CES 2012: TRENDS, TECHNOLOGIES AND MEDIA RESPONSE...because sometimes, what happens in Vegas, shouldn’t stay in Vegas
IntroductionEvery year in January the great and the good of the consumer technologyindustry descend upon Las Vegas to showcase their latest innovations.Anybody who has ever attended will agree it is easy to get lost in the crowd,both physically but also from a brand perspective. Some companies returntriumphant, while others join a long list of those who have travelled to Vegashoping to strike it lucky, but leave having spent a lot of money, with little toshow for some late nights in America’s playground.At GolinHarris we have pulled together this report to explore some of thetrends from this year’s show, highlighting what worked and what didn’t interms of generating media coverage and that all-important social media buzz.I hope you enjoy it. If you would like to discuss any of the points raised inmore detail, please drop me a line.Will Sturgeon,Executive Director, Technology,GolinHarrise: email@example.comT: +44 (0)207 067 0480
Walking the floor:Long before most of us haddiscovered the remote control, LasVegas favourite Elvis Presleyfamously used a gun to turn off histelevision (right).The technology has come a longway since then of course and Elviswould have needed a whole army ifhe was to take issue with all thetelevisions on display at CES lastweek.Unlike Elvis in his Las Vegas heyday,these televisions are also gettingthinner by the year and it was that Did you know: Despite pre-showinnovation alongside the rise of talk of decline, CES 2012 boasted aOLED screens and smart TVs which record-breaking 3,100 exhibitorsreally caught the imagination of and attracted more than 153,000many media attendees. attendeesHowever, it was far from just a TVshow.Smart phones and tablets were also abundant this year with names such as Nokiastaging a ‘comeback special’ of their own. The launch of the Lumia 900 certainly gotmore than its fair share of column inches.There was also a whole host of weird and wonderful gadgets on display. And up fordiscussion in the media were perennial talking points such as the ‘Booth Babes’,The Guardian posing the question as to whether girls in bikinis is still the way tocreate interest in consumer technology in 2012.Then there were the ‘freebies’ – or rather the lack of them. One UK journalist took toTwitter to complain that the only freebie worth bringing home with him from Vegaswas a branded hand towel.
Making a splash:Who generated the most media coverage and whomade the most noise on social media
The Talk Of The Town: Being different works Green technology was firmly2012 may have marked Steve Ballmer’s last back on the agenda thisCES keynote. year, from the show’s official car – the Ford Fusion hybridMicrosoft, the company of which he is CEO, – to a device which almostsays its focus is going to be on smaller managed to steal the showshows from now on. But the larger than life against all the odds.Microsoft boss still generated more UKmedia coverage than any other senior exec The Nest app-controlledtalking at the show: smart thermostat drew the cameras with its sexy looksThe top five were as follows: (OK, it’s sexy for a thermostat) and its promise1. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft of allowing users to more2. Eric Schmidt, Google efficiently control how they3. Stephen Elop, Nokia heat their homes.4. Paul Otellini, Intel5. Howard Stringer, Sony Among those behind the device are Tony Fadell, Apples former Senior Vice President of the iPod Division – hence the fact it looks a cut above the average thermostat. The lesson here is that different works. There were hundreds of televisions at CES but only one app- controlled thermostat.Above: Steve Ballmer pictured with US TVpresenter Ryan Seacrest who was compèrefor the Microsoft keynote.
What’s The Word On The TweetOur research has revealed that 93.5 per cent of all onlineconversation around CES took place in ‘micro media’ channelssuch as Twitter and Facebook. Blogs 4.9% Most Tweeted about brands: Mainstream media 1st (21.3% share) 1.5% Micro Media 93.5% 2nd (18.5%) It is perhaps no surprise the top country for originating tweets about 3rd (14.6%) CES was the US - accounting for 58 per cent of the total. The top 5 were: USA (58 %) 4th (11.9%) France (6.9%) Japan (3.8%) 5th (11.4%) UK (3.5%) Brazil (3.5%)
Day by day:Top 5 Brands by share of social voiceDay One saw a host of announcements and the highest volume of both newscoverage and social media conversations. Microsoft’s keynote saw it take alead in the social stakes and also LG’s biggest showing of the week in socialchatter on the back of its smart TV announcements. Microsoft Samsung Sony LG NokiaDay Two saw Microsoft conceding some ground while Lenovo made its oneand only showing in the top 5. That was on the back of an Intel announcementand its Yoga Ultrabook and tablet hybrid demos which proved to be popularvideo content online. Sony and Samsung both grew share around televisionannouncements, though Samsung’s ‘disc to digital’ announcement alsoresonated with people clearly keen to digitise back catalogues of media. Microsoft Samsung Sony Lenovo Nokia
Day by day:Top 5 Brands by share of social voiceDay Three saw a very strong showing from Nokia. The company CEO tweetedabout Nokia scooping CNET’s ‘best of show’ smart phone award, sparking aflurry of retweets. Meanwhile talk of Samsung’s Galaxy Note was spreadinglike social media wildfire. Microsoft Samsung Sony LG NokiaDay Four suggested the week in social media had been a very good one forSamsung. A range of launches, most notably the Note and the widelydiscussed ‘Smart Window’ got social channels chattering. Importantly, theSmart Window, due to its interactivity, was a major driver of video content insocial channels. People who can’t be at the show want to see things working. Microsoft Samsung Sony LG Nokia
Who got the Twitterverse buzzing? The UK’s top four CES tweeters...@ Guardiantech Followers Posts about CES Overall influence @ BBC Click @ t3dotcom Note: Scale is indicative for the purposes of comparison, and not uniform across all three measures. Eg. The number of posts ranged from 10 @ BBCworld (@BBCWorld) to 124 (@t3dotcom), while follower numbers ranged from 33,000 (@t3dotcom) to 1.8 million (@BBCWorld). The value of celebrity in creating online buzz When Justin Timberlake took to the CES stage with Panasonic, social media mentions of both the brand and the celebrity peaked. However, it’s worth noting, mentions of Panasonic were already clearly in the ascendency prior to mentions of Timberlake hitting their own spike. Naturally, not everybody tweeting about Panasonic at CES mentioned the company’s choice of celebrity but it seems Timberlake’s arrival did little to extend or heighten the buzz, while the lag between the two peaks suggests conversation about Timberlake continued without tweeters connecting the brand and the celebrity. TIME
UK Media Trends Despite some high-profile media being unimpressed by the notion of a trip to Las Vegas... ...many did still make the trip this year and were busier than ever. A trend of increased CES coverage year-on-year continued unbroken:Five year news reference volume of ‘CES’Source: Google Trends The great appeal of CES is the thrill of the new – a first opportunity to see the technology we’ll be talking about Day 1 later in the year. As such speed is critical for the media who want to win the race to cover the major announcements. This results in a flurry of coverage on Day One which markedly tails off (right). For the tech press, CES certainly remains a pilgrimage worth making and nobody was more productive at the show – in terms of pure numbers at least – than The Inquirer whose output (left) from the show was prolific. Of the nationals, The Telegraph put in a very decent shift.
What the media were saying:No clear winner but lots of good news
ConclusionRecord attendances and wall-to-wall media coverage would appear to be thehallmarks of a show in rude health.The growth in social media has also clearly helped companies exhibiting atCES breakout of the frenzy on the conference floor and reach new audiencesand new levels of publicity in the altogether more frenzied world of socialmedia.Few things fuel the wheels of Twitter so spectacularly as some ‘must have’innovation and gadgetry, presented in a simple, visual way.Undoubtedly social media and the blurring of the lines between onlinechannels and ‘traditional’ media is also driving the increasing levels ofcoverage. Whereas a newspaper or broadcaster may have limited itself to oneor two big announcements from CES in years gone by, their increased onlinechannels and outlets allow for a far more rapid fire, ‘little and often’ approach tocontent, in the manner of their younger rivals. Among the most influential voiceson social media this year were two BBC accounts and the Guardian’s Tech feed.All three boast huge followings and while they didn’t Tweet as much as others,their words resonated further and wider.Of course, some people will say that for the umpteenth year running the focusof the show was on fiddling with form factor - smaller tablets, thinner TVs,bigger screens, lighter notebooks – or tinkering with specifications such ashigher resolution cameras in mobile handsets. But the purists will tell you thoseare exactly the reason why consumer technology continues to be the excitingindustry it is.