The headline on 29 May 2020
Comscore said local television consumption is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. Source: Comscore Sees Signs of Stabilization in Local Television Consumption
Jeff Krolik, longstanding president of the regional sports networks now owned by Sinclair, today announced his retirement, effective August 30, 2020. Source: Sinclair Regional Sports Networks President, Jeff Krolik, Announces Retirement
Parks Associates new consumer survey suggests Apple TV+ and Disney+ have captured significant market share in the streaming video space. Source: Parks Associates: Disney+ and Apple TV+ Both See Success During First Six Months in the Market
News Corp Australia says more than 100 of its local and regional newspapers will move to digital, or be closed entirely. Hundreds of jobs are expected to be lost, which is tragic. But there are two silver linings here: 1) Market failure is dismantling Murdoch’s disinformation media monopoly in Australia — because the government won’t, and 2) you’re finally going to see an accelerated digital transformation of the media space in the country. This is the time to ponder: What will a revitalized Australian media landscape look like two years from now?
Stuff, New Zealand’s largest publisher, will be sold to its CEO for just $1. Sinead Boucher is buying the paper from Australia’s Nine Entertainment and will turn it into a staff ownership model.
Delhi-based journo Cyril Sam is putting together a tracker to figure out just how many jobs have been lost in India due to COVID-19. He’s looking for help to fill in this form.
Twitter finally decided to slap its fact-check label on one of Trump’s tweets for the first time. Trump tweeted this week (falsely, obviously) that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” the Twitter label says, and redirects users to news articles about Trump’s unsubstantiated claim.
In response, Trump is threatening to “strongly regulate” social media or “close them down”. The White House has also rallied mass harassment of Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth. “Somebody in San Francisco go wake him up. Tell him he’s about to get more followers.” Roth has now received a number of death threats.
Amazon may be getting ready to invest in localized news and sports podcasts. Axios reports that Amazon wants to use Alexa to help people find personalized content and sees this space as a strategic advantage.
Instagram will start sharing revenue with creators through ads on IGTV. IG will take a 55% slice of that pie. Instagram is also testing the sale of badges on Instagram Live.
NYT’s Ben Smith has a solid piece on what Substack is doing for individual journalists trying to build a name for themselves. “One of the things I find most heartening in these unequal times, though, is the creation of some new space for a middle class of journalists and entertainers — the idea that you can make a living, if not a killing, by working hard for a limited audience,” wrote Smith. But this isn’t about Substack — it’s an emerging trend, which I think will accelerate as journalists leave institutional media (by choice, or by layoffs). Modern media companies will be made up of these small but powerful names. How could we, as an industry, cultivate this?
A Nepali journo converted his home into a studio and he’s putting out live broadcasts throughout the day. “ToughTalk with Dil Bhushan Pathak from Home,” has about 104K followers on YouTube, and 42K on Facebook. His wife does the planning. His son is the production guy. Check out the photos.
Nightclub. On Zoom. It’s real. “As in-person shows have moved to digital spaces, American public life has started to resemble the fever dream of a ‘90s digital media theorist.”
The International Fact-Checking Network is giving out $1 million in grants to support established fact-checking teams. Supported by YouTube, they’re offering up to $50,000 for projects “around video production, tools development, audience building, and new formats testing”.
Data-N and Google News Initiative have a free webinar series to help journos improve their fact-checking. This will be taught by our friends Kuek Ser Kuang Keng and Trinna Leong, and delivered in English, Malay, and Chinese. Short, concise, and you’re done in 45 mins.
New Naratif is running a survey to better understand the biggest threats to freedom of expression and the press in Southeast Asia. They also want to learn about the biggest needs of media organizations and freelancers. Help them fill this in.
The Information is offering a free four-week bootcamp on how to build your journalism career. It’s bringing together an all-star cast of media greats including Peter Kafka, Kevin Delaney, Ben Smith, and others.
Japan’s football league is back in a few weeks — and playing in empty stadiums. Yamaha created a remote cheering app — the Remote Cheerer — so that fans watching the match can send their screams from their phones to loudspeakers in the stadiums.
Fortnite will screen an entire Christopher Nolan movie in the game. It’s an interesting way to get more people into Fortnite, but trying to watch this is going to be annoying AF with people waving their pickaxes around.
The headline on 28 May 2020
On-demand video news service Stringr said it’s raised $5.75 million in a new round of financing, driven by investments from Thomson Reuters Ventures. Source: Stringr Secures $5.75 Million in Funding from Thomson Reuters and Returning Investors
Short-form mobile video service Quibi now supports Apple’s AirPlay protocol. Source: The Verge > You can now watch Quibi shows on a TV using AirPlay
General Electric creates a powerful and personal story about its General Legal Counsel’s journey in embracing her heritage.
Rather than a dull how-to video prototyping tool, Framer, shows off its drag and drop simplicity as well as its other features.
Creative studio PlusOne celebrates 10 years in the business with an animated interpretation of their business manifestato and vision, complete with two-legged elephants.
Streaming radio platform Pandora has all your iso music moods covered in this animation.
Achieving content consistency
We know content marketers borrow from journalists to create engaging stories but why does it feel like they often skip the consistency part? Consistency should be front of mind for all marketers, especially if they want to engage their audience more effectively.
According to an Edelman survey, 81% of respondents claim they need to trust the brand to make a purchase. Consistency creates trust and authenticity, just the motivation consumers need to make a purchase. It’s not just focusing on your copy, a consistent publishing routine not to mention use of design and colors also needs to be incorporated.
Consistency is important across all platforms, especially social media, where algorithms will often reward you more for doing the basics. Just because they are more conversational platforms doesn’t mean standards should slide. Consistency across tone of voice, content quality and frequency of posts is important and needs to be planned for.
Animation & motion graphics trends
The first thing we noticed when the pandemic struck was advertising and corporate video shoots were canceled or postponed indefinitely. But just because you can’t gather in public doesn’t mean video marketing is out. Animation and motion graphics offer brands effectively, and often breathtaking ways, to tell stories. Best of all, there are many ways to bend and manipulate the medium.
Mixed media (3D, 2D, VFX, CG). Don’t limit yourself to one style. A hybrid of 3D and 2D animation, computer graphics, visual effects and live or stock footage may take a few more resources but the end results are memorable.
The isometric approach presents 3D objects in 2D space to create an illusion of three dimensions.
Cool project for MettleCI and IBM.
Learn more about how our video production process works at https://vidico.com
Typography, lines and digital surrealism. Kinetic typography allows you to present text in weird and wonderful ways. Plus, you don’t have to pay for the voiceover guy. The building blocks of drawings — lines — can be used as pointers, to create new objects, separate elements and a lot more. You can also go for digital surrealism where objects merge in unexpected ways to keep viewers guessing.
The headline on 27 May 2020
Spectrum is suing Maine over a state law that goes into effect next month, requiring it to return a portion of a customer’s monthly bill when service is discontinued. Source: Central Maine > Spectrum sues Maine over prorated refunds when service ends
Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, launched the Virtual Automotive Showroom for Tier 1 automotive manufacturers. Source: Effectv Launches First-Ever Virtual Automotive Showroom on an MVPD
SSIMWAVE said its SSIMPLUS Viewer Experience monitoring product has been approved by Dolby Laboratories for its ability to decode Dolby Vision® enabled content. Source: SSIMWAVE Viewer Experience Solution Achieves Dolby Certification
Amazon Web Services and German Bundesliga will debut the first two Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS. Source: Amazon Web Services and Bundesliga to Deliver Real Time Game Analysis with “Bundesliga Match Facts Powered by AWS”
Memberkit 1.0 is an insanely cool-sounding techstack to build a data-informed membership program for your newsroom. This beautiful, crazy thing has reports, analytics, reader and subscriber patterning to track and predict behaviours, it’s all glued together with spreadsheets, bits of example code, and common sense by Brian Boyer, and it’s all for free. Get in there and build something beautiful for your users. Get in there and build something beautiful for your users.
This tweet made me laugh. Admittedly, it was one of those snorty, cynical (and somewhat sheepish) laughs, because it’s about how we all design article pages. How much of your media website do you see here? Stop it. Get some help.
— 𝐓𝐕𝐒 (@vanschneider) May 20, 2020
This New York Times front page about the U.S. hitting 100,000 COVID-related deaths is heartbreaking. It’s also a work of genius. They listed 1,000 names on the cover — 1% of those who died — but the true work of genius and sheer humanity was when a Graphics desk editor decided to add a little snippet about each life. These details were painstakingly edited from obituaries and death notices from around the country, and they read like profoundly personal short stories. The art director responsible said “Each time we’ve run a dramatic page, someone invariably says that designers are having fun. Let’s be clear that this is not fun. Nobody is rooting for this. Reading and typesetting these 1,000 names was brutal, but these are extraordinary stories that require commensurate design.” These names and stories glow like fireflies in the dark. Maybe read them all. The best design tells the most human stories in the simplest ways.
This is the happy media story we all need this week. 1. Pivot your product to where your audience is. 2. Win. Dil Bhushan Pathak, a Nepali tv journalist, moved his daily talk show online to an array of online platforms, and his audience of 300,000 followed him there. “He says that he has never been busier or happier.” His wife Shikha helps plan the show, and his son, whose name is Kovid, does production support. This is a story about a media entrepreneur, a product, an audience, and how they came together, and it makes me really happy.
Why is Fortnite one of the most successful games in the history of gaming? Because it has a freakishly uncanny understanding of the gamer’s brain. Celia Hodent led the user experience team at Epic Games in 2013 when they were developing this crazy world. Her background in psychology helped the team to understand the player’s brain, to set and follow a game UX framework with specific guidelines for usability and “engage-ability”, and to then establish this UX pipeline to game development. The brain learns in two basic ways: through perception and memory, and the factors that influence how we process those are things like attention, motivation, and lots of emotional layering. The secret sauce to designing a complex experience like gaming, where the player is often simultaneously voice chatting, texting, and playing, is to manage the cognitive load you put on the player. “[W]hen we learn and process information our perception is subjective, our attention is scarce, and our memory is fallible. This is why having a UX mindset, which places the end users at the center of the development process, is key to offering the intended experience.” Now translate that to how your audiences experience your media product. What’s your intended experience? How far off the mark are you?
The headline on 22 May 2020
FaceBank has appointed Pär-Jörgen Pärson to its board of directors effective immediately. Source: Pär-Jörgen Pärson Appointed to fuboTV’s Board of Directors
Agencies that make buys through the Hudson MX platform will now be able to access TVSquared to measure campaign performance, impressions and business outcomes. Source: TVSquared & Hudson MX Partner to Make Automated, Performance-Based Media Buying a Reality for Local TV
India’s Manorama Weekly is a family entertainment magazine. It’s seen a record jump in sales of its printed magazine during Covid. How is this possible? They’re including vegetable seeds with each copy. 🌱
“Jesus Christ was also misunderstood, Masayoshi Son tells investors.” A $13 billion dollar loss is a come-to-Jesus moment.
Jesus Christ was also misunderstood, Masayoshi Son tells investors https://t.co/bB58TgyoVE
— Financial Times (@FT) May 18, 2020
The Internews Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund is once again accepting applications. Internews wants to help media orgs and individuals who are providing local language public information related to COVID-19. The deadline for this new round will be May 28.
Facebook has opened a relief fund in Australia to help news orgs. It’s working with Walkley Foundation to award grants ranging from between $10,000 to $60,000 to support media companies producing COVID-19 content, or to help them with “long-term sustainability”.
AFP is looking for a news editor based in Hong Kong. Knowledge of French is required.
WAN-IFRA will soon start inviting applications for its 2020 Asian Digital Media Awards. For the first time, they now have an award for small media companies with revenues of less than $10 million. A wonderful acknowledgment of the transformation of the media landscape.
If you’re a newsroom leader, are you making your meetings more accessible to all (not just the outspoken ones) so that everyone gets their views across? This is an interesting profile of a CNN producer who found empowerment sitting behind a video call. “There’s something about the power dynamic of video conference calls that’s given me a larger voice while working remotely. We’re all equal on the screen. Each face occupies the same amount of space. No one is any more powerful when we’re all rectangles on the screen, so it feels like I’m not drawing as much attention to myself. The power dynamic has shifted.”
New York Times is going to stop using 3rd-party data for targeting ads as soon as next year. Instead, it’s building its own 1st-party data platform. “We hired a large team specifically to support this year of a dozen people. The effort has touched at least 50 people and many more in every part of the company to get this to work.” After this COVID-19 shock, privacy and the use of 3rd-party data is the next big threat for publishers. Invest in that tech now. The question is: How much insight will NYT be able to glean from only tracking its readers on its own site?
The Joe Rogan Experience is moving to Spotify. JRE, which tops most leaderboards as the most downloaded podcast, will only be exclusively available on Spotify. This is a huge win for Spotify, which is trying to turn itself into a podcast destination. The problem however is that Spotify is betting that 1) because you love JRE so much, 2) you’ll use Spotify as your podcast hub. Those are two big assumptions.
COVID-19 has changed how late-night talk shows work. What do you do when you can’t get studio guests, musicians, and audiences in one physical space? You go to Animal Crossing. “We’re literally the only people right now that have a late-night talk show that actually looks like a late-night talk show… not even Jimmy Fallon can do that right now, because he lives in the real world and I don’t. I live in an online world where we can do anything.” News publishers, are you listening?
The porn industry is also pivoting to serve stay-home audiences. Some have started offering cooking dates with actors and are making more money than ever. “Days after the stimulus check, we were four times where we were this same time last year.”
TikTok is finally getting a grownup to run things. Kevin Mayer, once on the path to heading up Disney, will be CEO of TikTok. Given his experience, Mayer is expected to turbocharge TikTok’s video offerings, including creating original content or franchising its biggest stars.
ByteDance is reportedly now worth more than $100 billion. This might just set the stage for an IPO.
COVID-19 is also forcing a rethink at the Washington Post. “Our first priority can’t be to sell advertising.”
USA Today is launching a fourth COVID-19 newsletter. This time, it’ll be focused on sports. It says it’s seen a surge in newsletter readership, while newsletter ads have “leapt up.”
The BBC says it’s on track to lose about $152 million in income this financial year because of COVID-19. It needs more cost cuts despite record audience numbers.
Despite an initial surge in news consumption, there are signs of increased news avoidance in the UK. A Reuters Institute survey shows people are concerned about how COVID-19 news is affecting their moods. Women are also more likely to avoid news than men.
Quartz is closing its offices in London, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Washington DC. 80 people are losing their jobs. Year-on-year, Q1 revenue plunged to half because of Covid. Quartz says it wants to double down on subscriptions but it’s hard to imagine how a mass, non-audience specific product like Quartz can compete for subscription dollars.
Who cares if Facebook is buying a GIF platform? Given Zuck’s ability to skate to where pucks are headed, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy. First, GIFs are an advertising format — and when done right, are viral. Second, more importantly, Giphy will provide FB with important insights into hot topics to better understand immediate content trends on non-FB platforms like iMessage, Telegram, Reddit, and TikTok. That’s a smart $400 million acquisition as a lens to predict what people will consume.
Australia’s competition watchdog is telling publishers to boycott Google and Facebook as a way to force the platforms to pay for news. Assuming that publishers have the upper hand puts them at risk but, more importantly, ignores the fundamental reasons why people use Google and Facebook in the first place. Hint: It’s not for news.
It’s important to pay attention to the Australian approach because other countries would take their cues from it. Stratechery’s Ben Thompson tore apart the regulator’s assumptions in his recent blog post. “Media organizations have to be honest with themselves about why they are struggling, and in that accounting Facebook and Google are beneficiaries of inevitable Internet trends, not creators. Only then can the search for sustainable business models begin.”
The headline on 21 May 2020
How influential are influencers? If you believe everything you read in the mainstream media you’d think COVID-19 all but killed off influencer marketing. While the sector has taken a hit from the pandemic, it’s far from dead. The reliance on celebrity influencers will certainly wane but it will be replaced by the niche influencer with a focus on TikTok and gaming. Mainstream media should probably focus on its backyard.
The influencer business is changing. Travel and events based influencers are seeing budgets dry up while those in the home fitness space are experiencing a spike. With people at home, influencers are seeing engagement rates growing despite many campaigns being canceled. Click-to-cart from influencer posts and live streams, either featuring or promoted by influencers, are seeing growth.
The influencer message. In situations of global change and unrest, two things are vital when it comes to messaging: trust and authenticity. Consumers are turning to creators in increased numbers in the current pandemic, basically because they trust influencers more than brands. Will this see more brands engaging influencers?
Design thinking and content creation. The secret to successful content marketing is crafting a message that resonates with customers. Finding that message is always the trick. Design thinking follows a five-step process: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. This results in a user-centric message, not one stuck solely on the product.
A changing market needs a new message. The nature of the customer experience has fundamentally changed, meaning marketing needs a human focussed message. The human engagement has become digitized, products are becoming experiences and all marketing is moving towards a B2C format where messaging is emotive.
Storytelling is key. Design thinking works for all businesses, no matter the size. Speaking on The Content Show, Michael Lyons, co-founder of Recovery Systems says storytelling has been key to their messaging and digital content strategy. “We always thought of it as storytelling and we wanted to involve our customers, some of whom are professional athletes. We wanted to give them a voice via what we’re doing, and bring them into the spotlight.”
This year’s winners of the Brand Film Award US have been announced. Adobe took Brand Film of the Year with a comedic short about a social influencer in the 1800s.
Worth watching is Siemens’ account of an engineering student who created a better prosthetic foot — it received an Honourable Mention in the B2B field.
For some, meditation is the perfect way to cope with home isolation. The Headspace app has created an animated explainer to show why.
Those who aren’t meditating are probably homeschooling with a big reliance on screens. Sprout ran a survey to see how parents balance tech and kids, presenting the results with a mix of stop motion and 2D digital animation.
PayPal is becoming the tool for people who have no access to banks and Google Cloud are powering operations in 200 markets using 100 currencies.