2016 marks twenty years since I became a headhunter. While that makes me feel incredibly old, it has been a fascinating time to be an observer of the media landscape across the UK and beyond.
When I first started, the internet existed, but was a hard-to-use and limited resource with dial-up access. Email also existed, but not in my office (we relied on faxes). Things were changing, yes; but no-one had really grasped the magnitude of what was about to happen.
If you really want to know how much the media world has changed in the intervening years, imagine saying this back in 1996:
Social media may have brought a wholly new way for brands to engage with consumers – but in an digital environment where attention spans are short and content is abundant, how do you stand out and make an instant connection?
Shira Feuer, head of social media EMEA for The Walt Disney Company, told The Economist’s Big Rethink conference the proposition was simple – to get attention, brands need to create something that is of value to the consumer.
But how does a brand define what is valuable? How does it know what consumers want to connect with across social media?
Thanks to staggered release schedules, we’ve been robbed of a good old-fashioned console war for several years now. But, with Microsoft and Sony launching the Xbox One and Playstation 4 within a few weeks of each other in November, the tail end of 2013 once again presented the opportunity to put the devices back to back. So, which of these two consoles won Christmas?
An unnamed Kotaku source caused a flutter of excitement yesterday by claiming that the PS4 is expected to launch around Christmas 2013, and is codenamed Orbis. While doubts persist as to the veracity of these claims, it’s believed that “select developers” have already received development kits for the new console. It can only be good news for developer and media jobs in the long run.
Apparently, the Orbis won’t be backwards compatible with PS3 games, potentially disappointing millions of gamers. But most intriguing is the news that the PS4 will have some kind of functionality built in that will prevent the use of pre-used disc games – locking a particular disc to a single PSN account.
At the very least it will severely limit the functionality of second-hand games. As an anti-piracy measure you can see their thinking, particularly as full retail games will be available in download-only format. But as someone who grew up eagerly borrowing and lending cartridges in the playground, it’s hard not to feel like something’s being lost here. Regardless of the truth or otherwise of yesterday’s rumours, expect something spectacular.
A day before the RTS awards, it’s good to see the government heavily trailing tax breaks for British TV productions in this week’s budget. Obviously, this is not yet policy; we wait to see how this will pan out on Wednesday. Nonetheless, an article in the Guardian today illustrated the huge impact these – relatively inexpensive – tax breaks can have on the industry. They can, for example, be great for media jobs creation.
Downton Abbey was, of course, a huge success. While it did not
The other day I wrote that “’does this have a robust text inputting interface and lengthy battery life?” is increasingly less of a concern for many consumers than “can I play Angry Birds on this?” Clearly Samsung feel the same way, having twigged that “can I get loads of extra levels of Angry Birds for free on this?” is an even bigger draw.
Not long after I posted yesterday’s entry on the importance of content to mobile OS’s, my attention was drawn to this post from Zombieville developer Mika Mobile. Essentially, the company has decided that it isn’t making enough from Android downloads to merit the time it takes to keep them updated, and is pulling out of Android development altogether:
“We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android