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TV is TV

People want good stuff to watch, no matter how you label it, writes ANDY MARKEN of Marken Communications

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After attending The Pay TV Show a few months ago in Denver, we came to the conclusion that the M&E industry has a huge issue today … and an even huger opportunity.

It can’t figure out what it is, how to label itself or what it wants to be when it grows up.

And surprise, our son and his friends – tomorrow’s big content consumers – could give a rat’s behind.

The other evening, we asked him what he was watching on his phone and in typical cryptic fashion he said, “TV.”

Just to keep the conversation going we said, “Yeah, we can see that but what?”

“Cobra Kai.”

On his way home from school, he had caught up on the news of the day on CBS and then settled in to catch up on Game of Thrones before his newest “gotta watch” show.

And that is why the cable (news, entertainment, sports) bill we were determined to dramatically reduce remains stubbornly at about $100 per month!

It was simpler when we were growing up because everyone huddled around the TV set and watched whatever was on.

Today?

Viewing Change – There used to be an excitement of everyone gathering around the TV to watch something. Today, the family may be in the same room but what they’re viewing/doing depends on the screen they’re looking at. Today’s TV is TV, no matter how you’re watching.

We have choices and everyone in the family exercises her/his right to choose what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, how they want to watch it and where they want to watch it.

The only people who care are folks in the M&E industry – analog terrestrial, satellite and cable folks as well as digital terrestrial, satellite, cable people; OTT bundlers/providers; and on the bottom of the pile, the folks who make the stuff…the content creators, developers, producers.

Increasingly, everyone is hellbent on becoming the sole provider of multi-channel services to the household – phone, internet, content.

The business used to be civilized. The cable guy had the pipe to the home and the network folks bundled a bunch of stuff – good, bad, mediocre – and sold it to the cable guy who put it all into an even bigger bundle and they didn’t care if you watched the stuff or not.

As long as you didn’t call ‘em.

To make service better, they went digital and OTT started offering better stuff combined with convenience – on the viewers schedule – and things changed.

Embarrassment of Riches – With the advent of OTT streaming content, people had the option of keeping, shaving, cutting their cable service and choosing their “favourite” service channel. It’s great content but today, no one wants to watch just one channel.

When Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube started streaming; our smart TV gave us a choice with stuff on our EPG (electronic program guide and the old cable guide).

People in the content food chain – Hulu, HBO, BBC, Vimeo, Disney, Apple, Sling, Philo, CCTV, PlayStation, Pluto, Fubo, TenCent, Hooq, Iqiyi, Voot, Sky, Viacom, AT&T, Verizon, you name ‘em – envisioned a painless, virtually zero cost way of having direct access to the consumer.

Today, about everyone we know has an embarrassment of riches – hybrid TV.

Click here to read more about how hybrid TV is quickly becoming the method of choice.

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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