June 23, 2014

Twitter Adds Translated Tweets to iOS Apps

With World Cup coverage underway, people from all over the world are tweeting about the same topic in many different languages. Twitter wants to make it easier for everyone by bringing mobile translations to its iOS app in partnership with Microsoft.

After downloading the Twitter iOS update, users can click a small globe icon within each tweet to have it displayed in their native language.

Facebook Slingshot

Facebook has launched a photo-messaging app, known as Slingshot. The app’s features include sharing photos and videos with friends in a similar fashion to Snapchat. However, Slingshot’s point of difference is that it is built around a two-way interaction. It uses an unlocking mechanism, whereby photos received from friends must be unlocked by “slinging” a different photo back to the original sender. Like Snapchat, all images are deleted once sent and users can scribble or type over their photos.

On the social media page for the app, the creators said: “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator.”

The Slingshot launch comes as Facebook is trying to fight off threats from other social networking agents, which also contain messaging and photo-sharing tools.

Jelly adds replies to its Q&A app, offering back-and-forth conversations for the first time

Previously, all communication on Jelly was either a question or an answer in response to said questions, but now users can keep the conversation going to add context or just maintain a dialogue.

Jelly launched in January of this year as an answer to crowdsourcing information from your social networks, adding location-based answers in March.

Facebook’s iPad app becomes more of an entertainment hub

On the right side of the new Facebook iPad app, social notifications for Facebook games both native and on the web, along with video trailers of games that users have yet to play, trending videos and new articles will be served.

Facebook’s pick of videos will be based on the most-shared footage across the site, filtered by those in the same general demographic. Similarly, a popular games section will include casual titles that are getting greater than average attention from friends and Facebook users in general.

Amazon Fire Phone

The company debuted its first-ever smartphone at a mystery event held in Seattle on Wednesday. Its US release date is 25 July, although global distribution has yet to be confirmed.

The device has a 4.7in screen, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and an innovative system of cameras and sensors on the front of the phone to track head gestures from users, and change the display accordingly.

The Fire Phone also has a feature called Firefly, which combines a range of media-identification capabilities into one app, for example, Firefly can recognise (similar to Shazam) songs, movies and TV-shows. It uses the microphone to listen into a scene of a show and identify which episode you are watching, (similar to Facebook’s recent app update), and then it also directs people to buy the series from Amazon.

Twitter to buy video sharing site SnappyTV

Twitter is extending its drive into video after it announced the acquisition of SnappyTV, a video sharing website. The social media network has already started to embrace video with its Amplify programme, which allows sponsored video excerpts of televised content to be easily viewed on mobile.

In a statement, Twitter said: “One of the best ways to follow events as they unfold is through real-time videos on Twitter. As we continue to invest in video, it’s important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses, and event producers to share high-quality videos. To that end, we’ve agreed to acquire SnappyTV.”

The theory is that as people talk about certain TV shows on Twitter, others who see those tweets will be compelled to tune in.

Mobile and tablet video viewing up 532% YoY since 2012

The Q1 2014 Global Video Index revealed that in the first quarter of 2014, mobile and tablet viewing accounted for 21% of all online video plays, up from 3.4% in Q1 2012 and 9% in Q1 2013. Since 2012, mobile and tablet viewing has increased 532% year on year (according to new research from Ooyala).

While the majority of plays on tablets were short-form videos, viewers clocked 48% of their overall viewing time watching videos of 30 minutes or more. Viewing time of live video on connected TVs was 11 times more than on-demand content.

Sky IQ’s new viewing panel is providing data from more than 500,000 Sky homes across the UK

As TV has changed and technologies have evolved, so has the way viewers plan their viewing. Measuring overnights gives us a valuable first impression but can’t provide an overall picture of a show’s success – and the myriad of ways that viewers engaged with it.

Sky IQ’s aggregated and anonymised viewing panel aggregates data from over 500,000 Sky homes in the UK – and offers us a view of exactly how content is consumed – be that live, playback, on demand or via Sky Go.

Figures from Sky IQ viewership for Game of Thrones have recently been published, which I have summarised below:

Last year:

  • Nearly 1.5 million households engaged with the Season 3 premiere, with 85% of viewing via linear (either live or playback).

This year, however, Sky Atlantic did something unprecedented: on 7th April 2014 it simulcast the first episode of Game Of Thrones season four between the US and the UK at 2am, prior to the more traditional 9pm transmission later that evening.

  • Overall, 1.9 million households watched the premiere – up 26% on last year, accounting for 1 in 5 of all Sky households.
  • Linear viewing, both live and playback, is still king, accounting for 85% last year and 82% in 2014, although the increased proportion of catch-up might be due to that 2am simulcast.
  • Sky Go views were up an impressive 139% on last year, increasing share of overall viewing from 4% to 7%.
  • The other main growth area was Sky’s on-demand push service “Showcase” which saw an 89% increase in household viewing than in 2013, from 7% to 9%.

Because viewers can choose from a variety of transmission times and different ways to engage with the show, we can see how viewing of the 1st episode played out across different platforms during the week of the transmission window.

Monday 2am:

  • In total, nearly 60,000 watched the 2am broadcast via their Sky box or on Sky Go.
  • Just over 450,000 set their Sky+ boxes to record the 2am broadcast in order to watch at a time that was more convenient for them.

Monday 9pm:

  • Over 490,000 households waited to watch the episode live when the show re-aired at the more sleep-friendly time of 9pm on Monday evening – perhaps because watching live at the same time as half a million others enables synchronised social commentary via the second screen.
  • In addition, nearly 680,000 subsequently viewed this showing on playback.

In total, half of those that recorded either the 2am or 9pm showing had caught up on the same day, ready to discuss at work the next morning.

Wednesday 10pm:  a repeat of the episode on Wednesday evening attracted a further 165,000 households viewing live.

  • Of those who recorded the show, 20% caught up the following day after the premiere with the remaining 30% watching two to six days after transmission.


June 10, 2013

‘Points’ The World’s Most Advanced Street Sign


Points is a connected object in the shape of a standard street sign. The sign is socially connected, allowing it to tap into open API’s and social networks to transcribe what’s happening in the world, and bring the information and directions it finds, right to you via its 16,000 LED’s across 3 directional arms. Pretty cool. Check out the video here.

An Update on Facebook Ads

Facebook have announced an ongoing effort to simplify their advertising offerings. Facebook plans to streamline the number of ad units from 27 to fewer than half of that while mapping all of their ads to business objectives, such as online conversions, app installs, likes etc. To find out more about how Facebook plan to implement these changes, read their blog post here.

See it with Samsung S4

Want people to check out your new product? And stay engaged for 60minutes? Watch here to see a great promotional stunt from Samsung in Zurich.

Vine posts are now shared more than Instagrams on Twitter

Six second video clips from the Vine app — which launched in late January — are already shared more on Twitter than posts from two-year old Instagram (according to insights from Twitter-certified analytics partner Topsy). It’s an interesting trend, considering the fact that Vine has a much smaller user base than Instagram — it has just 13-million registered users against Instagram’s 100-million active users.

The growth of Vine may be influenced by the deep integration it has with the social network as a Twitter-owned app, whereas Instagram images no longer auto-expand, instead only appear as a link sending the user to Instagram’s own sites once clicked. Not exactly the most user-friendly experience.

Smartphone collects coupon from TV using NFC

NFC technology has a new development from a company that specialises in transferring mobile information using NFC (near field communication) which could really open up opportunities for retailers. They have created a Dynamic NFC-screen which is able to communicate through different devices (TVs, desktops, etc) ‘to provide consumers with product information, coupons or navigation through advertisements and presentations’.  This could allow mobile users to simply hold their phone in front of their TV screens and downloads coupons or access extra content. If this technology did catch on, it would be extraordinary to see how many users downloaded coupons from their desktop directly into their Google wallet or Apple passbook and see how many redemptions were made. It has been reported that ‘European telecom giants Orange France and Avenir Telecommunications’ have bought into this service so it could become available soon.

In the UK, one in five use mobile payments

recent survey of UK internet users aged 16 – 65 reveal that ‘more than two-fifths of UK smartphone users already use mobile banking’ with mobile payments becoming an area of interest for smartphone users. Mobile payment technology is constantly developing and growing, and perhaps this year it will take off so brands should be m-commerce ready and really think about how they will include mobile payments into the user journey.

‘The demographic breakdown of mobile payment users showed a skew toward men and especially those in the 16-to-34 age group. Twenty-three percent of male internet users reported using mobile payments vs. 18% of females. And a substantial 41% of 16- to 24-year-olds and 35% of 25- to 34-year-olds also said they made mobile payments. Overall, mobile payments reached one out of five surveyed internet users in the UK.’

Evian’s Baby & Me app

Continuing the Baby &Me theme after Evian’s YouTube went viral in April, the brand have created an app that allows users to reveal what their ‘inner baby’ looks like. The app is available on FacebookAndroid and iOS across all devices. Users upload their photo and the app will focus on the ‘most prominent features of the face and clothing’ to virtually ‘reveal inner-babies’. The brand has harnessed the theme after the viral to allow users to be a part of it and personalise their experience.

Jamie’s commercial cutesy grin definitely swayed me to buy his first foray into speedy cooking, “Jamie’s 30 minute meals”. Apparently he sold a colossal 1.7million hardback copies despite a barrage of criticism from those (clearly useless people in the kitchen who don’t even know that cooking spaghetti requires water) that his 30-minute time frame was unrealistic. So, to further prove that his timings are achievable by the average family cook, he’s halved the time and is soon to be back on our TV screen with his latest TV series “Jamie’s 15 minute meals”, obviously accompanied by the recipe book. So will halving the time result him in selling his book twice as fast? If his latest advertising campaign is anything to go buy I’d predict a definite number 1 place on the chart this Christmas.

Jamie has exclusively released two recipes from his new book, Seared Asian Beef and Ricotta Frittas to his Facebook fans. Fans are encouraged simply to “cook it, snap it, share it”. So cook it – obviously means have a go at actually cooking one of the dishes in 15 minutes. Snap it, using Instragam and apply a filter (to make it look as professional as possible) and tag it with #Jamies15MM. And finally, share your masterpiece on Facebook not only for your entire social graph to see that yes you, an average cook has made a delicious Jamie Oliver meal in 15 minutes, but also for your chance to have your attempt featured in above the line advertising, such as these digital 6sheets spotted on the underground. 

This is shareability and validity from your social graph at its best and loads of people are already giving the recipes a go. Interestingly, Jamie has agreed to product placement in his new TV show. Products from Uncle Ben’s and Yeo Valley will both feature in Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals and Uncle Ben’s will also sponsor the show. This is Channel 4’s first product placement deals for a cookery programme and the added extra of celebrity endorsement of Jamie Oliver is sure to provide some interesting results, as he inspires his audience on how to use the particular branded products throughout his series. Similar to Delia and Heston’s partnership with Waitrose, Uncle Ben’s and Yeo valley will be looking to harness the commercial clout of Jamie in the kitchen.

Dual-screen social TV start-up Zeebox has launched a click-to-buy service designed to let viewers buy products directly from TV ads. The feature means viewers can purchase products advertised on the TV via their tablet or smartphone-enabled Zeebox app in real time. The start-up has made the move in a bid to provide brands with more insight into the effectiveness of their TV campaigns while providing measureable performance tracking. Every time a viewer sees a TV ad, a corresponding click-to-buy button appears in real time via the Zeebox tags. Each of these tags will feature an icon that alerts the viewer to the type of ad product, whether it is a song, product or travel service. Once they click on the tag, the viewer will be taken to a retailer’s product page, such as Amazon or Tesco, to buy the product, or to the advertiser’s website for more information. 

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Only 15% of UK consumers say they will own a Smart TV within the next 12 months.

Smart TV ownership (a TV set able to be connected directly to the internet via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi) is slowly growing. Consequently, the television set will soon become a key device that people use to access internet content either directly, via a games console (such as the Xbox 360) or other ‘plug-in’ boxes such as Boxee or YouView (a new partnership between major broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel Four as well as BT).

Already one in 10 people in the UK own a smart TV and, while intention to purchase is currently very low, sales could well be stimulated by several key events, such as the UK launches in 2012 of Google TV and Netflix, as well as major sporting occasions such as the European Football Championships and the Olympics. There are even rumours that Apple will release a smart TV device: ‘iTV’.

A main driver for adoption of Smart TV in the future could be the increasing availability of content, which is currently only available on broadcast television. Just over one third (36%) of UK respondents aged 18-24 claimed that they would be encouraged to purchase a smart TV set if more of the TV content they normally watch was available on the internet.

There are already more and more services becoming available on smart TV’s such as YouTube, MSN, Twitter, Skype and web browsing using Bing or Google. It could well be the ability to use social networking services in conjunction with television services, so called ‘Social TV’ that could be the ‘killer app’ for the smart TV. This evolution of our TV sets is enabling viewers to share and comment on media content using Facebook and Twitter, or even to set up ‘virtual living rooms’ where programmes are watched at the same time between friends but at different locations with social networks enabling the sharing of the viewing experience.

The rise of Social TV

November 15, 2011

As the tremendous amount of research now available about the amount of ‘multitasking’ and ‘dual-screen’ TV viewing habits, especially with the younger digital generation continues to rise – social TV is emerging as something beyond an experiment for advertisers. The latest entrance into the social TV space is an iPad app called ‘Umami’, which uses audio fingerprinting technology to automatically and continuously sync to live and time-shifted programming from 40 major broadcast and cable networks. The app offers an array of info related to the show being viewed, including bios, photos, news and social media conversation. Shazam has gone one step further than Umami as it allows viewers to purchase products featured on shows from their mobile phone. Consumers will be promoted to ‘shazam’ where they will then be served relevant products, such as fashion brands seen during the show or merchandise form the programme. This service is currently only available on specific NBCUniversal TV shows in the US but it is an exciting move for fostering a more engagine relationship with TV viewers.

Product placement has been off to a slow start since the government relaxed the rules in February, with most deals being struck largely associated with ad-funded programmes, such as New Look’s ‘Style the Nation’, which exclusively featured New Look clothes in the catwalk competition.

Only a dozen deals were made in the first six months. So, what’s the reasoning behind the delay off the starting block? Do British advertisers fear creating an American-style brand invasion that would most definitely be shunned by society, or are we struggling to convince brands that product placement exposure has a greater value than the equivalent amount spent on paid-for traditional TV advertising?

The first product placement deal saw daytime show This Morning place a Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine on set and another one that caught my eye recently was TRESemmé shampoo in Britain’s Next Top Model on Sky Living. Carat also negotiated a product placement deal on Celebrity Big Brother, but the deal that’s initiated a tipping point for a wave of new product placements, is in the world’s longest-running TV soap opera, Coronation Street.

U.K. Coronation Street will be the first prime-time show on British TV to feature product placement. Quite literally, tucked in between the gravy granules and loo roll display will stand a branded Nationwide ATM in Dev Alahan’s Corner Shop. The ATM machine will appear on screen from 14 November for a period of four months along with a branded sign outside the shop front.

Ofcom has predicted that the product placement industry could be worth up to £30million a year. Aside from the financial benefits for television shows, the introduction of real brands will add a sense of realism to our much loved TV shows and for the residents of Coronation Street they will be relieved that their hard-earned savings are no longer invested in a fictional bank!