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Pandora + Google TV is Awesome.

I am pretty sure that I'm the lone Google TV fanboy. I love the ability to merge the television with Google Chrome ... and to eventually lay the Android marketplace atop it (currently there are core apps like Pandora, Netflix, etc)>. And I give Google TV a better shot to amass great content and better UI than I do the hardware manufacturers (I have never used the Samsung or Sony appstores that come preinstalled on the TVs). Anyhow, here is another example of why I love Google TV: load ( and your friends can share / DJ music throughout your home. And since:

- your TV is likely the home's largest screen - your TV is probably connected to your home's best speakers - and your TV probably sits in an open, social area

It's an excellent, optimal experience!

Haven't tried yet? Here's a couple nice recaps: - TechCrunch: The New Early Adopter Addiction: Turntable - SAI: The Exclusive Music Site That Already Has Entrepreneurs Buzzing - Andrew Machado (super-fan): - The Future of Music

It's All About the Living Room (2011 Predictions)

To see more of my 2011 tech predictions - click here This will be the year where the internet finally makes it's way into the living room... and I don't mean as a laptop or iPad as you watch television. For many homes, the TV is already the focal point of the living room and it's been a matter of time before the web and the television hook up in an intelligent, simple way. To date, this has mostly been accomplished by bulky solutions geared towards techies: ie connecting a Mac Mini to the television. But all the trends point towards 2011 being the year that the living room begins to go digital in a more mainstream way: - Television prices have gone way down. You can now buy gorgeous, large TVs for under $1,000 (less than many laptops). Those TVs have numerous inputs are are plug-and-play for other connected devices.

- You can spend more and get an internet connected television... which comes equipped with widgets, apps, etc.

- The content is there: Netflix and Pandora and beloved by millions. Along with a growing number of other great apps and content sources (ie: ESPN3, Hulu,, etc) - the web plays an important role in your media consumption. This trend will continue in a massive way (which is why folks like Comcast and ESPN are racing to address it).

- External devices are readily available, relatively inexpensive and are easily integrated: Google TV, Boxee, Apple TV, etc.

- The web now runs in the air. Think about most of your daily computing needs (certainly those that would run on the TV): email, browsing, search, light documents, Facebook, etc. All of this can be done from a browser and does not require a fancy machine... thus enabling lightweight 'computers' like the Google TV to be super effective.

- Someone(s) will figure out more compelling ways to watch TV... which is becoming a passive activity (our TV is frequently on but I am rarely ever fully engaged). Google TV is close: the screen-in-screen approach is compelling. The solution may be appearance related (ie Google TV) or perhaps activity (ie GetGlue, Facebook integration, etc). Whatever it looks like - there is lots of opportunity for innovation... and our TV-watching habits encourage it.

Levis + Facebook's Open Graph = Awesome Social Shopping

Facebook's F8 announcements featured prominent partner integrations with Pandora, IMDB, ESPN and Yelp... but Levi's quickly demonstrated that the Open Graph and web-wide Like functionality are highly applicable to e-commerce and social shopping. Just as Pandora uses Facebook to personalize music (artist & channel) through your social graph, Levis allows shoppers to like, view and filter products based on social input / preferences.

Shoppers can either view top products from "everyone" or specifically visit the "Friends Store": a storefront with content chosen by your Facebook friends. You can also invite friends directly to shop alongside you and provide their feedback.

Cleverly, Levis also features friends' upcoming birthdays, showcases their favorite Levis products and encourages gifting.

iPhone OS 4: Five Takeaways

Today Apple announced iPhone OS 4 - which ships in the summer for the iPhone and iPod Touch and in the winter for the iPad. Lots of incremental and much needed changes (ie App Folders) but a few significant updates for consumers AND developers:

1. Multitasking. ... and ... 2. Background Tasks (consumers) We have asked for it essentially since Pandora's app launched... you will be able to run background services for: - audio (ie Pandora - a huge winner today) - voip (ie Skype) - location (ie directions, maps)

3. Enhanced Mail (consumers) This is particularly important for iPad users: multiple Exchange accounts, threaded conversation, improved attachments, etc.

4. iAd (developers) We knew this was coming with Apple's recent Quattro acquisition... and it arrived today. Apple will become an ad platform for the app ecosystem: selling and hosting the ads on a 40/60 split (40 to Apple). Ads are fully interactive and done in HTML5 (another big win for HTML5).

Not only is this an opportunity for HTML5 developers and web marketers, it is an opportunity for app developers to reach new users and drive downloads. Powerful.

5. Game Center (developers) Traditionally, mobile apps have not been as 'viral' as Facebook apps... with iAd and Game Center there are new ways for developers to drive adoption. Game Center is Apple's take on Xbox Live: a gallery for players, leaderboards, achievements, etc - effectively a heightened platform to foster game mechanics and drive usage.

More reviews at: Gizmodo / Engadget / TechCrunch / VentureBeat

More Freemium Data: Pandora & Dropbox

More data out of the Freemium Summit and following the great insights from Evernote. Here are tidbits from Pandora and Dropbox about their freemium business models and results. More case studies and data are available on GigaOM.

Pandora Freemium product: Pandora One Premium features: higher quality streams, desktop app, no usage limits Results: 300,000 subscribers - 1.6-1.7% of monthly uniques Dropbox Premium features: Bandwidth Results: Dropbox has one of the best referral programs on the web (see my review here). The program increased signups by 60% and now drives 30% of all signups. Organization: 30% of the engineering is devoted to user acquisition

Evernote (see full write up here) Premium features: premium account, bandwidth Results: 1.8% of users (6% of active users) have converted to premium users. And Evernote has driven 50K premium subs in 28 months.

Whats Hot in iTunes? Location-Based Apps.

SXSW 2010 was all about location. In fact, we could look back on 2010 as the year of location and geo... which would be a natural progression from 2009's mobile growth.

According to iTunes and its "What's Hot" category: the App Store is also all about location. While I do not know exactly how 'hotness' is defined, we know a couple things: - it seems to be a mix of curation + popularity - it is distinctly different from "new" apps and "top downloads" - it usually features a mix of free and paid apps... as it clearly behooves Apple to drive paid downloads - it usually features a mix of app types: games, sports, utilities, etc - for specific themes, Apple creates curated 'storefronts' (like "Baseball App Store Essentials" or "Independent Games Festivals") So it is unique that the six "hottest" apps are: Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Whrrl, MyTown and Citysearch. All are free and location-based, check-in applications. In fact, only one of those applications (Booyah's MyTown) features in-app purchases; but while they are not direct revenue producers for Apple, these are all highly viral and sticky applications.

I would love to see another app category: "most active". Ultimately, I care far more about ongoing usage and adoption than the download. And ultimately, Apple should favor sticky, oft-used apps (like Pandora and Facebook... and these location apps) than those with very high churn. You can extrapolate usage through downloads and ratings... but that is flawed because 1) ratings are predominently negative due to Apple's implementation) and 2) we do not have great visibility into downloads. A barometer of activity - no matter how disguised it would be - would be powerful... and I imagine that, for the time being, these six apps would appear in that list:

I would love to see a

Tiger Woods Propels TMZ to 51st Most Visited Website

These days, sponsors might not like Tiger Woods... but TMZ sure does. Steady at 3-4.5m daily pageviews, the news surrounding Tiger Woods over Thanksgiving doubled TMZ's traffic, propelled them to the 51st most visited website, and grew their audience to nearly 22m global uniques.

To put that in perspective, Hulu is 23.8m monthly uniques, Huffington Post is 25.5m, Pandora is 16m and LinkedIn is 31.7m (all are also directly measured via Quantcast).

The Tiger Woods scandal drove significant traffic for TMZ (and continues to do so as the story develops / continues) - and it drives traffic for other sites as well. But TMZ has become the leader in pop-culture gossip after breaking several key stories including Michael Jackson's passing... and they have clearly become the most trafficked gossip site (nearly twice the visitors of - although 2/5th of the pageviews per visitor).

Amidst their growth, TMZ has announced the upcoming launch of TMZ Sports site to expand the brand and reach new audiences.

Facebook Featured in Xbox's "It's More Fun Time" Commercials

Microsoft clearly understands that the platform element of Xbox is as much a selling point as its game titles: in just the first week of being live, 10% of Microsoft's Xbox Live subscribers connected their accounts to Facebook. The platform represents new online content (such as Netflix) and the ability to make console gaming more social and viral. Furthermore, the association with big brand names like Facebook, Netflix, and Pandora is an effective sales tool that is appealing to all console owners (whereas games and their audiences vary dramatically: Madden Football vs. Call of Duty vs. Little Big Planet).

facebook xbox live

So in Microsoft's most recent Xbox advertising campaign, the 'platform' is a major theme: "more games, more entertainment and more fun" and "plugin to the endless entertainment of Xbox Live".

Sirius XM Loses 400,000 Q1 Subscribers - Thanks iPhone / iPod!

For subscription services, one of the core business measurements is new / lost subscribers. Read the quarterly earnings transcripts for companies like Comcast and you will realize how much attention is paid to subscription and revenue per subscription metrics.

This week, Sirius XM (SIRI) reported very poor numbers and saw their stock fall from $0.54 to $0.42:

The satellite radio monopolist said it lost 400,000 net subscribers during Q1, finishing the quarter with 18.6 million subs.

Retail subscribers -- those who sign up for Sirius on their own, not by buying a new car -- were the biggest defectors, at 370,000 net sub losses, down from 49,000 net sub losses a year ago.

According to, Sirius blamed their struggles on the auto industry. Certainly a weak auto market - and economy - will negatively impact Sirius XM...

But isn't the real issue that Sirius XM simply doesn't provide as much value as it used to? iPods and iPhones have effectively captured the majority of satellite radio's initial value: on-demand music and content. Now, between massive music libraries, podcasts, Pandora and countless other ways to access content you want - there really is no reason to pay a subscription price for Sirius.

In fact, the only reason to subscribe is if you are particularly drawn to specific personality (like Howard Stern).... and even that is eroding. For instance, XM used to have rights to all MLB games with MLB Home Plate. Now, for a one-time $9.99 fee, you can get an improved version for your iPhone or iPod Touch - complete with box scores, video and other customizations.

And that's just the content piece. Neither Sirius nor XM ever understood form factor and portabilitiy... and obviously Apple has mastered that. So while Sirius wants to blame Detroit and a struggling indsutry for their woes - they should really credit a technology company for beating them in both device and content.