In the outside world: April 4th

Interesting media-related news this week from our Head of Innovation, Anjali Ramachandran.

Happy Friday.

The band the Wu-Tang Clan are embarking on a super-organised secret mission to launch their new album. They are going to conduct a series of tours in museums and galleries ‘like a work of art’ under heavy security, and will then release their double-album to ONE person for a price ‘in the millions’. We’ve been hearing about the value of exclusivity and high premiums for audiences who want to feel like they are truly part of something big – this is a completely new way of launching a product (albeit a music product), so it’s definitely noteworthy.

Excellent bit of reading about the future of TV from Benedict Evans, an extremely popular venture capitalist in San Francisco for those who don’t know him. Agreed he’s talking about the US market, but this is indicative of what could grow global: ‘either way this is really about unbundling shows from TV channels, not unbundling channels (or on-demand channel brands) from cable TV subscriptions.’ The whole post is well worth a read if you want some future-gazing and difficult, fascinating questions that some media houses will need to start exploring pretty soon.

Third week running I have news of a media owner expanding into on-demand TV in some form – BskyB offering on-demand film downloads via the Sky Store, then AOL with AOL On, and this week Amazon announces Fire TV, a set-top box that makes your TV almost a smart TV, if it isn’t already (Google Chromecast-style). A UK release date hasn’t been set yet but there is a PR event on April 16th over here so we will know more after. Why should you be excited? Here are 3 reasons why Business Insider thinks it will crush Apple TV.

At SXSW, Simon Harwood and I saw a lot about the rise of secret social media apps like Secret. Here is a good article exploring the theme further: Cloak, Confide, Firechat – Secret is definitely not a flash in the pan. There’s more where that came from – in fact I’ve been following the founders of Cyberdust online for a while and that’s a service that gives you self-destructing SMS – Snapchat for SMS!

Intriguing piece of research from Cornell University which shows that when kids look at cereal boxes, brand trust increases because Tony the Tiger, Snap, Crackle, Pop and everyone else seem to be looking *down* on them from the box, resulting in eye contact – and then trust. So if you want to build trust through your packaging you know what to do. If you want to avoid that as a consumer, you also know what to do. Shut your eyes while eating your cereal!

Google Fiber has been part of Kansas City’s landscape for a while. This week at Adweek I heard the CMO of Shell say that’s going to be the next big thing – wireless networks across large areas. Whether or not he was serious, Google is rumoured to be making a play for wireless networks to be their next mobile experiment, and not just in the developed world.

At SXSW Simon and I also saw how emojis are growing in use as a language of expression. Here’s an article about how emojis are ‘invading Twitter’ because they are getting extended web support. Brands can start telling whole stories now in much more interesting ways than one single image – on Twitter.

That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend!

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