Richard Simmons is an iconic fitness instructor that you will have come across if you’ve spent any time watching American TV. I was reminded of my friend Heather Clarke who introduced me to Richard Simmons when we sat next to each other in adjacent cubicles at The Weber Group Europe, then based in Covent Garden.
It is one of a series of creative marketing videos that Air New Zealand has created over the past few years, allowing the airline to hit well above its brand weight.
Up until the early 20th century; music was published from places like Tin Pan Alley. When wax cylinders and records came along record labels sprang up alongside publishers. The late 19th and 20th centuries also saw other parts of the media industry spring up: magazine publishers, the expansion of book publishers with the paper back and widespread literacy, movie industry and later associated home video and games publishers.
This also drove a massive expansion in content from adult entertainment to manga and animated films. However now, there seems to be a media singularity starting to form where the growth in content generated by different types of media companies are coming out with offerings that stray into each other’s territories.
I believe that this singularity is different to previous transmedia products:
Book and game adaptions of films (Star Wars and Star Trek universes)
Film adaptions of books and games (comic books are borrowed from heavily in Hollywood at the moment)
Recording artists becoming television and film celebrities (The Monkees, The Jackson 5, The Beatles, S-Club 7, The Osmonds, Johnny Cash etc)
Talent shows finding recording stars (Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, American Idol)
The reason why I think that this time things are different is because the outcomes themselves blur the lines of what the products are. The closest that we’ve seen to this previously was the aborted CD-ROM business. I was struck by the CD-ROM analogy when I heard Gerd Leonhard and others talk about the future of book publishing at Olswang.
Since that has happened movie studio Warner Brothers has experimented packaging up a move as an application and EMI Music’s work with Swedish House Mafia has been particularly noteworthy with their Until One iPad application which is part recording, part book, part social community, part video a la DVD media and has an interactive application to allow you to play with the track elements.
This singularity has a number of implications:
At the moment media companies complain that piracy has destroyed their businesses. Now there are various reasons why this an untruthful assumption; but one aspect of particular relevance is that is particularly pertinent is the inelastic nature of consumer’s entertainment budgets that has had to cater for mobile phone bills, satellite TV, internet connections, books, music and movies. The singularity paves the way for a market where the media companies can fight and devour each other in the marketplace a la a Ray Harryhausen monster movie
Creating these new applications is out of the skillsets of the talent that these companies sign up: the authors and artists – it provides an additional layer of cost and complexity which is likely to affect profitability. It means that small record labels and publishers wouldn’t be able to compete, but also means that media companies may look vulnerable to technology companies eager to expand into their markets. The converged applications usually have a social aspect in them which means that media companies are responsible for user privacy and moderation
Even the very definition of what the media is will be an issue from a legal and regulatory point-of-view. For instance in the UK, books have enjoyed freedom from value-added tax, but when does a book stop becoming a book?
Smartphones is still an immature sector with the constant evolution of interfaces and form factors proof of this. IDC has come out and made the bold claim that Microsoft will be the second largest smartphone OS by 2015 on the back of the Nokia deal. Of course this depends on Nokia managing to keep their business together and managing to funnel the bulk of its Symbian user base on to the Windows Phone platform. If Nokia does pull this off, communications will have a major part to play in terms of quelling customer dissonance and turning developers away from rival platforms.
I was chatting with Jed Hallam the other day and one of the things that came up was the reaction that some people have to my posts. Unlike many people in the digital space I try not to blog about social media and PR all the time. There are a number of reasons why this is the case:
Social media and PR exist in a wider context of economic, societal and technological change; I’ve always intended that my posts did the same
A lot of the time, people have said it better elsewhere, its more about pointing to their efforts and explaining why theirs is particularly good
I’ve never had a laser focus in terms of my interests, it meant that revision for exams is my own personal hell; but it also means that I get inspiration for ideas from completely disparate places
Sometimes I get home from work and talking shop about social media is as about as welcome as a barbed-wire suppository (not very welcome in my case)
Because too much of the talk about social media focuses on the media rather than understanding the people pushing the buttons and does more to confuse and instill fear into the establishment than foster best practice
Building on the previous point about a lot of the focus on social media; I find the consumer insights and behaviour changes most interesting. What happens when the technology hits culture, and why does it take different routes in different countries?
Put together by iSpy Marketing. I find this fascinating given the work that I was involved with at Yahoo! six years ago where social search was considered as a way that could provide a blue water strategy to compete with Google’s dominance in algorithmic search.
I have been surprised at how little things have moved on from that time in many ways.
So once upon a time I went with a small business ISP that seemed to give good service. It was originally recommended to me by the IT guys that used to look after an old agency that I worked at. They used the ISP to provide home connectivity to remote workers for a hedge fund. I signed on and have been with the business since 2003/4. When I moved house in November 2004, I rearranged my connection with them.
The ISP was first bought out by Tiscali, which was then bought out by Carphone Warehouse and put into it’s Opal Telecom business. This was then re-branded as TalkTalk Business. I have unlimited download and a theoretical maximum download speed of 8Mbits/s.
Since I’ve gone to TalkTalk, they keep emailing me on a regular basis trying to put me on a new tariff. I’m not particularly willing to do:
I’m out of contract, I only need to give a month’s notice, I’m not thinking about moving but I like the flexibility
I never get anywhere near 8Mbits/s anyway
Any new tariff is likely to include download limits, this would be an issue. A couple of films from iTunes, Skype calls, email, blogging, some geekery, RSS feed reading, watching movies on BBC iPlayer and a couple of Apple software updates would probably be enough to blow the ceiling
If I wanted to bundle my voice and broadband providers I would have done already
So this is an email they sent me last week:
In the middle of it, is a box to allow me to Check your speed and see how fast you can go… I clicked the link and got web page upon putting in my telephone number and postcode
So the LLU service the number is transferred to is theirs, which they should have known given that this site was linked to in an email entitled Important: you are on an outdated package. I flagged this up with TalkTalk on Twitter and they said that they had their IT people looking into it.
Eventually they came back to me and explained that it was down to the fact that they hadn’t integrated my ISP’s infrastructure completely into the TalkTalk Business infrastructure despite the branding. What really surprised me however was getting the same mailer again, a week later. So there seems to be a silo between marketing and their technical people.
Henry Jenkins talks about the convergence of media storytelling with child-play. It kind of fits in with some ideas I have been having about the way that different aspects of the media sector are converging on each other.
Step out of the hustle and bustle of London’s Lower Regent Street into Mitsukoshi, is like stepping into a little enclave of Japanese ordered peace and calm. The store is part quality souvenir store where Japanese tourists can pick up Cath Kidston, Mulberry and Burberry in more pleasant surroundings.
There is also an ANA airline travel desk, Japanese tour organisers and a Japanese book and gift shop on the lower ground floor which is why I like it so much.
Once all the retail therapy is out of the way it has one of London’s best restaurants in the basement. Just visiting Mitsukoshi is a cathartic experience, conversely even the most gentrified aspects of London seem barbarous in comparison.
Mitsukoshi (U.K.) Ltd
14-20 Lower Regent Street, London SW1Y 4PH
Given that Yahoo! is moving to be much more about the content it makes sense that they are doing this kind of research into what makes stuff shareable.
No surprises is that great content works and that’s where you should put your effort behind. Middling content needs to have its game upped and people will share things a whole lot easier if you optimise it for them. Interesting that publishing frequency doesn’t have much of an impact, despite what publishers have believed. The first 24 hours are critical in terms of sharing. As a rough rule of thumb one Facebook like is equal to 100 page views.