Blog

Categories

Return to theatres

A theatrical entrance

This week I went to the theatre. You read that correctly. Some six months since the coronavirus pandemic forced theatres around the globe to lower their curtains and close their doors, I stepped into Regents Park Open Air Theatre for a performance of their great revival, Jesus Christ Superstar.

The irony was not lost on me. This was the very same revival, in the same venue, with many of the same cast and musicians I watched some four years ago, while I was undergoing chemotherapy. I survived, and as I sat there amongst the socially distanced audience, engulfed by that same intoxication only a live performance exudes, I found myself utterly convinced that theatre will survive too.

Even though it was an outside performance, the same strict protocols you’d expect inside remained: facemasks throughout the performance were mandatory; audience members were mostly 

Read More

The value of values-based interviewing

Getting to know you

Across industry, companies have naturally become more apprehensive about recruitment processes during the lockdown. Earlier this month, MTA conducted an industry survey to explore how business leaders felt about remote hiring and onboarding. We found that the majority of companies across the media, information, technology and entertainment sectors are still making hires during the pandemic. However, 69% of leaders were found to be less confident when hiring and onboarding new team members.

This is understandable: hiring and onboarding have been converted to online practices with the use of virtual meetings for interviewing, induction and mentoring. But according to our recent survey, a staggering 75% of business leaders are concerned about using such remote tech to assess candidates’ abilities to work as part of a team, and 72% were worried about candidates’ wider cultural fit within the business.

Constraints foster innovation, and the constraints imposed by covid-19 have shone a light on the importance of values-based interviewing. When we cannot meet face-to-face to understand

Read More

‘In these uncertain times’: the state of the information sector

Computer says ‘yes’

In what has been, to put it mildly, an extremely challenging year for businesses right across the media, one part of the industry has continued to perform strongly – the subscriptions-based information sector. Our conversations from across the market have revealed CEOs and other business leaders reporting better than expected results for the period of lockdown, but also taking nothing for granted about the future.

In many ways, this is unsurprising: subscription revenues are solid and predictable and most are tied up in annual contracts at the very least. But many still sell on a per-seat basis, and if clients are making widespread redundancies, they may also be looking to downscale their commitment.

So far, though, this appears not to be the case. The CEO of one data provider, which sells information on an industry that has taken a hammering during the pandemic, told me: “even though there’s a lot of

Read More

Can the creative industries help restart the economy?

Lights, camera, benefaction.

Our friends at Olsberg SPI – the creative industries strategy consultancy – have published a fascinating report which illustrates how the screen production industry could play an instrumental role in post-Covid economic recovery.

The argument is sound: direct economic benefit (effectively production costs) from the industry were $177bn globally in 2019. But that only accounts for around two fifths of the overall economic benefit, Olsberg estimates. Last year, the industry supported or indirectly contributed to 14m jobs, and $414bn into global coffers.

Our offices, when we can use them, are in Gray’s Inn in central London. It, and other nearby locations, are popular sites for filming: you’ll have seen them in everything from The Children Act to Oliver. When cast and crew descend, for some weeks at a time, cafes, barbers, supermarkets, and numerous other businesses benefit from the increased activity. A study on one (very high budget) film showed that an additional $10m per week was being spent in the locality. In now largely deserted city centres, their presence would be particularly keenly felt.

Amanda Nevill – CEO of the BFI for 17 years until stepping down this year, and now an adviser to Olsberg – talked in our Business People podcast this month about watching the credits at the end of a film: “all of those credits are individuals who have jobs, and what is so fantastic about our industry  is… there is a job for every skill imaginable: from marketing and finance, to nail technicians, hair, drivers, caterers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians.”

The magic of screen production is that it can be rapidly deployed and make its positive impact quickly. The UK government has talked about

Read More

Is Apple entering the on-demand cloud gaming arena?

Giving the gamers away?

It’s the question everyone is asking: is Apple entering the on-demand cloud gaming arena? Or did they just force gamers to ditch iPhone and iPad for Android?

I write this as an Apple user of more than 20 years, with a passion for the games industry which spans a lifetime. There is much to be said for a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone and even a watch that work seamlessly together, take significant steps to look after user data, and allow access not just to Apple’s selection of software and services but also to those developed by third parties. In the days when I was co-developing and testing apps, it was also significantly easier to release a stable product on iOS, because the majority of Apple’s devices share a unified interface. Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry were a minefield of differing screens, button layouts and processors. So, if you’d asked me any time before last week whether I’d move from iOS to Android, the answer would have been an unequivocal ‘No.’

A lot can change in a week…

Read More

Report from the museum

Reunite at the museum

For the first time since early March, I bought a ticket for an exhibition last week. And weirdly, the experience wasn’t as weird as I was expecting. I bought a timed entry ticket the night before and remembered my mask. I was greeted outside the Barbican’s entrance and given a run-through of the direction to go and how the exhibition worked. Beyond that, the exhibition felt as normal. Everyone wore masks, of course – which now also feels normal.

There were arrows on the floor to guide people through the exhibition, but really that only felt like a formalization of a rule that’s always been there. In one respect, I liked the arrows as reassurance that I hadn’t missed any room or section of the exhibition. Frustrations with other visitors hovering too long were the same, but now, at least justified. At the end, I did rush past the tiny café and shop area, feeling that I was pushing my luck for spending that length of time indoors with strangers already.

While in the exhibition, I generally felt safe, like there was enough distance between me and others. Although it felt well-attended, I also didn’t struggle to find a space in every room for my own 2-meter bubble. Even a week before mask requirements came into effect in museums, I didn’t notice a single person not wearing one. As a result, my time in the exhibition was much less anxiety-provoking than the bus trip there.

Michael Dixon, the director of the Natural History Museum in London has said, “When people visit the museum over the next few months they are going to get a fantastic VIP experience because they will be able to see things without so many people around them,

Read More

Business People Podcast – Amanda Nevill interview

Amanda Nevill was CEO of the British Film Institute for 17 years, stepping down earlier this year, and in 2015 was awarded the CBE for services to the film industry.

In this podcast, she talks to us about the changing face of the film industry, preserving a creative culture in the UK, diversity in the sector, and the influence of the rise of SVOD platforms. Amanda also looks forward to the return of screen production after the pandemic, how new business models will work for the cinemas, and government measures to protect the the recovery of the UK’s film and TV industries.

Among other things, Amanda now acts as an adviser to Olsberg SPI, a strategy consultancy for the creative industries. For their fascinating report on the impact the TV and film production industry might have on global economic economic recovery, which we discuss in the podcast, please click here.

The Business People podcasts are designed to give business leaders across the media, information, technology and entertainment sectors insight into how other businesses are coping with the challenges of a changing world.

Read More

Media in the Middle East: the relentless rise of digital

Silica valley

Media consumption has changed dramatically around the world over the last few years. The increasingly integral role that smartphones and portable devices play in our personal and professional daily lives has driven a digital revolution.

Nowhere in the world has digital adoption been quicker than in the Middle East. Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE, for instance, now rank among the top countries in the world with 100% smartphone penetration and more than 70% social media adoption, figures which exceed those of the United States. This can largely be attributed to the fact that one third of MENA’s (Middle East and North Africa) population is under the age of 15, and a further one in five are aged between 15 and 24, making the region one of the world’s most youthful populations.

This has impacted and increased internet use across the region. In 2016 mobile internet in MENA accounted for

Read More

Remote hiring and onboarding: survey shows managers receive no training

  • The majority of companies across the media, information, technology and entertainment sectors are still hiring during the pandemic.
  • But 69% of business leaders are finding it difficult to onboard new team members remotely.
  • The vast majority of managers (72%) have received no training in distanced interviewing, on-boarding or remote management.

Left in the dark.

Earlier this month we conducted an industry-wide survey of how business leaders were approaching the process of recruitment and onboarding during lockdown. We surveyed business leaders across a wide range of sectors – including consumer media, business media, research and information providers, education and training businesses, software providers and entertainment companies.

While the pace of hiring has slowed, organisations are still recruiting in key positions

We found that 69% of respondents were still making some hires, although the remainder had stopped recruiting altogether. 41% were recruiting less than they had been before the pandemic, and 24% said their pre-lockdown plans were unchanged. A small number – 3% – were actually recruiting more than previously, largely

Read More

Different thinking: cognitive diversity and unconscious bias

They know something you don’t.

Unconscious biases are defined as learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply ingrained, and influential on behaviour. Whether we realise it or not, unconscious biases thrive within our society to the point that they affect the most common decisions we make. More and more studies have demonstrated that decision-making processes in the workplace are subject to subconscious interference, and usually the worst affected are those who believe themselves free from bias. Hiring processes, promotions, and legal protection, though they should be approached with pure objectivity, are subject to various levels of discrimination, whether on the grounds of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, age, status or disability.

A different diversity

However, having team members of varying ethnicity, age and gender does not necessarily make a team diverse. In

Read More

The real cost of removing Huawei from the UK 5G roll-out

Huawei: the lads

Last week the government took the decision to ban Huawei from the UK’s 5G network. Whatever the reasons for the decision, no real attempt has been made to count the cost of this move.

We should stress that none of what follows is an argument for the inclusion of Huawei in the 5G network. There are any number of issues around that, from security to ethics. This is just a short attempt to delineate some of the potential economic consequences of the decision to first include, and then exclude, the company from the UK’s mobile infrastructure.

We think there are four principal ways of accounting for the economic impact.

  • The actual cost of removing and replacing Huawei kit from both existing and future networks.
  • The cost to the UK digital economy of an estimated three year delay in roll-out of 5G.
  • The likely cost of an out-and-out retaliatory trade war such as China is now signalling.
  • The costs to the UK’s economy of a weak position in future trade negotiations.
Read More

Corporate technology at home; balancing privacy and productivity

Managing from home

My webcam is covered with a googly eye, but I’ve seen band aids, sparkly butterfly stickers, and purpose-made spyholes with sliding covers. For millennials and Gen-Zs, the idea of someone on the other side of the camera of every device we own is something of a given, to say nothing of the security of our personal data. For us, invasion of personal privacy by internet giants via our technology has been something to adapt to rather than eradicate.

But the pandemic has pushed many more of us to consider how closely we are being watched in a new sphere. Forced to work from home, many of us have brought corporate technology into our homes for the first time. And with many hailing ‘the death of the office’, it may be here for some time.

The supposed death of the office brings some benefits: less wasted time – both on the commute and at people’s desks, improved employee retention, and company savings on office space. Contrary to Boris Johnson’s belief that working from home is a ‘skiver’s paradise’, a Stanford study found that workers at home were 13% more productive

Read More

The games industry: diversity challenges, and solutions

Game Pride

It has been a turbulent few weeks for the games industry: Laura Bailey received death threats for playing Abby in The Last of Us Part 2the game streaming site Twitch started banning users following protests about abuseand Ubisoft – one of the worlds biggest and most successful games studios – saw a number of key staff and executives step down over sexual misconduct allegations. 

But should we be surprised? Whilst parts of the industry are leading real, positive change around diversityinclusion and positive culture, there is still enormous room for improvement in the culture of many parts of the games industry.  

Earlier this year, Ukie published the results of its diversity census. 3,200+ workers took part (which equates to roughly 20% of the overall workforce). Of those: 

  • Only 10% of people working in games are black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME).  
  • 21% of people working in games are LGBTQ+, while 79% are heterosexual. 
  • 70% of people working in the games industry are male, compared to 28% female and 2% non-binary workers.  
  • Female representation in the workforce is significantly under the national average of those in work. 

Late last year, Currys PC World also released the results of their report into diversity within the games industry. Amongst other things the report revealed “a distinct bias in favour of the young, white, straight male.” Is it any wonder, when such a high percentage of its workforce is made up of them? 

Read More

Big data trends 20/21

BAD times.

Using data and analytics in efforts to digitise and transform business models is not a new phenomenon. Many of the most recognisable brands and companies today have relied on big data to transform and elevate their status and business model. Take Netflix, for instance. Netflix started as a DVD rental company in 1997 and, since its shift to a cloud streaming service, boasts an estimated 182.8m subscribers with a market capital of over $200bn.

While it’s been a trend for some time, it’s still on the rise. And quickly. By 2022, Gartner expects that 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. To ensure that your business is keeping up with the latest in big data, here are five trends that we expect to continue throughout the second half of 2020 and into 2021.

The increasing demand for Data Scientists and Chief Data Officers (CDOs)

The Harvard Business Review predicted in 2012 that the role of Data Scientist would be the sexiest job of the 21st Century. Has their prediction come true; is it sexy? You can decide that one, but it’s certainly lucrative.

More businesses are uncovering the value

Read More

Business People Podcast – Sandeep Saujani interview

The aim of the Business People series of podcasts is to explore how businesses, and the people that run them, are coping with the challenges of a changing world: the Covid-19 pandemic, changes in technology, expectations of staff and customers, and all things human.

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Sandeep Saujani, CEO of Contentive Media, for the “How to Stage a Virtual Conference” blog. The conversation was much wider ranging than just about virtual conferences: we talked about the future of his business, socially distanced working, how changing working habits will impact people’s interaction, and the future of media among other things. All neatly edited into 27 minutes.

I hope you enjoy it.

Read More

How to stage a virtual conference

Distance learning

Covid-19 has put a stop to face-to-face events for now, and this has hit many companies hard financially. But over the last few months, we’ve been impressed by the innovation and agility of businesses that have transformed their events into virtual experiences, keeping them central to their communities.

One such business is Contentive, who have run the HRD Summit for the past fifteen years, taking the whole thing online this year. The event brings together senior HR and people leaders to discuss their challenges, with a particular focus on the future of work. We were invited to join to see how it all worked, and afterwards I interviewed Contentive CEO Sandeep Saujani.

He gave a fascinating insight into how the conference was conceived and run, and talked eloquently about the pros and cons. We thought it would be helpful

Read More

Remote hiring and onboarding: an MTA survey

We want to hear your thoughts.

We would like to invite you to participate in our industry-wide survey on socially-distanced, remote hiring and onboarding. We’re interested in your views whatever your circumstances, and whether or not you have been involved in hiring or onboarding new team members.

Over the past few months, we’ve spoken to hundreds of business leaders to find out how they’ve been coping and adapting. Many of you have had a hugely challenging time, with revenues hit, staff furloughed and redundancies made. Others have seen more resilient revenue streams, or a sudden increase in demand. If anything, we’ve been surprised how many organisations have continued hiring at various levels throughout the pandemic. But the question of how they’re hiring perhaps hasn’t received as much attention.

Nearly all of that recruitment has needed to take place over video conferencing, including for senior team members. For many businesses,

Read More

Psychometric tests and quality recruitment

Thinking outside the box-ticking

At all levels, recruitment can be costly and time-consuming. As such, employers understandably aim to maximise the benefits and minimise the frequency of the recruitment process. For the same reasons, improved staff retention is one of the highest priorities for our clients. For recruiters too, it is a sign of a successful hire, since strong retention strategy starts at the recruitment phase when companies look for compatible values in candidates alongside role-related skills.

Core competencies are the focal point during most recruitment processes, tested through competency-based interview techniques or by the assignment of practical projects. However, an increasing number of companies, particularly larger ones, have started

Read More

Dark times for theatre unless government acts fast

UK theatre Coronavirus

An empty stage

• Two thirds of performance venues have lost over 70% of revenues, our survey shows

• Government help covers less than 30% of those losses, 87% of venue leaders say

It is clear that the UK is about to suffer a severe recession. But some industries will be hit much harder than others. We have conducted a survey of CEO’s and leaders of theatres and performing arts businesses, and the results are shocking.

Read More

A formula for success in tricky times – perhaps

A roadmap to success…

Over the last few weeks we have had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of business leaders to understand how they are adapting to the current crisis. These range from global corporates to early stage start-ups across media, information, technology and entertainment – or MITE. Even with such a broad range of organisations, there’s a common thread that unites them.

It sort of works as an equation – and though it may not offer a panacea, it may be a predictive shorthand for which companies will come out of the crisis strongest.

We think you can boil it down to this: Community + Content + Delivery = Habit.

(Reductive, we know: but this is a blog, not a book, and we only have a thousand words.)

First, let’s start with the right-hand side of the equation: the answer.

HABIT

All MITE businesses depend on habit. We need people to have

Read More

Unreal Engine 5 and the future of games and film tech

Whether you realise it or not, you probably already know Epic GamesUnreal. It is the engine behind ‘The Mandelorian’ on Disney+ and a plethora of games on mobile, PC or console.

Epic’s latest iteration of the engine – Unreal 5 – was revealed this week. Via a tech demo running in real time on a Playstation 5 dev kit, the world finally got its first look at what the future of gaming really looks like. Along with many, I witnessed something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid, and something I’ve been hearing about a lot, lately.

Epic Unreal 5 Tech Demo

I have spent the last couple of years talking to games industry leaders around the world. Our conversations have covered everything

Read More

Antonio Zappulla: Media freedom must not fall victim to covid-19

The pen, being mighty

We have written many times about the importance of a free press, and the dangers of governments – including ours – deliberately undermining media credibility. May 3rd was World Press Freedom Day, and Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, wrote a powerful op-ed piece which was published widely overseas this weekend. As far as we know, it has not yet been published in the UK other than on the digital sites of overseas media. We think it is an important piece, and asked Mr Zappulla if we could print his column in full. We are delighted that he has consented. 

MEDIA FREEDOM MUST NOT FALL VICTIM TO COVID-19

Antonio  Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation

As the world grapples with the speed and scale of the devastation wreaked by Covid-19, the need for access to trusted, accurate and independent information has never been so acute. With global mortality rates showing no signs of slowing, the world’s economy knocked off its axis, and society at a standstill, there is no precedent to this emergency. We are fighting it blindfolded. Each day is costing us thousands of lives. But without the vital free-flow of information – learnings from other countries, warnings from medics, expertise from scientists, guidance to the public – we stand no chance of fighting it at all.

A free and vibrant media is more important than ever. Yet one of most catastrophic fallouts of this crisis is that it is paving the way for a crackdown on press freedoms across the world. A dangerous pattern seems to be emerging; it sees some governments

Read More

Arts funding in the time of coronavirus

In February, I read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a novel that jumps back and forth on a timeline before and after a pandemic that wipes out much of the Earth’s population. Even pre-lockdown and social distancing, it felt a little too pertinent to be a comfortable read.

One of the book’s few hopeful takeaways is its certainty in the re-emergence of Shakespeare and orchestral music, re-enforced by the refrain ‘survival is not enough,’ a quote borrowed from Star Trek.

In our own pre-apocalyptic timeline, Rishi Sunak announced our 2020 budget on March 11, a week and a half before the beginning of lockdown. On initial glance, the budget looked remarkably positive for arts funding, including a £250m fund for local, small museums and libraries, as well as a £90m Cultural Development Fund for outside of London. There is a new allowance of £25k for every primary school to invest in ‘arts activities’, and the DCMS will see a rise in their budget from £1.6bn to £1.7bn.

And, overall, this feels incredibly positive. It’s a surprising turnaround from several years in a row of cuts to arts and cultural funding. And, while not wanting to look a gift horse in its mouth, I did ask why there should be a change of heart now?

At the time, I thought these developments must reflect the changes incurred by Brexit – back when that was the all-consuming story. I assumed the budget was taking into account the sizable loss of funding from the EU at the end of the year. Most significantly, our government announced their withdrawal from Creative Europe, a €1.46bn fund for arts and heritage institutions around Europe, which has been worth €74m to 334 organizations in the UK since 2014. (Our withdrawal seem to be driven purely by nationalistic politics, given that 13 non-EU states happily participate and benefit from the Creative Europe fund.)

But now, I wonder if neither regret for the years of budget cuts, nor preparation for the loss of EU funding explains the sudden investment in the arts. Instead,

Read More

Mental Heath and Wellbeing during and beyond lockdown

Steps to help you deal with remote working and social distancing.

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus began, we have been speaking with business leaders about how they are dealing with the sudden need to change the typical working practices of their businesses and their employees.

While the logistics of remote working are challenging, the real challenge lies in ensuring the health and wellbeing of home-working employees. It is important not just for their own mental health, but also to ensure your business stays productive.  With this in mind, we have been attending webinars organised by our friends at Thrive, the mental health specialists. As a result, we were able

Read More

Future recruitment strategies, post-Covid

Social distancing, people.

How will the current pandemic affect the way you recruit?

For most companies, this may feel like a strange question right now. After all, few people are rushing to recruit people at the moment. But it will be interesting to see how this crisis not only affects short-term thinking, but to speculate on the longer-term impact it will have. We should stress that this was written on 24th March, just after lockdown in the UK, and the situation is evolving very quickly: but these are some general themes which seem to be emerging.

It may not be the people you think

I had a long conversation with a business today, about 70 employees, but growing until the virus hit. The partners have dispersed their employees to work from home: but using a CRM, they are able to monitor everyone’s activity. The client has been

Read More

Not worth the effort: the inertia of the undifferentiated internet

One of the most common criticisms of the internet as a publishing medium is, ironically, also one of its greatest strengths. The fact that anyone can publish inevitably leads onto the fact that many people do publish. That creates an undifferentiated landscape, where the value of any article or video is effectively the same as any other, with no consideration given to the amount of time or research involved in its production.

Less? More?

That is exacerbated by the fact that digital advertising has historically rewarded the production of huge quantities of articles instead of rewarding quality. If you’ve ever despaired at the idea that newspapers’ websites will indulge in churnalism, producing articles that are mutually contradictory, that’s the cause.

That is beginning to shift slightly, as many newspapers’ priorities change from chasing advertising revenue to limiting the number of articles they publish to better serve members and subscribers. However, for generalist titles who have little chance of developing subscription products (usually the tabloid papers), the age of churnalism is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Read More

What is journalism for?

The funeral of Lyra McKee

What is journalism for?

Paul Chadwick had a crack at answering this small question in the Guardian in November. His answer is nuanced, but boils down to four key elements: to “help civil society cohere”, to “facilitate democratic processes”, to “lubricate commerce”, and to “make and mix” culture. These are all valid observations, and nothing I will say below will contradict them. But I do think there is a more fundamental answer.

On the Today programme this morning there were three items which examined aspects of the same question. Jim Mullen, new CEO of Reach, defended his newspapers’ treatment of Caroline Flack and their approach to local journalism; Julian Assange’s lawyer spoke in his defence ahead of his extradition hearing; and the unlikely duo of Toby Young and Trevor Phillips spoke in defence of free speech and the launch of Young’s Free Speech Union.

It is striking that all the articles were in defence of their subject. Journalism is under attack from all sides.

Read More

Gotta please ’em all: Nintendo and DLC

I was away travelling for six weeks from August to October. While I (mostly) had an incredible time, there was a large part of me that regretted not having brought my Nintendo Switch, if only to potentially score some points with Nintendo UK’s PR team by tweeting a picture of me playing it at Thorong-La Pass.

Three amiibos

Since I returned I’ve been playing catch-up with some games that came out while I was gone. The PlatinumGames-developed Astral Chain, for instance, is a hybrid action/police procedural with a complicated action system that doesn’t quite live up to its former titles. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s own remake of Game Boy classic Link’s Awakening has been a little joy, if a little disappointing in how little it actually adds to the title beyond new visuals and physics. Daemon X Machina is a fun action game that feels tailored to those of us missing the Armoured Core franchise.

I’ve also been playing the post-launch downloadable content (DLC) characters for its flagship fighting game Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, which recently took the title of best-selling fighting game of all time. Despite that success, and the undoubted financial contribution that DLC has made to Nintendo’s bottom line, the adage that ‘you can’t please everyone’ has proven true, as each newly announced character has polarised the fanbase in one way or another.

Its most recently released fighter – Terry, a guest character on loan from SNK’s Fatal Fury and King of Fighters franchises – was subject to criticism from a proportion of the fanbase who were a) unhappy that he was

Read More

All change for the besieged BBC

It’s been a rough few months for the old British Broadcasting Corporation. With the many criticisms of its coverage of the general election still ringing in its ears, it has seen a surprise fall in the proportion of the British public who see it as a trustworthy source of news. The new Tory government has also been hinting heavily it will review the validity of the license fee in this new era of subscription services. Last week it drew ire for the brutal and mishandled axing of the Victoria Derbyshire show, which has been lauded over the past few years as being a bastion of the sort of public interest journalism the BBC is publicly funded to provide. And now, they have announced cutting 450 jobs in the newsroom.

Bearing bountiful challenges

Little wonder, then, that director general Tony Hall chose last week to step down – with some interpreting it as a pre-emptive move to prevent further strictures being placed on its ability to report on a sitting government.

The reality is, though, that the issues facing the BBC run too deep to be sorted with a single resignation. The entertainment and news worlds have changed, with subscription to entertainment services the norm and the manner in which we increasingly consume news fundamentally changing. Those critical of the BBC have pointed out that it has been slow to adapt – and then when it has, it has done so poorly.

Read More

The race for the next great video format

There are countless examples of digital video genres that shouldn’t work. The popularity of unboxing videos took many people by surprise. After all, who would willingly watch a stranger open a box of toys or make up for minutes on end? Even with the depth of some parasocial relationships, who could have predicted the popularity of mukbang, or social eating, on livestreaming sites? For that matter, who would have foreseen the rise of video game streaming, and the millionaires created off the back of that hobby?

But as much as the content of some videos has shocked more traditional media companies, the actual video formats themselves have also seen some experimentation. YouTube, for instance, with the might of Google behind it, has been everything from a shortform UGC platform to a VOD service. Meanwhile Twitch, Mixer and other competitors have been at the forefront of integrating viewers’ live comments into the broadcast, and TikTok and the late lamented Vine have demonstrated the viability of shortform video content.

So, even with the aftermath of the great Facebook video metric scandal still ringing in our ears (see the recent sale of Unruly) we’re all still keenly aware that audiences are consuming more video. Consequently, the race is on to stay head of the tech trends that will change how they choose to view that video. 

Read More