Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 45 of Rerun, your weekly digest of digital storytelling, interactive media and the future of TV curated by Axonista.
This week's Top Pick is Facebook's new Sports Stadium, a new hub in the Facebook app for live chat, media and stats. It's a potential game changer if they can attract the influencers and advertising money, and it's a big boot planted firmly on Twitter's turf.
eSports and Snapchat are both having a moment, and we look at how they're set to really take off this year. We also look at potential challenges to Netflix's world domination, the future of niche streaming services, Nielsen's Twitter TV Ratings pivot, the reaction to NBC's "remarkably inaccurate" attempt to measure Netflix's ratings, Sesame Street's arrival on HBO and much more!
Let's get straight to it!
Facebook launches Sports Stadium hub for you to chat about the big game
Facebook has a massive audience; now it’s trying to get that audience in one place on game day.
They're introducing a game hub that lives within the existing Facebook app. Tap on a game in your News Feed and it'll take you to the hub, where you'll see play-by-play action, friend commentary, expert commentary and a wealth of ESPN-like stats.
It's definitely putting a foot on Twitter's turf, and it'll be interesting to see if Facebook can attract influencers and the same kind of live buzz around events. Who knows, in the future they could even strike a content deal to actually watch the game in-app too. One to keep an eye on.
Future of TV
eSports is having a moment
A common line trotted out by new eSports publishers is that they'll become the 'ESPN of eSports'. Well now ESPN is going to be the 'ESPN of eSports', it has announced plans to "aggressively cover" them, beginning on its website and apps.
eSports are certainly having a moment; big brands like Coca Cola, Red Bull and Intel are already sponsors and team owners, and now broadcast networks are circling like sharks to start covering tournaments.
But as big as tournaments are, there's also huge potential for earning and viewership in live streaming. For example, the 400th most popular streamer on Twitch has only made $2,444 in tournaments since 2011, but he earns over $100,000 per year on Twitch.
It's an industry that in 2015 started guzzling rocket fuel, and in 2016 we expect it to take off.
Potential challenges to Netflix's global ambitions
Following its recent announcement of its global ventures, Netflix might have a few issues to contend with.
Firstly, it will soon begin blocking subscribers from accessing content outside of their home territory. Given the popular use of VPNs, this might mean subscribers feel less value for money.
Secondly, Netflix has seemingly upset local media providers by winning rights to content. Pay television services, Studio Canal and Sky PLC (and elsewhere streaming services in Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand), are forming alliances to so that they can collectively outbid Netflix for content.
The future of streaming services is niche
Already this year, there's been a lot of announcements about streaming services expanding their catalogues and global reach. While their popularity is undoubtedly tied to the ability to provide a huge range of content, there's a growing number of smaller, but stable, niche, genre-specific and even culturally-specific services.
Crunchyroll is an example of one such site. Exclusively geared towards Anime, it maintains a supportive fanbase by generating a community feel on in its extensive fan forums and off-site through participation in, and engagement with fans at, Anime conferences.
Snapchat is the new Twitter
Rerun favourite, TV[R]EV's Alan Wolk talks a great deal of refreshing common sense when it comes to the TV industry. His recent article about why Snapchat is the new Twitter, is a must read for broadcasters and brands coming to terms with the new platform.
Snapchat’s laid back, nothing-is-that-serious platform may be exactly what’s needed in 2016, an antidote to the constant flow of posts all calling out to be liked and shared and commented upon.
Netflix slams NBC's attempt to reveal their ratings: "remarkably inaccurate"
NBC recently announced that they had figured out viewership figures for several Netflix shows. Data was gathered from a sample of 15,000 Netflix users and measured using audio recognition technology.
Netflix doesn't reveal their viewership figures, even to show creators. This is primarily because they don't actually matter to their business model, which is subscription based and doesn't rely on advertising. As long as customers don't cancel and there is enough exclusive content to attract new subscribers, Netflix is happy.
In a 'What the fu?' moment, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was understandably baffled when reacting to NBC's claims.
So there’s a couple of mysteries in play for me. One is why would NBC use their lunchtime [press conference] to talk about our ratings,” Sarandos told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena on Sunday morning. “Maybe cause it’s more fun to talk [about] than NBC’s ratings. The second is, the whole methodology and the measurement and the data itself doesn’t reflect any sense of reality of anything that we keep track of.
Nielsen will add Facebook, Instagram to social TV ratings
In a bid to keep up with the changing TV industry, Nielsen teamed up with Twitter in 2013 to measure conversations that take place on Twitter about TV shows. Now it's adding a huge missing chunk of data to social conversations about TV.
Its 'Twitter TV ratings' product will now incorporate Facebook data and be renamed as 'social content ratings'. It will include data from both public and private posts on Facebook where TV shows are mentioned (supplied by Facebook in aggregate).
With Facebook's recent launch of its realtime Sports Stadium platform, things are going to get a lot noisier in there! #coybig
Lululemon hires former Target exec Alan Wizemann to get more digital
Lululemon is an international leader in premium yoga apparel.
Beautiful yogis in impossible poses are all over the social and digital space, followed fervently by aspirational yogis. Yoga_girl has 1.8million followers on Instagram and Shiva Rea has 19k followers on Twitter.
However there isn't yet a clear brand leading the digital yoga space. This key hire and focus on digital by Lululemon could give it the potential to become the Red Bull or Burberry of yoga.
Wizemann will take the title of VP of guest experience and digital product management at the apparel retailer. He and his team will be charged with weaving more content and community elements into the retailer’s website and apps. He’ll also oversee the development of new in-store technologies and additions to the company’s apps to make them more useful in stores.
It’s easy to be grouchy about HBO’s new Sesame Street
After 47 years, 45 seasons and over 4,300 episodes on free channel PBS, Sesame Street has made its first appearance on premium channel HBO. According to the two parents in this Verge article, the new money is evident, and Sesame Street has very much been gentrified.
But while the parents' nostalgia has them pining for the scruffy streets of before, their children don't even notice a difference. The only thing they call out are the shorter episode lengths (30 mins down from 60). The new money has allowed for higher production values in the music and the locations, and should result in better educational material for the kids. Just don't make a skit about Big Bird trying to take a selfie, please.
Dare to enter Japan's 'Suicide Forest' in creepy immersive experience for 'The Forest'
If 2016 is speculated to be the year of VR, we are likely to start seeing more VR experiences attached to mainstream entertainment releases.
One such example is the recent "Enter the Forest" immersive 360 experience that accompanied the supernatural film "The Forest." Using Google Cardboard or a mobile device, users enter the fascinating and infamous suicide Aokigahara Forest in Japan and search for missing friends.
Supernatural horror seems an appropriate and exciting genre for VR, given its typically slower pace, and some experiences are now considered so terrifying that they warrant a warning system.
- How Snapchat plans to compete with Facebook for advertisers
- Viral publishers, seeing fewer Facebook clicks, shift focus to video
- Pinterest is about to get into video advertising
- VR revenue could be $120bn by 2020
- Zano: The rise and fall of Kickstarter's mini-drone
- Vimeo is going to start funding female filmmakers
Every Pixar nod to classic movie moments in under 5 minutes
From Star Wars to Vertigo, to Raiders of the Lost Ark, there's something for everyone in this lovely tribute to the movie making greats, as told through Pixar movie clips :) Enjoy!