In 2007, legendary director and screenwriter J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost and director of the 2009 Star Trek movie, among many other incredibly addictive storylines) gave a TED Talk in which he explored how advances in technology have suddenly let filmmakers do incredible things with storytelling. A man getting sucked into the engine of a jet? Now possible! An extensive recreation of Star Wars’ Tatooine? Also possible! Today, the things we can do on TV and in movies is limited only by our imagination – and we’re at the same point with digital publishing today, writes Say Media’s Lawrence Horne*.
Amazon is probably hoping a pick up some Shoreditch digital media cool with a plan to move its UK HQ in downmarket Slough to east London. The 15-storey building, Principal Place, is regulation corporate steel and glass, though a swimming pool, tennis and basketball court are in the pipeline as the retailer looks to compete on sporting side with Google, which is building its UK headquarters a few miles to the west at King’s Cross. Principal Place will be home to 5,000 Amazonians.
Two-thirds of executives believe their companies need to do more to harness digital technology to improve marketing effectiveness, but 43% say their IT departments are so busy they are unable to help with digital marketing tech needs, according to a new digital marketing and technology report from Forbes and Wipro. According to the research, 70% of US companies say they believe they need to do more with digital technology, a figure that falls to 56% for Europeans. And two-thirds of US companies think they need to do more work harnessing marketing data to improve effectiveness in complementary areas such as product development and logistics. That falls to 56% among European companies.
Everyone is keen to take a look at what goes on at cool companies. The BBC recently went inside Google’s drone lab to find out about ‘Project Wing’ which resides in a building on the Google campus known cunningly as ‘The Hatchery’. The Beeb describes it as part robotics lab, part assembly facility, and part [unmanned aerial vehicle] graveyard. At its heart is Google’s latest piece of flying kit, a white wing some 1.5 metres long and capable of horizontal flight at speed, and able to hover to drop packages. Google being Google, Project Wing is more than a mere delivery platform and the company wants to send these drones into hard-to-reach zones after natural disasters, floods or hurricanes with batteries, medicines, radios or food. Save the world.
Spotify struggles to make streaming music pay its way – blame the music majors for imposing high royalty rates – so it’s no surprise the company is making efforts to attract brands and pull in more advertising money. The outfit has launched two new video ad products in the shape of ‘Video Takeover’ on desktop and ‘Sponsored Sessions’ for mobile. The former is ‘an opportunity for brands to own the desktop app experience’ but they are served during normal ad breaks and still sound a lot like regular video ad spots, despite the name. Sponsored Sessions are for users who opt in to commercial comms, and brands het the chance to align messaging with daily activities where music plays a role, like exercising, studying, partying, commuting.
Alistair Vince is a great believer in ‘accidental insight’ when it comes to research – and that happens when you let the consumer do the talking. “That way everyone gets it,” he says. “There’s no marketing terminology to deal with. It’s all about letting people simply talk about stuff. It’s about bringing segmentation studies to life.”
Looking to get onboard the Maker Movement but lacking the physical wherewithal? Well, community workshops like Frysklab in the Netherlands is a mobile ‘skill space’ providing the requisite tools and maker know-how to get the resources to more people and places, says the Maker’s Manual report from PFSK and Intel. Inside the Frysklab, users get their hands on kit such as laser cutters and Arduino circuits – boards used to create devices like simple robots, thermostats and motion detectors – to “dream up solutions for difficult local issues such as energy”. And the Columbus Idea Foundry in Ohio has been set up to offer Making classes, workshops, studios and gadgets for local Makers. There’s woodworking, metalworking, 3D printing and pottery firing available for a monthly fee and hourly use rate.
It’s arrived late, but Diageo has finally jumped into crowdsourced innovation with the launch of the Diageo Technology Ventures. The brand says its wants to work with emerging tech companies to solve business challenges and enhance its growth prospects. Diageo will publish innovation briefs throughout the year and back the ideas it likes with hard cash and in-house support team.
The BBC has rolled out its BBC Pop Up news service to demonstrate a ‘commitment to live the story’.
Google looking to acquire eBay as a reaction to the Apple Pay announcement? Pretty unlikely.
Publicis is taking marketing iito the cloud with the help of Adobe’s Always-on platform which will be developed and branded for the likes of BBH, DigitasLBi, Leo Burnett, MSLGROUP, Publicis Worldwide, Razorfish, Rosetta, Saatchi & Saatchi, Starcom MediaVest Group, VivaKi and ZenithOptimedia.
Is Uber targeting Amazon? The outfit is known for its car sharing service – as well as its couldn’t-care-less-attitude to taxi regulations around the globe – but it has just launched its first product-delivery offering in Europe (after rolling out the same in the US in Washington DC, New York and Santa Monica).
Start-up watch: How many riffs are there on car-sharing? US-based FlightCar’s shtick is to enable travellers who park their vehicles at an airport to rent them out while they’re away.
Companies around the globe continue to believe that new products are the best way of achieving higher prices - despite the fact that almost three-quarters of all new products fail to meet their profit targets, according to the Global Pricing Study 2014 from Simon-Kucher & Partners.
While every retail brand seems to think it needs a mobile phone, UK retailer Tesco has given up on plans to launch a budget 4G smartphone.
The sharing economy is more than about cars and accommodation - in fact, it’s about everything.
Daimler is pushing deeper into the car sharing economy with the acquisition of US app-based car outfit RideScout, and of Germany’s Intelligent Apps (mytaxi), a taxi-booking service also leaning on mobile apps.
YouTube billionaires aren’t 10 a penny, but there are 147 channels that are officially in the club, having crossed the 1 billion views threshold, according to Tubular Labs.