“Didn’t this happen to the other fellas?” Raven Marketing, Media & Tech Round-up — 27th August

Captured by @mattketing

Matt Goddard
Aug 27, 2019 · 10 min read

The Raven delivers 10 talking points across #media, #tech #marketing and the #Environment… The name’s Raven and here’s what’s sparkled in the roost this week:

Bond takes over with a natty Futura typeface, the perils of bingeing Friends, giant pandas harness solar power, tube trains heat Islington, Channel 4 has more trouble with relocation than complaints, I grab my boarding card to Mars, watch out for first-gen Tesla cyborgs, Spider-Man makes a getaway while Fox is scapegoated, there’s new hope for Tumblr, MOMI is remembered, the history of the THING, and who’s up for the Goodwood Festival of Autonomous Racing?

If you think this is a stealth James Bond special, you’re right! The second single from his eighteenth studio album Free, Iggy Pop’s James Bond is unlikely to secure the Bond theme gig (we can dream), but it’s a pleasure to listen to in this slow, hot, late summer. As the popster said, it’s from an album that “just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen”. Legend. Find every intro song on the Raven Playlist.

Channel 4. NASA. 007.

Complaints Welcome, Channel 4 (Agency: 4Creative)

The final work overseen by outgoing Head of 4Creative Alice Tonge is a lovely piece . Utterly Channel 4 and that’s the point.

As a sidenote, Bake Off’s back tonight…

The long-awaited title of the forthcoming and 25th official James Bond film was announced last week, simultaneously underwhelming and entirely reassuring. Job done for the franchise that walks an unusual tightrope, even in the annals of Hollywood action (in this case strung between Jamaica and Piz Gloria).

The pressure on No Time To Die before it surfaces next April is particularly acute, following unprecedented pre-production shake-ups and ahead of what’s presumed to close Daniel Craig’s 14-year tenure. Craig’s Bond has established an irritating pattern of alternating quality, and Bond25’s chief job is to correct the dire waste of 2015’s SPECTRE. As it stands, we can all agree that the strong heritage-pull of the title’s use of Futura Black is a timeless doozy.

Perhaps the campaign of the week. NASA has ramped up publicity for its 2020 Mars Rover with the chance to have yours as one of a million names heading to the Red Planet.

1. Tech. Ebola may be cured.

Let’s start with some good news. Following trials in the Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO and NIH signalled Ebola may soon be DOA. ‘“From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable,” according to Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director general of the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale in the country. Bold and brilliant news in the midst of the World Health Emergency declared there last month. One of the most virulent diseases of the past 40 years it has wracked DRC for decades, with treatments such as ZMapp, a primary treatment since the 2014 outbreak, failing to lower the average death rate below 50%.

2. Green. Giant Pandas and British energy ingenuity.

Zooming out a little more, NASA isn’t just looking at Mars. The Agency also revealed that India and China’s tree planting agenda is yielding results on Earth. The response to these fairly publicised campaigns says a lot about preconceptions hampering climate action. There’s still a lot to do.

A rather playful artistic rendering courtesy of Business Insider. Um.

Sadly, it wasn’t NASA who snapped China’s new giant solar power plant… In the shape of a panda.

The Panda Power Plant will produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years according to operators China Merchants New Energy Group.

A solar landmark came with news (jumping embargo for one national newspaper, ahem), of the first solar-powered rail line. No, not in China. Naturally, it’s in Hampshire.

Slightly to the North East, there’s a new endeavour to redistribute waste heat from London Underground in North London.

3. Media. The VoD knock-on.

Even the most partisan must appreciate that the BBC can’t win. The delayed expansion of British broadcasters into hefty streaming products has already brought consequences. Extended iPlayer access is top of most wish lists, but the Corporation’s hasty attempts to secure longer licenses have a clear knock-on for digital distribution the other side.

It’s been a bit quiet on the Apple TV front, but it looks like November is the target — unsurprisingly putting it head-to-head with Disney+’s US launch.

Talking of which, Disney started wheeling out the big guns at this weekend’s D23 event, including charge-leader The Mandalorian, backed by a budget of well over $100 million.

4. Media. Disney and its Fox horror; Spider-Man does whatever a Spider-Man wants.

Sticking with the House of Mouse, it’s a fascinating time for studio system, cast into some relief by Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to the Hollywood that was, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (a masterpiece in my view). A month after Disney shares took a dive (see two Raven’s ago), even as it scored a record box office haul (with more to come — at least two more $ billion+ films in 2019), more alarm bells started ringing in shareholders’ heads. Writing off vast swathes of the Fox portfolio implies something went awry in the diligence, especially when CEO Bob Iger says, “One of (our) biggest issues was the Fox studio performance which was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition.”

Fox that was might have something to say about that.

Other studios are scrambling to respond to the new sprawling Disney empire, a behemoth the likes of which Tinsel Town has never seen. While CBS and Paramount have agreed their reunion, new WB president Amy Sarnoff took office the day after the studio confirmed long-standing rumours that the Matrix franchise will return.

Sony, relishing a newfound standing after clearing their own slate (two years ago we had Sausage Party and Ghostbusters, now they’ve dodged James Bond, Sonic the Hedgehog and rebooted Ghostbusters) and may just have blindsided the House of Mouse.

News that Spider-Man was to continue his journey outside the MCU stunned the most valuable stakeholder, fans. Sony issued a rare public statement, putting the onus on Disney and the work schedule of MCU supremo Kevin Feige. The strange part was that so much support fell behind Disney and not the smaller partner in this universe who have served up some of their best superhero films away Disney.

Sony may well have recognised a chance to push back after Disney’s Fox acquisition secured them much of the Marvel universe — recognising their stronger position just as Disney felt comfortable asking for a better deal. It’s funny what a dose of Venom and a (truly superb) Spider-Man animated film can do for your confidence.

That said, I doubt much damage will befall either side at this point in the cycle, or that there won’t be a chance to patch up the web at a mutually beneficial point in the future. Naturally, things quickly turned from the big screen to small…

5. Tech. Are you stockpiling?

How many phones have you got under your bed? Laptops collecting dust and longing for a skip? Circuit boards buzzing mournfully for a screening of Batteries Not Included? I’ll admit, I have a lot of decrepit tech lying around. Last week there was a warning shot that tech-hoarding, whether from laziness, difficult refuse collection or inability to lose anything that used to be shiny and cutting edge, has consequences.

6. Media. Channel 4.

Channel 4 may have made a good stab at taking over this week’s AdBeak, but they’re not doing quite so well with their relocation. The incentivisation on offer doesn’t seem to be too convincing. I used to walk past the Horseferry Road HQ all the time and this is a difficult read. I’m sure Channel 4, built to thrive on adversity as much as diversity (as their recent campaign showed) will come through, but I really rooting for Leeds to grab the opportunity with everything they’ve got.

Good thing the Channel still has a sense of humour and an eye for a headline.

7. tech. MuskZone. Dawn of the Tesla cyborgs.

Eagerly awaiting Elon Musk’s imminent arrival at the World AI Conference, but aside from neural interfaces, OH HELL, a Tesla driver has gone and done it.

We interrupt this Musk Zone to bring you some logo breaking news. Surely some mistake... Has Apple ripped off Elon Musk’s company logo?

That could be a distraction. Don’t take your eyes off the road — Apple is expanding its patent reach and autonomous driving project.

Which reminds me of the Goodwood Festival of Autonomous Racing

8. Media. Netflix backlash and the Friends risk.

The parallel emergence of fresh and classic box-setting leaves me vexed. In the everlasting and unmanageable Golden Age of Television, viewing habits have room to adapt to suit any program, although day and night-long box-setting still isn’t my cup of tea. The battleground that are box-sets of old shows is particularly insidious. I may watch Die Hard every Christmas, but endlessly consuming Friends in a world vastly changed from its heyday is extraordinary, as is the integral role that IP has in the market share tussles between Warner Bros and Netflix. Could nostalgia warp even the highest-powered VoD strategy? It’s a fascinating field of research.

Especially at work. 55 episodes!

9. Media. Tumblr Rescued.

The sorry saga of Tumblr, last seen in the news after its drastic eradication of adult material (that wasn’t going to drive up traffic), continues. It’s found a new home at Wordpress owner Automattic. Not much of a surprise, even as Pornhub spied a prime PR potential, but crushingly late for a platform of potential squandered by Yahoo and Verizon. There’s hope that its simple and unique features can rise to the top as a complement to Wordpress’ main offering. That means no Gutenberg, right?

10. Media. Questions raised by the MOMIversary

20 years since the rather sudden closure of one of my most visited childhood museums, the Museum of Moving Image. Time for the Guardian to ask some valid questions about Britain’s relationship with film.


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That’s it for this Raven — see you next time! While you wait, keep up-to-date and join the conversation @mattketing.

One last THING…

No James Bond here, just the fascinating history of the Thing. THE THING.

The Raven by @Mattketing

The Raven regularly delivers 10 squawking points from…

The Raven by @Mattketing

The Raven regularly delivers 10 squawking points from #marketing #media #technology … Captured by @Mattketing, delivered by first class RAVEN.

Matt Goddard

Written by

Tech and FinTech startup CMO, writer & journalist, artist and designer, ed-in-Chief @ Jokerside.com. Curates the Raven @Mattketing round-up right here | London

The Raven by @Mattketing

The Raven regularly delivers 10 squawking points from #marketing #media #technology … Captured by @Mattketing, delivered by first class RAVEN.