24 Jan 2020

What’s in a view?


In 2014, OTT success was mainly attributable to Netflix. In 2020 OTT success, is mainly attributable to Netflix.

Every three months the Netflix big beasts slouch away from their streaming media server farm to reveal quarterly earnings and subscriber counts, which are quickly followed by financial and media analysts writing about new viewing habits and media revenue models. All is then well with the future prosperity of Netflix and OTT. The new audiences continue to watch everything from The Witcher to Trailer Park Boys.

“The Witcher” Netflix

The anticipated self-harming, panic attack on Wall Street was induced this time around the launch of Disney+ which Netflix CEO Reed Hastings damned with faint praise in his Q4 earnings report this week, saying The Plus had taken ‘a little away from us’.

At Mediacells, we’re not that bothered about the vanity metrics of bla-bla ‘Netflix added more than 8 million net subscribers worldwide’ or, bla-bla ‘a relatively modest 420,000 increase in the United States’ but bla-bla ‘30% down on forecasts from the previous quarter.’

For us, that’s not performance, that’s just puff.

What is much more interesting to our data scientists is the shift in how ‘views’ are now being counted by Netflix.

The benchmark used to be a subscriber watching 70% of a film or TV episode. But in a footnote in the Netflix’s quarterly letter to shareholders the global media streaming giant now states that a view means that a subscriber “chose to watch and did watch for at least 2 minutes — long enough to indicate the choice was intentional.”

Two minutes. This change in performance measurement boosts the figures by 35%.

A view used to be comparable in the good old media networks days and it was then ratified by Nielsen and the likes so everybody, including investors, could sleep; until the next quarterly revenues are revealed.

No one really cares how long they are watching as long as they are still paying the subscriptions, right? Wrong. As we all know, if you don’t use it, you lose it. There is always the unsubscribe button.

Meanwhile, we, the viewers, still to navigate the various and labyrinthine media platform discovery points, as my wife has wont to direct me in the Rees living room,
Put it on HDM Thirteen (HDMi3) and then whatever, I want to watch Succession“.

Until the next self-harming media analyst panic attack – when HBO Max launches in Spring.

10 Dec 2019

Shape-shifting – the social media storytelling ingredient


Running as a candidate in the UK 2019 elections must be a neurotic pursuit.

There are stories being told about you, sometimes spun by invisible storytellers. The substance of the stories is at best dubious and at worst malevolent and if you want to change the message, you first need to influence the influencers.

The UK election is proving a perfect showcase for the social media ability to subvert the established rules of communications, we call this shape-shifting.

The best example of social media shape-shifting has taken place in the last 24-hours in the run-up to the UK general election 2019.

A four-year-old boy is pictured lying on a hospital floor, waiting for treatment. A debate catches fire with a Daily Telegraph columnist acting as a hub by retweeting doubts about the veracity of the pictures. The circumstances are later confirmed by the NHS.

Health Minister Matt Hancock is sent to the hospital and the BBC tweets that a Labour activist ‘punched Hancock’s advisor.’ The Daily Mail, the Express, the Sun, the Telegraph and the Guardian all tweet news about what is quickly labelled Punchgate.

Later, a reporter attempts to show Prime Minister Johnson pictures of the hospitalised, prostrate child. The journalist, Joe Pike, later tweeted:
‘Tried to show @BorisJohnson the picture of Jack Williment-Barr … The PM grabbed my phone and put it in his pocket’

Brand custodians want to shape the direction of a story and to be efficient and effective, it is critical to know who is providing the viral rocket fuel.

Identifying key influencers, their interests and then connecting conversations, sentiments and allegiances are just some of the key features of the Mediacells Influencer Networks.

Insights are generated by analysing relationships and interactions, bespoke to each of our clients. Influencer Networks identify key influencers, how they feel about relevant topics, who the key protagonists are and where their intellectual allegiances lie.

Messaging activities can then be targeted and measured to deliver results and deepen relationships between Marketing/Communications teams and the journalists, vloggers and influencers who are most relevant.

29 Nov 2019

Set-piece content spurs fans to accept the Special One

by Matt Stone

Mauricio Pochettino had five and a half successful years as Head Coach at Tottenham Hotspur. He failed to win any trophies but the team and the Club undeniably moved forward, better squad, new stadium and training ground.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho, a pantomime villain at Spurs for his time at Chelsea, had been sacked from the Blues for a second time and then from Manchester United, after seeming to fall out of love with football.

After losing in the UEFA Champions League final in May, ‘Poch’ cut an increasingly unhappy figure. Rumours of him being unable to lift himself or the team coincided with just 25 points from 24 games.

But no one seriously expected the bombshell on Tuesday 19 November. Poch sacked. The Mourinho rumours began immediately, his price at the bookmakers to be the next manager plummeting to 1/6, then 1/7, then 1/8 then betting was suspended. Dissenting tweets from Spurs fans reached nearly 200 an hour.

By 6.30 the next morning, fans were angry. Mourinho was confirmed, days after Spurs fans laughed at the prospect of the ‘Special One’ joining rivals Arsenal. Now, the man so long associated with Chelsea was in charge. Yet the velocity of negative tweets dropped to 44 per hour.

We then saw a triumph of modern communication. Spurs produced a video interview with Mourinho on their official platforms. It was a masterclass, a best practice example of easing fans through the grief. Jose pushed all the right buttons, counselling fans by using the ‘passion’ connector word repeatedly, showing the beginnings of an authentic love for the club, interacting with focused players in exclusive content and most of all, looking happy – something conspicuously missing from his last two, grumpy, appointments. Fans began bargaining – it just might be ok after all. Negative tweets dropped to just 6 per hour.

All eyes were then on his first press conference at 2pm on the 21st. Which Jose would fans see – the ‘Special One’? The ‘Miserable One’? The ‘Arrogant One’? All would have increased the depression fans might have felt. Instead they got the ‘Humble One’, someone honoured at being employed by a club with such a great stadium, perfect training facilities and a group of players he had praised in the past. Negative tweets finally stood at only 1.7 per hour.

Two days later, Spurs travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham in Mourinho’s first game. The team looks re-energised and re-focused. They race into a 3-0 lead, then concede two late goals, but all seems well. There is a dignified applause from Mourinho to the travelling fans.

After the game tweets were running at a lower level than before the Poch sacking. It’s been a masterclass in transition and communication from the Club.

11 Nov 2019

Bezos decks Powerpoint but collaboration is the main message on show

By Matt Stone Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has banned Powerpoint presentations in meetings. Not only that, but meetings start with each attendee sitting and silently reading a six-page memo for the first 30 minutes. People take notes then discuss the memo. This group reading process is necessary because “executives will bluff their way through the […]

28 Oct 2019

Mediacells appointed by Southampton FC to drive digital transformation

We’re very excited to announce that Mediacells has been appointed by Southampton FC to support the continuing transformation of their digital output. The new agreement will see Mediacells develop a single source social media analytics platform to deliver compelling content that acquires and retains fans. Performance Analytics will deliver Saints a 360-degree, near-live view of […]

18 Oct 2019

iPlayer revamp cuts to the heart of audience and sports rights transformation

by Matt Stone The BBC has announced an update of the iPlayer, the 4th since its launch 12 years ago. Where the iPlayer had a 40% share of streaming audience 5 years ago, it’s now down to 15% due to the Netflix effect – even before the launch of Disney Plus and Apple TV in […]

19 Sep 2019


By Matt Stone The UEFA Champions League Group Stage returned this week – the biggest annual football tournament in the world with elite stars playing each other in the most popular sport. So how should the industry measure their digital footprint and engagement? What constitutes success? The classic ‘big number’ on the press release? Or […]

16 Apr 2019

Spurs’ stadium paves the way for global football

By Matt Stone Can a fan ever be happy to be called a customer? Do they actually care about anything outside the pitch itself? Can the football business ever build something truly authentic for the devoted hardcore? Tottenham Hotspur have taken a £1bn gamble that the answer to these questions is a resounding ‘Yes.’ On the […]

20 Mar 2019
1 Mar 2019

Timely Rolex Faceook post wins at Oscars 2019

What a week. There’s now 3.6bn mobile internet users worldwide, according to eggheads at the annual gathering of mobile digital in Catalonia #MWC. I traded Barcelona for Hollywood this year to cover a data story on the Oscars 2019 which my brilliant Mediacells colleagues have transcended into a stunning visual narrative. Cadillac lit the touchpaper […]