Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 21 May 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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British Airways WiFi
(Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

British Podcast Awards

The winners of the annual British Podcast Awards were announced at the weekend.

The full list of winners is here. “Have You Heard George’s Podcast” from George The Poet won five Gold awards, including Podcast of the Year. The BBC’s “Brexitcast” won the People’s Choice award.

Staying on the theme of podcasts, there are signs of much larger players continuing to enter the market, NBC News’ current affairs strand “Dateline” has launched a true crime podcast “13 Alibis” which explores how a man who claimed he had 13 alibis was convicted of murder.

Also of note this week:

“AI: More Than Human” an exhibition exploring our relationship with Artificial Intelligence opens at the Barbican. (Barbican)

BBC Radio 4’s “The Media Show” interviews Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. (BBC)

“Inside Google’s Civil War” (Fortune)

Google also reports on the effectiveness of account security measures. (Google)

New York Times photographer Josh Haner documents the impact of climate change around the world – these were on display at Photo London, Somerset House last weekend. (New York Times)

Facial recognition has been adopted by many airlines to facilitate airport procedures such as boarding of aircraft, with claims that it saves substantial amounts of time. However, there are concerns about permissions and privacy. San Francisco has now banned city departments from using facial recognition surveillance technology. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 14 May 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Apple Store, Carnegie Library, Mount Vernon Square, Washington
Apple Store, Carnegie Library, Mount Vernon Square, Washington (Image Credit: Washington)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

Apple

Yesterday, Apple released the latest version of its mobile operating software iOS 12.3.

The most visible change is a redesigned Apple TV app which includes a range of free catch-up content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All4. It also includes a range of catch-up content for purchase, including the first seven series of Game Of Thrones.

Apple’s release does refer to the new app having Apple Channels where users can subscribe to specific TV services, but this does not appear to be available in the UK yet.

As ever, it’s important to download the latest software to take advantage of the latest security updates.

Staying with Apple, Bloomberg reports that Apple’s chip manufacturers are working on a new chip for three new smartphones that will be unveiled later this year. The three new phones will be successors to the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The two high-end models, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, will also gain a third rear camera with a wide-angle lens.

Apple also owned a new store at the Carnegie Library on Mount Vernon Square in Washington last weekend. There was less good news for Apple elsewhere in Washington yesterday as the Supreme Court in Washington has allowed a case concerning alleged anti-competitive practices in the management of Apple’s App Store to proceed. (Washington Post)

Google I/O 2019

Google held its annual I/O developer conference last week.

Google has listed no less than 100 separate announcements across the fields of smartphones, the smart home, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The two big headlines are new Pixel 3a smartphone and Google Nest Max which is the new name for Google Home. The latter will retail in the UK for £219.

Also of note this week:

The BBC has launched a new podcast “13 Minutes To The Moon” telling across 12 parts the story of the Apollo 11 moon landing. (BBC)

“It’s Time To Break Up Facebook”. It’s not unusual to see polemics against Facebook, but this comes from its co-founder who knows the company’s methods intimately. (New York Times)

It’s “Upfront” week in the US where the major US TV networks present their new shows to advertisers. The Hollywood Reporter has trailers for all the new shows. Meanwhile, Variety details all those that have been cancelled in a notoriously ruthless market.

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 7 May 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 Conference 2019
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 Conference 2019 (Image Credit: Facebook)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

It’s developer conference season for big technology companies.

Facebook held its F8 developer conference last week. Here are some of the main highlights:

A messenger app later this year which is promised to be faster and lighter and a new desktop app.

A redesigned Facebook app is now being rolled out, distinguishable from its all white designed. A designed desktop version of the site will launch later this year. Facebook will also add “Meet New Friends” and “Secret Crush” features. (Facebook)

On a related note, a large number of outlets including The Guardian and Politico are essentially running the same story, based on access granted by Facebook “Inside Facebook’s European Elections War Room”.

Facebook did a very similar PR effort before the US mid-term elections last year, and the “war room” was promptly disbanded shortly afterwards.

As per a news release from Facebook last night, it continues to play whack-a-mole with malicious actors from Russia.

Also of note this week:

As Amazon promises one-day shipping for Prime members in the US, this is an excellent account of the launch of Amazon Prime from former Amazon employees. (Vox)

Bloomberg reports that Apple will unveil plans for its next mobile operating system iOS13 at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month. Updates include improvements to core apps such as mail, maps and messaging. Apple is also rumoured to be planning a standalone App Store for Apple Watch. (Bloomberg)

Buzzfeed on the growth of paid for e-mail newsletters. (Buzzfeed)

Google begins its annual developers conference “Google I/O” today. Ars Technica has a preview of what to expect, particularly for Google Pixel and Google Home. (Ars Technica)

The Los Angeles Times reports on how those behind NBC’s “must see” hits of the 1990s (ER, Friends etc) are shaping television today. (Los Angeles Times)

How targeted advertising works. (New York Times)

WIRED Magazine on launching a pay wall one year on. (WIRED)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 30 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Spotify Studios, Stockholm
Spotify Studios, Stockholm (Image Credit: Spotify)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

The Subscription Economy

The Harris Poll has conducted, on behalf of Zuora, an international survey of 13,359 adults across twelve countries on the subscription economy.

Citing a trend of “access over ownership”, 71% of adults now purchase subscription services, compared to 53% five years ago. A similar percentage also agree that subscriptions free people from burdens of ownership such as maintenance and clutter. This has already had significant implications for television, music and news.

To illustrate this, Spotify has reported 100m premium subscribers for the first time, compared to 75m in the previous year.

A word of caution should be sounded on subscription over ownership models. As subscribers to Netflix will soon learn, all it takes is for rights holders to withdraw content rights for the value of these services to rapidly diminish.

On the subject to streaming the BBC has submitted proposals to the communications regulator OFCOM to allow it to keep programmes on the BBC iPlayer (once the UK’s leading streaming service) for a year after broadcast and to increase archive content.

The Sharing Economy

In another sector of the economy, Uber is preparing for an investor roadshow ahead of its planned IPO where it hopes to achieve a valuation in excess of $90bn.

Uber is of course loss making and in a New York Times profile, Uber considers its losses analogous to Amazon which spent big to grow quickly.

Uber aims to repeat this through Uber Eats, Uber Freight and the acquisition of ebike and scooter company, Jump. However, there are fundamental differences. Amazon may have its distractors, however it is not facing the degree of resistance from regulators that Uber is. Amazon has also built a formidable logistics infrastructure, which Uber has not. To illustrate the point, Politico reports that both Lyft and Uber have stopped recruiting drivers in New York City due to regulatory pressures.

Also of note this week:

As the world enjoys the last series of “Game Of Thrones” the FT reports on tensions between HBO and its new parent AT&T. (Financial Times)

Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the Evening Standard, is reported to be in talks to sell local London TV channel “London Live”. Five years after launch, this channel has fallen far short of expectations and it is rarely seen or talked about in London. (The Guardian)

NBC and Sky News, both now owned by Comcast, are to explore the launch of a new global news channel to rival BBC World News and CNN. (Variety)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 23 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook
Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook (Image Credit: Wired)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

WIRED on Facebook

WIRED magazine has an extensive essay on “15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook” as the company stumbled as it sought to confound its critics and reform itself.

It includes the detail that following the magazine cover on the right, an ad targeted at WIRED readers was mistakenly categorised as “engagement bait” which led to a 90% drop in referral traffic from Facebook.

As the UK Government plans measures to make technology companies responsible for harmful online content, the New York Times reports on tensions between the views of Governments outside the US and conservative / free speech forces in the US on regulating freedom of speech on the internet.

The power of television

For all the talk of Netflix, and its many forthcoming rivals, the vast majority of television viewing is still with linear broadcasting channels.

As part of its “More Than TV” brand advertising campaign, ITV has released a new film narrated by Sir Trevor McDonald OBE highlighting some of the powerful stories told across its drama, entertainment and factual programming over the past 60 years.

Also of note this week:

Amazon and Google introduce free music streaming to their respective smart speaker devices. (Rolling Stone)

Beyonce is reported to have signed a three project deal with Netflix worth no less than $60m. This includes the recent “Homecoming” documentary now streaming on the platform. (Variety)

James Murdoch plans to invest $1bn in media companies. (Financial Times)

The National Cyber Security Centre publishes the most hacked passwords. (NCSC)

The New Yorker publishes its latest travel issue, which includes an extensive report on the impact of AirBnb in Barcelona. (New Yorker)

Major social media channels in Sri Lanka have been blocked following the bombing of churches and hotels on Sunday. (Netblocks)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 16 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Disney Plus
Disney Plus (Image Credit: Disney)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

Disney launches Disney+

Disney will launch its new streaming service Disney+ in the US on 12 November of this year.

Priced at $6.99 a month or $69 a year, it will feature content from Disney’s portfolio of studios including LucasFilm, Marvel, National Geographic and Pixar.

The service will include many films and series from Disney’s back catalogue, all new films released by Disney this year such as Star Wars: Episode IX shortly after release in cinemas, and many series and specials commissioned specifically for the platform.

The service will launch in Western Europe next year. The availability of archive content in individual territories is likely to be complicated by existing licensing deals until they expire.

Whilst the service is unlikely to every reach the scale of Netflix, it will have an unparalleled line-up of high quality content with significant brand equity. (The Walt Disney Company)

Also of note this week:

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pens his annual letter to shareholders. Essential reading for an insight into a phenomenally successful, if not universally loved, company that does make many of its legacy competitors look sclerotic by comparison. (Amazon)

Apple spends hundreds of millions of dollars on video games for its forthcoming “Apple Arcade” service (Financial Times)

Facebook spends $22.6m a year on Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security. (Reuters)

How will HBO survive after the “Game Of Thrones” series finale? (Los Angeles Times)

The New York Times launches “The Privacy Project”. (New York Times)

Can Snapchat, once the young upstart that deemed destined to keep younger users away from Facebook, survive? (Financial Times)

Uber files its “S-1” document with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of is IPO. A very long document but worth searching through for the shopping list of issues facing the company. (SEC)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 9 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Sky News Launch 1989
Sky News Launch 1989

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

The New York Times on the Murdoch Dynasty

Rupert Murdoch belies easy definition.

In launching what was to become BSkyB (now owned by Comcast), he created one of the UK’s most formidable public companies. Sky News regularly puts its better funded rivals to shame. The Sunday Times was, in its heyday, one of the greatest English language Sunday newspapers.

On other hand, many outlets have engaged in criminal activity, spread conspiracy theories, stifled efforts against climate change, and poisoned public discourse.

In an exhaustive three part series, the New York Times Magazine looks at how Rupert Murdoch’s empire impacted the English speaking Western world.

Also of note this week:

KLM introduces wireless streaming to personal devices on Boeing 747 aircraft. (KLM)

Why do 2.7m Americans still receive DVDs from Netflix in the post asks CNN. Also worth adding that the picture quality of streaming whilst “good enough” for most does not match that of physical media. Many Americans also still subscribe to AOL dial-up internet access. (CNN)

“The Golden Age Of YouTube Is Over” (The Verge)

Also on YouTube, how executives ignored warnings and let toxic videos run rampant on the platform in favour of user engagement. (Bloomberg)

WhatsApp has mercifully introduced new settings which restrict who can automatically add users to new WhatsApp groups. (WhatsApp)

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews Anna Wintour. (CNN)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 2 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Our Planet - Netflix
Our Planet (Image Credit: Netflix)

Discovery To Launch Streaming Platform

Discovery is to join Disney and Warner Media in launching its own streaming platform in 2020.

It has signed a content deal with the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Studios, to licence the BBC’s natural history archive (outside of the UK & Ireland and Greater China) such as Blue Planet and Planet Earth.

The BBC and Discovery have also agreed to separate their UKTV joint-venture with BBC Studios taking sole control of channels such as Dave and Watch. Discovery will take sole control of other channels such as Home and Really.

On the subject of natural history programming Sir David Attenborough’s “Our Planet” begins streaming on Netflix from Friday.

The Los Angeles Times Trolls New York

Few are in the mood for April Fools Day stunts at the moment.

However, this Los Angeles Times spoof report on the New York (“a largely culturally bereft island that sits curiously between the Hudson and East Rivers”) food scene is a spot on send up of the New York Times’ notoriously bad reporting of cities outside of New York, Los Angeles and London being cases in point.

Also of note this week:

The BBC sets out its annual plan for 2019/2020 with a particular focus on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds app. The biggest challenge is coming this summer when the BBC announces its plans to absorb the cost of free TV licenses for the over 75s, which were previously funded by Government. (BBC)

The extraordinary story of who hacked Jeff Bezos’ mobile phone. (The Daily Beast)

Facebook has introduced new tools to give greater transparency to its news feed. (Facebook)

Ride-sharing app Lyft has gone public and is now listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. However, its share price has fallen below its initial offer price f $72.00 on its second day of trading. Many other technology companies such as Airbnb, Pinterest, Slack and Uber are expected go public in the coming months.

The Face is to return after a 15 year hiatus. (New York Times)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 26 March 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

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Apple Arcade
Apple Arcade (Image Credit: Apple)

Apple Services Announcements

Apple has announced a suite of new services at a press event at its Apple Park Headquarters in Cupertino.

The announcements were very much aimed at US audience, with relatively little detail on launch plans for the UK. For contractual reasons, Apple’s plans may differ in the UK. The branding, it has be to be said, is distinctly unimaginative.

Apple News+

Apple is to launch a new news subscription service called Apple News+. For a monthly fee this will provide access to a large range of newspapers and magazines in the Apple News app. In the US it is priced at $9.99 a month and is available now. It will launch in the UK later this year.

Apple TV+

Apple is to launch its own streaming service Apple TV+ this autumn. It will feature original TV shows, films and documentaries. Contributors include Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. One drama “The Morning Show” stars Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell and Reese Witherspoon in the cut throat world of American breakfast television.

Whilst not much has been mentioned about European content Apple has recruited Jay Hunt, formerly Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4 who was responsible for poaching “The Great British Bake Off” from BBC1.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade is a new subscription games service with over 100 titles from third party developers such as SEGA. The launch date and pricing will be confirmed later this year.

Apple Card

Apple is to launch a new credit card in the US this summer. It promises immediate cash back rewards, no fees, lower interest rates and no penalty interest rates for late payments. This will be available as a physical card, as well as integrated into Apple Pay. In the US it is supported by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. There’s no word on any launch plans outside the US.

Together with today’s announcements, Apple has issued an updated version of its mobile operating system iOS, version 12.2. As ever it is recommenced that this is downloaded and installed as soon as possible to take advantage of the latest security patches.

Also of note this week:

The BBC has updated the BBC Sounds app to include the ability to pause and rewind live radio.

The BBC also pulls its podcasts from Google Home and the Google Podcasts app. (BBC)

YouTube is reported to have cancelled plans to launch its own scripted series. (Bloomberg)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 19 March 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

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iPad Air with smart pencil
iPad Air with smart pencil (Image Credit: Apple)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

The news over the past week has of course been dominated by events in New Zealand the role of technology in amplifying extremism and distributing footage of terrorist acts.

Much has been already said about this. The promises of Facebook et al that they will clean up their act are starting to wear very thin. Like any business, they need to decide what it is they stand for.

Apple Unveils New iPads

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models.

Apple has launched a new iPad Air with a 10.5″ Retina display and support for Apple Pencil. This is intended to be a more affordable alternative to the iPad Pro.

A new iPad mini with a 7.9″ Retina display also includes support for Apple Pencil. Both are on sale now priced from £479 and £399 respectively.

On a related Apple note, the company is expected to unveil details of its new streaming TV service on Monday 25 March. Apple is reported to have completed filming of five series and another six or so are in production. (New York Times)

Spot The Difference…

Two stories in the Telegraph, about a month apart…

Telegraph Travel
Telegraph Travel

Also of note this week:

Trouble at BBC Radio 4 over budget cuts and adapting to changing listening habits. (The Times)

Brexit makes the cover of The New Yorker.

Two senior executives depart Facebook. (Facebook)

Rupert Murdoch is expected to complete the sale of his media & studio business, bar “toxic assets” such as Fox News, to Disney today. (Los Angeles Times)

Spotify hurls a brickbat at Apple. Apple fires back.

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com