The future of TV

Variety has published a story about a new reality show called @SummerBreak.  That might not sound too interesting, but what makes this show stand out is that it will unfold over four social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube) and completely bypass television.

The ways in which people view and interact with television are being completely transformed.

A number of providers are broadcasting ‘online’ only programmes and YouTube and Amazon have been investing in original programming.   The CEO of Netflix, purveyor of on demand programming, has published an opinion piece which outlines a vision for the future of television.   Netflix has seen a sharp rise in its share price and has added three million new viewers so far in 2013.

The document explores the drivers for a move away from so-called ‘linear’ TV towards ‘internet TV and apps’.  Although linear TV remains popular, the steady growth of such services as BBC i-player, HBO-GO and Watch ESPN demonstrates how TV viewing habits will continue to change.   Drivers for change in television viewing include:

  • Increased internet speeds and reliability
  • Increased sales of smart TVs – eventually all TVs will have Wi-Fi and apps
  • Mobile viewing will increase
  • Internet video advertising will become personalised
  • Innovative new entrants
  • Internet TV apps will improve rapidly, just as mobile phones have done over the last 20 years

Viewers are changing

While the technology is moving forward, consumers’ behaviours are also changing.  New research from the US shows that mobile app usage reaches its daily peak between 7pm and 9pm – traditionally TV prime time.  As app usage between these times increases (rising to 50 million during these two hours) viewing figures for almost all prime time TV shows are declining.  The only shows not losing out are those with older viewers.

TV is not simply losing out to apps of course.  Alternative providers (including HBO and Netflix) continue to grow their market share.  What is known as ‘long form video’ is the fastest growing content segment for tablets.    On demand/ internet TV services facilitate what is known as ‘binge viewing’ – where viewers may watch several episodes or indeed entire series of programmes in one go.

To quote the CEO of Netflix on the future of TV…  TV, as we know it is coming to an end.

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Mobile search: creating moments that matter

The majority of people who use mobile search to find information on consumer items and services have every intention of making a purchase.  In a study (by Nielsen and Google) researchers found that three out of every four searches trigger some sort of follow up action, including further research or a purchasing decision.

Over 400 participants logged their mobile searches over a two week period in Q4 of 2012 and were asked follow up questions by the researchers.

Key findings

  • 73% of mobile searches trigger additional actions
  • 17% of mobile searches occur ‘on the move’; 2% occur in-store
  • 81% of mobile searches are driven by speed and convenience, even when people are at home with access to other devices

Next steps after mobile search

On average each mobile search triggers 1.89 additional actions.  Of the 73% of mobile searchers who carry out follow up activities:

  • 36% went on to perform additional research
  • 25% visited a retailers website
  • 18% shared the information
  • 17% made a purchase

The research also discovered that when people use mobile search they are:

  • 57% more likely to visit a store
  • 51% more likely to make a purchase
  • 39% more likely to call a business
  • 30% more likely to visit a website

Mobile search triggers rapid activity

One of the most striking findings in the research is the speed of follow up activity.

  • 55% of conversions occur within one hour of the original mobile search
  • 85% of all follow up actions occur within five hours of the original search

The report can be accessed here: Mobile search: creating moments that matter.

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Cyber security in the UK

Effective cyber security is good for business, according to the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which has published its 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey.  The report presents the findings from over 1000 respondents across small, medium and large firms in a range of sectors.  The figures show that companies in the UK have experienced the highest ever number of reported security breaches and the costs to firms are also at an all-time high.  The average cost to a large firm of its worst security breach is reported to be between £450k and £850k.  For small firms, the figure ranges between £35k and £65k.

The increased use of cloud computing, mobile devices and social networks can increase risk (14% of large organisations reported a security breach via a social network).  Ongoing changes in the business environment can also lead to uncertainty about who is responsible for information and data ‘ownership’.  This is particularly true in large organisations where 33% of respondents reported that such responsibilities were ‘unclear’.

Most of the respondents reported that they have written information security policies, yet 34% report that employee understanding is poor.  Training levels remain low, despite evidence that training and awareness can significantly reduce the impact of security breaches.

Threats from outside – and within

The BIS states that cyber-attacks have grown ‘in frequency and intensity’ over the last year.  These include hacktivism attacks, phishing, identity fraud and denial of service attacks.  Companies are not just subject to external threats.  Staff related breaches may be both deliberate and inadvertent and can range from accidentally sending emails to the wrong recipients or disgruntled employees taking business critical data with them when they leave the company.

Key findings

  • 87% of small firms experienced a security breach last year
  • 93% of large companies experienced a security breach
  • 36% of the worst security breaches were caused by inadvertent human error
  • 10% of the worst security breaches were caused by deliberate misuse of systems by staff
  • 23% of respondents haven’t carried out any form of security risk assessment
  • 9% of large organisations had a security or data breach in the last year involving smartphones or tablets
  • 4% of respondents had a security or data breach in the last year relating to one of their cloud computing services
  • 92% of respondents expect to spend at least the same on security next year (and 47% expect to spend more)

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Multi-screen trends

We are living in an increasingly connected and mobile world.  It is critical that we understand how our customers and potential customers are using multiple devices so that we can ensure they are receiving the right content where and when it is most relevant.

Microsoft Advertising surveyed global consumers and identified four types of multi-screen behaviour:

  • Content grazing – the most common multi-screen behaviour, with 68% of those surveyed reporting that they view two screens of unrelated content simultaneously (e.g. reading emails while watching television)
  • Investigative spider-webbing - 57% reported that they view related content on two screens simultaneously
  • Quantum journeys – 46% of consumers report beginning their content journeys on one device and continuing on another
  • Social spider-webbing – 39% of people reported they share and connect with two or more devices – for example watching a TV show and using a second device to tweet, comment or update their status

In the UK Fast Web Media has looked at the TV adverts of 50 brands to explore how many are encouraging multi-screening. summarises the key findings:

  • 48% of the brands included URLs in their adverts
  • 20% mentioned Twitter or hashtags
  • 16% mentioned Facebook ‘likes’
  • 6% sought follow up on YouTube

Extending engagement

Google undertook research exploring the ways in which UK consumers were multi-screening the London Olympics.  They found that 33% of people in the UK were following the Olympics on more than one screen. Those that were using more than one device were averaging many more minutes per day of viewing than single screen viewers – they were watching while they were out of the home and on the move.

The research also found that the Olympics was a stimulus for many consumers to try something new on their smart devices, including live streaming and joining social networks to ‘talk’ about events.  Almost one in three people who attended Olympic events were looking at online content while they were there.  They conclude that stadiums and venues are becoming as ‘porous’ as retail outlets with people sourcing relevant information to enhance their experience.

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Connected Europe – the latest consumer figures

Forrester has released a European edition of its US consumers and technology benchmark report.  The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2012, Europe explores changes in consumer behaviour in the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK).

Key findings

  • Almost 75% of European adults go online at least once a month
  • Over half of them own two or more connected devices
  • 22% report they are online when they are outdoors
  • 14% are online in their cars
  • 58% of online Europeans have a Facebook account

National differences

Of the five countries studied, the UK has the highest percentage (83%) of consumers going online regularly and also has the highest average online shopping spend (10% have used a shopping app in the last month).  52% own a smartphone and 12% own a tablet device and 18% of them have a Twitter account

Germany has the largest online audience in Europe (over 46 million online consumer), with just under three-quarters ordering services or products online in the last three months.  Only 5% have a Twitter account

In France consumers are the least likely to own multiple connected devices and the least likely to own a tablet (7%), smartphone (42%) or other connected device.  7% have a Twitter account

In Italy 58% of adults go online each month.

In Spain 69% of adults go online monthly

Although the online populations are smaller in Italy and Spain, they are relatively active.  Two thirds of online consumers in each country have a Facebook account and they are more likely to be ‘creators’ or ‘critics’ of content rather than passive participants.

The full report is available from Forrester.

Behaving badly on social media

This week the UK’s first ever ‘youth police and crime commissioner’ resigned after less than a week in the post.

Paris Brown, who is 17, had published a number of tweets which critics condemned as racist and homophobic.  She had also alluded to underage drinking and drug taking. The tweets were at least two years old.

This is a high profile example proving that we should all (not just young people) think carefully about what we share on social media. Irresponsible use can have a serious impact on employability. Following her resignation, Brown made the following statement:

I have fallen into the trap of behaving with bravado on social networking sites. I hope this may stand as a learning experience for many other young people.

An interesting aspect of this case is that Brown’s employer, Kent Police, failed to vet a potential employee’s social media profile and history.  A recent report suggests that 47% of employers check social media profiles of applicants immediately after they received their applications.   Kent Police’s spokesperson said:

We used Kent police’s vetting procedures, which do not normally involve scrutiny of social networks for this grade of post.

Perhaps these procedures will be reviewed now.

Instagram arrests in Sweden

Meanwhile in Sweden two teenage girls are to be charged in relation to a riot last year.    The girls are alleged to have used Instagram to shame other teenagers by publishing photographs and posting insults and comments about their sexual activities.  Hundreds of school pupils had gathered at a high school in an attempt to identify the Instagram account owner and a riot ensued.

Twitter and advertising

Twitter has been enhancing its advertising services as it continues to increase its revenues.  Improvements include a new advertising API and an upgraded dashboard which provides more performance data to advertisers.

Twitter’s ‘business’ site has also been enhanced with new content to help businesses use Twitter to better engage with their audiences.  The website provides some basic and advanced tips for using the tool for marketing purposes and also features some excellent case studies from a wide range of organisations.  This content features lessons learned which can be searched by company size, sector, product and – interestingly – by campaign goals.

Twitter success stories

What is the main goal or purpose of your Twitter campaign?  The case studies on the Twitter site are grouped by client goals, including: drive sales, increase the number of followers; educate and inform; brand awareness; product launch and increase engagement.  Once you are clear about the main goal of any campaign, then you can begin to focus on the best tactics.  Once again, the site enables you to search by approach, including direct response and partnership models.

Each of the case studies features measurement data including numbers of new customers/ orders/ follows and ROI.  If you have colleagues who may be looking for more information about the value of Twitter as a marketing or engagement tool, they may find the content of value.

Meanwhile, eMarketer has revised (upwards) its predicted advertising earnings for Twitter, forecasting that the social network will earn almost $1billion in 2014.

Mobile drives growth

  • 53% of Twitter’s advertising revenues will come from mobile advertising in 2013
  • 2013 mobile advertising revenue will total $309million (2012 total = $138million)
  • By 2015 Twitter’s advertising revenues will be $1.3billion, with over 60% coming from mobile
  • 83% of advertising revenue in 2013 will come from the US (down from 90% in 2012)

Source: eMarketer.  Further reading on TechCrunch.

Tattoos in the news

Tattoos and librarians go together like Dewey and Decimal.  If you don’t believe it, have a look at the fundraising efforts of the ‘tattooed youth librarians of Massachusetts’ or visit the ‘tattooed librarians and archivists’ Tumblr.  There are even examples of aspirational ‘fake librarian tattoos’ for children.

Tattoos and QR code campaigns

Tattoos have been in the (information-centric) news for two reasons this week.  Firstly, Springwise broke the story of QR codes being used in a recruitment campaign for tattoo artists in Turkey.    The QR code provided a great ‘first sort’ of potential candidates.  Only by filling in the QR code accurately could potential candidates unlock a link to the job application form.  This was a great, creative campaign idea which was completely applicable to the client and the sector.

Tattoos and copyright

Tattooing is now a big industry, worth $2billion a year in the US alone.  There are reality television shows based in tattoo parlours and in 2010 (according to the Pew Research Center) 40% of Americans aged 26-40 had a tattoo.

Custom artwork is very important in tattoo art and clients can pay many thousands of dollars for an individual piece.  However, the growth of social media has facilitated the sharing of photographs making it easy for tattoo designs to be copied.  Are tattoos works of art which should be protected by copyright legislation?

The New York lawyer Marisa Kakoulas has worked with clients who have sued clothing companies for appropriating tattoo designs without consent.  The tattoo artist responsible for Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo sued the film-makers after the former boxer appeared in the hit film The Hangover.  The judge said the tattoo artist had a ‘strong’ case, although both parties settled.  The current situation is uncertain and it seems likely that copyright lawyers will continue to debate the legal issues around ‘ink’ and intellectual property.

The excellent copyright blog 1709 has covered this topic in the past and will no doubt return to it as the debate continues.

Source and further information:

Digital Europe – the latest figures

In 1996, 66% of the world’s internet audience was based in the US.  By 2012 87% of the world’s internet audience was based outside the US.  Europe is now the world’s second largest internet audience (after Asia Pacific) with 27% of the total, putting on 7% growth in the last year.

In its latest report (Europe Digital Future in Focus) ComScore analyses the latest European statistics and trends.

Key findings

The internet

  • There are 408 million internet users in Europe
  • Russia accounts for 15% of all of Europe’s internet users
  • Italy (17%) and Russia (15%) have the fastest growth
  • Once again, the UK leads the way in user engagement with an average of just over 37 hours per user per month

Mobile and tablets

  • There are 241 million mobile devices in Europe
  • At the end of 2012 all EU5 countries had crossed the 50% smartphone penetration milestone
    • Of the EU5 countries, Germany has the most mobile devices, followed by:
      • UK
      • Italy
      • France
      • Spain
      • Almost one third of UK page views are made via mobiles or tablets
        • The European average is 20%
        • The most popular smartphone activities are:
          • Accessing personal email
          • Weather reports
          • Social networking
          • Instant messaging services
          • Search

Mobile video

The EU5 has seen rapid growth in the last 12 months

  • Mobile video has grown 162%
  • PC video grew by 5%


  • Google sites account for 86% of Europe’s search engine market
  • The figures show that users are not simply using search engines – they are searching within sites such as Facebook, eBay and Amazon too

Shopping and banking

  • 146 million Europeans visited comparison shopping sites
  • The Netherlands lead the way in internet banking – 66% of all internet users accessed online banking sites.  Only 18.8% of those in Switzerland did so


Taking the UK as a case study, the report looks at increased reach for newspapers via video and mobile.

  • The Sun has increased its reach by 16.9%
  • The Mail Online has increased its reach by 11%

The report also features country scorecards outlining:

  • Top 20 internet sites for each country
  • Top news/information sites
  • Top retail sites
  • Top online banking sites

For more information, see the comScore website.

Does digital piracy impact revenues?

How much should copyright holders worry about piracy?  Two recent research reports provide some contradictory conclusions on the impact of digital piracy.

According to Danaher and Smith (Wellesley College and Carnegie Mellon University) the closure of online platform MegaUpload almost certainly led to a decrease in online film piracy and an increase in legal digital sales of movies.

However, according to a new research report from the EU’s Information Society Unit “…digital music piracy should not be viewed as a growing concern for copyright holders in the digital era” and does not hurt digital music revenues.

The research looked at online music consumption of over 16,000 people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.  The researchers conclude that the majority of illegally downloaded music would never have been legitimately purchased if illegal sites had not made the music available.

A reformed pirate

Writing on Lifehacker this week, Thorin Klosowski described his own personal transformation.  Once a consumer of pirated content, he now only uses legal sources.  Rather than a conscious decision, this transformation happened slowly.  He explains that in the early days of digital content, it was simply often easier to pirate something than to download it legitimately.  The development  of easy to use legal sources, alongside the emergence of music streaming services like Spotify, mean that purchasing legal content now simply provides a better user experience than sourcing pirated content.  He does however note that gaming and movie companies have yet to catch up with digital music when it comes to offering legal streaming services.

Klowoski agrees with the findings of the EU’s report.  Fighting piracy is more effective when users are offered better legal alternatives.

The librarian’s dilemma

Agnostic, Maybe also explores this issue.  In a fascinating blog post, he writes about his own history of using non-legitimate sources but that now, as a librarian, he tries to ensure that people access legitimate content. He believes that this is important for librarians if they are to have any say in the future development of copyright legislation.   The challenge comes when there IS no legitimate way to purchase the content.

Enforcement is one way to tackle ‘piracy’ but the best way it seems is to provide great – legitimate – products and services for which people will be prepared to pay.