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A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts tagged media

A prominent YouTuber has lost a lucrative contract:

Since August, PewDiePie has posted nine videos that include anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery, according to a review of his channel by The Wall Street Journal.

On Monday after the Journal contacted Disney about the videos, the entertainment giant said it was severing ties with Mr. Kjellberg, who as PewDiePie rose to prominence via clips of himself playing videogames or performing skits and making crude jokes.

What’s interesting about this is that a single YouTuber has reached enough prominence that their deals with major corporations warrant the attention of the Wall Street Journal.

Significant enough, in fact, that they pushed out out as a notification:

PewDiePie WSJ push notification

YouTubers are still a massively under-discussed part of the modern media business landscape.

This piece on hyperpartisan Facebook pages, from Buzzfeed, becomes even more compelling in the light of today’s news:

Our analysis of three hyperpartisan right-wing Facebook pages found that 38% of all posts were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false, compared to 19% of posts from three hyperpartisan left-wing pages that were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false. The right-wing pages are among the forces — perhaps as potent as the cable news shows that have gotten far more attention — that helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump.

Media’s failure to truly engage with the social spread of news has opened the door to a new form of media, once that lacks the journalistic ethics that our polity badly needs right now.

Huffington Post, July 2015:

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow.

Huffington Post today:

Donald Trump has shocked the world with a stunning victory to be elected President of the United States following a bitter and divisive campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The result has been called by The Associated Press.

If we can understand that journey, we can understand the media’s role in the politics of 2016. 

Berkeley Breathed on the reaction to his return to Bloom County:

“There is no media that will allow a Charlie Brown or a Snoopy to become a universal and shared joy each morning at the same moment across the country,” Breathed continues. “Maybe the rather marked response to my character’s return is a reflection of that loss. A last gasp of a passing era.”

It’s an interesting observation – merely weeks after Apple has tried to resurrect that shared media moment with the arrival of Beats 1.

[hat-tip Matt]

Charlie Beckett thinks he detects signs of a stabilisation in media’s transition to digital:

At last they had a sense of where the battle lines are: mobile, algorithms, native advertising, millennial’s, wearables, etc. They have moved on from denial to mobilising their forces and re-arming for the next phase of war. But they are not entirely sure who the enemy is, what victory looks like, or where exactly the next battle is.

I suspect that the last line of that will prove the most prescient. The debate about the future of journalism has discernibly moved inwards again – we’re looking at what organisations we perceive as journalistic are doing, rather than what the wider public are adopting. If that continues, once again, we’ll miss the next big shift in digital.

Ben Huh

When Ben Huh founded his company – he bought a bunch of cat photos. Yes, he acquired I Can Has Cheezburger? He created the company, bought the website and closed funding in just 45 days. Since then they’ve launched and experimented endlessly. Their mission statement is to make people laugh for a few moments.

But how do you win the content game in the long term?

The medium is the message

-Marshall McLuhan

For Huh, the format is the message. The format is the kind of content that exists within your device. It’s these formats – pioneered and owned by other companies often – that make things interesting. The reason your phone looks the way it does, is because a bunch of people got together in the 90s to create the widescreen TV format. Formats can have unexpected effects.

In the past, each vertical had its formats: print had books, magazine and newspapers. Those safe silos are gone. Now we have vertical competition – your Kindle isn’t just about reading – it will read to you. That’s audio.

Connections through content

Social media has made it easier for us to send content across the internet. The only way to connect with others online is with content – we are what we expose to others. The creation of beautiful and funny content has been driving media for the last five years.

We spend 112 hours awake a week. We spend 80 hours a week consuming media. How much of your visual space is filled with pixels? There are more and more screens in our lives. The longer we live the more pixels we will encounter.

Every time the content market fragments, as it does when new devices emerge, there’s a new chance for a new company – or a new format – to grab market share. That’s why media is so exciting right now.

Ben Huh too

Old formats do not go away – had a till receipt recently? That’s a scroll. Old formats just end up in niches. New formats are born all the time. The people who created media for old formats are woefully bad at creating it for a new format. Yet, we need more than just gaming skills to make VR work – we need the storytelling skills of old media. How do we bring these together?

We are now entering a world where physical objects can be treated as media, thanks to 3D printing. Cats have evolved from bad ass ferocious animals, to cute, friendly meme vectors. It’s not what you might expect from evolution…

The old stories are over

Old stories had beginnings, middles and ends. Online, we go straight to the punchline. How do we learn to tell these new stories. Creativity is not a blank canvas. Constraints and formats that force you to work within a box drives creativity, because you know the limits. Three window jokes aren’t an internet format – they’re the triptych of religious art. We derive new formats from old.

Cheeseburger wants to own short form humour. They want formats that are simple, that don’t make you work too hard, because we are all what we share.

The Tweet Elite

Twitter:

Similar to how we help businesses make advertising simple and effective on Twitter, we occasionally build features that enable these public figures — verified users — to engage more easily with the world through Twitter.

Interesting to see Twitter developing an effective Elite, with tools and services the rest of us don’t have access to. The Blue Tick Elite seems to be mapping pretty closely to to existing media power structures, too. It’s the big media, celebrities, and their ilk.

From disruptive to assimilated?

Josh t

Bloomberg has a new hire:

Josh Topolsky, the co-founder of the technology website The Verge, will join Bloomberg as the editor of a series of online ventures it is introducing as part of a revamped journalism strategy.

He’ll be running a range of new online initiatives for them as “Editor of Bloomberg Digital, and Bloomberg Media’s Chief Digital Content Officer”.

Interesting to see people who have risen through the “blog” ranks of online media transitioning into senior positions in more traditional publishers…

An interesting RSA-backed initiative to increase diversity in the media:

In order to address and to reverse decades of under-representation of ethnic minority voices in the media, the team at Media Diversified is running a crowdfunding campaign which you can find on the RSA’s crowdfunding area to build a custom interactive directory of writers and experts available for media outlets such as the BBC and ITV to subscribe to in order to commission guests for TV and radio shows or to write articles. This is a tangible resource that could lead to real change and we’ll be meeting with media outlets to promote its benefits.

Happily, it’s already hit its funding target with two days to go. They’re still pushing for a stretch goal, though…

Brigton's digital leaders in the Observer
It was lovely to see the Brighton digital sector highlighted in The Observer a week ago. With all the fuss about Tech City, interesting online stuff happening elsewhere is all-too-often forgotten.

But what was really nice was to see the pleasure with which the Brighton digerati reacted to the news. My Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline were full of friends and contacts celebrating their (or their friends’) inclusion in the article. That mythical old/new media hostility was nowhere to be seen.

For example, I swiped the above photo (with permission) from Antony Mayfield, co-founder of one of the companies featured: Brilliant Noise. (They’re former clients and current friends.) He was more than happy to be featured.

Positing Old and New Media as completely separate sets of businesses is never a useful thing to do. Things rarely divide themselves into such neat categories, and instead tend to form along a continuum. People who try to define them as separate and hostile entities are missing the point – or grinding a big old axe. Back in 2003 when I started this blog it was often the bloggers and “new media” types making the claim that they would replace “old media” – but that was a disguised plea for legitimacy. These says it tends to be the “Old Media” creating the distinction – as a result of seeing their power diffused into a wider range of outlets.

The smart people – and there are an awful lot of smart people featured in that article – understand that the skill is in understanding the continuum between traditional and emerging media, and where you need to be along it for any particular project.

Brighton is full of those people – and it’s good to see The Observer acknowledging it.