XBox: yet another reason not to invite friends round

A news story on Techcrunch tells us that Netflix, the online movie & TV show subscription service, is soon coming to XBox, meaning that Netflix subscribers can access all the content they buy through their console.

But the most important part is that it’s not a solo experience; using the Live Party feature, you’ll be able to watch the content with a group of up to 8 friends, wherever they are, using their XBox too. 

It’ll be interesting to see how the sociability angle works whilst people are watching (forum-style comments underneath? your friends voices talking over the show?). 

But one thing for sure is that the potential functionality of watching content ‘together’ whilst physically separate is going to be far greater than anything that standard TV platforms can produce.

The whole story’s here.


Steve Ballmer talking, err, balls…

…at least, about his view on the future of advertising/content/media, all wrapped up in a nice little analogy about watching golf…

“It’s going to be harder and harder to tease apart what’s communications and what’s media because if I say I am watching a golf match and at the same time I see Tiger Woods’ golf ball I take my clicker, it points at it, it figures out that it is a Nike Elite, it says ‘Do you want to order a dozen balls for you and your friends?’. Advertising, commerce, community and content all kind of blend.”

See the video from the Washington Post here:

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Meet TED, you'll love him…

In 1984, a conference started in California called TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), in which notable speakers were given 18 minutes to give the ‘speech of their lives’.  It’s been running ever since.

But the big difference now is they have the TED website, which brings together loads of speeches from TED and other conferences from great speakers (Al Gore on climate change, Chris Bangle of BMW on cars as art, Chris Anderson of the Long Tail on technology) and hosts them online for free.


It’s fast becoming the home of great presentations, and perfect for a wander to help feed your puppy.

But it’s also another example of how ‘free’ helps drive businesses.  Without doing this, TED would be a pretty neat little conference in Long Beach, and a few people would know, and go every year, and they might sell out if they’re lucky.

With this site in place though, hundreds of thousands of people around the world know about it… and it sells out hours after the tickets go on sale.  It’s like Glastonbury used to be… people buy expensive tickets well in advance of actually knowing what’s on.  It’s a great business model.

Anyway, have a look at the montage of the top ten speeches for a taste.  And take some inspiration from the way these people present, too, they are masters of the art.


More sales is not always the ideal

Managing your traffic and sales online is not as clear as generating sales and being happy with it. Knowing who drives these sales and creating a mutually beneficially relationship (good consumer experience and protecting your brand) was the driving reason behind creating our own affiliate network at PHD.

This warning from Easyjet to Expedia and other sites who “scrape” the flight details and sell direct to consumers from their site is a great example that more sales channels you cannot control are not the way forward. Likely increased process and prices for a more complicated booking experience are not in the consumer or brand interest.

You can argue that a sale is a sale, but considering your brand experience is seen in the deal between 02 being the preferred sales partner of iPhone, undoubtedly there would have been more sales of iPhone if it was broadened to other retailers. The insistence from Easyjet that sales should come from their site gives them sight of their own consumers and allows them to manage the dialogue. Taking a short term view you may find that it’s your partners who end up having the conversation, which effectively commoditises the purchase process and leaves you unable to add value via your brand.


Digital brain rot?

That digital media has encouraged a kind of partial attention consumption (or multitasking if you are describing yourself) is no new idea; devices and applications encourage this behaviour, through IM alerts overriding all other computer functions, and social networks such as Twitter thriving on the general trivial reality of now.


The question that an article by Nicolas Carr asks is whether computers giving us access to information and choice erodes our brain functions and intelligence.


I’m not sure I’d go so far; it seems to invoke the hilarious visiting aliens from films who can only talk in clipped advertising they have picked up via distant broadcasts and which forms the only reference of their thought. 


Whether we would be more intelligent if we wrote letters sealed by wax instead of writing an email is debatable, but I’m sure that one method would be a quicker process.


TV Platform Update

1. BBC iPlayer on Nintendo Wii and Virgin Media

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<wrap type=”square”>In April it was announced that the BBC had brokered a deal with Nintendo to allow the BBC iPlayer – the corporation’s online catch up TV service – to be accessed via the Wii console.


Broadband connectivity to games consoles like the Wii, Xbox and PS3 makes them ideal vessels for accessing web video; there are currently 2.5m Wiis, 2m Xboxes and 1m PS3s in the UK (source:


Because consoles are connected to TV sets, they are likely to be more popular than the PC screen for viewing TV programmes and films.

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In this same month iPlayer launched on Virgin Media TV, allowing the online service to be used with the Virgin remote and to be viewed on a TV set. 3.4m Virgin Media homes are now able to access iPlayer on TV sets.



iPlayer on Wii



iPlayer on Virgin Media

2. Sky and the PSP

Sky and Sony have announced a partnership which will allow Sony PSP owners to download TV programmes and movies to the handheld PSP. Called Go!View, the service will be both subscription and pay-per-view based, inviting people to download content for their PSP’s once they have registered on a website.

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</textbox><wrap type=”square”></wrap></shape>The PSP has also attracted renewed attention after Sony showcased its new PlayTV product for the PS3. PlayTV, which launches in July, will turn the PS3 into a Freeview PVR. In addition the small Play TV adaptor will allow PS3 users to access their content whilst out of the home


For advertisers, there is the potential for marketing branded content via Go!View. For example, Nike funded a programme called the Cesc Fabregas show, which was broadcast on Sky One and then cut into bite-sized footage for online distribution. This re-edited content would have been a perfect for Go!View and a mobile audience.



Go!View on PSP

3. BT Vision puts web content onto TV sets

BT Vision, the Freeview set-top box that includes a PVR and ADSL delivered Video-On-Demand, is currently trialling a service that will allow content providers and advertisers to adapt their websites for TV viewing.


Built in html and using a template that works on a TV screen and with a remote control, these channels can stream video on-demand, as well as offer web functionality like emailing and e-commerce.

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</textbox><wrap type=”square”></wrap></shape>Although BT is selling this concept to advertisers, we believe that it is only appropriate to those brands that already have a vast amount of video content to justify an on-demand channel; Audi, for example, already have Audi TV to use.



BT Vision VOD template example


4. Virgin Media’s ‘Showcases’

Cable TV service Virgin Media is now offering advertisers the opportunity to place branded content in its VOD service via its 3.4m set-top boxes. Located in a section called ‘Showcases’ on the Virgin EPG,  branded content will also be made available to viewers via the ‘Catch Up TV’ menu, which is the most popular area of VOD on Virgin.



Advertiser Showcase mock up on Virgin Media

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Presentation; now and zen…

This morning I came across a brilliant blog on presentations; the greatest styles, exponents, tips, hints and the like – it’s called presentation zen

It’s by a fella called Garr Reynolds, who’s also got a website in which he gives you ten brilliant tips for

i) preparing your presentation

ii) writing your slides

iii) delivering your presentation

All are well worth a ten minute read next time you’re preparing a presentation.


words + pictures > words or pictures

There’s a great post here by a guy in Texas called Austin Kleon on how to create great presentations, you should look to comics…

In a typical comic cell, you’ll have the images, and the speech bubbles.  In a presentation, you probably don’t need the speech bubbles, you’re better off using your voice.  Which means all you should have up on the chart are the visuals…



The ultimate viral

Tamar Weinberg’s Techipedia blog – it’s a new video by Weezer, and they’ve taken just about every viral video star they could contact, and got them all together for one big viral video celebration which is Weezer’s new video…

It’s just ace.  And it shames the creatives who rip-off one video badly for an ad.  Though what’s the chances of seeing a sanitised version of this concept in an ad in 6 months time? ]]>