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April 17, 2015Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Ofcom considers deregulation to take growing power of internet into account

The shift to digital in recent years has meant an uphill challenge for British communications regulator, Ofcom, as it seeks to adapt its own regulations to the changing media and telecoms landscape.

Credit: Ofcom

Picture Credit: Ofcom

In her first interview since being appointed as Ofcom's chief in December, Sharon White said that deregulation and a lighter approach needs to be considered to reflect the tectonic shifts in how people read and watch content, as well as talk.

Ofcom has just begun its first review of the British communications market in a decade to take into account the burgeoning impact of the internet, and whether market definitions and regulations need to be redrawn. Ofcom would also need to consider the intersection and blurring distinctions between traditional telecom and media companies.

Live streaming services such as Meerkat and Periscope both present a challenge to the paid-TV world especially with the increasing costs of football rights, for example. While Ofcom traditionally appointed the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) to regulate broadcast advertisements on its behalf, YouTube advertising also falls under the ASA's jurisdiction - the roles both perform and the areas overseen need to be made clearer in this era of greater convergence.

Ten years after its last review and in the age of the internet, the time is now ripe for Ofcom to reconsider regulations especially when changes are unprecedented and happen at much greater speed. It's exciting times ahead for the tech, media, and communications industries and we can't wait to see what happens next.

 

March 3, 2015Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Is the platform-publisher model the future of digital media?

Is the dress white and gold, or black and blue? Chances are you heard about the dress the world's been talking about through Facebook or Twitter.

While social media has traditionally been used to spread content which users think is interesting, hilarious or just plain confusing (like what colour the dress is!), social media channels are increasingly becoming platforms for media companies to promote their content on, as well as a place for channels such as Snapchat and LinkedIn to publish their own content.

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Pic credit - LoboStudioHamburg

More and more social media channels are looking to strengthen and monetise their publishing platforms while telling stories that appeal to their users in the hopes of keeping them coming back for more. However, the lines between journalism and advertising are blurring - when Instagram announced that it was boosting its journalistic team and required that new hires "popularise budding Instagram stars", journalists including Chris O'Shea of Adweek aired their frustrations, claiming that the outlined job scope was more advertising than journalism, or superfluous journalism at best, in their quest to "find the hidden meaning in a photo of a hedgehog".

Much as this might threaten journalism as a principled vocation, it would be a mistake to discount a channel like Instagram with its growing user base of over 300 million users - journalists would no doubt be lining up to fill these influential positions.

The introduction of Snapchat's latest news feature Discover and the fact that it has managed to provide a platform for media bigwigs including Yahoo, Vice and CNN to share their news content, has also outshone the fact that it has hired its own journalists for the platform including The Verge's Ellis Hamburger and MTV's Greg Wacks. Facebook and 'sleeping media giant' LinkedIn are also jumping on the platform-publisher bandwagon, with the latter hiring Fortune editor to help build its publishing platform although it has the upper hand as content is just a sideline business for them.

Streaming music services have also been fast to move into this space with Apple, Spotify, and Rhapsody all hiring journalists to help its users better navigate a vast musical landscape.

The lines between platform and publisher will continue to blur and we can't wait to see if this new breed of journalism will take off and how it will continue to shape the future of digital publishing.


November 19, 2014Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Apple users like grilled halloumi and exercising, while Google users spend 50+ hours online a week

Ever wanted to experiment with research on what audience your brand resonates with the most? Or flip that maybe, what brands, media, social media and people your target audience trust the most? Enter YouGov Profiles.

Last week YouGov unveiled its media planning and audience segmentation tool at the Festival of Marketing which aims to provide marketers with a more detailed insight into the lives of their customers, as well as the products and services they use. However it is only since yesterday that it has taken the internet by storm with publications such as The Guardian, The Times, and CNET reporting about it, and with over a thousand people logging on to the app each second.

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YouGov collates this data by integrating 120,000 data points from more than 200,000 active UK panellists collected in the YouGov Cube to illustrate how each person engages with traditional (TV, radio, newspapers) and new media (online, mobile, social), which it dubs as being “unique to the research industry”.

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YouGov profiles consumers by looking specifically at their demographics and lifestyle, brand usage and perceptions, media consumption, digital and mobile behaviour, social media activities, and attitudes and opinions. For example, a quick search of Apple reveals that most of its users are females aged between 25 – 39 in Media/Publishing or Advertising/Marketing/PR who like exercising and who sometimes splash out on products they might not need. Apple users also describe themselves as “clever”, prefer shopping at Waitrose, and spend between 31 – 35 hours/per week online.

The data doesn’t show a “typical” customer, but those whom the search subject would appeal to most, according to YouGov. With over 30,000 search terms available, YouGov Profiles highlights the importance of big data in providing an insightful portrait of consumers and will no doubt be a useful tool for marketers in future.

October 28, 2014Published by: Sharmin Cheema-Kelly

Google Inbox: The future of emails?

Last week, Google announced its latest offering, Inbox, a free email app that aims to better organise emails and is "designed to focus on what really matters". Dealing with emails at work can be tedious and distract us from accomplishing important tasks, and Google Inbox aims to reduce the amount of time we spend sorting out our inboxes.

The Google Inbox app essentially consists of three key features:

  • Bundles
  • Highlights
  • Reminders, Assists and Snooze

Bundles are Google Inbox's organisational tool which groups together emails in similar categories. For example, bank statements and receipts will be bundled together and the app allows you to swipe them off all at once. You can also 'teach' Google Inbox to group certain emails together, thus creating custom email bundles.

Highlights as its namesake suggests extracts key information from an email, including flight itineraries, phone numbers, event information etc. and goes one step further by including information that wasn't in the original email e.g. real-time flight & package deliveries statuses.

Reminders, Assists and Snooze makes it easier for users to focus on priorities and allows the user to add to-do reminders, as well as adds additional information to your reminder, otherwise known as Assist. For instance, writing a reminder about a restaurant reservation will bring up a map to, and the phone number of, the restaurant. Not everything can be tended to immediately, and the Snooze option allows users to snooze reminders as well as get it to remind you again when you are in a specific location e.g. at home or in the office.

Data and algorithms are increasingly permeating social media channels and it comes as little surprise that they are being introduced to emails as well. What implications do these changes have for marketers? Perhaps they will be increasingly challenged to ensure their emails are not filtered out through Google's algorithms and will be pushed to create valuable content, while users look to benefit from these changes. However, the reliability of algorithms and whether emails are always correctly bundled remains to be seen.

At present Google Inbox is invitation-only and invitations can be requested through inbox@google.com