14 Jul 2017

Your money or your life – what would you stand and deliver?

A mugger accosts you in the street ranting, ‘YOUR CASH OR YOUR PHONE?’ what do you give up?

If you hand over your cash, there’s no recompense, you’ve lost your dosh.

If you hand over your phone, chances are it has a lock on it and you can cancel it and get a replacement.

There’s the rub; do you really want to wait even 24 hours for a new phone to rock up.

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According to a Reuters and Oxford University 2017 study, nearly half of us now take our mobile phones to bed with us, to paw and browse ourselves to sleep with a lullaby of fake news, social media echo chambers and some honest-to-goodness, straight-up news from accredited media sources.

Another piece of credible research, this time from Google Insights, reckons more than a quarter of us have a mobile-only life and that we all spend most time on our smartphones, nearly three hours, compared to two hours on our non-work computers.

Until recently, the mobile consumption mantra was Snack A Little, A Lot or SALAL for short, but the latest Reuters/ Oxford Uni insights suggest it’s more Snack A Lot, Erm, A Lot or SALAEL for short.

This year at the field-good music festival we know and love as Glastonbury it became the most shared mobile event of 2017 with 54 terabytes of data used across the five days of Levels revelry, according to scary mega 4G network EE.

For those of us without an interest in bytes-sized stats – 54 TB is the equivalent of a truculent teenager playing non-stop grime on his iPhone for 108 years or all the videos on YouTube from 2006 or 10.6 years of Facebook Live streaming.

Our relationship with our mobiles is so intensely intimate that we would rather give up coffee, sex and TV than our smartphones, according to a study by Aruba Networks.

Despite our slavish devotion to the little screen, as consumers we’ve never been so powerful, calling the shots with brands hoping to reach us, somehow, anyhow.

The future of broadcasting is the curious egg in the batch. Netflix revenues have tripled in five years. Its annual content budget is more than the BBC’s entire income. People are more likely to watch Netflix on phones in India, South Korea and Japan, but televisions are more popular with U.S., South American and Australian customers. Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia prefer tablets, while some parts of Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe use desktop and laptop computers the most. So mobile isn’t everything to Netflix, at least not yet.

Mobile TV has often been pilloried, mostly by broadcasters, for cramming too many moving pixels into a tiny screen space. It’s a no-brainer for sure; IF the mobile screen is the start point and the end point. What if our mobile phones are evolving into the most personalised broadcast consumption tool ever?

In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the shipwrecked and soon-to-be-savage kiddywinkles use a conch shell as the communication tool; the lost boys are not allowed to opine without it. It becomes the most powerful symbol of civilisation in the novel.

Imagine the mobile as our conch in a media consumption context, we might be looking at stuff on a big screen but it’s being communicated, curated from our nearest and dearest device, the mobile phone.

It’s probably worth rephrasing the mugger’s ultimatum to,


You could probably do a runner by the time he spouts that lot out.

#StandAndDeliver A crazed mugger accosts you and says, ‘Gimme yer money or your phone’ what do you give him?

29 May 2016

Prepare to be thunderstruck by the 2016 Champions League final

By Brad Rees

As the Atlético Madrid team bus rocks up to the San Siro stadium on Saturday, the Blaupunckt stereo system will be blasting out ‘Thunderstruck’ by Ozzie MetalGods, AC/DC. It’s an Atléti tradition. Torres and chums will be chanting, ‘Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder, I was caught in the middle of a railroad track.’

How can we not root for them to win this weekend’s compelling ‘El Derby’ – the global game of football that will whet our Euro 2016 appetite?

Last week, I wrote about the swelling social TV audience of reality show, Geordie Shore - which boasts 40 million fans who crave their weekly TV fix by hyper-posting and possibly -ventillating on social media in between shows.

Reality drama TV format salesmen take note; your pitch is compelling but in a dwarf-throwing Wolf of Wall Street kind of way, compared to the power of global sport.

Our appetite for the most-watched sport on the planet is incredible. The 2014 FIFA World Cup reached 3.2 billion TV viewers with 1 in every three of them using a second screen at some point throughout the global stadium experience.

The ‘average’ UK sports fan spends 7hr 24min following sport in a typical week, compared to 5hr 24min on social media, 5hr 12min doing housework or 4hr 30 min exercising.

Of course, the above ESPN research doesn’t cross-correlate the usage habits of Hyde Park ‘bankers’ who push their kid-laden Land Rover buggies around the Serpentine, while simultaneously running the labradoodle alongside, simulcasting fitbit data and Chelsea scores to Facebook and Twitter.

If you dig deeper into the consumption habits of sports fans down to device level 9 out of ten fans depend on their iPhone to follow sports news, while 7 out of every ten punters use an iPad.

Unsurprisingly, for the ink-stained hacks among us, see Mediacells correct New Day predictions, 23% of sports fans read a newspaper on a daily basis, which still seems high to me, unless you classify free rags like the Metro in this category, then it would seem low.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s Champions League matchday will keep it real, being watched in over 200 territories with 77% of us watching the TV with some second screen digital accoutrement like a laptop, tablet or smart thing.

And according to Google, there’s a frenetic amount of searching that goes on during matches, as social fans try and outsmart or countersmart their fellow amateur stattos, with 63% of them researching on a mobile phone. Again this seems low.

This is the opportunity Atlético Madrid have been waiting for since 2014, when they suffered a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

If they do manage to nick it, who is to say that all those fairweather LATAM fans won’t change their allegiances overnight to the non-Real La Finca residents?

The Latin American digital landscape is rapidly expanding with Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Colombia leading the trend.

This would allow the club to shrug off the “El Pupas” curse (the jinxed ones) and miracle-working manager, Diego ‘El Cholo’ Simeone will be able to deliver some massive and scaleable eyeballs (I know that sounds very wrong) to his chief executive, Miguel Gil.

Incidentally, Señor Gil categorically doesn’t attend Atlético games, at least that’s what he told Simon Kuper the FT in late 2015:

“I watch the day after on TV. It’s the best way to check the decisions of the coach, when your heart is quiet”.

Six months is a long time in football and an even longer time in digital – so although the betting odds are stacked against his team winning the Cup, I reckon there’s shorter odds on him dipping into the Club Atlético app for updates.

19 May 2016

GEORDIE SOARS… as MTV reality show celebrates 5th birthday with record audience on TV and online

By Brad Rees

Love it or hate it, MTV’s licence-to-ill DocuSoap has wiped the floor with all previous traditional ratings records and amassed a vibrant, engaged social audience in the process.

An army of digital natives gorge on content, not just for the 42 minutes per episode but 24/7 – as new and old habits collide and somehow converge.

You could argue, and I would, that Geordie Shore’s accumulating success is fuelled by content consumed and in a lot of cases created on social.

As TV bible, Broadcast magazine puts it, media owners shouldn’t see the young audience’s nano-flit between TV and social as grounds for divorce:

“Polygamy is the new normal – and multiplatform juggernauts like Geordie Shore simply have to be available on every platform because that’s where the audience expects to find it!”

As the silicon valley social monoliths get deeper into the potential of long-form TV content – broadcasters need to join in the conversation.

The elephant in the room for all social platforms is whether the Netflix-commissioned model could go super-stellar on, say, Facebook or would that be a bit like the pub landlord playing his son’s under-11s camcorder footage on the jumboscreen, instead of Sky Sports on Saturday at 3pm?

The show’s average audience amongst 16-34 year-old digital natives has grown to its highest level ever in the ultimate series, which finished its run on MTV UK this month. Over eight episodes the 12th series attracted Geordie Shore’s highest average TV audience, peaking at 1.4 million viewers – a record for any MTV show in the UK.

Many of the narratives that run throughout shows like Geordie Shore, Made in Chelsea, TOWIE are threaded with themes of betrayal, unfaithfulness and two-timing tossers.

The single narrative thread running through the five years of TV, online and social data for Newcastle’s best known lads and lasses’ televised shagfest is of an audience who are habitually promiscuous in their viewing habits.

They are, at the very least, four-timers: doing it on scheduled, recorded, on-demand, pay TV and that’s not including the squillions of video bites available on MTV.co.uk, where weekly Geordie Shore clips account for eight of every 10 clips viewed.

I’ll leave the last word to Kerry Taylor, MTV’s brand lead outside the U.S. who commissioned the first series of Geordie Shore:

“Multi-platform, multi-screen viewing is now the norm for young viewers everywhere. Geordie Shore’s success illustrates the importance of delivering media experiences which perfectly fit the changing lifestyle and viewing habits of young audiences.”

13 May 2016

How to retain unloyal millennial audiences as media owners

Start by understanding what makes them tick at work, says Deloitte By Brad Rees We’ve all had that job that never makes it to the CV or LinkedIn halls of fame. Mine was working for Alternative Corporate Entertainment PLC or ‘ACE’, where I was tasked to sell ‘Novelty Entertainment Acts’ (NEAs) to global business monoliths from […]

6 May 2016

Can digital longform content talk to the Buzzfeed generation when under the social media influence?

By Brad Rees Last week I realised the true value of being a follower when I discovered an amazing story by Hillsborough survivor, Adrian Tempany, after it was promoted in a tweet by sportswriter David Conn.  It was 5,000 words long, which meant a lot of iPhone thumbscrolls on a Sunday afternoon when I should have been helping […]

28 Apr 2016

Is Apple on the precipice of going Nokia-wards?

Tim Cook will have woken to the news that Facebook has tripled its advertising revenues. The news has stunned Wall Street in much the same way that Apple’s revenue-drop news, 24 hours previously, had shocked the media world. The surprise came despite an apparent expectation management exercise, masterminded by mister Cook in January. Apple soothsayers […]

15 Apr 2016

Don’t be evil, try telling that to the robots!

It’s 1977. The Goblin Teasmade advert is on television screens, Punk is hitting the UK streets and Clifton Country Primary (CCP) are engaged in the dying embers of a grudge soccer match against arch pre-teen rivals, Mayfield. It’s nil-nil.  CCP have just brought on a substitute, Steven Roundtree. He’s new to the team and it […]

17 Mar 2016

Machine-learner difficulties

Google’s Al might have stuffed the Go champ but youthful instagrammers are sticking it to the machine. Google’s Al beat the top player of the ancient and complex game, Go, at the DeepMind Challenge, recently. It didn’t so much beat the South Korean champion, Lee Sedol, as wipe the board with him 4 straight wins […]

9 Mar 2016

Is it ‘time to die’ for print?

Last week’s launch of a print-only newspaper excited journalists – but is it sustainable in a digitised consumer world? When I started my newspaper career in the late nineties ‘digital’ was called ‘the bloody internet’. “Forget about the bloody internet,” my ink-stained tabloid boss would argue, before resting his case on some surreal, qualitative Hollywood […]