Thursday, June 16, 2011

QR Codes Invading Retailers

QR codes, those 2 dimensional, squiggly line boxes, are appearing in ads and on products. Go down the aisle of your favorite store and you may just start seeing them on the packaging of products. "The square patterns found in the corner of print ads, in store aisles and elsewhere can be scanned by consumers' smartphones and tablet computers to open a Web page, play a video or even place a call."

And while few consumers are using them, interest seems to be growing. Unsure how a product works, get a quick demonstration; download a coupon for just taking a snapshot. I also see great opportunity to capture information about a product and perhaps add your own notes. I'd love to see wine bottles add QR codes so I could remember which ones I may have tasted and to record my desire to buy again or not.

Applications for such use of QR codes abound. Whether in grocery or home improvement stores, real estate or restaurants, department stores or movie theaters, many companies could benefit from the addition of a QR code. And with their appearance on more and more print ads, awareness by the public will only grow.

Cable Competition Causing Cord Cutting

Great article in the LA Times this week that notes that the internet is not the cause of cable cord cutting. It is competition among cable, satellite, and telco providers that is hurting cable company's subscription growth, noting that "both satellite and telco video distribution services saw growth, while cable fell by almost 2%." Whether the cause of this migration is lower pricing, better service, unique content, or something else should all be considered, yet with the economy in turmoil, lower pricing is most likely the underlying motivation.

The article warns that this migration may still lead to true cord cutting. "The Nielsen study warns that younger Americans are spending an increasing amount of time watching content online." It is why cable operators are pushing to extend the reach and availability of their channel line-up online for mobile enjoyment. As consumers like having content follow them, this accessibility generates both new acquisition as well as retention benefits. Still, TV today remains the dominate means to view long form video content. And with better and bigger HDTV screens and the rise of 3D, a video subscription, whether from cable, telco, or satellite, it is the best means to enjoy it.