The Splice Slugs: Week 54
Today, I’m filing this from Kuala Lumpur. I attended a demo day held by MaGIC — the Malaysian government’s massive startup accelerator program. More than 40 startups pitched. Some interesting stuff at the intersection of media and tech. Here’s a writeup if you’re interested. — Alan Soon
Google’s fast-loading AMP articles is getting a big boost: Google will now show AMP stories in all of its mobile search results. Recap: This is Google’s own “Instant Articles”, stripped-down pages that load from Google’s servers directly (and quickly!). So if you’re still trying to figure out whether to spend precious development time on adding AMP code to your article pages, the answer is yes.
…There are also plans to roll out a new “live ticker” section in search results. This is what it looks like.
Instagram has launched “Stories” — which is exactly what Snapchat does well: Photo and videos that disappear after 24 hours. “It basically solves a problem for all these people who want to take a ton of photos of an event or something in their lives, but want to manage what their profile looks like and not bomb feed, obviously, as that’s one of the no-nos on Instagram.”
…Here’s an interesting use case for Snapchat: It’s a Content Management System in itself. Hindustan Times uses it as a way to shoot and share across teams. This is how they do it.
A BBC journo decided to go on a “mojo diet” — shooting all his videos on his iPhone 6S Plus instead of his regular Canon C100. This is what he learned.
Now that Uber has China sorted out (thanks to its truce with Didi), it’s free to go figure out the next big thing in the region: Southeast Asia. Watch out, Grab.
…And Grab has been busy raising a chunk of change in response. $1 billion, according to the WSJ.
Rocket Internet has hard a hard time in India and Southeast Asia. The problem isn’t with business models but with a fundamental corporate perspective: It assumes that all employees are entrepreneurs.
Fortune India has launched its beta site — five years after the company set up in India. Check it out here.
There’s a bit of attention on Joshua Topolsky. He helped launch The Verge and was the digital editor at Bloomberg. He’s just raised $5 million to start a new editorial service called The Outline. Can’t wait to see what he has in store. “I really want to move away from the impressions-based way of judging success. We want to focus on the best way to tell a story. Digital media has millions of colors to paint with, and most of the time we only use like four.”
Time Warner bought a 10% stake in Hulu for $583 million. It’s a bet that comes at a time when more people are canceling cable subscriptions in the U.S. (I’ve been cable-free for the past 2 years!)
Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy protection to avoid paying Hulk Hogan the $140 million they owe him. It’s also looking for a new owner. Ziff Davis looks like a contender for some of its brands.
AOL polled 600 publishers in the UK and U.S. to understand their core problems. In a nut shell: scaling videos, ad blockers on mobile… and “tech tax”. Did you know that less than half of ad revenues go to the publishers? Much of ad spend is going to middlemen, like ad serving platforms.
…So just how bad are things in the media world? More importantly, what do some of us media “professionals” actually think about what we do as an industry? New York Magazine decided to survey some of the top names in the business. This is what it looks like when media people air their dirty laundry. A long read, but spot on.
You can’t beat Kara Swisher when it comes to tech coverage, or calling bullshit on the industry. Here are her views on the state of media and how tech journalism is prone to sucking up to the people it covers. “At the heart of it, it is kind of fucking cool. It’s like, what would you do if you were covering Edison or Ford. The car is fucking cool! And it’s clear that some of this stuff is really going to change the world. It’s not like when Kellogg’s comes out with a new Pop-Tart.”
Apple made a change to its emoji in iOS 10 beta 4 to remove the controversial use of a revolver. Instead of the pistol, you now have a green squirt gun.
The U.S. government approved a private spaceflight to the Moon. This is the first time a private company has been allowed to send a craft out of this orbit.
And one more thing. Read this lovely op-ed by Barack Obama about raising daughters. “Yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”
Quote of the week:
“You will never get any more out of life than you expect.” — Bruce Lee. He used to scribble his thoughts in a little notebook that he carried everywhere. Some of these have now been published here.
Enjoy your weekend!