The Di-gest: February 2019

5 March – 2019

Each month, we look back at some of the marketing, social media and brand stories that caught our eye over the last few weeks. This month we look at some of the key digital marketing trends in 2019, how a huge brand going after a small rival can sometimes help the underdog, the launch of the UK’s answer to Netflix, how turning off social media can get you hotel perks, and much more. Keep reading for everything you need to know in February’s Di-gest.

BBC and ITV launch new streaming service

As the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to dominate the TV streaming markets, 2019 looks set to be the year that new rivals try and establish themselves.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has called the company’s launch of Disney+ their ‘biggest priority’ for 2019 and the channel will feature original Star Wars and Marvel content among much more.

Now, the UK’s two biggest terrestrial channels have teamed up to launch BritBox. The service aims to be the first choice for British box sets as well as new commissions and on-demand classics.

BBC director general, Tony Hall, added: “I am delighted that the BBC and ITV are working together on something truly special – BritBox. A new streaming service delivering the best home-grown content to the public who love it best.”

While the BBC have not publicised their investment, ITV say they will commit up to £25 million in 2019. Considering that Netflix spent an eye-watering $12 billion on new content in 2018, the amounts cited by BritBox look to be a drop in the ocean. Can it really compete with its rivals offering occasional new shows and box sets of Fawlty Towers?

Another nail in the coffin of local radio

While BBC and ITV join forces to create a service that provides localised TV content to its audience, one of the country’s big radio giants has announced a move to do the exact opposite. Global Radio is cutting more than 100 jobs across the UK as it centralises much of its programming across its Capital, Smooth and Heart stations.

Instead of locally-based content, listeners will now hear the same Global shows irrespective of where they are based in the UK.  The move comes after Ofcom introduced new regulations that permitted station owners to reduce the minimum amount of local programming on local radio stations during daytime hours from seven hours a day to three. The body also ended the requirement for local stations to produce their own breakfast shows.

The move effectively creates three national stations, each of which will now have just one locally-produced show a day. Global will also close 10 of its 24 regional studios.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Replacing local voices with London-based presenters will be a terrible loss to communities across the country. Radio has unique reach, providing listeners with national and a local news and friendly company. This announcement is a terrible blow.”

Minnows gain moral victory over Manchester United

Back in 2014, Alex and Sian Pratchett set themselves the challenge of filling their World Cup 2014 Panini album with their own improvised sketches to save money buying stickers. The badly drawn collection went viral, and now their work is sold online – at least until one of the world’s richest clubs stepped in.

A Man Utd told the BBC: “Permission to use Manchester United’s intellectual property is only granted to official licensees, partners and sponsors of the club. Because Panini Cheapskates’ items featured the Manchester United word mark, they unfortunately infringed those intellectual property rights.”

Here’s the property rights they claim have been infringed:

Let’s contrast United’s approach with that of West Bromwich Albion. The Midlands club contacted the couple not with a ‘cease and desist’ letter but instead with a request for them to draw their own players so they could auction off the items for charity.

It’s the latest example of the humourless approach that big brands often take. Of course, the couple have had the last laugh through massively increased interest in their work. They have also renamed both the players and the club to circumvent the intellectual property rights, which has resulted in this…

We love an underdog victory. Bravo!

3 digital trends to follow in 2019

We enjoyed this article highlighting some of the important digital marketing trends of 2019. Our work for clients has seen us become experts in some of these trends, most notably:

  • Influencer marketing – people tend to trust consumer opinions over corporate statements. So, working with key influencers in your sector can reap huge rewards. On behalf of a client, we’ve been working closely with a range of influencers which has seen brand awareness and our social media following grow significantly. Influencers spreading a positive message about your product or service can help you to ‘get the word out’
  • Voice search – it’s estimated that 50% of all search will be voice search by 2020. We’ve been working to develop voice search apps for a client, which involves not only clever keyword research (what people say is different to what they type) but also to write responses in a conversational tone. And, with voice ad space not too far away, marketeers will also be able to buy ads for home speakers
  • Social media stories – we’ve been using social media stories to share feedback from customers, influencer activity and ‘countdowns’ to specific events or competitions.

Travel companies tell customers to turn their phones off

We’re constantly told that we should turn our phones off and spend more time living our lives. Now, hospitality chains are going a step further by actually offering perks to guests who ditch social media during their stay.

Forbes reports that the Check Out Suite at the Hotel Bellora in Gothenburg recently ran a promotion designed to tempt guests into going without WiFi by offering a night’s free stay.

Guests plugged their devices into a special lamp that measured social media usage by changing colour from white to red. According to the hotel website: “The price of the hotel room increases as the light changes from 0 SEK to full price with a cost of 20 SEK per minute spent online. After recommended recreational screen time of 30 minutes per person (two hours for a family with four members) the lamp switches to red and you have reached full price for The Check Out Suite.”

Other travel organisations are following suit. Some Wyndham hotels offer benefits such as dedicated pool chairs and snacks to guests who lock up their mobile device that can only be opened by hotel staff. And airline JetBlue offered the prize of an unlimited flight pass – the catch being you had to wipe your Instagram feed clean.

Would you exchange ca regular check of your phone for hospitality perks?

YouTube forced to act to stop child exploitation on the site

One thing that is sure to nudge social media companies into taking action is the loss of advertising revenue. So, the decision by Hasbro, Nestle, Disney and Fortnite to pull their advertising has led to YouTube banning more than 400 channels and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos to try and combat child exploitation on the site.

One of the main problems for YouTube is that its own recommendation algorithm forms part of the problem:

  • a search for popular video niches leads YouTube to recommend similar content
  • if a user clicks on a single recommended video featuring a child, YouTube’s algorithm can then push content which features children
  • these videos become inundated with comments from child predators
  • these users can share contacts so they can trade child pornography.

The problem for brands is that many of these videos featured their adverts adjacent to these comments.

It’s an interesting challenge for the platform. YouTube say: “These channels will be required to actively moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools, and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behaviour. We will work with them directly and our goal is to grow this number over time as our ability to catch violative comments continues to improve.”

YouTube has also accelerated the launch of a comment classifier that will identify and remove predatory comments that it says will detect and remove comments twice as effectively as its previous version.

Fight for your world

“Are you for the world…or against it? It’s time to decide.”

This is the message from this powerful new film from WWF, encouraging us to ‘fight for our world’.

Beautifully filmed, with a truly powerful message.