Archive for the ‘TV and Social media’ Category

How Facebook will take over the world

July 13, 2010


Facebook will announce its 500 millionth user any day now, and that’s around 22% of all internet users globally. That’s a pretty impressive milestone, but founder Mark Zuckerberg has already said he expects Facebook to reach one billion users before long.

But given that take-up among those key demographics in the developed world isn’t far from saturation, the next phase of growth will be in developing markets and will prove harder work for the firm in the face of domestic incumbents, technological differences and government censorship. So how is Facebook moving in on those markets?

• Venturebeat interviewed Facebook’s head of international growth, Javier Olivan – the guy who led Facebook’s crowdsourced translation project. He described the development of a free, low-bandwidth mobile version. Facebook is making deals with at least 50 operators across India, Russia and more that means the expense of using data services is carried by the operators rather than users.

global domination by orphum.

Photo by orphum on Flickr. Some rights reserved

• Across Asia, the growth pattern varies from one extreme to another. Indonesia is just 500,000 users behind the UK, Facebook’s biggest userbase, and is top, according to comScore, in the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia. But in Vietnam and China Facebook is blocked, and elsewhere, like Russia, it faces an uphill struggle to overtake domestic rivals.

• Facebook acquired a Malaysian contact importing service called Octazen Solutions, which means it can tap a wide range of email services in the region.

• In India, the site built a database of school details to pre-populate lists and make it easier for users to search for friends, one of a number of ‘under the hood’ strategies for growth.

• Facebook is closing in on Google’s Orkut in both India, which appears to be stalling, and Brazil, where it has a quarter of Orkut’s traffic.

• In Japan, where it has 5% of the traffic of market-leading Mixi, Facebook had to focus on making a decent mobile web version rather than replying on apps. In Japan and South Korea, more users access social networks via mobile than by desktop, so Facebook has some substantial catching up to do given that Olivan admits its mobile site was “unusable” eight months ago.

• Interestingly China appears a no-go area, with Google’s problems and eventual withdrawal, the current block on Facebook and the dominance of domestic sites like RenRen, 51 and Kaixin001 presenting too much of a challenge at this stage. Olivan puts this down to “an ROI calculation that goes into every country we consider entering”.

• The New York Times also points out that though Olivan only has a team of 12, he is backed by Facebook’s $1bn annual revenues, which means significant investment in new products and a steamrolling of its rivals. It also means Facebook can continue to hire much of the world’s best developer talent, which it regularly poaches from Google.

Will Facebook reach 1 billion? I don’t doubt it. We can expect them to focus on the highest growth countries with strong commercial potential and the least established incumbents. But this will still be like Bagneres-de-Luchon to Pau on stage 16 of the Tour de France. Tough, in other words.

Also in Facebookland

• The New York Times has helpfully compiled an introductory guide, for those who might have been living in a cave for the past four years. Or, my mother.

• A Futurescape report predicts Facebook will fight Twitter for the $180bn global TV ad market as these social networks and back channels are formally built into new TVs. While social media has some impact on TV ratings now, the report predicts recommendation, discovery and content sharing will be central to pay-TV services in the future.

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YouTube Sets Up Grants to Fund Video-Makers

July 13, 2010


YouTube is investing $5 million in grants for select new and emerging partners, to further the creation of high-quality videos.

The YouTube Partners Grants program will serve to help fund the production budgets of a small group of YouTube partners who are leading innovation in their video-making. The site is selecting partners based on factors such as video views, subscribers, growth rate, audience engagement and production expertise. Selected partners will be contacted by YouTube and invited to submit a grant proposal. Proposals will then be evaluated based on signals such as projected performance, distribution plan, marketing plan, cost requirements and appeal to advertisers. Once approved, the video-making partner will receive funding to get started on their project.

“Youtube Partner Grants represents another step forward in the evolution of both video and YouTube,” said George Strompolos, partner development manager at YouTube. “Our hope is that through these investments we’ll help nurture talent and bring more great videos to YouTube for all of you to enjoy.”

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free social media metrics and tracking

April 13, 2010

free social media metrics from

Company Name Platform Name Media Type Coverage URL Free Country

The Search Monitor The Search Monitor (Starter and Pro) All Free USA
Crowd Favorite Addictomatic All Free USA
mReplay Livedash All Free USA
MyFrontSteps Steprep All Free Canada
Inuda Innovations HowSociable All Free UK
Ascent Labs, Inc. StatsMix All Free USA
BuzzStream BuzzStream All Free USA
Samepoint Samepoint All Free USA
Now Metrix Trendrr All Free USA
Social Mention Social Mention All Free USA

Breakfast briefing: Google has its eyes on your TV set

March 30, 2010


• Everybody and their dog has been developing web-enabled TV sets recently, so perhaps no surprise to see that Google – the company that can’t keep its finger out of any pie it comes across – is working with Intel and Sony to create Android-compatible tellies. Somebody unlikely to be impressed by the 7,194th Google project, however, is outgoing US Federal Trade Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour, who laid into the company for launching products “where the guiding privacy policy seems to be ‘throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks'”.

• Most of us probably wonder what information other people might know about us through our social networking profiles – but do we ever wonder what law enforcement can find out? Just weeks after the controversy over Microsoft’s “spy guide”, Electronic Frontier Foundation has released documents showing how US investigators obtain evidence from social networks. Worth reading… not that you’d ever do anything illegal of course.

• If you’re looking to have your mind boggled, then think about the chaos caused when more than 100 cars were shut down in Texas over the web. The suspect, apparently a disgruntled worker with access to a controversial online immobilising system used by car dealers, went on a remote shutdown spree that must surely call into question whether we could end up making our vehicles too connected.

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IPTV World Forum embraces hybrid future

March 30, 2010


The sixth annual IPTV World Forum in London showed signs that the market is maturing and the scope of internet protocol television services is expanding. IPTV is no longer synonymous with the ambitions of telecommunications providers to deliver telco television. There are now around 33 million subscribers to IPTV services, up from around 20 million a year ago, but that still represents only 10% of broadband homes, 5% of the multichannel market and less than 2% of television homes worldwide. As this convention demonstrated, more significant growth may come from hybrid broadcast and broadband network connected devices and displays. 

The conference talk has largely moved on from discussions about how to deliver video over data networks to how to differentiate the resulting services from traditional television operators. 

Operators like AT&T and Verizon are now showing sophisticated services that deliver on the promise of teleco television and giving the entrenched cable companies a run for their money. 

Cable companies are ultimately able to migrate all their services to internet protocols. There is plenty of bandwidth in their existing hybrid fibre coaxial infrastructure to deliver very high-speed internet protocol services. Some of the established cable companies appear characteristically conservative and reluctant to replace set-top boxes and face the future while they can continue to extract revenues from their existing plant. 

The most significant development may be the emergence of hybrid broadcast and broadband services that combine the benefits of efficient distribution of traditional channels over conventional satellite, terrestrial and cable networks with video on demand services delivered over internet protocols. 

It is also becoming clear that given the bandwidth, open networks are quite capable of delivering high quality video over the internet on a best efforts basis. That means there are opportunities for consumer electronics companies to create connected television propositions. 

On the exhibition floor most vendors were reporting high levels of interest but it still feels like a sideshow to the main broadcast conventions like NAB. Nevertheless, the concentration on internet protocol networks means that this event is now a firm fixture in the convention calendar. 

Cisco was among those pushing the line that telcos need to become media companies, moving from being network service providers to experience providers. Generally, however, technology providers seem to have very little appreciation of the world of entertainment. 

NDS was showing Oona, a conceptual user interface that incorporates social networking features. 

Ericcson had a concept remote control that includes a touch screen for exploring and previewing programming. That could be a strong selling proposition for operators, but what is really needed are standards to allow users to control their television experience from any device, from an iPad to their mobile phone. 

An awards dinner recognised the achievements of the last year, which extended beyond the usual suspects. 

Award winners 

PCCW received the award for most innovative new service with its eye2 device, a wireless touchscreen table providing television and multimedia services, as well as video and voice calling. 

China Telecom was recognised for best subscriber growth, reflecting a 275% increase in subscribers to reach 750,000 users at the end of 2009. 

The best interactive television service or application went to ADB for the ‘n’ service in Poland. 

Amino received the best consumer device award for its Freedom hybrid digital terrestrial television and internet media centre. 

The best quality improvement solution award went to Witbe for its quality of experience measurement system, deployed with a number of operators, including Deutsche
Telekom, KPN, Orange, Singtel, Telefonica and Vodafone. 

Echostar Europe received the award for best hybrid broadcast and internet protocol video solution with its Slingloaded hybrid digital video recorder. 

The best on-demand technology award went to Ericsson for its WatchPoint content management system. 

Netgem, with its NetgemTV hybrid IPTV middleware, combining broadcast and broadband delivered media, was recognised as the best IPTV service delivery platform. 

The best internet television technology award went to Cisco for its content delivery system, allowing service providers to support video on both set-top boxes and internet streaming. 

First Media picked up the award for best client software for its client resident m-QM video monitoring system. 

Raoul Roverato received the special merit for outstanding industry contribution for his work at Orange.

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4 Ways Non-Profits Can Use Google Buzz

March 21, 2010


Geoff Livingston co-founded Zoetica to focus on cause-related work, and released an award-winning book on new media Now is Gone in 2007.

Despite some initial flaws, Google BuzzGoogle Buzz continues to show promise as a social marketing platform. It has a significant (though somewhat latent) user base, with an increasing number of loyalists who swear by it.

When a green field lies before you, so does opportunity. Some non-profits stand to gain from being part of the early Buzz adopter community. Whether a cause needs to further the dialogue with a tech-savvy crowd, or is attracted to the functionality of GmailGmail integration, Buzz does bring some new capabilities to bear.

Here are four great uses for Buzz in cause-based activity.

1. Manage Public Conversations Better

A useful feature of Google Buzz is its public threaded conversation stream. This format has significant advantages over TwitterTwitter’s disjointed @reply conversations and hashtag-based threads, as well asFacebookFacebook’s often high privacy walls.

“We’ve been looking at using Buzz to have public conversations about Mothers Fighting for Others‘ work with an orphanage in Kenya,” said Jeff Turner, President of Zeek Interactive. “We want to be able to facilitate a consistent thread of conversation, but we want it to be more public and open than Facebook or [Google] Wave would allow. With Buzz, we feel like we can maintain a clear stream of thought around a topic, and at the same time, do it in a public forum where someone we might not be able to envision being interested could join in.”

2. E-mail Integration Means Better Workflow

Gmail Buzz ImageNon-profits could use Buzz to manage workflow across a group. This can be useful for an organization with project teams spread across multiple offices or in the field. With e-mail integration, it saves the organization from having to set up a separate account with another private conversation tool likeBasecampBasecamp.

“An example would be to set up Buzz as a private group for a project team, large or small,” said Shireen Mitchell, a Washington D.C.-based digital activist. “Twitter updates, blog posts, and other related content that has an RSS feed can be connected to individual [Buzz] accounts tracking topics related to the project. The team can make comments and select “like” to provide a consensus of interest on each update. This would keep the team updated on news, topics and content for any existing issue-driven social media campaign of the organization. [It’s] sort of a mini crowdsourcing of the team.”

3. Finally Connect to “Unsocial” Users

Another interesting aspect of Buzz’s workflow and e-mail integration is the use of a system that blends 2.0 functionality with a 1.0 system. Non-profit managers can use this to intelligently blend workforce conversations between younger and older, or tech-savvy and entrenched members of their teams. Crossing the streams may enable better communications.

“Google Buzz allows users to publish private streams to specific contact groups,” said John Haydon, a non-profit social media strategist. “This is a perfect way to include staff members who don’t use social media in important real-time conversations, especially during news-worthy events like the earthquake in Haiti.”

4. Geo-Location Adds a New Element

Location Map Image

When Google launches a social network, it brings more to bear than your average start-up. Consider the ability to integrate geo-location with Google MapsGoogle Maps into your social network activity. People can see social activity on the fly.

“Fast forward to a cause marketing campaign like Starbucks’ partnership with Product RED,” said Joe Waters, author of the Selfish Giving blog. “Buzzing about the latest campaign to a really large audience with geo-location features [enabled] lets people see in real-time all the people [talking] about the campaign in their area — especially in densely packed areas in New York where [Starbucks] are practically right across the street from each other.

“In short, Buzz can potentially broadcast a cause marketing campaign to a much larger audience than say Twitter. And the geo-location feature, if it takes off, can give a program a real-time, tangible quality that can’t be replicated on another [social media] platform.”

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Online video viewing complements TV

March 21, 2010


Viewers want their internet TV. More than 170 million individuals viewed over 30 billion videos online in the United States in January, over a third of them on YouTube. Hulu was the next most popular site, with 900 million views, which is ten percent less than the previous month. Online video is increasingly seen on the television screen. One in four Americans watch internet television more than once a week, but see it in addition to traditional television rather than as a substitute, concludes a new study from In-Stat.

Google sites, primarily YouTube, attracted over 136 million viewers, with over 90 videos per viewer, according to ComScore. Hulu was the fifth most popular video destination in the United States, with 38 million viewers. They watched on average over 23 videos each, representing 2.3 hours per viewer, suggesting that they were sampling many episodes, rather than watching them all.

The total online video audience dropped slightly in January compared to December, which is not in itself unusual. There is clearly an enormous appetite for online video, with the number of views doubling over the last year, although it is still marginal in comparison to the total viewing of broadcast television.

People want the best of both worlds, with both pay-television and over-the-top video, concludes Keith Nissen of In-Stat. “Nearly 40% of consumer broadband household respondents want a combination of linear TV and on-demand TV, and nearly three quarters want to acquire all their video content from their pay TV service provider.”

Recent research found that while personal computers remain the primary means for viewing internet television, people are increasingly using other devices, including internet televisions and mobile phones.

They are connecting many different devices to their televisions, including media adapters, games consoles, and Blu-ray disc players. An estimated 24 million web-enabled devices were in use in the United States at the end of 2009. This is expected to grow to over a hundred million by 2013.

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Producers’ Forum: Principles of Transmedia Storytelling

March 21, 2010

By Mansha Daswani


NEW YORK: Jeff Gomez and Nathan Mayfield will be hosting a session at the MIPTV Producers’ Forum—a two-day initiative organized in association with World Screen—about developing stories and concepts across multiple platforms.

The first thing you need to know about transmedia storytelling is that it’s not the same thing as “cross-platform” or “cross media,” according to Jeff Gomez, the president and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment. “Transmedia is where you’re planning and coordinating the rollout of an artful project, a story, and you’re using different media platforms as if each is an instrument and you’re composing a symphonic score,” he tells World Screen Weekly. “Each platform plays a role in telling a story. That what makes it distinct.”

Gomez will be participating in the Principles of Transmedia Storytelling session on Tuesday, April 13, at 3:30 p.m. as part of the Producers’ Forum, together with Nathan Mayfield, the chief creative officer and co-founder of Hoodlum. The executives will be hosting a creative boot camp, drawing on their extensive experience with transmedia projects—Gomez’s credits include James Cameron’s mega-hit Avatar, while Mayfield’s work includes Lost and Flash Forward.

“I can’t wait to share the learnings that we have made over the many projects we have produced,” says Mayfield. “This is a halcyon opportunity for producers to take charge, explore new models and, most importantly, truly engage with their audience. Our key tip is very simple: never make your audience feel stupid! So many online extensions we see rely on audiences to be tech savvy, our experiences never let the technology get in the way of good storytelling.”

Both executives stress the importance of transmedia projects today, given the increasing fragmentation of the media landscape. “In this day and age, people are enjoying stories on whatever platform they can,” explains Gomez. “At the core of any good transmedia implementation is a highly compelling story and when you become a fan of the story world, the body of fiction, you will feel compelled to chase it, to actually move from one platform to the next to get more enjoyment out of that aspirational universe.”

He continues: “No matter what country you’re from, in this day and age if you’re in television you’re noticing at least the start of an exodus away from television, particularly on the part of young people. Young people are becoming preoccupied with interactive media, video games, the web, and that is impacting ratings and it’s impacting revenues. With transmedia, you’re quite often addressing young people exactly where they live. There’s no doubt that television is still an incredibly powerful driving platform, but with transmedia, you’re increasing the touchpoints between your audience and the narrative.”

This is a view shared by Mayfield, who co-founded Hoodlum in Australia more than a decade ago and quickly became a pioneer in the world of online content. “We see these online extensions as the key deciders in an environment where audiences are seeking new ways to get their entertainment fix,” he notes. “Our most successful projects have been those that have a single message and URL across all channels of communication. Our most successful projects are ones that have all marketing pointing to our site. It is our responsibility to give audiences a taste of the film or TV series, a way to set up questions that can only be answered by the film or TV series. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that the leap you are asking your mainstream audience [to make] between TV and online is as small as possible… sending an audience from your beautiful, expensive TV series to a gritty handheld webisode will never be as effective as emulating the production values of the TV series in the online extension.”

One of Hoodlum’s most high-profile projects has been its work on Lost, with the Find 815 and The Dharma Initiative online experiences. “Studios were and continue to be very responsive to online extensions,” Mayfield says. “After all, they are in the business of storytelling and once we had allayed their fears, it was not long before they were calling on us to create stories that would be told across multiple platforms. ABC Studios was the first champion in the U.S. to really embrace the online extensions.”

Mayfield says that in approaching Lost, as with any other project, the process begins with “allaying the fears of the creatives involved. We are not about to take your beloved brand and create a story that sits outside the mythology that you have created. The key element is to ensure you have champions in your marketing and creative teams. Honestly, the devil is in the detail with these projects and that means you need to make sure you are working with pioneers who are going on the ride with you. This is the Wild West and we worked closely with the producers of the show and ABC Entertainment marketing to mobilize the fans. As I said above, ABC has really led with the way they have embraced online extensions. It was up to us to then make sure we were creating an experience that would ensure audiences wanted to return again and again.”

For Gomez, whose transmedia projects include Avatar and Showtime’s Dexter, the process begins with “immersing ourselves in the world such as it is when we arrive on the project. Our job in general is to collect all the information about the world [of the film or TV show] and present it in the form of a mythology. So we’re compiling everything that’s known about the universe, the characters, the locations, the historic story points, and putting it into one single massive document. And then we help our clients to determine how best to implement that story across an array of media platforms. So, how will this best work as a video game? How will this best work as a mobile execution? And in doing so, we also become the guardians of quality control. We make sure that the content lives up to the quality of the main story, so that you don’t get too much of that knockoff licensed product that doesn’t add to franchise.”

Beyond working on existing television and film projects, both Gomez’s Starlight Runner and Mayfield’s Hoodlum are developing their own IP, and are assisting major consumer brands with their transmedia marketing campaigns.

Gomez explains that when approaching a brand like Coca-Cola—Starlight worked with the company on its Happiness Factory campaign—”we have to look at what could be about 60 seconds worth of content and turn that into a huge sprawling universe, so it takes a little more creative energy, which is fun for us.”

“Big advertising brands are seeking new ways to engage with audiences,” Mayfield says. “They are evolving from branded entertainers to branded storytellers. Branded storytelling is a hybrid of Hoodlum’s expertise to integrate the brands values, tones and sensibilities with quality stories that resonate with consumers.”

The Principles of Transmedia Storytelling session takes place on the Tuesday of MIPTV at 3:30 p.m.

Like Minds: ‘Social media can save lives’

March 4, 2010


Social networking is often seen as frivolous, but Jonathan Akwue told the Like Minds conference in Exeter of how it has actually saved lives

Jonathan Akwue of Digital Public talked about social media for social change

Jonathan Akwue of Digital Public talked about social media for social change

At the Like Minds social media conference in Exeter, Jonathan Akwue of Digital Public told how social networking was helping deliver services to teens and mothers.

In a social media conference with many people listening while tapping away on laptops or mobile phones, Akwue started with a slightly controversial point:

Digital technology does not always make our lives better

Showing a picture of an ATM, he asked: “We used to queue inside of banks. Why do we now queue outside?” For people who haven’t embraced the internet or technology, they might be doing it for logical reasons. Akwue said:

When people don’t use digital technology, it might be because it wasn’t designed for them.

He talked about how his company designed a couple of schemes to connect with “people completely disconnected from the mainstream” including youth who needed emergency contraception after unprotected sex and at-risk parents. He cast the challenge as: “How do you connect with people who don’t want to know you?”

For the first project, they wanted to know if they could use social media to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies. They believed they needed to create a service for teens that was delivered where they were. Many teens who needed emergency contraception wouldn’t use phone counselling, but they were connecting online. Working with NHS Direct and Bebo, they used web chats to counsel teens who needed emergency contraception. The chats lasted an average of 12 minutes, he said, providing teens with needed information.

In terms of developing ideas for such projects, he said: “Don’t create. Curate.” Working with, they found that occasionally on the forums, a mum would say that she was going to kill herself. “They would say things like, ‘I’m such a useless mother, my kids will be better off,'” he said, and the mums meant it. The other mums would provide support, but they knew it wasn’t enough. Mums on the forums suggested they create a ‘drop-in clinic’ that provided counselling on the site.

“It was a group of mums that came up with that idea. We just facilitated it. Proud to say it wasn’t my idea,” Akwue said.

Twitter is not just about what people had for breakfast, he said. “You can use this to change people’s lives, to save people’s lives.”

International Digital Emmy Nominees Announced

March 2, 2010


By Kristin Brzoznowski

Published: March 1, 2010

PARIS/NEW YORK: There are 13 nominees across three categories for this year’s International Digital Emmy Awards, which will be presented at a special ceremony on April 12 at MIPTV.

The nominees come from seven different countries—Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the U.K.— with first-time nominations for Brazil, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In the category for children & young people is Cross Media Experimental Project: HK File.X from Radio Television Hong Kong; Inside Hana’s Suitcase from Xenophile Media, Rhombus Media, My Pet Skeleton and CBC; and Reservoir Hill from KHF Media, Television New Zealand and New Zealand On Air. Further nominees in the category are The Space Trainees from MediaCity,, Olof and 4xM and The Well from Conker Media and BBC Switch.

Leading off the fiction category are Final Punishment from BeActive Entertainment, Altec do Brasil, Canal Oi and Milagro; Pietshow II from Grundy UFA TV Produktions; and Primeval Evolved from ITV1,, Hoodum and Impossible Pictures. Print Friends from FremantleMedia and FMX rounds out the category. Non-fiction contenders include Construction and Fall of the Berlin Wallfrom ZDF Enterprises and Digital Revolution from the BBC and The Open University. Also scoring nominations in the non-fiction arena are the BBC’sHunger to Learn and Last Chance to See.

“The 2010 nominees showcase global excellence in programming on digital platforms and we congratulate them for their outstanding achievements,” said Bruce L. Paisner, the president and CEO of The International Academy.

The International Academy will also present a special award, the Pioneer Prize, which will be presented to Heroes‘ creator and executive producer Tim Kring, for his contribution to the fields of digital television and cross-platform entertainment with Heroes Evolutions.

Original Article at