TV trolley from a brick & mortar store struck me.
From locating a shop in NOIDA’s (Uttar Pradesh, India) atta market (local lingo for Sector 18 Market in NOIDA) that sold TV trolleys, to choosing the right trolley was an arduous task.
I had to bear in mind the mental map of the apartment floor plan, that decided the length X breadth X height of the trolley and also the other factors like weight of the TV; future upgrade projections like, if it is supportable for 25 inch/29 inch TV; cost benefit analysis of custom built versus off the shelf; with wheels or without wheels; glass & steel versus wood & laminate; match color of the trolley with TV or home d├ęcor; additional utility as VCD/DVD player stand etc., all these weighed heavily on my purchase decision.
The experience drained me so much that I wrote an e-mail to V Chandramouli, then VP Marketing & Sales, MIRC Electronics, requesting them to bundle TV trolleys with TV, as an optional standard accessory. Now I do not exactly remember the content of his reply e-mail, but I vaguely remember him mentioning that they would contemplate this request for 29 inch TVs.
As they say, good times never last; my TV trolley lost her beautiful black wheels and couple of long legs during her first relocation from NOIDA to Mumbai, and left us forever during our second relocation from Mumbai to Bangalore. The fact, that we never factored whether she’ll survive those long bumpy rides during our relocation, sitting quietly wrapped inside the truck and never complaining while she suffered, will always haunt us L
As said by one wise man, All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move, we have decided to move on the path of austerity and next time will save the trauma of losing a TV trolley and those precious 9 square feet of real estate by going in for a slick, fancy, hi-fi*, HD*, LED*, LCD*, Plasma*, Smart*, 3D* wall hung TV J
*I hope I have not offended any TV advertiser by not including their latest TV offering over here…yup I watch TV ads on TV J

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Mobile Video Commercials (MVCs)

On 8 December 2011, I caught the press release "Personalized Video Mobile Message Solutions", from a Delhi (India) based organization, Clk2c.
As the solution communicated by Clk2c vide their Press Release, seemed to be on similar lines as my earlier post, Wedding Cards and Mobile Applications (August 2011) it was but natural to have a look at the website of Clk2c.
If you still wonder what Clk2c is all about, well, it allows brands/marketers to send audio/video/textual (PowerPoint) commercials to the mobile devices of their Target Audience. Clk2c calls it Mobile Video Commercials (MVCs). How do brands send MVCs to mobile devices? It could be in response to a short code to which the user SMSes a keyword and receives the download URL, a forward/viral from a user who has received MVC, a SMS containing the MVC download URL sent by the brand, etc.
At a very fundamental level, the solution is about appization (mobile enablement) of digital assets created by brands for communication on media vehicles such as Internet, TV, Radio, Print etc. The mobile enablement of digital assets has been in vogue for quite some time now. In fact services such as Didmo allow users to create their own mobile apps for free (ad supported) or at a fee (free from ads) and publish them on app stores. It also provides certain credits to push the app URL as a SMS to the mobile numbers of the intended recipients.
Unlike Didmo's cloud based self service delivery model, Clk2c does mobile enablement vide its own studio, thus allowing creation of media assets for delivery as MVCs or mobile enabling / repurposing, existing media assets created by the brands for media vehicles other than mobile.
As a marketer / creative agency / media agency, it helps to commit spends if one knows:
 1. What are the services provided by Clk2c.com studios? – Apart from production of MVCs does it also re-produce or alter an existing media asset held by the brand, for publishing on Mobile Phones? E.g. in case of video assets, edit long shots and retain close shots, insertion of tele-text in font and colors to make the copy readable on a mobile screen, etc.
2. As a marketer what should be the ideal duration for the video advertisement on mobile, so that it does not take a long time to download.
3. Is the video file compatible on all mobile phones? What is the device coverage?
4. How do power point presentations play on mobile? Does Clk2c provide voice talent and voice recording facilities in its studio to accompany audio with power point presentations.
5. What are the metrics employed to gauge the efficiency of the campaign?
6. How different is the solution from MMS or publishing the brand video on app stores? Cannot the brand do a MMS campaign similar to a SMS campaign for distributing MVCs?
Introducing a new media solution is followed by lot of questions and comparison with old school learning before graduating to mass adoption.
With the number of mobile subscribers inching close to 900 million, hours spent by smartphone users @ 2.5 hours per day (a proportion that surpasses time spent on television), internet users on mobile surpassing users who access internet on desktop computers by 2013; are we going to see a trend where marketers / creative agencies create media assets specifically to communicate with the mobile audience?
As always, I'll request the readers of this post, if you have time, please drop a line.