July 26, 2016

The Month in Media - July

Businesses trying to catch them all: Pokémon Go players – Catherine WestJuly is historically a month to spend outside enjoying high temperatures and summer sunshine, but this month we see a 20 year old franchise bringing people outdoors. The Pokémon GO App was launched in July by Niantic, a Google startup alongside the Pokémon Company, which licenses the franchise and is part owned by Nintendo.The app based game uses location based augmented reality to place Pokémon characters in the real world. Rather than hunting for a creature at a fictional place, users now find them appearing in the living room or even in their breakfast bowl. In order to hunt as many Pokémon as possible, it is key to actively move around and explore the surroundings, and some characters are only available in certain countries and special events.It has caused Nintendo’s stock volatility to increase and is rumoured to have been downloaded 50 million times, but that’s not all. Articles about the game have been in all forms of news and media exploring the phenomenon and its effects. It has been reported that a man in New Zealand quit his job to become a professional Pokémon Trainer; people with depression are using the game to explore their surroundings; others posted videos from people searching for Pokémon while at a Beyonce concert.Forbes has also weighed in, analysing how Pokémon GO can lure more customers in to local business and has been viewed 260k times in 3 weeks. The idea that businesses can benefit from the hype by making their locals PokéStops to drive additional foot traffic into stores by offering Pokémon inspired food or dishes (for restaurants and coffee shops) has also experienced a great amount of interest.To do so, the Pokémon GO features a ‘Lure Module’, an in-game item that can also be purchased by business owners/players. This attracts Pokémon to a particular destination for 30 minutes, and could attract potential new customers to business stores.While the idea is great, and I am sure a lot of Pokémon fans would love to enjoy a Pokémon- inspired cuppa, businesses need to understand that their consumers are changing. Even if the hype does not last, Pokémon GO has changed how clients are interacting with their environment, both physically and digitally. While we can't all quit our jobs to become Pokémon masters, we can certainly watch this trend and be curious about what's appearing next on the radar.Spotify gets serious about programmatic – Tom PhelanSpotify expanded its programmatic offering in July by opening up its audio ad inventory and signing deals with the Rubicon Project, AppNexus and the Trade Desk.The music streaming service wants to be the place advertisers turn to when they want streaming data on their media plans. Only display and video inventory was available programmatically before the July deals. This is clearly part of a long-term growth strategy for Spotify, which at present operates at a loss.Spotify previously traded audio ads via an audio-only ad exchange at a fixed price, with all campaigns booked through manual insertion orders. The company’s investment in ad tech is good news for the Spotify Free audience because it should ensure that the free service stays open to users. The move comes at a time when the Swedish firm faces mounting competition from Apple Music and Tidal.Bringing AppNexus on board means that Spotify can now offer advertisers the ability to reach mobile consumers in situations that do not allow for visual engagement (such as walking, driving, working, or exercising). It’s estimated that 79% of audio consumption is around such activities (Nielsen).Spotify will be hoping that this move might just generate some operating profit, but with Apple Music (which probably doesn’t need to return a profit) eating up its users, programmatic expansion may not be the great panacea it’s hoped to be.Oxford Street gets a rebrand – Tineal De JagerOxford Street, one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets with around half a million daily visits, is charting a push to rebrand. The popular Street currently generates around £5bn a year in sales and is set to increase by £1bn by 2020 with the introduction of the Crossrail’s Queen Elizabeth line in 2018 as counties such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex will be given direct links to Oxford Street for the first time. Oxford Street will also become the first shopping stop from Heathrow which gives the Street a great opportunity to attract tourists.In the middle ages, Oxford Street was known as Tyburn Road and was once notorious as a street where prisoners from Newgate prison would be transported towards a public hanging. It only became known as Oxford Street in the 18th century and began to change character from a residential street to commercial and retail purposes by the late 19th century. The first UK department stores opened on Oxford Street in the early 20th century including Selfridges, John Lewis and HMV.The Wasserman Agency was appointed by The New West End Company, which manages Oxford Street’s three miles of shopping to assist in the rebrand. Their goal is to grow Oxford Street by making it a hotbed for world firsts. They believe the key to growth is to give people things they can’t get anywhere else whether that is the Shakespeare theatre at Selfridges, or John Lewis’ Smart Home only being in its Oxford Street store. They are also working with TFL to reduce the street’s pollution levels by turning Bird Street into the first ever Smart Street. Bird Street will generate energy to clean the air based on the number of people who walk through it.I feel these strategies have been put in place to assist in helping the UK’s economy and tourism with the pound’s strength decreasing day by day – this in itself will make it more affordable for tourists to visit the UK and spend their hard earned cash on our Oxford Street!

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