Hello, and welcome to the newsletter.
This week we have eight stories, ranging from the uptake in mobile payments, Sky’s deal with Netflix, what is popular in VR gaming, and Kim Kardashian’s plan to make stars of her kids
Mobile payments are approaching a tipping point in the UK
Data from WorldPay, based on analysis of the final 3 months of 2017, suggests that mobile payments are hitting a tipping point in the UK. 126m transactions were made, accounting for nearly a billion pounds in spend, representing a 300%+ increase, and now nearly ⅓ of mobile users make payments on their phones. What it means for media is that these payments are now more trackable, and more useful, in that the data could be incorporated into apps in the future, for example to automatically collect loyalty points.
WhatsApp is introducing in-app payments in India
WhatsApp is huge in India, with over 200m active users. It is now entering the growing mobile payments market, surely with an enormous advantage over new start-ups and other recent entrants including Google and Amazon. It is partnering with the local banks, so that, in the same way that you don’t need to remember someone’s phone number of contact them on WhatsApp, you won’t need to remember their bank account details either - it will be their WhatsApp ID.
Content companies are being disrupted by Facebook’s algorithm change
Last week I wrote about Little Things, which blamed ceasing publication on reduced traffic since Facebook’s algorithm change. An update to the story shows that Little Things depended on a whole ecosystem of other pages that it paid to distribute the content - pages which are also now struggling. You can see some of this as ‘black hat’ activity - essentially trying to game the system - but it also shows how many business models were based on an algorithm that a third-party company could just change at will. As with Instagram stars and others, you hope they have other ideas about how to make income.
Sky will incorporate Netflix into its on demand services
In a rare move to reduce walled gardens and ecosystems, Sky is going to incorporate Netflix as an app in its own boxes, as a separate subscription offering. It shows the extraordinary lure of Netflix with its billions of spend, hundreds of original series, and huge demand. The services are still separate, but Sky must be now hoping that people subscribe to both (& in fact research shows that lots are happy to subscribe to more than one service to get all the shows they love).
VR is getting big - for online poker games
A poker game maker quoted in the article claims that people are spending on average an hour a day playing, and spending money to buy credits and so on. Still early days, but games makers like this are good at looking at what works and then adapting the game playing experience accordingly.
Also in VR, 8 new experiences are coming the HTC Vive as part of the marketing for the new film Ready Player One (the book it’s adapted from is brilliant). Most are games, and they are also being released into the new network of VR arcades around the world.
Apple’s ‘Strategy for Controlling Sound’
A long piece from the specialist Apple site Above Avalon that argues that, just as the iPod didn’t become popular because the audio quality was best, the HomePod will succeed because it will offer a better all-round listening experience. The HomePod can take account of features in the room to produce the best experience for any room - it will be interesting to see if people start to buy them in addition to Echos and Homes for the music experience.
Cheeto’s has created an AR app
The app, which launches this week at SXSW, uses augmented reality to recreate whatever you see through your screen in Cheetos - you can see an example of a selfie here
Nice lateral thinking!
& finally - Kim Kardashian West has created a show for Facebook
How is this for a pretty unsinkable idea? Kim Kardashian West has created a kid´s prank show with Lionsgate and Facebook called - wait for it - You Kiddin’ Me - where celebrity kids play tricks on their parents. It’s initially a ten-part series, showing on all platforms for Facebook Watch. This is the sort of reality and light entertainment video that will work brilliantly on Facebook, even with no sound, and presumably very easy to commercialise with breaks built in for mid-rolls etc