Friday, 20 September 2013

Grand Theft Auto launched this week. And made 600 million Dollars profit in the first 24 hours.

They were saying that gaming had peaked....maybe it has, but Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 5, sold a whopping 800 million us dollars (that's "sell through" into retailers) in the first 24 hours after launching this week.

It has smashed records and will easily do a billion this year. Easy. 

Call of Duty (Black Ops 2) only sold a shameful 500 million in their first 24 hour sell. Imagine the disappointment.

Retailers this week across the world, opened their doors at midnight to sell GTA and very reminiscent of Microsoft launches of old (remember them?). 

Unlike other games - Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed are annual updates - GTA hasn't been out in 5 years building excitement. It's also being raved about.

The availability of online access has driven this growth creating further opportunities for revenue from game owners through interactive upgrades etc. So GTA's sim crime, is a real winner. Although it's controversial, in that opponents say it encourages violence.

Costing 200 million usd to make, that's a pretty fun way to make a profit for Edinburgh based developer, 'Rockstar'. Although a lot of employers reporting staff going sick on the launch day....

Terrific story really from a British crew facing a global business.
Edinburgh? Beautiful, but hardly silicone valley.
See? It can be done.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Breaking Bad. It's officially the greatest rated TV show of all time. This week's episode was the "best TV episode ever made". Why?

The greatest rated TV show of all time. Officially.

If one more person tells me 'Breaking Bad' is the best thing on television - ever! - I'll scream. And note the word Television.

Everyone in Streamabout, who have a good eye for this sort of thing, are crazy about it, especially cameramen. Obsessive even.

I watched 4 episodes, Series 1 and it lost me but unquestionably, I'm in a tiny, tiny minority.

The show was created by Vince Gilligan for Sony Pictures, having previously written The X Files. 

This week's episode "Ozymandias" (episode 14, series 5... in case you're asked because fans
 talk like that) got a huge, perfect '10' from 12,000 reviewers on Amazon's IMDb. Which makes it into Television history. Nothing else has come close to that online reaction.

Critics went ecstatic and fans were left breathless. An OMG! reaction. The name, Ozymandias, is from a famous sonnet by Shelley about a crumbling empire.

It has been talked about as being one of the best TV episodes "ever made". I kid you not.

Set in New Mexico, the show premiered in January 2008 about a chemistry teacher who turns bad (or good some say?). This final ever series completes (a total of 62 episodes) on September 29th and Netflix has really helped to grow the audience and is the greatest rated TV show of all time in The Guinness Book of Records. 

I won't list the awards it has won, because it's just too long.

But what Breaking Bad does show is that good drama, good content still works on Television and Online. It also shows that Social Media engagement in content, is more and more critical.

When 12,000 online reviewers give it a '10', it makes you think that you have to watch it and so spreads the word, virally. Good shows get noticed quicker and get audiences faster, rather than the 'hit and miss' of old because of online recommendation.

After all, it's the oldest cornerstone of advertising - word of mouth - and Social Media gives you that in droves. So Breaking Bad shows what can be done with traditional TV content, broadcasting online and Social Media engagement.

So I for one am going back to it, to see what the fuss is all about.
Or Chemistry. 
Yeah, I hear there's money in that?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Amazon Instant Video gets Airplay Support on Apple TV. This changes things. Again.

Amazon instant video has now got fully updated with Airplay support on Apple TV.

What does that mean?

It means you can use their App to watch Prime Instant Video and The Amazon Instant Video store on your Apple TV. Like Netflix, it's a big upgrade for their competitor as Apple (who may control connected TV's) have reached a deal with Amazon.

It also allows full integration with Amazon's IMDb which you might be familiar with and which also gives information on movie casts, soundtrack, history etc. In turn that allows them to offer you a Movie by the same Director? or including the same cast? So a lot more integration.

You can also have other features which traditional TV doesn't give you; like customer reviews or ratings; like "if you like this, watch this"; like concurrent downloads; like so much stuff enhancing your viewing.

The App is free and fully compatible too. Amazon, having tried to buy 'Roku' and not completing it, were rumoured to be producing their own set-top box. This may indicate that they've decided not to. 

As I see it, it's a clear example of a "deal" being done between a content provider (Amazon) and a device supplier (Apple). In other words, if you want your content on a device such as Apple TV, you'll need to do a deal too.

Which will worry many because "free to air" on standard TV's, might not be a distribution route in the future simply because, standard TV's will phase out as they're replaced with Connected TV's. I suggest it's unlikely that your next TV will be a standard TV and more likely a connected one.

And if you want to "do a deal" say as a traditional content supplier, Apple will need to be convinced that they want your content firstly. And even if they do (they may not want 'home produced' features or local content for example), you can be outbid by cash rich dotcoms to keep you off.

How would Irish news for example, fit into this platform? Streamed online means moving around whilst a free App might do it? Don't know, but it will disrupt.

So this will change the world. 
Because it changes distribution.

A little bit about Twitter and Jack Dorsey. And the IPO.

Jack Dorsey's first ever tweet.

It was July 15th 2006, when Jack Dorsey launched Twitter (although his first tweet was in March) with the now infamous 140 characters, designed by the way, so that mobile users could easily text, tweets. 

He was working in San Fran at that time when he approached a podcasting Software company Odeo and whilst he was obsessed with..... Trains...and Taxis. In fact he wrote software to co-ordinate Taxi locations.

The name was inspired by Flickr and it was first used as an internal service within Odeo.

7 years later, 200 million active users (over 500m registered users though), tweet 400 million times a day. 60% of tweets are from mobiles.

Now, in advance of the impending IPO, it has a value of between 10 and 15 billion us dollars. It had revenues last year of 250 million usd although that's likely to double this year.

Over time, Dorsey was moved out of the company in 2008 and following equity calls, had his stake diluted to just over 3% and he started to develop payments company, Square. That's worth over 3 billion us dollars today.

Twitter is now one of the 10 most visited websites and Justin Bieber the most popular on Twitter with over 44m followers. Obama is the highest politician and FC Barcelona, the highest followed sports club. 

Dorsey was born in 1976 in St. Louis, raised a Catholic and Forbes put his net worth at over a billion usd. With a forearm length tattoo and a drop out of New York University, he originally thought he wanted to be an artist.

Very interested in politics, there's been talk about him running as Mayor of New York. Real talk. 

But all in all, it's a fairly admirable story. Unlikely that Jack Dorsey will make a complete fortune from the Twitter IPO given his stake, he will always be seen as the founder of Twitter. 

And if you're not on it, get there.
It's absolutely an obsession.

Oh, it's @stuartfogarty btw.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Newspapers are embracing digital. And The Independent Group are making a fine job of it too.

In the digital age, one of the media that's often quoted as being in the firing line is newspapers. And they have been, but that doesn't mean that they're sitting on their hands and rolling over because they're not. They're actually embracing it and making a damn good job of it too with The Independent Group really making inroads.

What online and video brings to publishers, is the ability to sell TV commercials and the ability to use their established brands with loyal readers, to develop interactive magazines (IMags). Streamabout have been playing a role in delivering these quality videos for online publishers.

Clearly, firstly, the use of video news, allows for pre-roll and mid-roll advertising which allows newspapers to broadcast TV Commercials - something they've never been able to do before. In fact it's an opportunity for newspapers to attract in large TV advertisers whom they've never had as clients before. Who'd ever have thought you'd seen a 30 second TV commercial in a newspaper?

Newspapers can now scale up into the lucrative TV airtime space and that's a whole lot of opportunity for new revenue. Because TV Advertising as a sector, generally dominates media revenues.

Pre-rolls are now developed, available and growing with great long term potential.

The second offering of interactive magazines is a further development of that space. Here the online edition of a magazine - what is normally a printed product in tandem, although one wonders if IMags will become standalone opportunities - gives further, better interactive content.

The Irish/Sunday Independent have been at the forefront of this. Their online imagazine 'Juno' published yesterday, is a clear example of that.

A succession of interactive magazines aimed at niches such as Rugby ('Lineout'), Childcare ('Mothers&Babies'), Fitness ('Fit'), Exams, GAA, Christmas ('Mistletoe'), Soccer ('Soccer Legends') and so on, has been more than a foot in the water. In fact, when you look at the list, you'll see the pro-activity.

You'll find them all linked on homepage, under 'Services' as you may not be able to click the links in this blog. (If you can't, just cut+paste the links here into your browser). But I've included two videos here at the end which are well worth the watch - honestly!

Yesterday, they published a lifestyle magazine, 'Juno' edited by Constance Harris, with The Sunday Independent but also online.

For example, whilst the printed version featured a fashion shoot with legendary photographer Mike Bunn, the interactive magazine had 3 'behind the scenes' videos about the shoots. So readers were able to delve into it more and understand what it's like to shoot fashion.

A piece with model Roz Purcell on a lingerie shoot, also came with a video (calm down) where interviews with the photographer, stylist and scenes from the shoot were very watchable.

A story about Irish female authors self-publishing their work, allowed for online interviews with the actual authors.

Another fashion shoot meant online, you saw it in the making plus more detail on the garments.

Another video was able to give you tips on how the make up was applied by a top make up artist from the shoot.

A story on wellbeing with Karen Ward, gave your more insight on her interactive video interview.

All supported by brands like Chanel, L'Oreal, Clarins, BT's, Newbridge and so on, who introduced their own TV Commercials, links directly to their websites facilitating purchase and links to their Social Media pages.

With all the content available to freely share on Social Media.

So digital now brings publishing and magazines to life and gives the readers further content to view for free. With the expertise of editorial that's available to a topline publisher like the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent, they're assured of being quality and will be hard to beat.

A clear example of embracing digital. 
And INM are doing it very, very well.

Have a look at this one from yesterdays 'Juno'. The story of a first. A Fashion Shoot in deepest Ireland, on a 'rock' called Skellig with legendary photographer, Mike Bunn.

Oh okay then, here's the Roz Purcell one from 'Juno' too.