Archive | Mobile Devices RSS feed for this section

Top of the apps

Popularity driven by world sporting events – and the weather.

Figures released by App Annie for June 2014 show top performing, non-gaming, apps around the world.

The top ten worldwide apps include some familiar names (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Skype) and new, ‘superstar’ apps including MYOTee, an app that lets users develop and share their own avatar.  MYOTee originally launched in China at the end of 2013 and has become a viral success.  Its top ten position reflects its popularity in China – it has yet to make an impact on the rest of the world – as yet.

The FIFA official app also made it to the top ten, reflecting the popularity of the football World Cup.  The app was downloaded 18 million times in the first three weeks of June and it was the number one app in 135 countries and territories in June.

Other top performers in June were China’s search engine Baidu and battery-saving app DU Battery Saver, which in particular experienced growth in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand and the US.

Music company Pandora was the second most popular app by revenue and experienced rapid growth in Australia and New Zealand. It now has two million registered users.

How the UK market differs

In the UK, the popularity of FIFA indirectly led to growth for ITV Player which offered live streaming and on-demand coverage of World Cup matches.  Other video content providers were performing well in the UK in June.

The charts seem to suggest that UK users take security more seriously.  While the UK has a security app in the top ten, this is not the case in the worldwide or US figures.

Three apps in the UK top ten are newspapers.  40% of The Guardian’s digital traffic now comes from mobile devices and a new update in May means the newspaper has attracted 300,000 new downloads worldwide.  The Guardian joins The Times/Sunday Times and The Telegraph in the UK’s top ten apps.

The figures also show that when the weather turns warmer, users turn their thoughts to romance (strong performances reported from dating apps including Match and Grindr) and fitness (the 30 Day ab challenge has been performing well in the rankings throughout June.

More on the app performance charts from App Annie.

 

Comments { 0 }

Dangerous and negative selfies

 Young women urged to consider unexpected consequences of ‘sexy selfies’ while footage of a man taking a ‘dangerous selfie’ in Spain has gone viral.

Research undertaken by the Oregon State University has revealed that women respond negatively to ‘sexy selfies’ of their peers.

Elizabeth Daniels* studies the effect of media on the body image.  She says that young women are often pressurised to portray themselves as sexy.  Daniels set up two Facebook profiles. They were identical in everything but their profile picture.  Although photos of the same person were used, one was ‘sexier’ than the other.  58 teenage girls and 60 young women were asked to comment on the profiles.  The respondents found the ‘non-sexy’ profile to be prettier, more competent and more likely to be a good friend.  Daniels advises young women and girls to choose profile photographs that showcase their identity – not simply their appearance.

Meanwhile, in Spain a bylaw is attempting to stop people using cameras at the running of the bulls festival in San Fermin. Those failing to comply may be faced with fines of up to €3,000 for endangering themselves and others.

Three people – all British citizens – have been fined so far including one who used a drone to film the bull run.  Police are also looking to identify a man seen taking a dangerous selfie as he ran ahead of the bulls.  He is now known on Twitter as ‘the idiot with the mobile’.

People were also attempting to take selfies when the Tour de France was in the UK. An American cyclist dubbed their attempts ‘a dangerous mixture of vanity and stupidity’ – which seems to be a perfect description for many selfies.

* Daniels’ research was published today in the journal “Psychology of Popular Media Culture.” The article, titled “The price of sexy: Viewers’ perceptions of a sexualised versus non-sexualised Facebook profile photo,” was co-authored by Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Cash free and free cash

While a millionaire is giving away cash on Twitter, new tech is enabling more people to go ‘cash free’.

The Twitter ‘free cash’ phenomenon has spread to Europe.  In the US @HiddenCash has been posting clues online to the whereabouts of cash prizes.  The idea was copied in the UK and, it has been announced, will expand into France and Spain.

The idea is simple – the donor publishes clues to the location of hidden cash.  Those who find it are asked to tweet photos of themselves with their ‘treasure’.  The idea is more than 21st century philanthropy – it is also being billed as “a social media experiment for good”.

While some people are tracking down free cash via social media, others are looking forward to a cash free summer.

Cash free

  • London buses have announced they are becoming ‘cash-free’.
  • Following in the footsteps of Burning Man in the US and the UK’s 2012 Wireless Festival, many Swedish music festivals are planning to become cash-free occasions in 2014.  Festival-goers will be able to pay by swiping their armbands which they will have ‘topped up’ with cash before they arrive.

Wearable tech

The smart festival armband is just one example of a connected wearable.  This year’s Brand Z survey (featured elsewhere on this blog) highlights the rapid growth of both the apparel and the technology sectors.  These two sectors overlap in wearable technologies.  A recent example is the proposed launch of Ringly, a gold ring which vibrates and lights up to let the wearer know they are receiving calls or texts. Apparently missed calls of the bane of women who can’t locate their own phones in their own handbags (!)

Ephemeral messaging

“This message will self-destruct in 24 hours”

The growth of ephemeral messaging services and private social networks – individuals want more privacy; companies want to be more like Snapchat!

Path is a private social network that supports photo-sharing and private messaging between close friends.  Each user may include up to 150 friends in their network.  Path has now announced that all new messages will be automatically removed from their servers after 24 hours (downloaded messages will remain on users’ devices).  The service has described these messages as “24-hour ephemeral”.

Ephemeral messaging is of course key feature of Snapchat.  Dating website Tinder is also following suit, announcing that it will be rolling out a feature that allow users to share photos that will disappear in 24 hours.  Apple is also appropriating this feature in iOS 8 due to be launched later in 2014.  Facebook has accidentally revealed it is developing its own Snapchat tribute.

‘Antisocial networking’

Apps such as Cloak and Split allow users to avoid people they may know but don’t want to run into.  The mine geolocation information from other social media tools to let you know if you are about to bump into someone you would rather avoid.

Anomo is an anonymous social app that counters the ‘oversharing’ that many people feel is happing in many social forums.

What about ephemeral messaging in the workplace?

Apparently, Snapchat is already being put to use by insider traders on Wall Street – boo!  Seth Fiegerman explores the growth of startups aiming to introduce ephemeral messaging into the workplace.  These include an app (Confide) to support ‘off the record’ conversations which are encrypted and then destroyed.  Users are barred from taking screenshots.  The tricky path for some of these startups aimed specifically at business is to ensure their business model does not rely on supporting illegal behaviour.

Sources: Mashable; The New Yorker; The Guardian; Gadgetsndtv;

The second digital revolution

New information seeking behaviours mean libraries and publishers have to change.

People are increasingly creating and consuming information on the move.  This, combined with the growth of cloud-based products and services, is challenging the traditional workplace environment and opening up new opportunities for agile working, personal development and how we spend our leisure time.  The first digital revolution took place in fixed space – in the office, the home and the library.  But the second digital revolution is taking place on the move – and this has enormous implications for the continued existence of libraries and for publishers of information.

These are the conclusions of David Nicholas of the pan-Europe research organisation CIBER.  He explained how he had come to these conclusions at the latest NetIKX meeting held in London.  He described how he and his colleagues use technology to record millions of digital footprints and how this provides high-value insights into how people really interact with information.

He describes a world in which ‘horizontal’ information seeking (shallow and skimming) has become much more important than ‘vertical/deep’ activity. Users are bouncing around, clicking on hyperlinks that discourage deep engagement.  They are hyperactive (looking at one page before moving on); unsophisticated searchers and generally ‘promiscuous’ – 40% will never return to the webpage.

CIBER has conducted research on the Europeana website. As far back as 2010, their research outputs described the critical importance of the visual and the moving image to users.  The latest Europeana figures show that mobile access to the site is growing five times as fast as from fixed devices.  Mobile users are ‘information-lite’ users – they use abbreviated search and spend less time on the site.  They are seeking immediate answers.  Peak mobile access is happening at the weekends and evenings.

For the younger generation in particular, mobile devices are trusted ‘complete’ sources of information – in contrast to libraries which they view as ‘incomplete’. Conditioned by texting they have a ‘fast food’ attitude to information.  Mobiles provide access to everyone anywhere and OA models are simply increasing the information haul.

Libraries need to articulate the value and rationale for their collections in the borderless information landscape.  They need to emphasise their capacity for quality control and assurance in a ‘fast food’ world.

David Nicholas was speaking at NetIKX. The second speaker was Max Whitby of the innovative app publisher Touch Press.  His presentation, showcasing the innovative content of best-selling apps, highlighted that clever publishers can create content that meets the needs of both vertical and horizontal searchers.  Rob Rosset has written about his presentation on the NetIKX blog here.

NetiKX has also written about David Nicholas’ presentation here.  You can find out more about NetIKX here.

 

Book publishing – some recent innovations

Book publishers experimenting with new models; books fighting binge drinking in Italy

Netflix models

An article on Wired.com looks at a new online fiction service called Rooster in which a book publisher adopts a magazine model to make itself more like Netflix!  The service uses a subscription based model that sends content to iPhones and iPads.  The daily chunks of content should take about 15 minutes to read and will deliver two books’ worth of content over a month.  Similarly, Waterstones in the UK has announced Read Petite – a ‘rich reading experience for time-poor readers’.

Another innovation learning from the Netflix model is Epic!  This app aims to encourage children to read by offering rewards for completing chapters or starting ‘reading marathons’.  For a monthly subscription, children have access to a library of over 2000 titles and can rate the books they have read.  The app also allows parents to monitor their children’s reading habits.

Book buying and book borrowing and struggling readers

The latest Pew report shows the link between highly engaged library users and book buying.  The report shows that ‘Library Lovers’ – the heaviest users of libraries and about 10% of the US population – are also frequent buyers of books, despite many of them experiencing a drop in income.

The UK Charity Quick Reads found that reading e-books can be particularly helpful for adults who may be struggling with their reading while 48% say e-readers  have encouraged them to read more.

Binge drinking – books to the rescue!

Sadly Neknominate, the social media drinking game, has spread around the world. In Italy a literary alternative to the game has been developed.  ‘Booknomination’ follows similar rules but instead of drinking, the nominated person must read a passage from a book over a webcam.  The initiative is on Facebook on the hashtag #booknomination.

Sources: Springwise; DigitalBookWorld; TheLocal; Pew Research Center; Publishing Perspectives; Wired.

From Selfish Giant to Slumdog Millionaire – lessons from Channel 4 film and drama

Sometimes it is good to step outside of the information echo chamber. 

What can we learn from leaders in another profession – one which seeks to balance creative vision with tight budgets; is challenged by new formats, technology and delivery channels; has to balance multiple stakeholders; is threatened by pirated content, and is working to meet the anytime, anywhere demands of end users?

Tessa Ross is the Controller of Film and Drama for Channel 4 and recipient of the 2013 Bafta award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema’.  Her projects included Slumdog Millionaire, A Field in England, In Bruges and The Selfish Giant.  She came to film via theatre and – speaking at the Olive Till Memorial Lecture* – described a ‘drift’ into her current role rather than a firm plan.  She commissions films for the Channel with a ‘tiny’ budget of £15 million a year.

Her responsibility is to spend that budget wisely and to help people fulfil their creative vision.  Her role requires her to combine creative mentoring, experimentation and risk taking, in depth knowledge of the industry and the people within it, team development and creative matchmaking – and financial and business acumen.

“I think you’re brilliant.  What can I do to help you?”

For Ross, talent rather than the medium is her objective.  The vast majority of projects brought to her will not be made and Channel 4 may not be the right home for everyone’s idea.  But for those that she does work with, her focus is on helping them fulfil their creative vision.  This requires tenacity and sometimes a long-term commitment (One of her recent films, Under the Skin, took 13 years to make it from script to screen).

Channel 4’s remit encourages eclectic storytelling and experimentation.  The recent ‘magic mushroom/civil war’ film A Field in England was the result of an experimental masterclass in making a low budget feature film.  It was released simultaneously on multiple platforms.

Ross works with – and helps to develop – creative talent and her role requires a wide-ranging skill set.  Many members of the audience, the majority of them film students, expressed their interest in working with Channel 4 – and her.  And who wouldn’t want a mentor like that?!

*The Olive Till Memorial Debate and Bursary are presented by Stewart Till CBE, CEO Icon Entertainment and Deputy Chair Skillset, in memory of his mother at Goldsmiths, University of London’.  Previous speakers have included Danny Boyle and Tim Bevan.

[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]

Selfie is the word of the year

“Is this a selfie which I see before me,
The angle toward my hand? Come, let me tweet thee*”

Oxford Dictionaries have announced that their word of the year for 2013 is ‘selfie’.

Over the course of the year, the frequency of the usage of the word selfie (the act of taking a self-portrait) has increased by 17,000%. Several spin-off terms have also emerged, including ‘drelfe’ (a drunken selfie) and ‘welfie’ (a workout selfie).

Once again the word of the year showcases technological and social trends that impact the general consciousness.  (Last year’s words of the year included ‘omnishambles’ and ‘hashtag’.)

Other words shortlisted in 2013 include bitcoin, showrooming and <shudder> twerk.

In the Netherlands Participatiesamenleving – ‘participation society’ – has been named as the word of the year.  One of the runner-up words was socialbesitas – ‘addiction to social media’ – a word which some of us would find useful – and apt!

The German slang word of the year is ‘babo’. It derives from a Turkish word meaning boss or chief.

Selfies – selfish or ‘another way to connect’?

According to mobileYouth, 48% of the photographs posted by UK teenagers to Instragram are selfies.  Graham Brown’s slideshare presentation challenges us to look beyond the surface ‘narcissism’ of the selfie and encourages us to think of it – like Blipfoto – as ‘ordinary people doing ordinary things’.

The Oxford University Press blog explores the history of the self portrait – from early daguerrotypes onwards and *Alice Northover has rewritten Shakespeare for the selfie generation.

Finally, here’s a wonderful selfie image, taken by Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the last Czar of Russia.  One hundred years ago.

[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]

What drives traffic to corporate websites?

Visits to corporate websites are up (24% in two years) – and the rise is being driven by mobile.

Research from Investis IQ has been tracking visitors to corporate websites from social media platforms to see which sites drive the most traffic. The company tracks the website analytics of European companies (12% of the total surveyed), FTSE 100 (24%) and FTSE 250 (42%) companies along with AIM companies (27%).

The figures show that website visits from mobile devices have increased by 400% in two years.

  • 20% of all visits to corporate websites are now made by people using mobile devices.
  • 66% of all mobile visits are being made by iPhone/iPad
  • Only 23% of the companies surveyed have a dedicated mobile or a responsive website

Social media and search engines

  • 54% arrive at a corporate website via a search engine
  • 56% of the FTSE 100 companies studied link to at least one social media site from their website
  • LinkedIn drives the most visits – 64% of all visits to corporate websites from social media sites come via LinkedIn
  • Facebook’s importance is declining – it is driving 17% of the visits (down from 30% in two years)
  • Twitter however has grown from driving 4% of visits two years ago to 14% in 2013
  • Between them LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are driving 95% of all visits from social media sites – the influence of other social media sites is, as yet, negligible.

The report is available here.

[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]

TV viewing trends

The latest report by Ericsson ConsumerLab explores the ways in which connected devices are changing the ways in which consumers view TV and video content.

Consumers in 15 countries* were asked about their TV and video viewing habits.  The findings show how consumers are increasingly exposed to content and how this ‘wealth of choice’ is changing attitudes to video and TV programming.  This includes a shift away from scheduled TV, even amongst older consumers and late adopters (41% of 65-69 year olds are using streamed video at least once a week).

Key findings

  • 72% of respondents watch videos via a mobile device at least once a week
    • 42% do this outside their home
    • Linear/scheduled TV is used for social viewing.  This includes sports and other live events which people watch ‘here and now’
    • Video on demand (VOD) is becoming ‘relaxation TV’
    • 82% of respondents are using YouTube or other User Generated Content (UGC) sites at least monthly – and 25% of them are doing so on mobile devices.
    • The trend to ‘one TV, many devices’ continues as does that of multitasking while viewing content
    • Multitasking – 49% of respondents will look for content about what they are watching
    • Social viewing – Almost a third of respondents will take to social media to discuss what they are watching
    • Place-shifted viewing – a new phenomenon which sees people break up their viewing – they may watch part of the content while travelling and the rest at home for example

Paying for content

With the exception of China, the research shows how more people are reducing spending on TV packages, or S-VOD (subscription video on demand).  The report predicts that new commercial models will emerge, which combine affordable monthly subscriptions with unobtrusive and customised advertising.  Consumers place advertisement free, HD quality content at the top of their wishlist for their TV/video experiences.

(*Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and the US).

The report is available to download here.

A second report, this time focusing on the US video streaming market, found that 51% of Americans aged 13-54 are video streaming at least once a week, with the figure rising to over 60% for those aged 13-33.