“Do adjust your television sets” Raven’s Marketing, Media & Tech Round-up — 13th September

Captured by @mattketing

The Raven delivers 10 talking points across #media, #tech #marketing and the #Environment… This week covering:

Elon Musk beats Area 51 hands down, Spotify turns up the relatable, the BBC spies a gap in the voice assistant market, Twitter forgets a feature, film directors plan their own feature, Apple can tell the time all the time, the golden anniversary of the Beatles break-up brings surprises, the summer blockbuster season makes for uneasy watching and are Porsches electric?

Spotify. Let the Song Play.

As Apple enhance their media proposition, there’s every hope they can extend their current run of superb advertising. After falling into holes that were expensive to climb out of over the years, the quality, product-focussed spots that have surfaced since Christmas have made for an even happier Raven (catch the Adbeak archive) — but that can’t have been their only intention… Could Spotify be readying for a similar run?

Spotify, Let the Song Play, 2019 (prod: Epoch films)

The streaming giant enjoys similar pressures, but their latest is a strong example of simplicity, relatability and product convergence. Sharply targeted on a shared experience, broadly targeted to its diverse audience, keeping product right on the dashboard. It may be a bit too stylised, a tad too broad, a little long (un-cut), but this has happened to us all, right?

There’s a matching, or should that be backing, playlist to go with it, of course — but enough of that. It’s time for the Raven playlist…

No, not a reference to Britain’s continued, and mostly-self-inflicted agony, but the lead single from Gruff Rhys new album, out next week. A collaboration with Muzi and described as “a pop album with a couple of verses of Zulu and an English title”. Pang from Pang — a stunning number, showing lovely development from his collaborations with Damon Albarn as part of Africa Express, but still utterly Rhys. Find every intro song on the Raven Playlist.

1. Tech. “Auntie, what are voice assistants missing?”

Some product positivity from the BBC, even if it’s a challenge to software… for the moment (Acorn speakers, please!).

Currently named Beeb (just call it Auntie, please!), the Corporation is seizing on the 20% of UK households currently using voice assistants and exploit a considerable product gap coming from American competitors: regional accents. A particularly acute problem in the most accent riven English-speaking country, the BBC is drawing on voice samples from its wide and diverse workforce to pioneer virtual assistants that will initially operate through the BBC website and iPlayer app. An ambitious project, but irresistible and naturally inviting its fair share of cynicism off the bat. For me, there’s a thrill on those odd but dramatic occasions when the BBC jumps into its technology remit and rocks the boat.

My first question to Auntie is likely to be about BBC Sounds.

2. Green. Are Porsches electric?

Wheeled out at three sites that represent the power of renewable energy, in the biggest EV markets — Canada (Niagara Falls — hydro), China (solar), Germany (wind), the Porsche Taycan roll out is spearheading VW’s $33 billion electric drive to take on Tesla while avoiding the flaming pitfalls of Audi’s e-Tron roll-out. Not sure on either of those names personally, but hope to be reporting on a lot more positive news in this sector in the coming months.

3. Tech. The problem with old features...

…. Is we all forget them, even the companies temselves. Couldn’t let this Raven fly past without mentioning the unfortunate hacking of Jack Dorsey’s account last week, through an archaic feature I’d certainly forgotten some time over the past 10 years. It did used to be a feature, warranting it a place on the BBC quiz of the week. Hackers didn’t need the Twitter CEO’s account password but his phone number to exploit the legacy feature of SMS Tweet posting that was quietly forgotten by almost everybody as smartphones took over.

4. Media. The winners and losers of the Summer blockbuster season.

It’s been a month since Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood drew an acutely unflattering, if fairytale, comparison between the Hollywood of the 1960s and today, as if its exposure as one of the few must-watch films of 2019 wasn’t proof enough. This summer’s blockbuster season was backed by stat-memes that highlighted the domination not so much of Disney (those were the spring memes), but the scarcity of new IPs that supported billion dollar takings. Admittedly much of that came from Disney’s strategy too.

EW ranked 17 of the winners and losers, guaranteed to trigger gasps of surprise and horror.

But the overall pattern of downturn for the summer season that started a decade ago hides some bigger statistical worries. Disney’s epic franchise and remake game-plan secured four of the top ten highest grossers, along with a strategy of screen purchase in the United States that drowned out many smaller rivals. And the family-centric, inoffensive success that defines mean that big takings in Hollywood are governed by homegeny more than ever.

As if that was the only problem hampering breakout hits…

5. Tech. Filmmaker Mode — the hero we all need

Staying filmic, a bigger budget sequel to last year’s dramatic appeal from Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie, urging fans to switch off Motion Smoothing on television sets.

The answers inspiringly simple: form an unprecedented union of names — headlined by Chris Nolan and James Cameron (names built on innovative new IPS — see 3) — and impose a own Filmmaker Mode of your own making on your feature.

While we’re all checking our settings, it’s London scientists who are checking deep-fake footage.

6. Media. Pop Together. Right Now. (Radio2 Beatles)

Raven’s been reporting on the fascinating developments in the digital radio sphere, often to the BBC’s detriment, but their stations remain the gold standard. Radio 2’s had success with its pop up stations, a show of strength from the breadth of the BBC’s network (Radio 2’s 50th anniversary was a highlight), and this September it’ll be a delight to have one focusing on the Fab Four’s final album (recorded, not released).

It’s a golden anniversary of rollercoaster moments as the final months of the world-changing band are dissected. Here’s a fascinating, lovely, and rather melancholy spin on the late Abbey Road sessions. According to me, an avowed Beatle fan.

7. Tech. Take-a this Mobile — Mario Kart arriving to IOS and Android

Ever since the late, great Iwata-san revealed Nintendo’s advent to the mobile space four years ago, one IP has been revving everybody’s engine… The Pokemon came, went and hung around, Mario Ran, Dr Mario needed inoculation against in-game currency concerns, but as of 25 September Android and IoS users will be able to get their hands on the main event. Remember that Dr Mario, for one, made some great changes for the mobile format and that it dropped a day early…

Mention Mario Kart and it’s likely the sound effects will pop into your head first. Here’s a fascinating look into some of the video game sounds that weren’t so lucky…

8. Media. The impact of that Sun boycott

Some gripping articles have surfaced this week and this Raven’s only scraping the tip. As Britain’s political turmoil deepens, the FT published this fascinating research. The broad boycott of traditionally right-wing tabloid The Sun in Liverpool after it’s atrocious reporting of the Hillsborough disaster had a confirmed impact on European sentiment in the city.

A caller to James O’Brien’s LBC show was quick to add an articulate first-person view.

9. Tech. Musk Zone. AI Saveloy.

Have to kick off with this brilliantly Musk rebuttal to questions about Area 51: “People ask me if I have been to Area 51. Ok, please. SpaceX actually has area 59 and it’s eight better than area 51”

That was during Musk’s much trailed appearance at World AI Conference in Shanghai, where he took to the stage to debate artificial intelligence and its implications for humanity with Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma. the two naturally assumed opposing positions. Here’s Wired’s coverage and edited transcript of the discussion, which includes Musk suggesting that “I don’t think artificial intelligence is a threat” makes for good famous last words. Make no mistake, he believes humanity may be forgotten as nothing more than a ‘Biological Boot Loader’ for what comes next.

10. Tech. An Apple a year — but iPhone 11 wasn’t the main star.

Apple’s iPhone 11 event flashed in the tech and consumer worlds, but the main attention wasn’t on the phone itself — although the camera configuration spawned the most memes, but the side details. Apple TV offered up a canny tech-bundled approach to gain on its streaming rivals.

Interesting competition brewing on the game streaming front too, with Apple Arcade launching as soon as next week. Google’s Stadia will arrive two months later.

Perhaps the real jewel was the latest iteration of the Apple Watch - framing an always on watch face as a feature, showcasing seismic change to battery use. Power aside, I always thought an intelligent display was the feature.

It was a successful if not jaw-dropping event (as expected), and closed the week well after the earlier apology for contractors listening into Siri conversations.

Not bad for one of the giants of Silicon Valley, but the Valley itself might see a storm on the horizon. Positioned as American tech’s bête noire, not least by the President, the EU has extended Margrethe Vestager’s role as competition commissioner for a further five years and added oversight over the EU’s digital policy to the mix.

In the past 18 months Vestager as levied $9.3 billion of fines on Google, opened probes into the Libra cryptocurrency and referred to American Tech Giants as “robot vacuum cleaners”.

All eyes on the next steps taken by the woman Donald Trump complained last year, “really hates the US”. Non-digital popcorn in hand.


Resources: http://www.mattketing.com
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…

I haven’t mentioned Softbank for a while, but that’s kind of the point... A significant purchase by their subsidiary significant purchase for Yahoo Japan puts them on competition footing. All Softbank news is relevant.



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