Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 80 of Rerun by Axonista!
This week's Top Pick is the admission by Facebook that it has been miscalculating one of its key video metrics for the past two years, resulting in overestimations of 60%-80%.
We also look at Joshua Topolsky's new venture 'The Outline'; Snapchat's new ad targeting; why Twitter and Facebook's live streaming offerings need to get married; Cartoon Network's new show and why it's the future of kids TV; the resurgence of miniseries; designing VR for Disney; and more!
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Let's get to it!
Facebook overestimated key video metric for two years
Always keen to boast its view metrics, it turns out Facebook has 'miscalculated' them for the past two years.
For the past two years Facebook only counted video views of more than three seconds when calculating its “Average Duration of Video Viewed” metric. Video views of under three seconds were not factored in, thereby inflating the average. Facebook’s new metric, “Average Watch Time,” will reflect video views of any duration. That will replace the earlier metric.
There are both innocent and cynical ways of looking at this, but either way it's a kick in the teeth to ad buyers and marketers who've sunk a lot of money into the platform only to find that one of the key campaign metrics has been artificially inflated. This latest controversy for Facebook comes hot on the heels of accusations over media bias just a few months ago.
Joshua Topolsky on his new company 'The Outline'
Joshua Topolsky is definitely no stranger to publishing or technology, having been formerly the editor of Engadget, then editor of The Verge and co-founder of Vox Media, then head of digital at Bloomberg. His latest venture 'The Outline' is aiming to push the boundaries of digital storytelling, reaching a young, savvy audience that he sees being unserved by the kind of content floated up by newsfeed algorithms.
"Video, gaming, inventive uses of text, audio. There are millions of colors we can paint with in digital and we use four or five."
"Audiences adapt really quickly. Already there’s a new generation of audience that is not that interested in Facebook. There’s a new generation of audience that is not that interested in Snapchat. The only constant in technology is change."
Marketers are getting the Snapchat targeting data they want. Will that scare off users?
Snapchat recently made available super-targeted new offerings to its advertising partners. These include Snap Audience Match, which enables brands to anonymously match their existing email lists to Snapchat users, and Lifestyle Categories, which lets brands target specific users based on their existing preferences.
While ramping up targeting capabilities may be appealing to advertisers, Snapchat can't afford to alienate its users. Many have taken Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel's famous statement that targeted ads are "creepy" as an unbreakable credo.
If targeted offerings result in more relevant content for users, then Snapchat could be on to a winner here, but it will need to proactively mitigate the risk of user churn as it grows its platform.
Future of TV
Twitter's NFL live stream and Facebook’s Sports Stadium should get married
Great insightful piece from Tim Peterson about the challenges that both Twitter and Facebook face in growing a compelling live sports offering.
Twitter's live NFL stream lacks the very context that made Twitter great in the first place, while Facebook's lacks a sense of live action. These two giants can learn a lot from each other about what the future of social-rich live sports TV should look like.
Twitter’s NFL live stream last night was fine, but could have been better if the feeds of tweets attached to it had been better. Facebook’s Sports Stadium, released earlier this year, has been fine, but could be better if the play-by-play feed were closer to live. The two rival products should get married; they complete each other.
How Cartoon Network's newest TV show was built on digital
We've seen before on Rerun how the nature of children's TV is changing. To many children today, the 'TV' is a tablet or phone most likely running YouTube, and they're watching more video than ever. Networks are scrambling for content, including Cartoon Network, whose newest show “Mighty Magiswords” is clearly created digital-first.
It debuted in 2015 on CN's digital pilot network, designed to incubate new ideas and nurture multiplatform shows. No doubt a sign of things to come, where the linear TV episodes are merely an anchor point for a world of shorter, digitally native video.
Cartoon Network has ordered two-dozen 11-minute episodes for the first season of “Mighty Magiswords,” with two episodes airing in weekly half-hour blocks. But that’s just TV. On digital, the linear lineup is paired with 400 additional pieces of original content, including more interactive video shorts, YouTube-esque character “vlogs” and digital games that will roll out alongside the TV series.
How the miniseries became the coolest category in television
Networks hungry for attention and acclaim have quite literally reshaped the definition of miniseries, taking a category that in 2010 could only find two projects to nominate, and turning it into the home of some of the best and most popular shows on television
The miniseries, or 'limited series', is a format that has seen a total resurgence in recent years. No doubt in part due to its friendliness to binge watching, appeal to film actors, and creative freedom. However there's another reason--awards. This feature by The Verge charts the history of the long-vacant miniseries category at the Emmys, which is more fascinating than you might think!
4 things learned designing user interfaces for VR at Disney
James Hsu writes about his experience on the product team at Walt Disney Studios as a lead UI designer working on Disney Movies VR. Blog posts like this are incredibly valuable for anyone working in VR, since we're all in the same boat of trying to figure out this new medium.
The key takeaway from this - look to the real world. Printed signage like billboards offer guidelines for typography. Do everything you can to give good feedback and direction to the user. The nature of VR means environments can be overly distracting, so the clearer your UI is, the better.
- OTT adds US$25bn revenue to the global video industry
- October will see big VR moments from Google, Facebook, and Sony
- Apple hints at VR/AR work once more with Oculus & Magic Leap hires
- Time launches new & expansive VR program
- Netflix targeting 50% of content to be original programming
- VR pioneer & Palmer Luckey's mentor moves to Microsoft
- Huffpost RYOT bringing VR comedy and news shows to Hulu
- GoPro's Karma drone folds up and fits in a backpack
Here’s what it’s like to be scanned into an NBA video game
Ever wondered how an actor or athlete gets into a video game? Well wonder no more because Kurt Wagner from Recode got himself scanned into the NBA's new video game and wrote all about it.
Talk about personalisation!