Twitter’s head of news, government, and elections, Adam Sharp, told HuffPost that Twitter is on track to be the first screen for a mobile-first, cord-cutting audience; one with an appetite for news and politics that’s a combined experience of live video and conversation. In combination with BuzzFeed and Decision Desk HQ, a polling and data operation, the aim is to deliver a more relevant, factual way to follow the election night results, tapping analysts insights as polls close across the country versus the cable channels simply “reading Tweets.". “This is not going to be your grandparents election night broadcast,” Sharp told HuffPost.
Twitter Announces First-Ever Sport Agreement Outside the U.S.
Last week I took a look at how Twitter continues to flex its live streaming muscle as 2016 progresses, while in the midst of an uncertain future, as Salesforce, Alphabet/Goolge, Apple, and Disney have walked away from potential M&A bids (for now). As I expected, more sports deals were to come. Two days later, the Australian Emirates Melbourne Cup announced their plans to live stream their sporting event on Twitter. "Live streaming the race that stops a nation with the VRC and the Seven Network, combined with the live commentary and conversation on Twitter, will create a one-screen experience at the centre of the action unlike any other,” stated Jonathan Harley, Twitter Australia's Director of Media Partnerships.
“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with Twitter to stream the Emirates Melbourne Cup to a worldwide audience,” added Nick Addison, VRC Executive General Manager of Commercial Operations, “Becoming the first professional sporting event in Australia to be live streamed on the social networking platform.”
Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine Wants to Set the Record Straight (no pun intended)
Jimmy Iovine believed he needed to clear up what he thought to be the "hogwash" written by Rolling Stone, "People in the record business are getting into tech so they can talk to people in the record business." So here it is, according to his interview with Billboard. "We are an adjunct to labels and artists," Iovine told Billboard. "Yeah, it's a popular culture company, but it's also a tool. And that's what we're building. We're not in the record business."
Going from many years at Interscope, to the development of Beats Electronics with Dr. Dre, then to Beats Music that “was both technically right and culturally right” took 10 years. “Then we sold to Apple.” The process involved hundreds of people, some of them with key insights, such Trent Reznor who brought both the technical knowledge and the artist’s perspective. There’s more to the story, which is why Iovine felt he needed to tell it himself, so read the full Billboard interview here.
This confusion clearing follows last year's, "Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine says women have a hard time finding music."
Facebook’s iMessage Deep Links Even Further into Music Streaming
As iMessage continues to expand its way into chat bots, it’s also popping up in more music streaming services like Pandora. In their newly rebranded app (and logo that got a bit of grief for being quite similar to the Paypal ‘P’), Pandora is the first streaming service to launch its own iMessage extension, which enables users to share songs through the messaging platform. Apple Music and Shazam also enable sharing of tracks through iMessage, pointing users back to Apple Music or iTunes.
Pandora provides a more native experience within the app extension. For example, as a Two Door Cinema Club fan, I send my friend Julie a 30-second sample of “Lavender” from the new album, Gameshow. She gets it, likes it, and can start a new Pandora artist station based on that song, which could introduce her to other similar artist like Teleman, Temples, and Everything Everything. If Julie didn’t have Pandora, she would be prompted to download it. If she did have it, she wouldn’t need to be logged into the app to hear the track.
For those of you who have yet to download iOS 10, like me, you’ll need to do so before you’ll be able to take advantage of Pandora’s new iMessage feature. No news yet on the Android version.
Shazam Partnership with Vadio Bring Music Videos to the App
In the app world, download metrics always seem to be the center of most user growth marketing initiatives. But this KPI is becoming liken to Facebook likes as a metric for success. Only with downloads and registered users, what REALLY matters is how often users are on the app, how much time they spend in the app, and how much said app becomes a part of their daily routine.
Last week Shazam partnered with Vadio, “a music video platform that drives digital engagement,” to bring users deeper into the Shazam in-app experience.
“We want to give fans a great reason to spend more time with Shazam by giving them access to a rich and immersive music video experience,” said Fabio Santini, Chief Product Officer for Shazam. “In turn, this creates new revenue opportunities for artists and, moreover, powerful ways of gaining exposure for brands.”
This new feature will reach into 190 countries, featuring over 1,800 “verified” artists sharing content with “over 3 billion cumulative followers," according to Shazam. That’s a hefty, geographically varied audience for brands to tap into, so it will be interesting to follow what brands create and how they engage with Shazam’s “hundreds of millions of global users.”
In other news...
HBO is SO Over Cable's Money Grab - HBO added nearly 3 million U.S. subscribers in 2015, a two-year gain that exceeded growth numbers from the last thirty years. Meanwhile, it was the Pay-TV networks who gained monetarily. HBO has set out to renegotiate new deals with the likes of Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, and Comcast, while ensuring them that HBO Now doesn’t lead to cord-cutting AND working on a potential new deal with Hulu. I for one, am looking forward to the latter.
Amazon Debuts Their New Music Streaming Model and Lower Price Point - Last week Amazon heated up the streaming music market with THREE new subscription price models, adding to their existing, but limited, music streaming service that comes with Amazon Prime. For this new Amazon Unlimited plan, meaning, they’ll offer closer to 40 million or so tracks to be on par with Spotify, Apple Music, or Deezer, Prime subscribers will pay $7.99 a month or $79 a year, non-Prime subscribers $9.99 a month, and for those of us who only want to stream Unlimited on our Echos (no desktop or mobile device support), the cost is less than a proverbial Starbucks coffee at $3.99 a month. With an estimated 54 million users of Amazon Prime, or nearly half of all households, Unlimited will no doubt stir the streaming pot.
Getting Cable Under the Sea - While Netflix is still battling mainland China to open up its subscription service, companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are going covert. As in, "plowing money into an 8,000-mile ultrafast link between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, a special Chinese territory where their services can be viewed and that serves as a key network hub for Asia," reported CNN Money of the two tech giants, Facebook and Google. This aggressive move is forgoing telecom companies to provide the pipe, and instead, are going classic tech DIY style. Facebook had also partnered with Microsoft on a similar cable project under the Atlantic.