Media and Marketing News Headline Updated on 08 May 2020 – Charter, Facebook, Blizzard, NYT, YouTube, Spotify, Airbnb, and more

The headline on 08 May 2020

Charter launched Spectrum Access, a free app designed to provide entertainment access to persons with vision or hearing impairments. Source: Charter Launches Spectrum Access App, Enhancing Entertainment Options for Persons With Vision or Hearing Impairments

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service will be available on Xbox devices when it launches July 15. Source: The Streamable > Peacock Extends Availability to Xbox Devices for July Launch

Some good examples here on how to ask for your audience’s help in supporting your organization. It’s especially tough when so many people have lost jobs and income. This is how to get that messaging right.

COVID-19 gave the NYT its biggest-ever jump in quarterly subscriptions in Q1. That’s the good news. The bad news: Advertising revenue was devastated in Q1. And for this current quarter, NYT expects ads to plunge in half, compared with last year. (The other good news: NYT mostly depends on subs, not ads.)

The NYT is transforming its entire in-person events business. It’s moving towards hosting one virtual event every day, including weekends. This is how they’re doing it.

The Mekong Review will be sending out its May edition in PDF. “Like a lot of businesses everywhere, we’ve been in lockdown hibernation. The publishing industry – from printers to distributors to retailers – has been on hold.”

India now has more internet users in its rural areas than its urban cities, helped by some of the cheapest data connections in the world. Data from IAMAI and Nielsen shows rural regions had 227 million active internet users — 10% more than urban India.

Airbnb is laying off a quarter of its staff. This isn’t a media story; it’s one of leadership and humanity when it comes to letting people go. CEO Brian Chesky explained what he knows and doesn’t, detailed the different approaches at hand, and articulated a path forward for all affected employees. But what stood out was his ownership of the pain — I am, I have, I will, I want. In fact, “I” appeared 25 times in the memo. “I am truly sorry. Please know this is not your fault.” This is worth saving.

Facebook unveiled the members of its Oversight Board. The impressive line up includes diverse representatives from around the world, including a Nobel laureate, a former prime minister, and this region’s own Endy Bayuni from The Jakarta Post. It’s an important step for Facebook as a global company to demonstrate its willingness to listen and work with a global group of people in managing the diversity of voices out there. These inaugural members will serve 3-year terms. The company has also allocated $130 million in a trust to fund the board’s operations.

YouTube is reportedly planning to let news publishers sell subscriptions to their own properties. This isn’t totally new as YouTube has been working on this for some time now, but it’s apparently moving forward. The key question: what’s YouTube’s cut of this subscription revenue, and what kind of data will be shared with publishers?

Spotify is trying out video podcasts. It’s bringing on YouTubers Zane Hijazi and Heath Hussar for this test. The videos will be shown to up to 50% of Spotify’s podcasts listeners. Btw, Spotify is looking for a Podcast Partner Manager to craft their strategy for “new content partner acquisitions and productions” in the Philippines. The role could be based in Manila or Singapore.

The Blizzard, a UK football magazine, recently launched a new editorial product to help freelancers. They’ve raised about $7,400 for this.

Latest updates to the AP Stylebook. You can now “preheat” the oven. But don’t call someone a “mistress”. Better to say “companion”.

The headline on 07 May 2020

Synamedia said it’s developed an ATSC 3.0 receiver that can function as both an RF and IP receiver. Source: Synamedia’s Industry’s First ATSC 3.0 IP and RF Receiver Paves the Way for Cable Operators to Trial and Deploy ATSC 3.0

The Super Bowl telecast in February and rising political advertising revenue at Fox News made for a strong start to the year for Fox Corp. Source: Variety > Fox Corp. Gets Earnings Boost From Super Bowl and Political Advertising

TiVo reported first-quarter financial results. Source: TiVo Corporation Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

If you’re picking destinations to visit once the lockdowns are lifted, Mailchimp has shared the story of a challenging entrepreneurial dream to turn Kyrgyzstan into an international tourist destination.

My Dear Kyrgyzstan • Mailchimp Presents

Social distancing means shooting new video content is difficult, especially if you want to work in public spaces. It doesn’t mean you can’t create new content though. Digital asset management (DAM) is a historical record of old assets. In today’s environment, a DAM system is an effective tool to access archive material and create new stories from old or unused footage. You might want to avoid crowd shots showing people without masks though.

Oman’s Majan Travel Agency created an explainer video for its loyalty program. Personally, I think Jamaal’s “bad” decisions make for a more memorable trip. Strap in as Ahmed and Jamaal take you on two very different journeys and see how Majan’s Revolutionary Loyalty Program helps you holiday better! This 2d explainer video shows how Majan loyalty program changes the way how a premium users travels around the world using majan ‘mywings’ card
#tourandtravel #2dexplainer #loyaltyprogram

Virtual distractions. When it comes to virtual direction or virtual events, how do you minimise distractions? While virtual working may appear easier — at least from a logistics perspective — it can be difficult to maintain engagement. Whether it’s an event or logging on to watch a shoot, the right platform is vital to keep people focussed. Messaging tools that create real-time interaction could be the answer. Zoom allows for real-time messaging while StreamYard incorporates social comment functions.

With cars part of the urban landscape, Toyota shares Danish architecture firm Third Nature’s vision for a new urban design focussing on sustainability. Danish architecture bureau Tredje Natur (Third Nature) sees a bright future ahead, a different way of developing cities. They are driven to build a better society through a new movement in urban design, by proposing simple solutions to complex man made problems. Because cities and nature are one and the same. Check out their story.

Interconnectivity and globalisation mean something like COVID-19 can change the world overnight. Consumer behaviour and business conditions shifted almost immediately — meaning marketing messages were missing their mark. Content marketers need to be able to craft new messages on new channels under new budgets quickly and effectively.

With artists in lockdown, the UBS Open Studios video series looks at how Israel’s Oren Fischer is working creatively from home. Oren Fischer, winner of Sotheby’s Under the Hammer award at Freshpaint 2019, shares his views durng the quaratine measures. #ArtFromHome #UBSOpenStudios #Freshpaint #UBSart #UBSxFreshpaint #ArtistsGreenhouse #ShareUBS

Content marketing is more than simply following a content calendar. “Systems thinking” can help improve workflows so the content you create is relevant, helpful and easy to consume. Essentially, it looks at the many systems (from revenue generation to consumer behaviour) that the content exists in, and the ways to streamline and improve the content’s effectiveness and distribution.

Remember the Budweiser Wassup ad? Check out the quarantine version.

The headline on 06 May 2020

Google is reportedly set to introduce a new Android TV streaming device in the coming months. Source: Protocol > Google’s next streaming device will shake up the Android TV world

Sinclair reported financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2020. Source: Sinclair Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

Nexstar reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020. Source: Nexstar Media Group First Quarter Net Revenue Rises 74.2% to a Record $1.1 Billion

Mediacom’s video subscriber total has declined 9.3% year over year. Source: Mediacom Communications Reports Combined Results for First Quarter 2020

Katie Back has been named chief revenue officer of Firstlight Media. Source: Ad Tech Veteran Katie Back Joins Firstlight Media As Chief Revenue Officer

Speaking of, did you want to look at cool infographics of how Covid has impacted Gen Z’s consumption of media? Or, for that matter, millennials and Gen X?

When this woman’s boss turned herself into a potato on Microsoft Teams and couldn’t turn her potato self off, the internet said “Hell yes.” The potato boss in question now has a Twitter following of her potato avatar. Potato: it’s a feature, not a bug.

The eggheads at Andreessen Horowitz say this is the decade of design, and they tend to know what they’re doing. They also just invested in Figma. Good move. Why design? Design “is at the center of product development and successful organizations… We expect better, we deserve better, we demand better… it’s no longer optional to have good design.” This article by one of the a16z partners outlining why they invested in this web-based collaborative design platform is filled with ridiculously quotable insights into why good design is a business decision, not a nice-to-have extravagance. Why Figma? “What used to take four or five discrete tools can now be done end-to-end in Figma, the single source of “truth” for product design and design systems. But it’s not just a design tool that solves a problem, it’s a multiplayer system for collaboration: designers, developers, marketing teams and end users work in a continuous fashion in Figma, drawing mockups, building prototypes and testing with real users through several iterations.”

Would you use more news if it made an appointment with you? The irrepressible product team at the Wall Street Journal just launched WSJ Calendars. This integrates WSJ’s reporting with your “Google, Apple or Outlook calendar to deliver a few hand-curated, critical news events per week.” To repurpose an existing habit for a new use case is product design gold.

The headline on 05 May 2020

Hulu is now offering the Showtime premium channel for $4.99 a month for three months. Source: TV Answer Man > Hulu Offers Showtime For $4.99

WarnerMedia has finalized its acquisition of Ole Communications’ minority stakes in both HBO Ole Partners and HBO Brasil Partners. Source: WarnerMedia Completes Acquisition of HBO-Branded Services in Spanish-Speaking Latin America, the Caribbean and Brazil, Including All HBO, Cinemax and HBO Go Offerings

Adam Townsend has joined Vizio as chief financial officer. Source: Entertainment Industry Veteran Adam Townsend Takes Leadership Role at VIZIO as Chief Financial Officer

WOW! said Cleveland and mid-Michigan are the latest markets to offer its new video choice, WOW! tv+, for its high-speed data (HSD) customers. Source: WOW! Launches WOW! tv+ in Cleveland and Mid-Michigan

The headline on 04 May 2020

CyberLink sees strong 1Q20 demand for U Meeting and U Messenger cloud-based software solutions for remote working and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U Meeting is for video conferencing and U Messenger for instant messaging.
Discovery Inc. said that it is not aware of the reasons for the recent volatility in the price of its Series B (DISCB) common stock. Source: Discovery Issues Statement On Recent Market Price Volatility Of Series B Common Stock

IMAX and Sony Pictures said they’re committing to release hundreds of new titles in the IMAX format over the next two years, including all upcoming SPE and IMAX theatrical releases. Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment Expands Commitment to IMAX® Enhanced with Hundreds of New Titles

The headline on 01 May 2020

New tech site Rest of World is giving out reporting fellowships. These are paid 9-month-long fellowships based anywhere in the world.

Applications are now open for #50womencan, a leadership training program for women in journalism. “Our approach is designed specifically to change the statistics we see in the journalism industry.

The University of Hong Kong is looking for assistant lecturers for two different posts. For the first position, the person needs at least 3 years of experience running and maintaining a broadcast studio. For the second, HKU wants someone with at least 3 years of experience teaching digital media front-end design.

Marc Lourdes’ fantastic Between The Lines newsletter is now subscription-only. BTL is a daily roundup of Malaysian news, delivered in context and with much-welcomed snark and humor. Subscription is at $2.30 a month.

Former NYT Shanghai correspondent David Barboza launched The Wire China, which reports on China’s rise. It’s like The Information but seems to go after a broader, less specific audience. Notably, the team is remote — and none of them are in Asia (or Asian). “I realized we don’t actually have to be in China to cover China, because the China story is now everywhere.”

Malaysia’s Blu Inc Media ceased operations. The company, which printed CLEO, Cosmopolitan, Female, and Her World in Malaysia, struggled with the shift to digital, and finally, COVID.

Google shut down a social network you’ve never heard of. Shoelace.

If you’re hiring freelancers for projects, this could be a useful tip sheet for you. A quick summary:

  • The best people want to work on interesting projects – you must sell your idea and make it as exciting as you think it is.
  • The best people want to work with good teams – you must be a professional to work with professionals.
  • Relationships take work. The more attention and energy you give someone, the more they’ll give back. In the short-term, it’s more work to hire someone.
  • Long-term relationships are built on trust. Share whatever someone needs to feel comfortable they’re making the right choice.
    Assuming trustworthiness starts things on the right foot.

Try this at home: Krisp is an audio service that uses AI to strip out the noise from your kids when you’re on a conference call. Works with Zoom, Slack, Skype, Meet, etc. Cloud-based noise cancelling without expensive gear.

Like most people, you probably can’t tell the difference between Google Hangouts and Google Meet. The company has a confusing array of video apps. Now, Google is making Meet — its business video platform — free for all. It’s a smart data play; the fastest way for Google to catch up with Zoom is to gather as much data as it needs to improve the service.

WhatsApp raised its limit on the number of people you can have on a video call. It’s now 8 people as opposed to just 4. Not that anyone’s counting, but this is where the rivals stand: Google Duo with 12, Apple FaceTime 32, Houseparty 8, Skype 50… and Zoom 100.

The FT suspended one of its reporters after he was accused of listening in on his rivals’ Zoom meetings in which managers informed staff of salary cuts and furloughs. Mark Di Stefano dialed into the Independent’s Zoom call — but gave himself away because he used his FT email account. Oops. He broke the news of the meetings on Twitter, citing “people on the call”, just as the staff were being told of their fate.

Facebook will let users charge for their livestreams. This will be helpful for musicians and creators (and maybe journalists and educators?) to monetize their events. Details are however lacking. How much can a creator charge? How much of a cut will FB take, if at all? When will this be available? You know, the basic questions.

Who is Travis Scott? According to Epic Games, 12 million players joined his live in-Fortnite concert.

Frederic Filloux is asking if journalism, like many higher education courses, can be taught online. “Transposed online, a two-hours lecture involving 50 students can no longer rely on the presumed charisma of the teacher. To be delivered remotely, the session has to be scripted and crafted, including with some narrative structure. Otherwise, the bulk on the audience will be lost (meaning: students going mute, camera off, and doing something else). That skill won’t be easy to acquire for many instructors.”

If you’re planning to rebrand your media company, or sell a new product, now’s the right time to do it. The cost of acquiring users through Facebook ads has never been lower. Don’t waste this opportunity.

The BBC is having a good pandemic, says this headline in The Economist. It’s put on hold its plans to lay off 450 journos as it joins the covid battle. Covid is in fact finally giving the BBC an opportunity to explain why it even exists.

What will newsrooms look like after the pandemic is over? Will your newsroom go back to work the way it did pre-covid? Here’s a 5-minute survey.

Spotify’s revenue rose 22% in Q1 as more people stayed home as part of the global lockdown. But the earnings aren’t as interesting as the patterns they’re seeing.

  • Morning routines have changed significantly. “Every day now looks like the weekend”
  • This change was more obvious among podcasts than music
  • Listening time around activities like cooking, chores, family time are up in “double digits”
  • Two in five consumers Spotify surveyed in the U.S. said they were listening to music to manage stress more than they typically do
  • Increased searches for “chill”, “instrumental”, and podcasts related to wellness and meditation

Facebook provided a hint of the health of the advertising market with their Q1 earnings. Revenue growth slowed to 18% from 26% a year ago. It reported a “steep decrease” in ad revenue in March but also said there were “signs of stability” for the first three weeks of April.

The Guardian saw a 25% jump in monthly contributions at the end of March from the same period last year. Most were from outside the UK. There are now 821,000 readers making regular contributions to The Guardian.

Jay Rosen wants you to rethink how COVID news coverage is done. The current news system is about daily content production, which has nothing to do with understanding what your audiences really want. There’s a list of vital ideas and testable assumptions and solutions here.

  1. “End duplication, work together, publish at the same time.”
  2. Build and maintain an Urgency Index, a top-ten list of things “we need to be monitoring to stay reasonably well informed during this crisis”. Casey Newton took Rosen up on his challenge and did his own Urgency Index here.
  3. “How much closer are we to resuming normal life?” This is not a date set by politicians on when a state will reopen for business; it’s a set of conditions for what it will take to get us there.
  4. “Dislodge [enter random politician here] from [their] position as “protagonist” of the coronavirus story.”
  5. Track your work — your output. “Who are you quoting most often? What are the triggers for the reports your newsroom is producing? Who are the implied protagonists? From whose point of view are your stories told? Who is visible in the frame— and who is invisible? Whose knowledge is considered authoritative?”

Plex announced that “thousands” of Crackle movies and TV shows have been added to its library in the U.S. Source: Engadget > Plex adds Crackle movies and TV shows to its free streaming service

FaceBank Group said its ticker symbol on the OTCQB has changed to FUBO from FBNK. Source: fuboTV Announces Ticker Symbol Change To “FUBO”