Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 12/19/17

Today’s Must Read

This is a great piece on the “other” tech bubble, the one that’s building up inside a Silicon Valley ecosystem that’s still playing as fast and loose as it did in the late 90s, regardless of the changing social scene in the rest of the world. That kind of mindset, where tech founders still see themselves as disruptive geniuses, is just as dangerous as the monetary one that burst in 2001, but with the added potential to take down vast chunks of society when it pops because it has completely cut out an entire culture.

Media

A new report says the number of Netflix subscribers is now equal to the number of pay TV subscribers, something that can’t be good news for those companies but which explains why they want net neutrality dead. The only way they can compete is to eliminate competition.

Leaked information shows Mashable was in really bad shape before Ziff Davis bought it at what was seen as a steep discount recently. What’s interesting is that ZD says it will focus on SEO to help turn the site around. Weren’t we all told that social optimization was the key to success like just yesterday? Was that not true?

The latest in a series of articles and profiles over the last year or so claiming the cassette tape is making a comeback. I remain skeptical this is anything but a niche trend, but you never know.

While release dates are still largely unknown, Apple has picked up its third original series, showing its using its horde of cash to compete with Netflix and Amazon.

Social Media

There’s apparently a major problem at Periscope with creeps of indeterminate age and gender (so probably dudes of all ages) asking young girls to do sexually explicit things. That’s just the kind of behavior and unaddressed issue that’s not going to help the app win over new users much less build in any monetization model, particularly not as other services work to at least appear to be fighting that kind of problem.

A couple new features have been introduced by Facebook in the last few days. One lets you “snooze” updates from a person, Page or group for 30 days to take a break from whatever’s annoying you. The other is a new set of tools to address and prevent harassment, including facial recognition that will let you know when a photo of you have been posted even if you aren’t tagged. Putting aside how creepy that is and the myriad of potential uses for unwanted surveillance and tracking that allows for…no, I can’t get past that.

Facebook also announced the News Feed will begin downgrading “engagement bait” posts that have never been a good idea in terms of content strategy and now are officially so. That probably won’t help that the majority of what people see in their News Feed isn’t news of any kind, a finding that’s particularly disturbing given the huge number of people who identify it as their primary news source.

In a bid to woo more creators by offering them money, Musical.ly, the popular lip-synching app, has created a $50 million fund that could used for scholarships and other incentives that all come back to using the app more.

The “context cards” tested by Snapchat to add AR-like informational overlays to locations containing reviews and comments from friends have begun rolling out to users.

Twitter has begun cracking down on and deleting obvious alt-right and neo-nazi accounts, setting off the expected reactions from those groups. Hopefully this is just the first step in making the network a nicer place to converse and share news and opinions.

Good news for Snapchat that it’s still super-popular among U.S. teens, who view it as the single most important social app in their lives. The problem then is that they’re the only group that has the opinion, with literally everyone else not grasping how to use it or what it does, which is why parent company Snap has experienced issues with both user and revenue growth of late.

Content Marketing

Some interesting insights here from the Wendy’s AMA where the social media team talked about managing their sassy brand account. Of note particularly are the comments about how the voice was developed and has evolved as well as what kind of approvals are or aren’t needed.

A new study shows that corporate blogging is still an essential part of content strategy, one that produces results beyond just “engagement” assuming you put some attention and effort behind it.

Technology

All that talk around net neutrality that focused on how repealing it would foster competition runs in stark contrast to how it seems conservative groups don’t like any sort of competition when it comes to laying broadband fiber. Efforts around the country to stifle public-sector investment and infrastructure show the truth that it’s always just been about protecting certain businesses, not any initiative that will provide the best consumer option.

A bunch of new mobile apps that include not just news but chat functionality and thread moderation have been introduced by reddit, which hopes those will help it stay sticky among mobile users.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

 

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Quick Takes: Content Marketing and Media News for 11/2/17

While the attention has been on Facebook, Twitter and Google for their politics-related fake news problem, Pinterest has its own issues with health- and food-related material shared there that’s of questionable value.

The share of money earned by video creators on Periscope through “super hearts” is increasing as the company says it will take only a small administrative fee, the hope being to attract more influencers to the platform.

Facebook is touting the usage numbers of both Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status.

Snapchat advertisers can now more measure track cross-platform stats like site visits through the introduction of pixel tracking, something that’s common most other social networks and ad tools.

Parents can exert a bit more influence on what their youngins are watching with the introduction of YouTube Kid Profiles, which allow for viewing controls to be set and more.

Shopping this holiday season is expected to be a primarily mobile experience as people get more comfortable using those devices for purchasing in addition to awareness and research.

Sick to my stomach at the news that Joe Ricketts has unceremoniously shut down the DNAInfo and Gothamist sites, removing their archives completely. That’s a lot of talented writers whose hard work has been erased, all coming just a week after those writers voted to unionize.

I was reminded of the experience of discovering random oddities and hidden treasures in a video store while reading this story about how the cover art of VHS tapes is so much more engaging and interesting than the generic thumbnails used by Netflix in displaying its viewing options.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Periscope Curates Topic-Themed Channels

Periscope announced late last week it will start curating topic-themed channels on, of all places, its website. The idea is to highlight and surface interesting videos around those topics, which are pre-selected, to help people discover new voices and see what the Periscope community is talking about at the moment. Topics are assembled by hashtags, bigger news events (e.g. the NFL and so on) or breaking news events. These aren’t supposed to replace search but to provide a shallow end of the pool for someone who may not be totally familiar with Periscope but is intimidated by the apparent need to create as well as consume.

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It’s an interesting update for a number of reasons. Most notably, to me, is that it’s based on the web. Topic curation is already available on the Periscope mobile app but doing the same thing on the web means it’s opened up to broader search and therefore audience. That’s a continued evolution of apps that used to be exclusive to mobile devices to the web to achieve some sort of permanence, even if the videos themselves are still ephemeral, disappearing after 24 hours.

The change also comes as Meerkat, the one-time main rival to Periscope, is completing a pivot and shutting down, with the team’s resources now devoted to a new app called HouseParty. The Meerkat app, which had long been inactive, was pulled from app stores and is no longer supported in any way.

Periscope continues to face significant challenges from Facebook Live and Snapchat among others for the live video market. There’s no way to know which will eventually win out, but based on Meerkat’s fate there may be a time of shaking out in this market coming out. Twitter, which owns Periscope, has video offerings of its own that don’t have the time restrictions so it’s not even clear which direction Twitter is betting will win.

Twitter Adds Button for Live Video Alerts

According to a report on Buzzfeed, Twitter is testing a new button that would let people opt-in to receive alerts when someone they’re following starts live-streaming on Periscope and promotes the broadcast via Twitter. The idea is that these are the people whose broadcasts are really important to you and so you want to receive a separate notification when they’re live.

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That’s interesting and certainly continues to show how Twitter, like its competitors, is emphasizing live video. But notifications are already part of the native Periscope app. Breaking notifications out and making them part of the Twitter experience as opposed to the Periscope experience would seem to indicate that uptake of Periscope is lagging by all but professional or semi-professional video producers. So the app isn’t being used by casual viewers, just those who are *really* good at making video.

All that begs the question why Twitter keeps trying to make the separate Periscope experience happen. If there’s an acknowledgement that the Twitter app is preferred and provides the best user experience, then it would seem to be better to finally stop trying to keep the two apart and make live-streaming (including notifications) part of the native Twitter toolset.

(UPDATE: Well that was quick. Twitter has already killed the experiment as it reconsiders how to aid in live video discovery.)

Twitter Adds Live Video to Content Monetization Efforts

Following up on its announcement the other day of revenue sharing with video content creators, Twitter today said live video broadcasters can also monetize their efforts. Specifically, Twitter wants to allow brands and other influencers to make money with their Periscope live streams. As an example they’re pointing to a campaign involving Chase and Grey Goose sponsoring the casts of tennis star Andy Roddick from the U.S. Open, which will involve him not only broadcasting but also answering fan questions and otherwise engaging with viewers. Some Tweets with broadcasts will receive paid promotion in addition to whatever organic lift and support his updates receive from the sponsoring brands.

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It’s not a wholly unexpected move and shows that Twitter is pretty serious now about using revenue splitting and other money-making opportunities as a way to anchor some of its power users to the platform as well as encourage brands to chip in some additional ad money to boost the reach of those Tweets. As I said before, this has long been one of the complaints leveled against Twitter, that it wasn’t doing enough dollar-based encouragement of its creator/celebrity/brand base to keep them interested, something other platforms was doing. Now it’s trying to correct that.

Facebook Reach Drops, Marketers Embrace Periscope and More: Quick Takes for 8/8/16

Facebook organic reach drop steepens to 52% for publishers’ Pages (MarketingLand, 8/6/16)

It might be easy to call out the joke that publishers are easing their own pain by simply not relying on Facebook as much, but that’s not a joke, that’s a good thing. Video is seen as a solution but it’s a short-term one that’s only as good as Facebook will continue to let it be. The only answer – the ONLY answer – is to make your publication’s distribution not overly tied to one platform, which is the problem publishers got themselves into. Facebook lured them in then slowly began changing the terms of the deal. Now it’s on those other companies to be master of their own fates again.

Snapchat’s 7 Brand Partners for the Summer Olympics (Adweek, 8/6/16)

A quick look at what some brands are doing by way of Snapchat ads during the Olympics. Some interesting stuff here.

Marketers see Periscope as Twitter’s glimmer of hope (Digiday, 8/8/16)

Seems marketers are, in some cases, gravitating toward Periscope because it offers better organic engagement than Facebook Live, where you have to fight and pay to get through the clutter. But to make it really work for everyone, Twitter’s going to have to do more with it than it currently is.

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Yahoo launches a TV watching site, Yahoo View, in partnership with Hulu (Techcrunch, 8/8/16)

Well this is an interesting development on a number of fronts. Not only is this Yahoo’s 17th attempt at a video portal but Hulu going subscription-only on its own site brings it more closely in-line with Netflix et al.

NBCUniversal to Produce Snapchat Shows for ‘The Voice,’ ‘SNL’ and More (Variety, 8/8/16)

These are sure to be interesting experiments, sure. But the question remains whether this is what people want from Snapchat. And if it is, then doesn’t discovery and profile organization need to improve? Basically, the form factor for success isn’t there and it’s questionable if the audience is either.

The New York Times is launching its film and TV recommendation site Watching (in limited release only) (Nieman Lab, 8/8/16)

I’m fascinated by recommendations as a form of journalism, mostly because they seem to be largely separate from criticism. Recommendations don’t seem to be so concerned with the larger cultural picture, it’s more about keeping you up to date in your circle of friends, connections and acquaintances.

Quick Takes 7/15/16: Periscope, YouTube, Facebook Messenger and More

Periscope adds human-curated streams with an ‘Editors’ Pick’ section (The Next Web, 7/14/16)

The new human-curated section should help not only existing users find new and interesting videos to stream but also aid in the onboarding process as it provides a shallow end for new users to jump into.

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Watch the conventions live on YouTube (YouTube Blog, 7/14/16)

Well, at least people will have a choice of where to watch, either on YouTube or Twitter. Or TV, of course.

What you need to know about messaging app Line in 6 charts (Digiday, 7/14/16)

If you, like me, don’t know much about Line and who’s using it or where those people are, this Digiday roundup will be invaluable. More than pure demographics, this is the kind of thing where it’s important to see how different apps/networks are used in different regions. That can help guide strategies as well as tactics.

Ads on Premium Publishers’ Sites Are 3 Times More Effective at Boosting Brand Favorability (Adweek, 7/14/16)

It’s not surprising that the good reputation of certain news sites such as The New York Times would provide a bigger boost in effectiveness for the brands advertising their. That halo effect is exactly what the advertiser is hoping – and paying – for.

Facebook is Bringing Instant Articles Inside Messenger (Recode, 7/14/16)

This is all about encouraging more publishers to use the Instant Articles platform, of course. Not only is Facebook continuing to make the “loads faster” pitch but now it can add the incentive that they can be shared easily on Messenger, taking advantage of publisher’s desire to do more with messaging.

Why the success of online news video relies on social platforms (The Media Briefing, 7/15/16)

A new study shows that for all the talk about how video is so important, it’s disproportionately succeeding on social networks, which prioritize natively-hosted media and penalize – or at least don’t give the same preferential treatment to – video that’s hosted on an owned site or elsewhere.

Periscope Moves Beyond 24-Hour Videos

New from me on PNConnect:

Periscope has announced a few different updates, most notably the upcoming ability to save broadcasts beyond the existing 24-hour window. In fact from the way the post is worded, posts will by default be saved indefinitely, complete with engagement, unless the broadcaster chooses not to allow that, in which it will disappear after 24 hours.

Source: Periscope Promises Saved Broadcasts and More « PNConnect | Digital Marketing Services from Porter Novelli

Doodle With Periscope

New from me on PNConnect:

With all the talk about augmented reality and especially virtual reality, this is essentially a low-end version of the same concept, allowing people to add a level of artistic expression to the world around them that’s being shared, often in real-time. It shows that not only do we as individuals want to tell our story but we want to put a spin on it. It’s the same concept that’s leading to the rise in popularity of adult coloring books, which are coloring books that cost $3 more than what you buy your kid so they’ll entertain themselves on the plane ride to grandma’s house.

Source: Periscope Opens Up Sketching « PNConnect | Digital Marketing Services from Porter Novelli

Periscope Gets Web Profiles

Another new post from me on Voce Nation:

The profiles aren’t exactly feature-rich. There’s no ability to follow someone on Periscope from the web profile and you can only view videos that are still within the 24-hour replay window the app enforces. While it shows a follower count, these people aren’t unique, new individuals; They’re a subset of your Twitter followers who have also connected with you on Periscope. So don’t count this as network growth, you are already figuring these people into your network size.

Source: Periscope Introduces Web Profiles « Voce Communications