Video Moves, Cisco Dips, Euro Twitches

Nobody doubts that we’re seeing a revolution in video, but there are revolutions and revolutions, and it’s not yet clear just how sweeping the video change will be.  Some recent data from Nielson seems to show that while online video viewing is increasing, it’s increasing primarily within a largely static group.  Not only that, the four-hours-plus of online viewing per month is insignificant compared to the average of over 150 hours for TV.

Google is one of many who aren’t happy to see that outcome, and in Google’s case they’re trying to recast YouTube to become more of an attractant for the online video fan.  Professional or at least semi-professional production is being encouraged, and there are some signs that Google may be close to addressing one of the biggest problems with YouTube, which is less the “production quality” issue than the “needle-in-a-haystack” issue.  There are thousands of interesting and valuable YouTube videos, but it’s not likely that most will be viewed widely simply because they can’t be found.  Google seems to be working to offer the semi-pro regular producer better visibility, which would then insure more viewing.  In turn, it would mean that viewers were likely offered stuff that at least included a strong dose of content that could credibly carry ads.  Will this work?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Cisco continues to suffer on Wall Street; UBS added the company to its “Tech 10 Least Preferred” list, which is a long way for Cisco to fall.  Cisco has all of the technology assets it would need to create a killer positioning for both enterprise and service provider.  What they also apparently have is a set of blinders that’s preventing them from seeing the need, or the solution.  Is that an easy or hard problem to fix?  In an execution-mechanics sense, it’s easy because you have nothing creating a real barrier.  You can turn a positioning on a dime.  In a historical-precedent sense it’s hard, though.  Cisco has had what they needed for that whole five years, enough to put its competitors away definitively.  They’ve not done it, and that speaks volumes in an empirical sense for the difficulty that management blinders pose.

New studies are showing that mobile devices and ubiquitous broadband impact shopping behavior very significantly, and that doesn’t surprise me.  If you track the “trajectory” between “suspect” and “customer” you see that in the later stages, when the buyer is truly in “buy” mode, online ads and tools are far more valuable than traditional media.  However, online trails significantly in its ability to build brand or need.  Mobile is an even-more-tactical picture; people typically use mobile search or other product-finding tools when they are actually shopping, not just considering it.

In economic news, we’re seeing more problems in the Eurozone.  Greece is looking twitchy again, the Finns may be moving to reject the Euro, and of course there’s still Portugal, Spain, and Ireland.  The big problem with an economic union of equals is that the parties aren’t really equal, and under any conditions that exacerbate the inequality the union comes under stress.  China’s inflation worries and fiscal tightening are also a worry, as is Japan’s perceived dip in economic power.  In all, only stellar earnings are likely to counter the fundamentals trends this week, so we may see a listless-at-best market.


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