Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Inferring boredom from mobile behaviour

One of my trends for this year is ‘Telepathy’ - how AI and machine learning makes it possible for devices to learn how people are feeling and what they want.  Another great example of this – the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, now infers mobile engagement of its readers.  If they’re not scrolling through the story a bar emerges at the bottom of the story offering other stories that might be more interesting.

It’s early days, but I’d expect to see many more examples like this

'When you're house-sitting for millennials and you ask how the lights work'

Monday, February 22, 2016

Amazon x New Yorker

I love this idea:  Amazon is turning stories from the New Yorker magazine into short documentaries for its Prime TV.

The executive producer is award winning documentary maker Alex Gibney - his Wikileaks documentary is excellent - and this is a potentially great collaboration.

Lots of films (Argo, Pushing Tin, Top Gun) were inspired by magazine articles, and if the tone is right some of these stories could make great shorts.

Now all I need is a Prime subscription...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BBC3 & The Independent - 2 Unwilling Experiments

Both BBC3 and The Independent are going online only, ceasing digital broadcast and newsprint publication respectively, as money-saving initiatives they have both been forced into.

From a personal point of view, neither are major parts of my media consumption.  I've seen a few things on BBC3 - The Professor Green programme on suicide was very good - and I've read a few articles in the Independent because I follow them on Twitter and click on links.  (I was a pretty loyal reader in the early days, but one by one the good writers got lured away, and it suffered horribly from a lack of investment).

It's going to be interesting to see how both fare.  The fact that my experience of the Indie is via Twitter & Facebook points towards how I'm still going to see the output of both.  I never see a paper copy of the New York Times but I must read about 4-5 stories a month because they're shared by people or entities that I follow.  Likewise Netflix isn't broadcast, but you couldn't escape people talking about Making a Murderer about a month ago.  Also, podcasts.

(I must point out that both the NYT and Netflix are successfully getting people to pay subscriptions)

The best case scenario for both I think is...

BBC3's new shows are well made, and the people in them share the links via social media.  BBC3 uses a lot of talent who have big followings, and could be encouraged to share as part of their contracts.  I've always felt that the people who moaned about BBC3 being online only didn't really know how young people find and watch content (I'd love to see some of the iPlayer stats for example).  The BBC is going to increase the marketing spend for the channel, apparently, which is kind of the wrong way round, but let's see how it works.

Similarly the Independent needs to get its feature writers to actively share, and also needs to commission work from people with strong followings.  This could lead them down the 'Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank' school of commissioning (hope not) but it could also find some new voices.  The Guardian always gets lots of readers (I think) for articles written by Russell Brand for example.  The most important thing is the features - too many news organisations will cover the news the the same way, so they can compete best with features.  Again the key is the sharing.

So I can see both working well, but then I'm a natural optimist.  If they do work well, I can see other newspapers especially following the digital-only route.

The worst case scenario...  Well, both fail.  Let's hope it doesn't get to that.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Zoolander with Barbie on Instagram

Love this - to promote the new Zoolander film, a Derek Zoolander has been making guest apparances on the @BarbieStyle Instagram account - the account that is more aimed towards adult fans

Lots of great pics - here are 3 of my favourites:

& some of the pics are also on the Zoolander Instagram

Also - Zoolander took over the Fiat Twitter feed (another of the movie's partners)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jeep uses Vertical Video at the Super Bowl

Last weekend one of Jeep's Super Bowl ads deliberately only used 1/3 of the screen - so that it could easily be re-purposed for 'vertical' viewing - i.e. on mobiles, held normally.

Full story here

Exploring M&S on Google Maps

One of my trends for this year is mapping.

People take maps for granted, but there is lots of activity around mapping at the moment, and lots of money being spent on mapping technology and companies.

We think of maps as open - and indeed I've made lots to help me with places to visit on holiday and so on.  But actually they're closed ecosystems, and this example with Marks & Spencer in Oxford Street, London illustrates that.

On Google Maps you can now see inside the store to see the different departments.  You can change floors by clicking on the numbers on the right hand side, near 'zoom'.  You can't see this for the other stores nearby, and you can't see this (as far as I know) on Bing or other mapping companies.

It's very much Google's decision what they choose to put in the maps, beyond the basics.  If you're Emirates and you pay to name Arsenal's stadium then you'll be in all the maps.  If you're R Costings and you're the sponsor of Cambridge United's stadium than you're not listed.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Anti-Drone Measures

I'll start collating these...

Dutch police train eagles to take down drones

Japanese police use drones with nets to catch other drones

Monday, February 01, 2016

Kanye's Global Listening Party

Whatever you think of Kanye West, he (& his people) are good at promotion.

His new album launches soon, and to promote it they're doing what I think is a media first - a global live listening party on 11th February 2016 steamed to cinemas around the world: has links to cinemas around the world -

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