Lightning storm

Is an Apple Car going to be hitting the roads?

Just when we thought they had outdone themselves, we hear that Apple have an electric car in the making! The rumor mill has been going into overdrive this past week surrounding new plans from the tech giant. From Smart Homes and Smart Watches to electric cars, Apple have been causing a lot of conversation, and not all of these discussions have been positive.

Former CEO of General Motors, Dan Akerson is strongly discouraging Apple from making the car. He insists that the car business is a difficult one even for specialists to understand and that Apple “have no idea what they’re getting into if they get into that”. Akerson’s advice to Apple was that they should stick to what they know, and put their energies into making electrical accessories for car manufacturers, but steer clear of attempting to create the cars themselves.

It is not yet clear whether Apple will go ahead with its alleged plans for an electric car. Tesla have been dominating the electric car arena, but it won’t be long before there is strong competition. Google are already working on self-driving technology for cars so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Apple are also considering this venture.

For now the rumors remain rumors, with reports claiming that hundreds of Apple employees are secretly working on this project code-named “Titan”, and that the team has been meeting with high-end car manufacturers.

Can apple transition from making hand-held devices to building electric cars? Various reports and numerous spectators certainly suggest that intent.

Apple Car Pic

Chinese New Year 2

The Year of the Goat is the Year of Social Media

Chinese New Year Google

This year the Chinese crushed it by opening up their celebration to the world of social media and video advertising! Last Thursday’s Chinese Lunar New Year signified the end of the year of the horse, and the commencement of the year of the goat. We, however, saw it as the year that the Chinese festival went virtual.

Those involved in the performance of the show, along with many of its viewers, consider the Lunar New Year Gala the biggest show on the planet. Last year, over 700 million people tuned in to watch it. This year the Gala went global. Video advertisements were featured on big screens in Times Square and digital advertising online and on social media was given a great deal of attention. As traditional and popular as the Lunar New Year Gala is, its organizers still struggle to excite younger generations with the event.

In an effort to gain popularity with the millennial and younger generations, and to share the Gala with people all over the world, they made deals with Google, YouTube, and Twitter; all sites that are banned in China.  This year the Lunar New Year Gala was broadcast live on Youtube, allowing a global audience to watch the festivities.

The annual event causes a huge stir in social media, usually on the part of the viewers. This year the event’s organizers decided to join in. The program’s host partnered up with China’s leading third-party online payment solution, Alipay, to create an electronic prize giveaway in order to create an online buzz surrounding the show. In China, it is traditional for children to receive red envelopes from their elders on Chinese New Year. By encouraging viewers to use the hashtag #SpringFestivalGala during the show they were in with a chance of winning an electronic red pocket from the organization.

Even the 15-day Lunar Festival has broken with tradition and embraced social media, video, and digital advertising. The customary celebration overshadows events such as the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, and creates what can be described as social media frenzy.

Chinese New Year

Video Sharing

Mobile Video Sharing in the Spotlight at Twitter’s Q4 2014 Earnings call

“Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Twitter Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call”. The attention of some of Twitter’s leading members along with many conference call participants, was grabbed with these words which signified the beginning of CEO Dick Costolo’s Q4 2014 Results-Earnings call. Also in attendance were Krista Bessinger, Senior Director, Investor Relations and Anthony Noto, CFO.

During Twitter’s Q3 earnings call and again at their Analyst day, among the three main features discussed was the creation of an ecosystem of new applications and services, perhaps such as an app marketplace, and the instruction of better media creation and consumption. In Q4 Twitter launched and began testing ideas in native mobile video. Costolo commented that he believes video and mobile video sharing will reach the same scale of creation and consumption as photos.

Twitter’s first encounter with video was with Vine. This process of creating and sharing short videos remains very popular with Twitter users, with over 1.5 billion Vine loops each day.

The company have also been using publishers and advertisers to bring videos to the site in recent months. Expansion efforts into SMB media channels are continuing to pay off, with a growth rate continuously outperforming overall growth of their own ad business.

The social network’s video findings show us just how popular videos are with its users. The most recent addition to its media strategy was the introduction of native mobile video to all Twitter users. With this addition, users can now capture, edit and share videos right within the Twitter app. The goal is to make native mobile video fast and easy.

We will no doubt be seeing continuous investment by Twitter on the mobile video front, with CEO Costolo stating that he will personally be investing a good deal of time in this area.

Mobile Video Sharing

snapchat-discover IMAGE

Snapchat Discover

                                   

          

    Snapchat, once a whimsical photo-sharing app, appears to be transitioning into a go-to destination for news and entertainment. Last weeks introduction of Discover has signified that companies are targeting the social media niche, exposing its users to highlighted news stories day-to-day.

In true Snapchat fashion, these stories are viewable as many times as the user wishes for 24 hours. The 11 lucky companies to be chosen for this new feature are CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo News and Warner Music Group. Every day these companies select highlights to show to Snapchat users. After 24 hours their videos expire, prompting them to consistently provide their audience with up-to-date news and entertainment.

This advance is breaking into a previously somewhat untapped market for these companies. The Snapchat user wants quick, current and entertaining stories. Discover reaches an audience who may not keep up with their other news outlets, and does so in a fun and quirky way.

                      snapchat-discover IMAGE

Television production concept. TV movie panels

Video Uploads Arrive on Twitter

After months of speculation, Twitter’s video upload functionality is finally here. How does it work, what can you do and what impact will it have?

Video in 2015

2015 is already being hailed as the year of video advertising. With Facebook making huge strides to take on YouTube and the exponential growth of online video, Twitter needed to upgrade its offerings or fall behind. Although Twitter already has the popular Vine service, the continued growth of Instagram and Snapchat, plus the popularity of longer videos proved the demand for video content of more than just the six second videos Vine offers users.

Twitter video uploading relased - Viddyad Blog

Many industry insiders and publications have speculated for quite a while that Twitter video was on the way, and Tuesday’s announcement confirmed that Twitter is taking its first big steps to grab a share of the online video market.

Mobile First

The Twitter video upload functionality is, for now at least, a mobile-first feature, with uploads of video up to 30 seconds long coming directly from videos taken using the Twitter iPhone and Android apps. Right now, iPhone users can also upload videos directly from their camera roll, with this feature expected shortly for Android devices.

Twitter logo - Viddyad Blog

The mobile emphasis seems aimed at promoting Twitter video as a social feature. For many Twitter is a valuable news source and the ability to add videos straight into tweets could have a huge impact on how developing news stories and current events are reported through the service. Expect to see more clips of sporting events, concerts, political rallies, tech conferences and other popular events that generate big interest online.

Impact on Business

Although this feature seems targeted primarily at social users, an impact on businesses using Twitter is a given. Aside from the obvious impact we’ll see for news services, major brands will undoubtedly start using these videos to promote products and events to their followers in exciting new ways. One of the first video tweets was a clever promotion for the upcoming Oscars ceremony:

Expect much innovation and some clever new video campaigns from different companies in the coming months.

Many other aspects of business will see new challenges and opportunities with video uploads as well. Twitter is a key source of customer support online for a great number of businesses – the ability to share feedback via videos and for brands to respond and interact with them will become important in these relationships.

Anything Else?

Yes – In addition to the big video news, Twitter have also announced an expansion to their DM (direct message) service, allowing for more private communications as users can now direct message up to 20 people. A long overdue update, it’s all aimed at keeping activity within Twitter, so users don’t go and have their private conversations about Twitter content elsewhere.

As big fans of video, we at Viddyad are super excited about these updates and we can’t wait to see how the Twitter experience changes, and how rival networks respond as video content continues to dominate the web.

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