In the outside world: 17th April

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

CaptureIf you haven’t heard about second-screen app Zeebox lately it’s for good reason: they have rebranded as Beamly and have shifted their target market to women under 35. That was apparently the group that were engaging with them most, and they were using the TV Rooms feature to discuss shows before and after, so that’s a big part of the new app. They’ve also commissioned a few YouTube stars to engage with the audience through the app. Niche communities are growing in importance and this is a good example of it.

Twitter has released an ‘Own the Moment’ calendar that lists various public events to plan around. But Stephen Pirrie uses his experience on British Airways, Dulux and other brands to suggest you should stay away from these moments which are likely to be over-saturated anyway, and plan for response. I tend to agree with him.

The Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Programme is a lovely initiative by Etsy who are conducting 2-6 week training programmes for low-income sellers in how to be an entrepreneur. The interesting thing is that it isn’t only brand-driven. They’re doing this in collaboration with a city (employment/economy angle there), an Etsy team (implementation), and participants. Currently in 6 US cities.

The Harry Potter fan community has started the Hogwarts is Here website where anyone can take online courses equivalent to what Harry, Hermione, Ron and co took over the course of 7 years. It’s a 9-week online course and has homework and quizzes, almost as if you were doing them on Coursera or Udacity! I think this is a nice extension of the Potter universe. Tolkien courses exist already, so I’m waiting for Star Wars, Star Trek and the rest of them.

Oreo cookies in the US are building on the Snack Hack campaign to create a web series involving top chefs hacking the Oreo to become food entrées. It started with Vine videos but the brand wanted to extend to a full series. They’ve also taken the decision to keep it online, without extending it to other media channels.

Last year many of you would have heard of Sky’s work in Brazil where people could record TV shows with a tweet. It was well-awarded at Cannes. No wonder then that they have now formally extended that functionality to the UK. This is how it would work: If you see ‘#WatchOnSky’ within a tweet from Sky, it can be expanded to reveal ‘Watch’ and ‘Record’ icons that link directly to Sky’s mobile TV service Sky Go.’ Two things you’ll have to keep in mind beforehand though: it will only work via Twitter on mobile, and you will need to ensure your Sky+HD box is linked to your Sky iD. This is very simple functionality that has the potential to impact viewing habits considerably.

Experian in the US have brought out a very useful report on cross-device video analysis (PDF). This article then pulls out data from the report to show that people who have subscriptions to services like Netflix and Hulu are indeed cord-cutting, or pulling out of subscriptions to cable TV, but only when they view content on the TV, not the mobile. Here in the UK it’s a different situation, but it’s a useful indicator of how the market might move in some time.

Banks are no longer the only providers of finance but the players are going to be very varied in the near future. Starbucks is one, at the moment people can pay for coffees in the US with a pre-paid card and Accenture research indicates that digital services will take away from traditional banks in North America very soon. In Europe, Facebook filed for permission to launch an e-money transfer service this week, for example. Every single market is being disrupted, none more so than banks where it’s been long coming.

On that note, have a great Easter weekend. See you on the other side.

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