传播媒体 | media | 미디어 思想 | ideas | 생각

The future of television discussion on the Aspen Institute

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I was watching a roundtable on The Future of Television hosted by the Aspen Institute in the US, whilst much of it was of limited interest; some of the conversations percolated with other things that have sat around in my head for a while:

So here are the thoughts that I was kicking around

  • The internet looks less like an atomic bomb and more like a transport medium to the content industry.
  • Business models not channels are disrupting media and interruption marketing as a business model is threatened
  • Attention poverty is an issue: better not more
  • Social is only appropriate in certain contexts
  • Gamification is a phrase to get marketers and designers to think again about incentivisation

Gamification from Ged Carroll
  • Games are considerably stratified from social games (the equivalent of a crossword) to role playing PC games (think Games Workshop addicts)
  • Immersive gaming isn’t for everyone
  • Immersive experiences aren’t ready for prime-time

More information
This isn’t the vivid cyberspace that I signed up for…
Eight trends for the future

传播媒体 | media | 미디어 思想 | ideas | 생각

Mondo Vice: going backwards to bring news media forwards

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Over the past few weeks I have been watching the team at Vice magazine’s new TV documentary series. The content is familiar territory to people who have watched the Vice YouTube channel, just the segments are joined up into cohesive themes. At the beginning of each episode you can hear Shane Smith introduce the programme with the following refrain:

The world is changing,
And no one knows where it’s going
But we’ll be there uncovering the news, culture and politics
And expose the absurdity of the modern condition
This is the world through our eyes,
This is the world of Vice

Vice’s news media offering comes from a position that mainstream media has failed to give consumers the information and insights that they need and deserve as part of a modern society. Having heard Shane Smith talk about the offering you get the sense of frustration that has driven the programming. Smith cited the anger felt by the youth that they came across, research that indicated younger consumers were interested in the world around them, but weren’t engaged by current news offerings.

This is blamed on a lack of integrity within the western news media which is viewed by some to have sold out during the post-9/11 period. And an inability to come to terms with a changing media landscape of social media publishing combining with a smartphone becoming a broadcast studio in the palm of your hand.

For me Vice looks to have re-invented the news media by going back and borrowing from the journalism of the past. Firstly, Vice stories are one of personal exploration of an issue: a travelogue to find out the different sides of the situation they are examining: whether it is smoking in Indonesia or gun markets in the border regions of Pakistan. This is very reminiscent of the New Journalism movement from Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe to Hunter S. Thompson which put the narrator into the story.

The edgy, surprising and shocking material reminded me of Italian film-makers Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi’s Mondo series of films. These were often travel vignettes offered up within a theme including:

    • Mondo Cane – focused on different cultural practices around the world that would be alien to a western audience
    • Africa Addio – documented the move to post-colonial government across the continent; with some of the little documentary footage shot of the Zanzibar revolution

Vice is managing to make the future of news media with ingredients from genres of journalism that grew out of the counterculture.

传播媒体 | media | 미디어 在线 | online | 온라인으로 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅

Facebook and advertising or why Facebook is a dead man walking part III?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Two things got me thinking about Facebook this week. Since I have changed my location on my Facebook profile to Hong Kong the bulk of the adverts I have seen have been in Chinese. Now you could argue that the model should also look at the langauge I use for Facebook; but many people in Hong Kong are bilingual so there is a limited gain. Chinese language is fine, because they seem to be the same irrelevant stuff I got when my profile location was in the UK:

  • Credit cards
  • Mobile phones
  • Variants on the usual e-commerce model

However the irrelevance of Facebook adverts confronted me with this suggested post.
WTF Facebook .jpg
The additional problem that I have with this is that the big spenders of the advertising world like consumer packaged goods brands I’ve worked with would probably be leery about putting their advertisements next to one with a URL indicating likely adult content. It wouldn’t happen on Google because of the context dependent nature of the search page.

The second thing was when I took time to reflect on the the BBC’s study into socio-economic classes in the UK. Here is some of the data:

‘Class’Tend to socialize exclusively with people like themselvesPercentage of UK populationAverage age
Established middle classNo2546
Technical middle classYes652
New affluent workersYes1544
Traditional working classYes1466
Emergent service workersNo1934

This data was interesting to me, because it said that for a significant minority of the UK population (those with a wide range of friends), the Facebook model may be a logical fallacy.

The precariat are the least economically active if we take them out of the equation the numbers change again:

‘Class’Tend to socialize exclusively with people like themselvesPercentage of UK population advertisers are likely to care aboutAverage age
Established middle classNo29.4146
Technical middle-classYes7.0652
New affluent workersYes17.6544
Traditional working classYes16.4766
Emergent service workersNo22.3534

When we look at two other factors the numbers become even more stark:

Average age54.7540
Percentage of the UK population48.2451.76

So from a marketing point-of-view the friends model poses two problems: it appeals to consumers with a lower lifetime spend in them (this depends what you are selling) and you are addressing less than half the population you care about (and that includes bottom-feeding brands like pay-day loan companies).

On the bright side as a marketer using Facebook in the UK you may be that bit closer to the old marketing conundrum attributed to William Lever, Viscount Leverhulme of Lever Brothers fame:

I know which half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half.


More information
BBC – The Great British class calculator
Why Facebook is a dead man walking
Why Facebook is a dead man walking part II?
Why Facebook is a dead man walking part 2.5?