Tag Archives: YouTube

Watching TV in the Howard House

Chromecast - the best bit of kit on our television
Chromecast – the best bit of kit on our television

Like many households in the UK, our TV viewing habits have changed in the last few years, and continue to change.

To set the scene, we have four kids, ranging from 9 to 14 years old (plus Mrs H and I).

Our TV package consists of the following, each of which I’ll then describe:

  • Sky TV
  • Netflix
  • BT Sport
  • Now TV
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • And recently… an Amazon Prime Trial

Continue reading Watching TV in the Howard House

Fortnightly web reading list

Here’s what I’ve read over the last fortnight.
One thing I experienced over the last fortnight is that we take cloud services for granted. When I upgraded my work laptop to Windows 10, I lost a few days worth of web pages stored in OneTab because I assumed the bookmarks were saved in the cloud – my apologies.
China tourist visas: user research | Government Digital Service – some great advice and experiences on user testing, and the need to do it face to face sometimes.
Warc – Contactless payment takes off– Contactless payments grew 108% in 2014, but as a new technology, should we be expecting an even higher use?

Continue reading Fortnightly web reading list

Happy Tenth Birthday to YouTube

This weekend was Valentine’s Day, and it was also the tenth anniversary for YouTube. On 15 February 2005, the domain name youtube.com was first registered.

Today, YouTube has more than 1 billion users, and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views – and this is growing 50% each year. 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

20 months after the domain name was registered, the site became incredibly successful and the founders Chad and Steve sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion.

Continue reading Happy Tenth Birthday to YouTube

Google Chromecast UK review

2014-03-31 23.39.16I’ve been looking forward to the UK release of Google’s Chromecast device for such a long time now that I’d considered buying a US version and shipping it over. However I was delighted to see them go on general sale in the UK late last week.

Chromecast is Google’s answer to Apple TV, providing a number of services (or apps in fashionable parlance) such as iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube to a standard television. There’s no remote control – you use your phone or tablet (either iOS or Android) to control the device.

And the device is tiny. It looks like a slightly larger USB stick, but with an HDMI plug at the end, to connect into the back of your TV.

Continue reading Google Chromecast UK review

Top 5 Sponsorship Innovations

Working for IMG for a few years, I got to learn a few things about sport sponsorship. It’s one thing to put a sponsor on a t-shirt, but there are also new ways. Here are my top 5 sponsorship activations:

  1. One of my favourite sports sponsorship deals is
    Team Sky Cycling Team Photo: Mogens Engelund
    Team Sky Cycling Team Photo: Mogens Engelund

    the Sky cycling team. My assumption is that Sky didn’t own the television rights to the Olympics in 2012, plus they could see Bradley Wiggins rising through the ranks of British Cycling. This meant he could potentially win the Tour de France and if the sponsorship was activated correctly, the two brands could become synonymous. By pumping more money into the cycling team than any other team was receiving, training and winning was a little easier. Also, some consider cycling as ‘the new golf‘, with popularity steadily increasing, so Sky have capitalised on this too, with events such as Sky Ride. Even the branding and design of the Sky team wear has been carefully thought about.

  2. Deutsche Telekom sponsor Bayern Munich. The German telco also want to prove their IT capabilities, so they use their own domain (which also really helps SEO) for the Bayern Munich website: www.fcbayern.telekom.de. In digital media terms it’s not only innovative, but subtle and effective.
  3. In 2008, a computer gamer and YouTube user, Levinator25, uploaded a video to YouTube of a glitch in the game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. The video showed that if a ball landed in water in a specific place, Tiger Woods would stand on the water and still take the shot. EA responded with a video that is just brilliant, and more importantly, has been watched over 6.5 million times.
  4. Clever marketing from Morrisons for Andy Murray
    Clever marketing from Morrisons for Andy Murray

    When Andy Murray won Wimbledon, most of the UK came to a standstill. Some clever people at Morrisons had thought about this historic event a fortnight earlier when Wimbledon started, and converted the front of their Wimbledon store to read “Murriwins“. Interestingly, I think this was technically ‘ambush marketing‘, because I don’t think Morrisons was a sponsor. And Morrisons isn’t a sponsor of Wimbledon either.

  5. The last example isn’t a sports sponsorship but it’s very clever. And apparently no money changed hands either – quite what type of sponsorship this is categorised as, I have no idea! Nevertheless, for Nestle to sponsor the name of the next Android Operating System as ‘Kit Kat’ is ingenious. The Kit Kat brand can handle this – it’s a bit of fun, and the previous names of Android Operating Systems such as ‘Eclair’ and ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’. For Nestle to agree to this ‘deal’ it demonstrates how mainstream and ‘cool’ the technology has become. Did you know that Android Operating System names are in alphabetical order? This meant Kit Kat nicely slotted into place.

Mark Read, CEO WPP Digital on WPP’s digital future

WPP expect digital revenues to increase at the expense of print
WPP expect digital revenues to increase at the expense of print

This was the first keynote speech of ad:tech London. Here are my brief notes:

A key focus for WPP at the moment is China and the Internet

WPP has more staff in China than in the UK

Digital ad spend will grow from 95bn today to 180bn in 2018, at which point digital will exceed traditional ad spending

Digital will take revenue from print and other channels, not from TV. In fact, TV ad revenue may still grow very slightly to 2018

WPP will be concentrating on this [shopping] list for the next 5 years
WPP will be concentrating on this [shopping] list for the next 5 years
Key trends from Mark:

      1. Mobile. Its beyond advertising. Mobile is a CRM tool rather than another channel for banner ads. E.g. the British Airways app provides branding on a phone, alerts and transactions
      2. E-commerce will become ever more important. The uk is already the second biggest market for ecommerce to South Korea. The question is how to handle Amazon
      3. Data driven. Every website you visit will leave a digital footprint. The question is how to join these footprints and cookies together into one story, or a single customer view.
      4. Social. Many WPP clients see Facebook equals mobile. Mobile usage = Facebook usage. The top mobile apps are Facebook and YouTube (each with over 1 billion installs), followed by WeChat (in China), Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn.
      5. YouTube. 1 billion users consumer over 6 billion hours of content per month. That’s 6 hours per month per person. Video equipment on the high street at affordable prices, not just for professionals. Brands are joining in by supporting user generated content with product placement (e.g. Ford supplying vehicles for travellers).
      6. The Gatekeepers of the internet. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft each have hundreds of millions, and some have billions of users. Working with them, or having a strategy of working alongside them, is key.
WPP feel technology is central to their clients' digital strategy
WPP said that technology is central to their clients’ digital strategy

In the next 5 years digital will account for around 45% of WPP revenue, it’s currently in the mid-30s.

WPP have bought ecommerce provider Salmon who produce the sites for Argos and DFS.

WPP doesn’t want to be a an ad agency. It wants to become a full marketing implementation agency in the next 5 years, competing with the likes of Accenture and Deloitte Digital.

The summary was this:

Ideas + Technology = great digital marketing

You need strength in both areas.

And I couldn’t agree more.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Evian’s Wimbledon Wiggle by We are social

This is the sixth year of Evian sponsoring Wimbledon

We are social found that people we already using the live young tag line in tweets without any prompting

Out of office brainstorming session led to an idea that wasn’t received well by the client. Back to the drawing board…

Wimbledon wiggle came from how the server in a tennis game does a quick ‘wiggle’ before serving. Its obvious and recognisable.

They commissioned some music and created this video:

There was a low barrier to entry for the wiggle.

They created a Facebook app for users to upload their video. Then celebrities including Jonathan Ross joined in. Then Sharapova, who was already an Evian brand ambassador, wiggled.

The best wiggles were shown on outdoor public screens.

80,000 people interacted with Evian, with a 90 million reach

Evian achieved almost 75% share of voice for Wimbledon last year despite having a lower budget than other sponsors such as HSBC and Rolex.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Wireless warfare


A friend of mine is a soldier in the army. His role as an engineer is to set up a wireless network as soon as his regiment has moved into a new position. Setting up the wireless network takes is one of the first priorities when the soldiers move because the generals need to understand where the soldiers are – all the time. They don’t use telephone networks because most of the time the war is being fought in a foreign land (and there’s probably some breach of the terms and conditions of using a roaming network whilst invading a country).

Yesterday a group of us at work listened to the Akamai State of the Internet report. Akamai publish the report each quarter. Akamai probably has a wider view of the global Internet than any other company because they work at a transport and application layer, across multiple Internet providers, and serve so much of the Internet traffic all the way to end users.

One of the sections of yesterday’s report showed that during the Egyptian and Libyan uprisings, the government switched off the Internet. Akamai showed their traffic patterns, and it showed a flat line during these ‘outages’.

Back to my friend in the army. In past wars, aircraft used to drop leaflets over the countries they were invading (or rescuing, depending on your viewpoint) to explain to citizens what they were doing and why they were doing it (your government are the bad guys). In the recent Israel-Gaza war, both sides used voice mails and text messages (as well as the old fashioned leaflets) to warn citizens what was going on.

In the future though, when foreign governments see uprisings such as Egypt and Libya, expect them to deploy Internet hot spots for the public when the host government switch it off. With the amount of mobile and YouTube video content being shown on the news stations at the moment from current middle east uprisings, it’s not unfeasible for the press to provide these hot spots.

Photo courtesy of Dunechaser on Flickr

The war on pirates


Photo courtesy of Scott Vandehey on Flickr

I’ve often said it’s unfair that YouTube is a virtual broadcaster yet not held to account for hosting so many videos which would not be allowed on traditional (i.e. TV or radio) channels. With yesterday’s news of YouTube (Google) acquiring one of the highest traffic (over 2.8 billion channel views) YouTube channels, perhaps YouTube will start to change their ‘moderation’ approach?

To further help YouTube in the war on pirates, I think Amazon and Facebook could soon join sides with Google. 

Amazon (who recently acquired Netflix), Facebook (partnering with Warner Bros) and YouTube are all trying to promote video ‘rentals’ (they really need to change the term) at the $3-$5 price point. One major problem is that it’s too easy to download a BitTorrent client and head to any of the very good BitTorrent search engines to download the movie for free. 

Most of us know a number of people who do not work in the computer industry yet download movies illegally, then transfer them to a media player or stream to a device plugged into the TV.

What the three Internet giants need to do is compete with that ease-of-downloading-illegally – including getting the video on to the TV. They also need to ensure the price point is correct – Internet history has shown this is a difficult art rather than a science.

The giants also need to get together to ensure hosting a BitTorrent search engine (without which, by definition finding the torrent to download will be much more difficult) is as difficult as hosting Wikileaks. They need to get the payment partners on their side as well – just like the Wikileaks war.