Ypulse Essentials: Blockbuster's Movie Pass, More Nickelodeon Nostalgia, Books On-Demand

Blockbuster is back and ready to battle Netflix and Qwikster (with Blockbuster Movie Pass, a service that lets users stream content and rent movies and games-by-mail. Unlike Netflix which has split into two companies, the Blockbuster Movie Pass will allow viewers to watch content on both mediums through one subscription and for the same price as Netflix. Sounds appealing, especially to Millennials who are likely to want both options without paying two fees. However, we sense a fight as big as Facebook vs Google+ brewing) (TechCrunch)

- In another attempt to cater to nostalgic Millennials (Nickelodeon and retailer Johnny Cupcakes are selling an exclusive line of t-shirts featuring some of Gen Y’s favorite cartoon characters including SpongeBob Squarepants, CatDog, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy. We’re not sure if the clothing will be as popular as Nick’s retro programming since wearing animated characters on shirts seems a little childish, but then again, that’s the point of nostalgia, and it’s been working for the network) (Cynopsis)

- It’s a tough time for the book business (but there may be a solution to help bookstores and publishers alike: printing on-demand. Espresso Book Machines enable a book to be printed in a matter of minutes, which means shelves don’t have to be stocked for paperbacks to sell. HarperCollins is making 5,000 titles available in this format and we’re curious to see how consumers respond) (WSJ)

- We bet teen girls will be flocking to theaters this weekend to see ‘Twilight’ star Taylor Lautner in the film ‘Abduction’ (about a teenage boy who finds out his parents aren’t really his. You won’t find werewolves and vampires in this flick, but we think it will be popular nonetheless. Speaking of movies, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit is angered

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Most of the role models and leaders in my life have been Gen Xers so far."

–Male, 16, WI

Instagram has reached 700 million active users, and its growth has been speeding up. The app hit the new user mark just four months after reaching 600 million, and the introduction of Instagram stories in August may be a major contributor to its accelerated growth. The feature has a reported 200 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Overall, Instagram now has twice the user base of Twitter and is quickly approaching the coveted 1 billion user mark that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger have reached. (TechCrunch)

Millennials are using social media and YouTube to decide what to buy. A U.K. study found 32% of 18-24-year-olds are using social media to research their purchase decisions before checking out, and 25% are using video platforms like YouTube. There are also signs they’d like to search for products on social media: 25% of U.K. 18-24-year-olds reported the desire to search media based on their lifestyle and 23% would like search to understand their current mood. These findings, paired with the detailed targeting available to advertisers, are changing the consumer journey from search query to cart. (AdvertisingWeek)

Millennials are keeping 70% of their money in cash, reluctant to invest in anything, from stocks to their own retirement plans—according to new BlackRock research. Clearly impacted by the Great Recession, Millennials are most likely to agree, "What you might earn investing isn't worth the risk of losing your money," and a third say “they learned what not to do with their money” from watching their parents. They also tend to undervalue the potential returns of investments by millions of dollars, which is not good news for their futures—at their current rate, most Millennials will have less than $1 million saved for retirement. (TheStreet)

Influencer marketing is proving its worth. Though marketers have worried about determining ROI with the approach, one report is claiming it’s more effective than advertising alone, showing a direct lift in results rates of up to 30%. Across 450 influencers and 11 campaigns, the expansive research compared results from consumers exposed to ads featuring influencers versus control groups, overwhelmingly showing increased action when an influencer was involved. Good news for marketers, who spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year. (Adweek)

The Amazon Echo can now help pick your outfit—and tell you when you don’t look good. LED lights and a depth-sensing camera will let the new Echo Look take pictures of any look, and “Style Check” software “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to evaluate which outfit is best, and lets you compare pictures of multiple outfits, from multiple angles. Amazon’s already extensive product recommendations could feasibly be a part of this product’s future—and, if all goes well, a drone will ship the recommended new clothes to your door. (Quartz)

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

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