Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 85 of Rerun by Axonista!
This week's Top Pick is the launch of Kickstarter Live, an interactive live streaming feature that we think is a great idea.
We also take a look at AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's Hollywood charm offensive, the Netflix for African and African-American movies, ESPN's subscriber shock, Twitch's new video ads, Google's mobile ad experiments, NYT's new daily 360 videos, the future of the VR industry, and some tripped VR art for Doctor Strange.
Let's get straight to it!
Kickstarter launches a livestreaming feature
This week, Kickstarter added live streaming functionality, plus interactive features, including the ability for viewers to ask questions, select rewards and back projects live. This is a great idea for a number of reasons.
1) It's way cheaper (and a better use of funds) for a Kickstarter project to do a founder interview live than produce a high quality marketing video. This is great way for Kickstarter to remove a barrier to entry and grow its userbase.
2) It's a great fun way for potential micro-investors to ask probing questions and create a rapport with the team they're investing in.
3) Adding a live Q&A session with a well known personality or influencer could help build an audience and add weight to a campaign, and open up a new revenue stream for influencers (we haven't seen this just yet, but we're expecting it!)
Inside AT&T Chief Randall Stephenson's Hollywood Charm Offensive
If the AT&T-Time Warner deal goes ahead, AT&T's relatively secretive CEO Randall Stephenson will become the most powerful media mogul on the planet. He'll be in charge of a company worth over $300bn, despite having no direct experience running a content company before. You'd forgive Hollywood for having some trepidation.
Yet those from Time Warner who have met him have come away impressed by his understanding of the creative properties he'd be running and his stance that their independence is sacrosanct. Not only that, but he gives off the right cultural signals as well. More Bob Iger than Rupert Murdoch!
"Randall made very clear to everybody that what they are buying they look at with enormous respect and admiration, and the last thing they have any interest in doing is messing with a winning game." - HBO CEO Richard Plepler
Future of TV
Afrostream launches its video streaming service in 24 new countries
Launching yesterday in 24 new countries, mainly in Africa, French start-up Afrostream has taken a strong editorial approach in providing aggregated content to users interested in African and African-American content rather than providing a seemingly endless library of content.
Already being billed as the “The Netflix for African and African-American Movies”, the French start-up entered into the market with little other than a Facebook page in January 2014 - now boasting over 180,000 fans - and is steadily catching up with French competitor CanalPlay. Initially, Afrostream soft-launched in France (including the DOM-TOMs), Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland and its expansion into the African market.
ESPN Is both right and wrong about its terrible subscriber numbers
Last week, Nielsen released data that showed a dramatic subscriber loss of 621,000 for ESPN in one month, making October its worse month for churn ever, and leading to a collective gasp from the TV industry. In response, ESPN questioned Nielsen's figures as 'a dramatic, unexplainable variation over prior months'. Nielsen has since retracted its original report and is now re-calculating its sums.
However as Matthew Ingram writes in Fortune, this is still a downward trend for ESPN, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle...
Twitch’s new video ads can avoid ad blockers
Video game streaming platform Twitch have figured out a way around ad blockers. They're doing it by taking control of ad delivery, making video ads look to an ad blocker like any other video on the site. It's the same approach that Facebook takes, which has proven very effective so far. Adblock Plus still can't block Facebook's ads.
It's also a step towards Twitch being able to sell ads on its own, rather than rely on third parties.
Here is what Google found In secret video ad experiments
Google's Unskippable Labs ran 16 video experiments with the same ad, altering creative approaches in each video. These creative changes included altering and disrupting camera orientation, pacing and captions etc. The goal was to help brands understand the differences between digital and traditional TV advertising. The experiment highlights that ads have better completion rates if creative choices are made with mobile, desktop and TV in mind. In a nutshell each medium needs its own bespoke ad format which factors user behaviour into its creative choices.
New York Times posting VR videos each weekday with ‘The Daily 360’
The New York Times recently launched a couple of interesting new video properties. The newest is 'The Daily 360', a similar format to their 'Photo of the Day'. Each weekday the NYT posts a topical new 360 video sent in from their network of journalists around the world. We look forward to seeing it evolve over time as 360 video technology improves and journalists become more familiar with using it.
Their other new property is 'Watching', a streaming video-recommendation site. What's interesting about this is how it came to be, starting off as an email newsletter. In fact the NYT have been using email newsletters as a testing ground for some time, having previously launched 'Well' and 'Cooking'.
VR will be a $38 billion industry by 2026
With a growing number of virtual reality hardware platforms already hitting the market, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Daydream, the latter of which hits stores on November 10th, you’d be forgiven for thinking that VR is an already bustling industry; it isn’t there yet, but growth will be at a steady pace, according to a 10-year industry forecast from Greenlight Insights and Road to VR.
So what’s stalling the progress? The lack of quality content. However, the big earner for VR in the coming years might be hardware: the report estimates that about 62% of revenue will come from the sale of headsets, VR cameras, and other gear. Facebook-owned Oculus and Microsoft have talked about standalones, though neither have shared timeframes on when they expect to release their devices. Another significant shift in the industry is expected to come in 2020, the report concluded, when revenue from consumer-related VR experiences like games will be surpassed by enterprise experiences like workforce training.
- Lionsgate wants to spend $25 million per year on projects led by online video stars
- Facebook reportedly doubles down on esports streaming rights
- YouTube is still having trouble getting people to pay for YouTube
- Google’s Daydream VR headset is coming November 10th
- Eurosport is Discovery’s ‘Sports Netflix’
- Mic is bringing video to push notifications
VR artists' trippy 'Doctor Strange' creations give a sneak peek at the Dark Realm
Doctor Strange, is the latest film to receive VR treatment in its promotional campaign. Painted by three artists using Tilt Brush by Google, the videos leverage VR to promote the film's reality bending graphics and cinematography. It's more evidence that VR is becoming a seminal tool for film promotors, engaging audiences in more immersive experiences. We popped a VR headset on at Rerun and we particularly enjoyed the third video. The kaleidoscopic graphics give a sneaky taster to a key movie location. We recommend you check them out above!