The headline on 30 Apr 2020
Beachfront is introducing a new Pod Bidding solution for connected TV (CTV) advertising. Source: BEACHFRONT INTRODUCES POD BIDDING FOR CONNECTED TV ADVERTISING, BUILT ON PREBID OPEN SOURCE
Synamedia has partnered with Google Cloud to expand its video network portfolio with new over-the-top (OTT) “as a service” offerings. Source: Synamedia Partners with Google Cloud to Elevate its Video Network Portfolio with “as-a-Service” OTT Offerings
FaceBank Group, which recently merged with fuboTV, said its board of directors has appointed Edgar Bronfman Jr. to the board and has named him executive chairman effective immediately. Source: Edgar Bronfman Jr. Named Executive Chairman of fuboTV
Brightcove reported first-quarter financial results. Source: Brightcove Announces Financial Results for First Quarter Fiscal Year 2020
LEGO Masters is the ultimate in content marketing — a TV show based on your product — this video profiles the winners of the latest season.
Alibaba shares the successful business expansion story of Allbirds, an eco-friendly shoe brand that opened a store in China with a sustainable message.
Allbirds, the San Francisco-based startup whose eco-friendly shoes have become staples in Hollywood and Silicon Valley wardrobes, recently marked a full year since opening its first store in China and on Tmall. Watch how the business has leveraged technology and its omnichannel capabilities to share its message of sustainability and wellbeing with Chinese consumers.
YouTube had just over $4 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of the year despite a slowdown in ad sales after the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March. Source: Hollywood Reporter > YouTube Nets $4 Billion in Ad Revenue Despite Coronavirus Spending Slowdown
Hulu now sells Disney+ bundles for all its service tiers. Source: Cord Cutters News > Hulu Now Offers Disney+ Bundle Deals for All Plans
WOW! will report first-quarter earnings on May 4. Source: WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone to Host First Quarter 2020 Results Conference Call
The future of work
How will work change in a post-pandemic world? Well, it looks like the days of the 9-to-5 office routine could be over. Recent studies have found remote workers are happier, more productive, and the cost for the business is a lot less than renting out a huge office space.
The downside: Video conferencing has kept us connected and employed but it’s not exactly easy — ‘Zoom fatigue’ is real. Video chats make it harder to process facial expressions, make us anxious about silence, and aware of being watched.
Striking a balance: The issue is we’re using our video conferencing platform of choice for everything — both social and work interactions. Not all work messaging has to be video — in many instances, an email or phone call will suffice. As work and life paths cross, the use of video conferencing will have to adapt.
How about the future of content marketing?
Would you make content decisions based solely on data? Content intelligence platforms suggest topics for the different stages of the marketing cycle and are more focused on the future, rather than reactive, marketing. The question is, can you rely solely on analytics and remove the human factor from content marketing?
The human touch: Do analytics and automation need a more human aspect? Automation is designed to make work easier but it does remove the human element, which in marketing is vital for engagement. Humanistic automation is all about dramatically improving the bot experience on platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger so interactions follow more of a regular conversation. The customer is still talking to a bot, it’s just not as obvious.
Improved mobile marketing: When we are eventually allowed back outside, expect a focus on location-based marketing. Vastly improved location-based services (LBS) will allow retailers to create the full omnichannel experience. The more precise the location, the more relevant the advertising. The real test will be delivering these messages in a way that doesn’t scare off consumers concerned with privacy.
The headline on 29 Apr 2020
Here’s how the Lambda School, “an entirely online, live” school, teaches design using Figma, the collaborative, browser-based design tool. They seem to be made for each other. “In the Lambda classroom, the presentation is a two-way street. Lessons presented in Figma invite students to go deeper. Whether it’s zooming in to get a better look at a curve, scrolling around to study a particular logo, or pinpointing what someone is talking about thanks to everyone’s visible pointers, even going through slides is a collective activity.” This feels like the next step in online education, and I can’t wait to see journalism taught — or perhaps even consumed — like this.
Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor, is winning hearts and minds as a voice of reason and leadership in the most coronavirus-besieged state in the U.S. But his PowerPoint designer is the real star. “While they may not be artful, his slides exemplify information design’s best practices: consistent pacing; images balanced with text; drawing out key takeaways and most important learnings for a general audience; and distilling a slew of information into its most important details.”
Let’s talk about the Kawaiisation of product design. That’s right — it’s all getting way too cute for its good. (The Japanese term “Kawaii” translates most closely to ‘cute’ in English.) Or is this possibly “the most strategic design we’ve seen lately, even at the expense of originality”? According to this popular interface designer who once designed for Spotify, websites and construction sites and apps and tools use cuteness to be more approachable, empathetic, and less transactional. “It could be just a trend, or it could be we are becoming more human, more childlike because we’re tired of being grownups. Given the context of the world around us, we are searching for positivity and comfort, and that’s why we add emojis to our spreadsheets.”
This neighborhood grocery store put photographs of all their shelves on posters outside the store. Customers could browse through what they wanted without having to spend more time doing that inside. Genius.
The bodega down the street has photographed all their shelves and posted an enormous collage outside so you can browse without going in pic.twitter.com/1tPWEtWZxG
— Emily Guendelsberger (@emilygee) April 26, 2020
WSJ Money has a great new mobile-first website. This is a careful, intentional, data-literate design that puts the user, not the technology, first. “Why mobile-first? It’s because the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans are markedly different. More than four-in-ten low-income adults don’t have home broadband services or a traditional computer.” Take a look — at your mobile, of course.
The headline on 28 Apr 2020
Cable One will report first-quarter results on May 11. Source: Cable One to Host Conference Call to Discuss First Quarter 2020 Results
Comscore will report first-quarter results on May 7. Source: Comscore to Announce First Quarter 2020 Financial Results
MediaKind’s new Aquila Broadcast solution is designed to provide broadcasters and providers with a step-by-step transition from appliance-based platforms to all-IP media delivery. Source: MediaKind Launches Next-Generation Broadcast Solution to Usher in the Future of IP-Based Media Delivery
The headline on 27 Apr 2020
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is getting an early release on Disney+ in time for May the Fourth. Source: CNN Entertainment > ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ to stream early on Disney+
The headline on 24 Apr 2020
BloombergQuint in India abandoned its plans to launch a TV channel after failing to get a broadcast license. It will now focus on promoting its digital subscription product.
There’s a new media startup that is going after one thing: die-hard fans of reality TV shows. The Dipp is a subscription site for “niche fandoms that are being created every day… We want to focus on certain franchises that are underserved, then scale.”
With millions of people trapped in their homes, Facebook finally launched its gaming product. Facebook Gaming competes with Amazon’s Twitch, or YouTube’s Gaming section, but on mobile. But who is this really for?
Fortnite, which has been refusing to make the popular game available on the Google Play store, has relented. It was trying to avoid paying Google a 30% commission on its earnings and also wanted to use Fortnite as a platform to sell other games. Fortnite found out (like the rest of us Android users) that sideloading games through unauthorized sources isn’t as much fun as you’d expect.
Facebook made a $5.7 billion investment in India’s Jio Platforms. It’s FB’s second-biggest ever after WhatsApp. Faced with increased political scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe, a global expansion seems like a relatively safe path forward into its biggest market.
Google Meet is finally getting some much-needed upgrades to compete with Zoom. The meet is now getting a tiled layout, AI-enhanced low-light mode, and noise canceling.
SCMP cut salaries of 27 senior execs, including those of the CEO and Editor-in-Chief. All staff earning more than US$2,580 have been asked to take unpaid leave for 3 weeks before Q1 next year. Salaries are frozen.
Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch won’t be drawing a salary during the pandemic. But don’t feel too sorry for him. He made $42 million last year.
Vice is reportedly planning to cut about 300 jobs. According to WSJ, these will affect staff at Vice News and Refinery29, which the company acquired only a year ago. Vice is internally forecasting a 39% drop in ad sales for its news and entertainment sites this year.
CNN isn’t going to let its employees back into the offices by September. “We expect that the rest of you will not return before early September, with a few exceptions in July for newsgathering and some in August, depending on the political conventions.”
Tech-focused Protocol, which launched only 11 weeks ago, is laying off staff. 13 jobs will go.
Google is waiving its ad serving fees for news publishers on Ad Manager. It’ll do this for the next 5 months. Google will be reaching out to qualified news partners soon.
How’s this for a contrast? Amazon told publishers that it’s going to cut commissions on its affiliate marketing program. Commissions on staples like headphones and business supplies will be cut in half to 3%. Health and personal care will go from 4.5% to 1%.
Netflix is one of the rare companies benefitting from the pandemic. In its Q1 earnings, Netflix says it now has 183 million customers around the world. The company is cautiously optimistic about the current quarter, “depending on many factors including when people can go back to their social lives in various countries and how much people take a break from television after the lockdown.
New Naratif is appealing for donations. “People are, understandably, putting off joining; donors have stopped giving; foundations are cutting budgets. Thus, at a time when our work is more relevant than ever, we are struggling to survive.”
How long can your organization last with what you have? Here’s a helpful calculator for projections.
Looking for a list of emergency funds? here’s a good one from WAN-IFRA.
ICFJ has a piece on how COVID is affecting freelance photojournalists.
TiVo said the ITC reaffirmed that Comcast’s X1 platform infringes on Rovi’s (a subsidiary of TiVo) patents. Source: ITC Reaffirms TiVo’s Second Infringement Victory
The headline on 23 Apr 2020
FreeCast added several new channels to its SmartGuide. Source: FreeCast’s SelectTV Adds RT, The Hope Channel, and More Networks from the European Television Guild
Mediaocean and PremiumMedia360 have expanded their partnership to further automate in-flight broadcast campaign validation. Source: Mediaocean & PremiumMedia360 Expand Partnership To Bring Productivity & Agility To TV Workflow
In a positive sign for humanity, Google Trends reports that searches for “how to help” are on the rise. According to Google Trends, searches for “how to help” are at an all-time high. Thank you to everyone who is helping the communities and working to save lives.
The co-founder and CEO of TWG Tea can’t hide his passion when he talks to Sumiko Tan from The Straits Times about tea. Sumiko Tan from The Straits Times gets up close with TWG Tea President, CEO, and Co-Founder Taha Bouqdib over lunch and a selfie. Taha shares about his thoughts and creative process about the iconic design and concept of TWG Tea Salon & Boutique as well as the creation of his tea blends.
If we’re completely honest, hosting live events or conferences are over for 2020. Social distancing will be with us for a while, which means the webinar is making a comeback. It isn’t the same technology though — today’s webinars are supercharged.
How are events companies handling the move from offline to online? Event marketing agency Branded has developed some best practices for its move to digital. According to CMO Timi Siytangco, “engagement was our number one priority” as audiences are easily distracted during online presentations. For Branded, finding the right platform — or a mixture of platforms — is key to successful engagement.
One brand leading the way with innovative webinar ideas is software provider, Citrix. The organization has launched a webinar series on how to best manage a remote workforce to ensure business continuity. As well as the Citrix leadership team, authors and futurists share their knowledge and insights.
COVID-19 has changed the marketing world. According to a survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub, 69% of brands will be decreasing their ad spend. While this drop in marketing spends occurs, the Global Web Index has found 80% of customers are consuming more content since lockdowns were enforced.
The audience is ready to engage so business needs new ways to connect — beyond traditional marketing. When it was clear St Patrick’s Day celebrations would be canceled Guinness used existing footage to craft a new message. While guests are in lockdown US hotel chain DoubleTree shared the secret recipe to its famous chocolate chip cookies. After making its Training App free Nike shared a video showing how its sponsored stars kept fit indoors.
Meanwhile, in India, social media giants like TikTok and YouTube are asking their top creators to make content from home. According to YouTube, the daily upload of videos with “at home” in the title has risen 590%. Even bored coronavirus scientists are creating content, translating the structure of the virus into music.
While there is a growing appetite for content and social and digital platforms, not all creators are benefitting. Influencers, especially those working in the tourism sector, are reporting a dramatic drop in work. It’s not simply a matter of influencer fatigue, brands are unsure how to successfully utilize the medium. How can influencers encourage spending on non-essential items when they’re also cutting down on luxury spending?
Nissan’s senior vice president for global design shows how he works from home and keeps the kids entertained.
TransferWise effectively explains the hidden foreign exchange fees charged by banks. In Europe alone, people are losing 12.5 billion Euros every year to hidden fees. 🤯 What are hidden fees, you ask? Check the video to find out.
As Zoom’s popularity soars, the video-conferencing solution showcases all the ways it is bringing society and business together. From virtual birthday parties to business-critical meetings, people around the world continue to inspire us with their creativity, fun, grit, determination, love, and positivity. Thank you for showing us what it means to be together, even when we’re apart.
The headline on 22 Apr 2020
Netflix plans to offer $1 billion in unsecured notes to help fund potential content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital, and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions. Source: Netflix Announces Proposed $1.0 Billion Offering of Senior Notes
The headline on 21 Apr 2020
New Naratif had a recent newsletter issue that featured Ellena Ekarahendy, their multifaceted design editor. Ellena speaks about her various influences here, which feature three spectacular designers who, like her, also write and research. “They run platforms for design discourses that are often forgotten: they seek through historical, political, cultural, and the socio-economic aspects of graphic design, building critics of visual culture comprehensively—which then make their graphic design works outstanding.”
These “new virtual-friendly products and services” are finding traction in these COVID-ridden times. The unsurprising thing is this: they’re almost all media products. There’s the remotely guided haircut, as well as ‘co-watching’ (collective movie-watching). And then there’s always Goodnight Zoom, which “connects isolated seniors to families with children so they can read bed-time stories together.”
Your life is wall-to-wall Zoom and you need to keep up appearances. What do you do? Zoom suit.
Pablo Stanley is an insanely prolific illustrator and designer who creates roughly one product a week. Here’s how he usually works:
- Create a set of illustrations.
- Make set available for free but with an option to pay.
- Make screencasts of the process to share on social media
- Write a case study on the process; share on social
- Collect case studies on how designers around the world are using his illustration sets; share on social
This is how you design and market products. Create a product, release product, document and share tools, sketches, and processes of creation, get feedback, iterate the product. And then do the same thing all over again, but with a new product.
I spent this morning creating a new illustration pack called Miroodles. It has different pieces that you can combine to create weird compositions. Lol.
Inspired in Miró, Dalí, and a bit in Haring.
— pablostanley (@pablostanley) April 15, 2020
Al Jazeera gave the graphic novel treatment to a story on hikikomori in Japan. Hikikomori is what you call “someone who remains isolated at home for at least six months.” It’s based on interviews with hikikomori in Japan and is a sensitive look at how isolation can work — with or without COVID.
As designers of true stories, us journalists tend towards the formulaic because the formula works. Or so we think. In this truly excellent piece about Billie Eilish, her producer brother has an approach to song structure that bucks the formula. “Of his approach to song structure, Finneas said, “I think where a song doesn’t go is as interesting as where a song goes. Sometimes we’ll put a different verse in when it should go to the chorus, just for the slap in the face of, like, ‘Your brain has to stay awake for this.’” Among other considerations, this was a useful trick for standing out in crowded streaming playlists, Finneas said, where “I think we’ve benefited from being the odd one out. When you hear a truly generic pop song — and I don’t use that word with negative connotations, just in the sense of standard — by the time you get through the second verse, you know exactly what the rest of the song sounds like.” What if we told our user: “Your brain has to stay awake for this.”
When a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health interviews someone from the Reuters Graphics team about how they visualize the impact of the coronavirus, chances are you’re going to witness some quality journalism in the wild. This is fascinating stuff on the frontlines of how we get our information about this beast that has held the world hostage. “To be honest, we sometimes don’t know the best way to visualize something until we start trying to do it. For many of the pieces we produce, there is a trail of trial and error. Some of our best ideas ended up being average ones and good ideas have been refined into great ideas. Design is a conversation.” So far, this conversation has resulted in some memorable — and heartbreaking — infographics. There’s one that cross-references the number of newspaper pages with the number of obituary pages. Another is their piece on South Korea’s “Patient 31”, a mesmerizing graphic of how one infected patient went on a rampage that “caused over 5,000 infections, one of the largest clusters recorded.”
605 has made a strategic investment in describe. Source: 605 Makes Strategic Investment in AdScribe
MediaKind said its advertising and content distribution rights portfolio, PRISMA, has been reconfigured with a new modular feature set. Source: MediaKind Delivers Enhanced Advertising Portfolio to Unlock Monetization Potential of Advertising and Alternate Content
Imagine Communications has entered an alliance with Innovar Media Solutions to accelerate the adoption of next-gen ad tech solutions by MVPD and broadcasters. Source: Imagine Communications And Innovar Media Solutions Join Forces To Speed Next-Generation Ad Tech Deployments