In the last Tech Tuesday of 2011, we take a look at the big digital media and technology news of the last week.
Social game developer Zynga (best known for the FarmVille, CityVille and Mafia Wars games) started trading on NASDAQ this week, selling 100 million shares at $10 each, which declined to $9.58 at the end of the days trading. This put the firm at a greater value than Electronic Arts.
The offering was the biggest by a U.S. Internet company since Google Inc. raised $1.9 billion in its 2004 IPO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
(Of course, Zynga's games are heavily reliant on Facebook's platform – and Facebook are expected to file for IPO in 2012, raising an expected $10 billion IPO, valuing at more than $100 billion.)
IMRG have forecast that online shoppers will spend over half a billion pounds on two bank holidays this Christmas.
With £186.4m forecast to be spent on Christmas Day, and a further £367.8m on Boxing Day, this is expected to represent a 12% year-on-year rise, with downloadable content for smartphones and tablets generating the bulk of the demand.
I'm always surprised by statistics about the amount of texts sent and received by US teenagers, and this latest report from Nielsen is no exception; an analysis of over 65,000 mobile phone subscribers' habits reveals an average of 3,417 text messages exchanged per teen - an average of 7 every waking minute.
The report also covers mobile data usage, where although 25-34 year olds are the heaviest users (578MB/month - up from 264MB last year), younger people are rapidly increasing their usage of mobile data, with a rise of over 250% in the last 12 months.
This represents not just a rapidly growing mobile market, but also a rapidly changing pattern of usage. I would expect the late teen/young adult group to overtake the older age group in the next year or so, with the mid-teen group quickly catching up.
BBC sign Netflix deal and partner with Virgin Media
The BBC (along with almost everyone else, it seems) has announced a deal with Netflix, bringing BBC content to their subscription streaming service in early 2012.
The announcement shouldn't come as a surprise – not only because of the number of content partners Netflix has been signing up recently, but because the BBC are already partners, with deals in place for Netflix to stream BBC content to members in the US, Canada and Latin America.
Meanwhile the BBC has also announced a deal with Virgin Media to bring new applications to the TiVo platform;
The BBC and Virgin Media will now begin to develop new applications and user experiences for TiVo homes - paving the way for Virgin Media customers to gain access to the BBCís interactive coverage of next yearís major sporting events via a brand new Red Button experience, including Formula 1, Wimbledon, Euro 2012 and the London 2012 Olympics.
A new BBC Sport app, along with BBC News and BBC iPlayer apps, will provide access to "red Button" interactive applications. Although no launch date has been announced, the events lined up would imply sooner rather than later.
Websites 'must try harder' to meet cookie compliance
Last May, the ICO announced a 21 month lead-in period for businesses to update their websites to comply with the new regulations.
The key advice from the ICO seems to be around being seen to be taking action, saying that "There will not be a wave of knee-jerk formal enforcement action taken against people who are not yet compliant but trying to get there."
Amazon have been traditionally quiet about the number of sales of Kindle devices, usually revealing nothing more revealing than "millions sold", but in an unusual press release this week have announced that for the last three weeks, they have been selling Kindle devices at a rate of "more than a million a week", with sales of the Kindle Fire tablet "increasing week over week", and is the "#1 bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product."
It could be that the reason for the unusual sharing of information is aimed at distracting the technology press from some of the negative reviews and comments around the product - customer ratings on the Amazon.com product page are notably less glowing than those of the Kindle ereader
Although there have been some rumours about a UK launch in January, it is hard to understand why a tech product would launch immediately after Christmas (and not be available for pre-order.) With content distribution deals cutting into Amazon's profit margins, it seems likely that they will want to saturate the US market as much as possible before launching in other territories.
Google Chariman Eric Schmidt told an Italian newspaper - the latest stage in the "brutal competition" between Google and Apple. In addition, he confirmed that Google has plans to leverage its voice recognition technology to provide a greater challenge to Apple's Siri.
It isn't clear whether there are solid plans for the device in place yet; with the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility underway, this would seem like an obvious partnership. Another alternative would be to use the "Nexus" branding which Google has used for flagship Android smartphone handsets (which are manufactured and branded by 3rd party partners.)
Google's annual "Zeitgeist" report on the fastest rising search trends for the year is, as always, well worth a look. From the digital world, number one is Rebecca Black (responsible for over 167 million YouTube views of her "Friday" single), Google+ at number two, the game Battlefield 3 at number five, iPhone 5 at number six, Steve Jobs at number nine and iPad 2 at number ten.
The UK's interests were slightly different, although the themes were broadly similar - more interested in Fifa 12 than Battlefield 3, Groupon made an appearance at number four, and perhaps a surprise appearance for many of Minecraft at number eight.
This is the last Tech Tuesday post of 2011, but we will be returning with a new look in the new year.