Xbox is the New Netflix

At this stage no one can deny that Netflix has been a huge success around the world and revolutionized the entertainment Industry. With 98.75 Million subscribers generating 8.83 Billion dollars from revenue in 2016, its clear to see what a giant this reasonably young organisation has become in home entertainment.

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Its an entertainment revolution!

Of course people like us digital marketers are not the only ones who notice these kind of numbers and everywhere you look you can see competitors direct or indirect scrambling to copy Netflix’s model of success. Traditionally you’ve got Presto, Stan and Hulu all looking to stream their own library of movies to consumers with varying levels of success, but what about in other industries?

It would seem that the Netflix model of innovation has finally reached Microsoft and through it entered the online gaming industry. This is through Microsoft’s newly announced Xbox game pass releasing on June 1st of this year. The Xbox game pass gives users access to over 100 titles for the Xbox One and 360 ready for download and play as soon as they subscribe.

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More games than ever!

In a similar vein to Netflix, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has also announced the companies commitment to creating original content to be steadily released in the coming months. Interestingly enough this will also be in an episodic form and not in the traditional triple A blockbuster form that we have seen most video games release in up to now. This move will no doubt be with the aim of hooking users to their subscriptions to make sure they continue to keep coming back for more every month.

Competitors Sony have a similar service which they offer on their console called PlayStation Now. This service which contains a somewhat smaller library of games also provides access to them for a subscription fee. The key difference between these two services being that the Xbox allows users to download the game once and play it for the remainder of their subscription whereas the PlayStation makes users continuously stream them. This could be seen as a positive or a negative for either consoles as Xbox users will save a lot of data by organizing their games into one large download but PlayStation users will have more flexibility when choosing which game to play.

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On the way out?

This will no doubt come as more bad news for brick and mortar stores such as GameStop which continue to lose market share in the industry. As of the start of 2017 game stop has already had to shut 150 of its stores globally due to declining sales. There is a clear trend towards users going digital and now the numbers are starting to prove it. Who knows, if things continue to go as they are GameStop could be the next Blockbuster and cease to exist. Unless GameStop manages to find a new niche or selling point for video game users they could find themselves in a similar situation soon!

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A victim of the times

For the rest of us though I think the most important part to take out of this is the business model. In a day and age overflowing with content, consumers do not want to be paying individually for everything they desire. Be it from video game, movie, music, book or TV show mediums its clear to see that a subscription service is the superior option in 2017. This also gives marketers so much more potential to grow a relationship with consumers as the initial purchase does not define the entirety of the time shared together. When consumers are partnered with your brand for years at a time this can lead to truly lasting loyalty that is hard to generate with once off purchases. However more care and effort needs to be put into this relationship as the consumer is constantly relying on your high levels of service.

What do you think? Are subscriptions the way to go or do you like just buying what you want? I personally think Xbox game pass is a great idea but I wont be getting it.

Let me know what you think in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some interesting links:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4539168/Microsoft-reveals-9-99-Netflix-games-subscription.html

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/24/15684972/microsoft-xbox-game-pass-subscription-launch-date

https://www.statista.com/topics/842/netflix/

https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/25/15059380/gamestop-store-closings-2017-digital-sales-collectibles-business

 

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Facebook’s Moderation Policy and The Ethics of Social Media

As more and more of our marketing communication turns digital its becoming clear that there needs to be established rules and principles for how consumers and brands interact online. It is the responsibility of every brand to maintain their own website and or social media pages so they that they align with established image and values. However, the question remains as to exactly what level of moderation is required to censor such undesirable visitors that create explicit content. Somewhat accidentally Facebook made a big announcement on their stance towards explicit content for their web pages this week through another set of leaked documents.

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Another leak at Facebook!

I swear it’s as if every second week something controversial gets leaked from this company and they do seem to have a really big problem with keeping confidential information secret.But anyway, the contents of these documents have been shown to have some pretty debatable guidelines for there moderator teams on how to deal with inappropriate content.

According to the documents Facebook instructs its moderators not to remove a lot of explicit content as it can bring attention to certain issues present in society/individuals and create informative news. This has of course created a heated debate online about the legitimacy of the leaked policies and whether they are acceptable for the social media giant. Facebook has come out as saying that safety is their main concern for all their users online and their policies are designed to reflect as much. This all coming from the same company that claimed it could tell when teenagers were vulnerable and allegedly tried to pitch that to the big four banks.

Some interesting ethical questions with this one!

This all got me thinking though, what about the brands/advertisers on Facebook? We all saw what happened to YouTube not long ago when they were shown to host explicit content and that ended in a multi million dollar disaster. Does this incident have the potential to explode like that did?

My gut says no. Facebook has boomed over the last few years and in many ways is a microcosm of society in the physical world. As such businesses advertising on the platform or just maintaining a presence need to expect that just about anything can happen. To illustrate my point, if a business was advertising on a billboard next to a roadway where there was a huge car crash its not as if they have the right to complain to the government that this is ruining their brand image. I suppose in this sense brands need to be sure that Facebook is willing to maintain the online space to the highest ethical standards as would the government of the physical world.

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The Brands of Facebook

Facebook has come out and reinforced their dedication to the safety of their online community which I think means that their heart is in the right place. Whether brands/advertisers find this acceptable in order to potentially have their products advertised next to explicit material only they can say. This issue is only days old however and may still cause a stir with organisations in the near future, so keep an eye out!

As always thanks for stopping by! What do you think of Facebook’s controversial policies? Is it acceptable to maintain explicit content on a social media website for seemingly genuine reasons? How do you think advertisers will react?

Let me know in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some Interesting Links:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/0/facebook-files-leak-know-social-networks-secret-rulebook/

Facebook’s content moderation rules dubbed “alarming” by child safety charity

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39997579

 

 

 

Seurat Who?

Following the theme of AR/VR discussion in my classes during the week, I decided to do a little of my own research into the subject to increase my understanding. In between reading about some interesting campaigns from the new film Alien: Covenant and the NBA that utilize the technology in quite original ways I came across a new technology announced by Google.

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VR Technology

The Context of this announcement was during the Google I/O developer conference which is held annually by the company. During this event I/O developers display all the new technologies being created that are focused around mobile, internet or applications for open source technology. One such announcement that stood out to me was for Google Seurat a new VR technology set to revolutionize the industry.

Now if you try and Google search “Seurat” your most likely going to come across a few pictures like this.

That is George Seurat the famous 1800s French painter who this technology is named after but unfortunately for him, hes not the topic of this blog today. The Google Seurat, has found itself named after George I hypothesize because of the ability shared by the two to generate beautiful scenery and stunning environments.

The Google Seurat as it was announced is a new technology that can take hiqh quality virtual reality scenes say from a movie or video game and downscale them to a format that is usable on smartphones or mobile VR devices. Essentially with this technology, Google will be able to create high quality VR experiences on technology that it would not usually be possible for.

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High Quality VR Experiences!

Partnering with Industrial Light and Magic Labs a division of Lucasfilm (Star Wars) the test environment developers used for this new technology was a hangar from the recently released movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This partnership comes as no surprise however as this is not the first time Lucasfilm has ventured into the VR scene. In 2016 they also partnered with Sony to produce the Star Wars: Battlefront VR mission for use on PlayStation 4. This also experimented with new VR technology created by Sony and was the first of its kind for the PlayStation platform.

Its pretty clear to see that Lucasfilm is serious about developing its VR technologies and is investing quite heavily on their eventual success. Its hard to disagree with them as well, especially now with the Seurat technology at their disposal.

The opportunities for digital marketers here are endless really and not just in the entertainment industry. Sure this technology could be applied in movie trailers, video games and advertisements but lets think out of the box for a moment. Imagine consumers scrolling through your products on an iPhone and being able to digitally render photo realistic 3D models of the products available. You could even put them in a virtual shop that consumers can walk around from the comfort of their own home essentially bringing the real life shopping experience to them.

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3D Virtual Stores?

Much of the criticism of virtual reality is due to the low or animated quality of the experiences and I think that Seurat addresses these issues entirely. Who knows with the issue of quality addressed and big brands like Lucasfilm investing we may see entire virtual shopping centres in the future.

Are you impressed? Does the Seurat technology sell you on virtual reality for marketing? Be sure to let me know in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some Interesting Links:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/google-announces-seurat-smartphone-graphics/

https://www.cnet.com/news/star-wars-google-virutal-reality-seurat/

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/18/15660218/google-seurat-daydream-mobile-vr-rendering-star-wars-io-2017

Popularity or Click Farming?

Have you bought anything online recently? Off E bay, Amazon or any other large retail website? My guess is if your reading this blog the answer is most likely going to be yes. Now think back to that purchase, when differentiating what you were going to buy what was it that made you pick what you ended up purchasing? This could range from anything say personal taste, preference to brand or even the reviews and ratings left behind by fellow customers.

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What was your last purchase?

Now Ill be the first one to put my hand up and say that reviews and ratings make up a large part of my own decision making process when buying, especially when it comes from an online store. As part of the information search we all go through I find the opinions and ideas of fellow, more experienced customers invaluable when deciding on a purchase opportunity. I suppose its only natural, you want the best product available and in order to find that you look at those who have already purchased that kind of product to see what met their needs. The internet makes this kind of search all to easy with the knowledge and experience of others only a few clicks away and usually on the same page as the product you wish to buy. Seems like a perfect system, but what if its not?

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Which would you pick?

The manipulation of reviews and ratings for products by those selling them is not a new concept, of that I’m sure. What is reasonably new however, is the ability for sellers to do this en masse and from seemingly legitimate sources online.

This week a video emerged on the internet showing the inner workings of a supposed China based “click farm” and how it works to boost product ratings.

The video if you haven’t seen it!

This farm in question supposedly boosts the ratings for apps on the apple store using its array of 10,000 devices to simulate legitimate customer reviews. Whether it be through ratings or just by the number of downloads, workers in this “farm” work tirelessly to make the apps of paying customers digitally popular. This isn’t their only trick though, they also work on Facebook liking pages with fake accounts, Twitter re-tweeting tweets and Google increasing website traffic.

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Seen any fake accounts?

What does this mean for the rest of us digital marketers though? Well obviously when coming up against tactics like this it makes it difficult for honest marketers to stand out in the online world. Initially these fake likes, ratings and re-tweets will probably be very successful for those who purchase them and dwarf out some legitimate sellers, pages and products but only for a time. Facebook, Google and Twitter all are constantly working on new algorithms and techniques for detecting suspicious activity on their platforms and removing the fake accounts responsible for it.

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Always leave a rating for a good seller!

Additionally these likes and reviews do not substitute quality content and usually it is clear from the look of a product, page or account whether it contains content of any real value. Because of this it will not take long for legitimate consumers to figure the ruse and spread word of the trick. Therefore it becomes even more important for marketers to make sure their online offerings are full of quality content and exactly what consumers expect from them.

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There is no substitute

As a consumer you have a responsibility to yourself to thoroughly check the products you buy online to assess their legitimacy. Dont just look at one simple rating bar and decide thats good enough! Use a variety of sources to check whats real and filter out the farmed popularity. Keeping this in mind should keep you safe from these fraudsters and work to remove their power online!

What pages do you know that have bought fake likes? Seen any products with false ratings? Let me know in the comments and see you around the blog!

Some Interesting Links:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4499730/click-farm-10-000-phones-boost-product-ratings.html

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/3546499/inside-a-chinese-click-farm-where-workers-tap-away-on-tens-of-thousands-of-iphones-all-day-long/

 

 

 

Gambling Ban a Win for Digital Marketers?

Australia loves its sports and Australians love watching their sports, so it comes as no small surprise for anyone that there is a lot of money to be made in this industry. Gambling companies from all over the world maintain a large market across the country so much so that the government continues to see them as a growing issue. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with putting a single bet or multi on to enhance your experience while watching your favorite sports over the weekend, its when it goes further than this that problems start to arise.

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Bet anywhere, anytime

The Australian Government holds a much similar view I think and this is reflected to a degree in the laws that they make. This week Malcolm Turnbull has announced that gambling advertisements will be banned from all sporting events on television before 8:30 PM as well as from 5 minutes before and after the start of any events before this time. This he upholds will work to protect young children from the early stages of gambling addiction by shielding them from advertisements which at a young age they may be very impressionable to.

This is all good and well from that perspective and I agree that this is an important step to addressing a growing issue plaguing the country however, I think the government has overlooked some implications brought about because of this regulation.

Sports that are being broadcast directly from other countries onto our television screens will also be effected by this. Meaning that channels such as BEIN Sports, ESPN or Eurosport will also not be able to advertise for their gambling partners during practically any time in the day. Whether this be prime time in Europe/America or the middle of the night they will still be hogtied by this new regulation. Can you guess what these kind of dedicated sports channels usually make the most of their money from? Thats right, gambling advertisement.

Some have predicted this could lead to a mass exodus of foreign sports channels broadcasting to us here down under as it is no longer profitable to provide their services. I think a far more likely solution for these overseas broadcasters is for them to go digital. The Government in its infinite wisdom has neglected to include streaming or internet based services from their advertising ban opening the door to a range of possibilities for marketers.

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A new alternative!

To use a current service as an example, Optus streams the English Premier League (Soccer) on its own in house internet broadcasting service. Only paying customers to Optus with a plan can view it and during intervals of course their are advertisements. Optus having exclusive rights to the leagues broadcasting in Australia have a monopoly on its provision and the service has proven somewhat successful in its first year of active use.

I predict that innovations such as this by Optus will become more and more common to counter the regulation put down by the government. Whether they intended it or not, the Government has just made digital streaming a tempting new strategy for foreign broadcasters and gambling agencies alike to target. No doubt there will be some digital marketers out their looking at Optus and adjusting their own strategies to follow a similar path.

What do you think will happen? No more foreign sports in Australia or is digital streaming the way to go? Let me know in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some interesting links:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/betting-ads-ban-threat-to-tv-sport-coverage/news-story/fd80c609e84bdf781fee25875b4ac08c

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-06/gambling-ads-during-live-sporting-events-to-be-banned/8502524

 

 

 

Real Madrid: The Brand to Beat on Facebook

A brand that I’ve been closely following the past few weeks on Facebook is Real Madrid and their campaign to reach 100 million Facebook fans. As it stands right now, Real Madrid can claim to be the first brand to have reached the milestone on the social media platform closely followed by rival FC Barcelona and more recently Coca Cola. But how exactly did they get there? Did the Facebook followers naturally just tick over the number with little attention or effort? Or was this occasion the culmination of a cleverly planned marketing campaign?

Some highlights from Neymar’s performance which created so much buzz!

Traditional rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid often find each other lining up against each other on and off the soccer pitch vying for superiority in the ever changing landscape of sport. On this occasion however, social media was the venue of choice for the two giants to lock horns and try to outdo the other. Following a dazzling performance in the Champions League, FC Barcelona’s Neymar was the focus of videos across social media which drew the club into reaching distance of Real Madrid’s total number of Facebook followers. This prompted them to challenge their fans to spread the word and propel the club to be the first to 100 million followers and beat Real Madrid to the title. Madrid seeing this began their own campaign to oppose this push and maintain their lead in the race to 100 million.

Utilisng the star power of Rafael Nadal and David Beckham and their own Facebook pages they created a call to arms of Madrid supporters encouraging them to make history by pushing the club to the milestone. In addition to this banners and regular posts were made across the page encouraging the sharing and spreading of the club on all media platforms. The cherry on top being the chance to win a signed Cristiano Ronaldo jersey in return for just liking the page!

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Ultimately these strategies paid off for Madrid as they did indeed beat Barcelona to the title in considerable style. Meanwhile Barcelona were left red faced as it was revealed they had resorted to private messaging fans begging for likes rather desperately in an attempt to keep up with their rivals.

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Desperate?

While these last minute actions certainly did gather an additional thousand fans or so, the greatest achievement by Madrid however must certainly be its ability to gather the initial large mass of fans and keep them involved on a Facebook Page whilst continuing to grow. I believe this can be attributed to the pages excellent and timely delivery of relevant content. Anything current in the news about the club is posted and addressed in an official capacity by the administrators. The content creators are aware of milestones for the club, its associates and players and are quick to notify fans of their progress towards them. Recent press conferences are broadcast live or delayed so fans can directly interact with events at the club as they happen. In inevitable quiet periods for the club quizzes, competitions and throwback videos are posted to maintain buzz around the community. There are also an abundance of of links to the official club websites and store no doubt prompting many to take the next step in their fandom and purchase a membership or form of memorabilia. In short their is always something going on and a reason for fans to be talking about their favorite soccer team.

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Congratulations Real Madrid!

No doubt this will all be seen as a big win in the Madrid camp as it further allows them to solidify their position as the biggest soccer club in the world and a leading international brand. This is a great example of how a brand can harness its social media presence to not only further its reach globally but also get a step up on some of its more powerful rivals domestically. Not to mention the revenue generated by 100 million fans all visiting the Madrid Facebook page!

Have you seen any brand handle social media for such a large group of fans as well as this? If so let me know in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some Interesting Links:

https://www.facebook.com/RealMadrid/

https://theturf.com.au/2017/04/02/barcelona-lose-facebook-war-rivals-real-madrid-despite-desperate-dms-fans-twitter-%F0%9F%98%82/#.WPbtKtKGO71

https://www.sportskeeda.com/football/real-madrid-beat-barcelona-in-social-media-el-clasico

The Death of YouTube? Probably Not.

It must have been a radically different environment in the headquarters of Google/YouTube these past few weeks as the organisation faced its most testing period of 2017 thus far and maybe of all time attempting to deal with the event now known as the…..

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Very Dramatic!

This catastrophic period which has had major consequences financially for the tech giant began rather humbly however in the contents of a news article from the Wall Street Journal. The article in question bringing to light evidence that advertisers on the popular site were being broadcast alongside certain offensive videos containing racism, violence and extremist propaganda. This in turn led to the mass exodus of paying advertisers on the platform numbering at over 250 individual organisations that have terminated their relationship with the website. Large scale organisation’s such as McDonald’s, Pepsi-co, Starbucks and Walmart have all pulled their support and funding for advertisements on the site which is estimated to ultimately cost parent company Google $750 million in ad revenue (That’s a lot of money $$).

YouTuber The Act Man has a great summary here!

Who can blame these advertisers though? The last thing you want to do in this modern age is to offend someone (As Pepsi-co discovered themselves this week) and it only seems logical to minimize your risks. Imagine the marketing nightmare of a McDonald’s ad appearing next to an extremist recruitment video, how are you gonna explain that one Ronald? No, surely it would be far better to spent your advertising budget somewhere else, somewhere more controlled, maybe in the Wall Street Journal?

Its no coincidence that the mainstream media has been fueling this topic and I believe targeting YouTube with negative press as part of a larger campaign to deter advertisers. Earlier this year YouTube’s most subscribed content creator PewDiePie was accused of including anti Semitic messages in his videos which ultimately cost him an entertainment contract with Disney as well as a second season of his paid series on YouTube itself. The people responsible for bringing this information to light? The Wall Street Journal of course.

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Really?

Between the two of these ongoing incidents a significant amount of damage has been done to YouTube’s reputation and its standing as a viable medium for advertising, no doubt causing brands to seek more stable alternatives.

For a lesser organisation this could signal the end times and indicate the impending demise of the platform, however this has not been the case. YouTube’s response, the implementation of a 10,000 view minimum on videos before advertising can be included not only a stroke of genius but a great example of flexibility on the medium. Content creators of smaller channels still have the freedom to create anything they wish without moderation as YouTube has always maintained, while larger channels can still actively advertise on their videos granted they offer non offensive material (As was always expected). The rights of the creators are upheld and the reputation of the advertisers are kept in the highest regard.

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So many brands

It will be very interesting to see how advertisers respond to the new system in the coming weeks but I believe it will be mostly positive and satisfy all of their concerns. With their advertisements kept on appropriate videos and their reputations safely maintained, they will be no doubt keen to interact with the websites 30 million visitors daily.

So what do you think? Can YouTube recover from this huge blow or is it the end? Let me know in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some Interesting Links:

http://fortune.com/2017/03/27/google-youtube-ad-boycott/

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4061550-youtube-boycott-solution-highlights-googles-value-proposition-protects-creators

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/24/walmart-starbucks-pepsi-pull-ads-google-youtube