Saturday, 4 August 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: opening ceremony boosts iPlayer, Twitter tries TV, Timeout goes free, Web goes federated and Google exposes Lords of War

Digital media

The estimable Mister Walk makes a good point. In switching their efforts from experience design to revenue model design Facebook and potentially now Twitter stand to lose their “cool brand” status. It’s very easy for users to walk away. I do requests...

Red Box is the US DVD loans company that was mainly responsible for the demise of Blockbuster. I take their continued growth as a sign that consumers often are more interested in convenience than format when it comes to incidental entertainment. Netflix beware.

Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony was spectacular. It also set a new record for iPlayer live streaming, with 1.7Mn people catching up last weekend. What we don’t know is how many of those were watching for a second time because they enjoyed the first so much. Me, I recorded it on Sky+ for later enjoyment.

Twitter are following many other technology companies and are trying to become a media one by launching their own TV programming. Twitter is a great companion for TV content, but I doubt they have the budget or the reach to make money out of this venture.

Timeout’s circulation has nose dived as free and cheap applications and widespread mobile Internet have hit London’s streets. I will follow their progress as a free sheet with interest. My concern is that it’s hard for a premium brand to sustain if the core product is free.

Artillery is a very well backed start up that intends to disrupt the traditional native games market on smart devices, PCs and consoles by enabling true browser-based gaming using HTML 5. Good luck to them – I think coding for specific hardware is always going to be faster, but what do I know?

Newswhip Spike launched this week. It’s kind of a Flipboard for breaking news stories, aimed at journalists and could represent a great tool in the never ending battle for breaking news. Note that this is not digital disruption, this is digital enablement of news. No need to be afraid, journos!


This is a brilliant example of the use of data analytics. Google have created an interactive visualisation in the global trafficking of weapons. Disturbing to see its density and extent.

Talk of a federated web is becoming more mainstream. This nicely research blog post at Techcrunch summarises why and how its developing.

Emerging markets

As regular readers will know, I’m very sceptical about the Chinese economy. Here’s an FT story that shows why I might be right. They’re slowing – and that’s despite fiddling the numbers!

Still, the Chinese technology market continues to accelerate. They’re soon to launch their first genuinely premium brand Android handset, through start up Xiaomi. One to watch.

An article about how climate change would benefit crop producers in Tanzania. Tanzania is a beautiful country – perhaps I’ll end up living there!

Responsive design is very a la mode in digital at the moment. Basically it just means tailoring a website to the device its being shown on in a clever way. This won’t, as the blog points out, work in Africa because the handsets in circulation don’t support the requisite technologies. A subtle, but important point if you’re designing worldwide products.

Apple struggles in emerging markets, says the FT. No sh*t, say I! Apple, if you talk to them, will tell you that they don’t care a jot if the mass market never gets their products. They like premium pricing. Look what being good in India and China did for Nokia...

Superpower politics

Amazon’s problem is that it lacks a money-spinning primary business that’ll throw off enough cash to fund global expansion and multi-dimensional competition. Their US rivals have them here.

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