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YouTube turns jukebox; beta tests ad-free subscription service

This morning, the folks at YouTube are singing a merry tune thanks to the launch of YouTube Music Key. This obviously music-oriented add-on comes in two sizes; free and ad free for $9.99 a month.

You heard it, YouTube is offering a subscription service. And though the subscription fee will only include music options, it’s a safe bet that if the beta test goes well, YouTube will try subscriptions site-wide.

YouTube Music

When you log on to YouTube, or launch the YouTube app, you’ll find a new tab marked Music. Here you’ll find trending music videos and top music by genre. What’s more interesting are the YouTube mixes like “Music for Every Mood” which includes playlists like “Swag Out” and “Morning Motivators”.  I had to check out the motivators and they’re right! These songs will get you going; U2 – Beautiful Day , Pharrell Williams – Happy, Katrina & the Waves – Walking on Sunshine and (for some odd reason) Bon Jovi – You Give Love A Bad Name.

Digital will lead holiday shoppers to 345 billion in retail sales

Deloitte_2014_HolidaySurveyInfographicDeloitte is the latest company to publish their holiday survey for the upcoming season and so far, they get the prize for the best subtitle and Infographic.

The survey is subtitled: “Making a list, clicking it twice” which means shoppers will be turning to their mobile devices more than ever this year.

In 2013, only half the people in the survey had smartphones. This year that number rose to 67%. Smartphone owners are planning to spend 27% more on gifts than those without a smartphone so let’s hope your customers are the mobile savvy kind.

Tablet ownership is also up, 50% vs 38% last year. 65% said they’ll be using their tablets to shop and browse the internet for gifts. 57% said they expect to do their buying via a tablet.

Black Friday: Millennials will spend more but 35+ will spend the most

Spend more22 Days Until Black Friday!

Are you ready?

CFI Group and eBay Enterprise just released a new report about this frantic weekend called “Holiday Shopping 2014: Shutting Down the Showroom Effect”.

As an online seller, you’re probably not all that concerned about showrooming but there are a few nuggets in the report for you, too.

First up is the actual Black Friday weekend. 30% of those surveyed said they expect to spend more than 50% of their gift giving 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 so heavily on Black Friday deals.

Smartphones beat tablets for mobile video views

adobe mobile growth 2013In 2014,  194.5 million people in the U.S. watched at least one digital video per month. That’s 41.4% of the overall population. By 2018, eMarketer says that number will rise to include almost half the US population.

Going hand in hand with that, is the rise in mobile viewing.  According to the new Adobe Digital Index “U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report”, 20% of online video views in Q4 2013 came from mobile.

What’s surprising is that smartphones are now outpacing tablets as the preferred mobile method. Smartphone video starts are up 86% year-over-year while tablets are only up 23%.

Looking strictly at growth, nothing beats gaming consoles with 365% rise in views year-over-year thanks to XBox One and PS4. The latest news from that front is the addition of RealPlayer Cloud which allows you to stream all of your personal videos you’ve stored on RealPlayer through your XBox gaming system.

As mobile users increase Facebook looks to be the ‘cross-platform platform’

FB CollageLast night, Facebook announced the company’s third quarter results and it was better expected. Revenue for Q3 2014 was $3.20 billion, an increase of 59% year-over-year. I’d take that any day.

66% of the revenue came from mobile advertising. Go back and read that line again. That’s up 49% over last year. If you had any doubt that mobile is the future of advertising, that should change your mind right there.

The mobile situation gets even more interesting when you look at active users.

  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 864 million on average for September 2014, an increase of 19% year-over-year.
  • Mobile DAUs were 703 million on average for September 2014, an increase of 39% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.35 billion as of September 30, 2014, an increase of 14% year-over-year.

A Day in the Life of the Mobile Millennial Mom

Retro happy momAre we there yet? Almost!

We’re almost to that place where moms don’t even use computers anymore. They do all of their shopping and run the entire household from their smartphones with an assist from a tablet. It’s a magical place where everything gets done faster and easier leaving moms with more time to relax.

Ansible and Millennial Media just released a new report that examines the relationship between Millennial moms and their mobile devices.

As a group, these women spend 76% of their digital time on mobile devices and 50% of their mobile time is spent on shopping related activities. Did I mention that there are “13 million Millennial Mom consumers in the U.S. with a combined purchasing power estimated at $170 billion in annual spending”?

Twitter takes flight with new a mobile developer platform

Twitter FabricTwitter took one giant step closer to the big boys this week when they held their first developer conference in San Francisco. The event was appropriately called Flight and from there Twitter launched Fabric. (I’d love to see a list of the names they discarded before landing on that one! Why didn’t they call it Nest or Perch or Birdbath . . )

Fabric is a modular, mobile platform that’s supposed to help developers create better apps – and in turn, make more ad money with those apps.

The platform has four features that are. . . what’s the word I’m looking for. . . uneven?

It starts with stability and a bug detector called Crashlytics. The tool helps developers detect a problem, locate the root and repair it faster so you can “spend less time debugging and more time focused on building great apps.”