Friday, 28 June 2013

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: future of news looks a bit passe, Sony on the charge, YouTube revenues hit $3.7B and narcissism alive and well in the Valley

Media

Hmm... Circa is atomising news into component parts and reassembling into stories dynamically. Where have I seen that before? Oh yes. DMI... (see below) http://paidcontent.org/2013/06/27/circa-looks-at-news-the-way-other-companies-look-at-code-as-something-to-build-with/

More context: stories as a constantly evolving, fluid thing. This is a really beautiful article, actually as it uses art history to describe different types of news platform. http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2013/06/mona-lisa-stopped-smiling-a-conversation-on-the-phenomenology-of-news155 

Crowdfunding for investigative journalism is also beginning to gain a very small amount of momentum. Trouble for me is finding the balance between the need to offer incentive to the funders and focusing on a serious story. Doubtless there'll be mainstream press coverage of this soon enough. http://paidcontent.org/2013/06/26/kickstarter-tips-for-journalists-from-propublica-crowdfunding-is-a-lot-of-work/

Sony are considering selling off up to a fifth of their entertainment business in order to fund the recovery efforts in electronics. I'm not sure about this. Movies and music generate lower risk, short term revenues and long term annuities. Electronics feels a lot riskier given Sony's current brand position (requires a run of successes to have the same annuity value). I'd not sell, personally. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/us-sony-strategy-idUSBRE94L07220130522

The BBC's digital production system, DMI has been very publicly canned. Probably the right decision, but I must say one thing. It's very easy to criticise innovative technology projects after the event. The iPlayer has been a huge success but at the time it was conceived was almost as big a risk as DMI. Sometimes the big bets don't come off. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/may/24/bbc-digital-media-initiative-failure

KPMG on the future of media. I'm sure there's interesting data in the report, but the '5 trends' on this microsite are way off. Broadcasters competing with individuals? I think that one's been done. YouTube killing TV? We've been waiting since 1989... Sigh. http://www.kpmg.com/uk/en/issuesandinsights/articlespublications/pages/future-of-media-industry.aspx

Here's some data as to why this is - only 12% of 18-34 year old broadband consumers in the US are without pay TV, for the simple reason that they want access to the best content. http://www.pivot.tv./press/2013-06-11_broadbanders.pdf

YouTube's revenues forecast at $3.7Bn in 2013. $800Mn from mobile, 14% sell through rate. Impressive, but not much sense of profitability... http://blog.streamingmedia.com/2013/06/analyst-report-youtubes-revenue-likely-3-7b-in-2013-video-ad-sellout-low-at-14.html

Excellent summary of the amount of adverts that viewers will tolerate online. About 2 before a video... which should be of note to Channel 4, who seem to go for at least 6. Anyway, this is worth a read. http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/how-many-online-video-ads-will-viewers-tolerate-30412/

The bottom of page 2 was the best bit of this EIU study into advertising effectiveness. Basically, consumers are increasingly numb to ad personalisation. All that investment in analytics may well just be table stakes now. http://www.lyrislabs.com/media/pdf/lyris-survey/EIU_Executive_Summary.pdf

Technology

The big takeaway from this for me is the marked difference in the number of young people centering their online experience around social versus older punters. I'm more and more of the opinion that Facebook may not be such a stupid investment over the long term - it's the de-facto standard social network and therefore the heart of the Internet for younger Y's and millennials. http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/organic-search-continues-to-be-the-primary-way-adults-find-websites-30550/

I'm amazed it's taken this long to turn the Apple TV into a games machine. This is the future of that platform imo and I remain surprised that Apple has not sought to enter the console/ media centre market in a bigger way. Now is the time as the console replacement cycle begins this year... http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/27/rolocules-motion-tennis-app-turns-the-apple-tv-and-iphone-into-a-legitmate-gaming-system/

Nokia Lumia has 23% market share in its home market. Not big news globally, but perhaps a sign of a small turnaround in fortunes... nah. They're still in a mess and I think until they drop their Windows only strategy for smartphones the decline will continue. http://wmpoweruser.com/nokia-lumia-had-around-23-smartphone-market-share-in-finland-in-q1-2013/

4K is impressive, but at the moment there's no cable technology that can actually connect a source to a screen at a high enough frame rate, nor is there any broadcast source. http://advanced-television.com/2013/05/28/bbc-ultra-hd-may-need-more-than-120-fps/

Sony are on a bit of charge in handsets and tablets. This tablet is yet another in a line of well engineered, slick looking products. LG and HTC better watch out... http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/06/second-times-the-charm-the-xperia-tablet-z-review/

Just for fun

Some of the insults in this blog about Silicon Valley narcissism are really amusing. https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/a8399fd6a9b8