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Social Media Muscles in on TV

The way we access content is fundamentally changing.  Shorter-form content continues to grow apace and, at the same time, viewing is fragmenting across myriad devices and screens.  Helping drive this change has been the emergence of a new generation of distribution platforms that blend professional video, user generated content and social media.

A global shift to home-grown

Netflix commissions from Germany, India and Spain

The old saying “Think global, act local” is the new mantra for the Net­flix-led, global tech platforms as they push for ever greater numbers of subscribers. In recent months, Net­flix, Apple and Amazon have all started to open offices, staffed largely by locally grown TV commissioners, in the UK and other non-US markets. Simultaneously, the tech platforms are ramping up local marketing efforts.

Amazon has also jumped into local sports markets, purchasing major live sports rights for the UK, including a Premier League football package and US Open tennis rights.

Guest post: A four-step plan to safeguard UK television

Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Digital UK

Our reaction to a major change of any kind usually goes in phases…

Avoidance (“I’m not going to look”)

Denial (“I’ve looked but I don’t believe it”)

Fear (“We’re doomed”)

Panic (“I just need to do something”)

Response (“Ok – maybe there is something practical I can do”)

Acceptance (“Well that wasn’t so bad”)

British TV has been fairly consistent in following this pattern when it has faced transformative change in the sector in the past.

Lord Puttnam: We need regulation to curb data capitalism

Lord Puttnam (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

In a high-concept, passionate RTS lecture, illustrated by film clips and quotes from such 20th century giants as John Maynard Keynes and Bob Dylan, Puttnam mounted a passionate case for media regulation to curb the excesses of “data capitalism.”

“Tech monopolies (Google, Amazon, Facebook) are taking over the internet. A pernicious form of corporatism could, under the wrong set of circumstances, replace democracy as we have known and enjoyed it,” he said.

It was “nonsense” that these companies were too big to regulate.  

Channel 4 News' Jon Snow hits out at social media giant Facebook

The Channel 4 News anchor called for journalists and their recruiters to leave their bubble in order to widen the awareness and understanding of people outside the media elite.

Snow said that the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy had exposed a shameful lack in awareness of issues facing those on lower incomes.

In a moving speech, Snow spoke of the guilt he felt when confronted by the survivors of the Grenfell disaster who asked broadcasters “where were you? Why didn’t you come here before?”

Event report: Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

Many broadcasters are convinced that targeted advertising is a silver bullet. They claim it will help level the playing field with Google and Facebook and so future-proof their businesses.

But at a packed RTS early-evening event, 'Is targeted advertising the future of TV?', it became clear that the debate over smart advertising’s role in commercial TV is more nuanced than that. It is conceivable that internet-­delivered, personalised ads aimed at individuals will one day be as commonplace as driverless vehicles are expected to be.

It's time for the tech giants to admit they are media companies

Imagine that a broadcaster reaching over 1 billion people a day is making billions of pounds of profits every year, partly by distributing news coverage that includes numerous mistakes.

Imagine, too, that, when the broadcaster is called to account, its first proposed solution to the problem is to send out a message to viewers entitled “tips for spotting false news”. The first of the 10 tips is: “Be sceptical of headlines”.

The chances are that the broadcaster would be told that its so-called “new educational tool against misinformation” was hardly a satisfactory remedy.