What Apple Teaches Us
Harry McCracken 1, PC World 0

Disney's Gadget Vision

Swiss_army_knifeI've been a fan of gadgets/widgets since before Yahoo bought Konfabulator.  I use them on my desktop and feature them on my blog.  I've posted before about how I feel these mini-apps will only become more important in the future, but this demo from the Mix conference really drives the point home.  If you were previously convinced that gadgets and widgets are silly little toys, take the time to watch that video and see what Disney is using them for.

My first reaction to this was, "cool...I'm glad to see some interesting things being done with gadgets beyond the same old CPU meter, memory gauge, etc."  My second reaction was, "what an interesting advertising/marketing vehicle."  Then again, what's the incentive for me to put your advertising-laced gadget on my desktop?

It's all about the content you're providing and the services you're offering, right?  After all, nobody wants to clutter up their desktop with a bunch of advertisements.  Disney's example was very content rich, offered dynamic updates via RSS and looks very inviting and entertaining.  Plus, there are only so many Firefox tabs I can possibly keep open at one time, so why not take advantage of that desktop surface area for more content options?  I love the approach and hope to see more gadgets like it on some of my hobbies and interests.

P.S. -- Don't overlook the direct-to-consumer and tracking capabilities of this sort of service.  At the end of the video they mention how they've built that sort of logic into the Disney gadget.  Thanks to the fact that it's so dynamic they can adjust the content, features, etc., based on the usage information they're tracking.  Very cool.

P.P.S. -- If you're in the content business (e.g., books, magazines, newspapers, video, etc.) and you don't already have a gadget strategy you better start working on one soon!  It's yet another way to distribute your content and reinforce brand awareness.

Comments

jeff davidson

Hi Joe - Interesting! Do you have a gadget strategy with your book line? You have a lot of content do you think the traditional publishing channels are still the most efficient and profitable way to supply your customers content? My big question is how do you monetize your content. It seems most monetization on the web is from advertisers.
Jeff

Joe Wikert

Hi Jeff. Good questions. I've been talking to some of the other folks here at Wiley about gadgets/widgets. Sorry that I won't tip my hand in public at this point, but stop by my office and I'll fill you in...

As far as monetizing the content goes, yes, advertising would be a component. I haven't seen a gadget/widget I'd be willing to pay for, but I'll bet there will be many worth paying for at some point. That might be a flat fee or for a subscription. Again, I don't see this model today but I'm optimistic it will exist in the future.

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