Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 12 March 2019

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

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Sankha Guha, Magenta De Vine, Rough Guides
Sankha Guha, Magenta De Vine, Rough Guides

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

Why oh why?

The past couple of days have obviously seen a major aviation story dominate the news headlines and TV news.

Each time this happen there is the recurring question of why do the same contributors always appear on the BBC, Sky News and other media outlets?

A combination of cuts to newsroom budgets and the growth of 24 hour news means there are fewer specialist correspondents employed by broadcasters. The skill demanded of TV news presenters and reporters today is the ability to present “open ended” coverage of any story. They are generalists not specialists, and they need to be able to call on contributors.

Like any industry, it’s not what you know but you know. It was no coincidence that ten years or so ago Virgin Atlantic could get easy coverage on BBC News because its then Director of Communications had previously worked for the corporation.

Regular contributors are also very familiar with the studio environment and broadcast media. They know they have a very limited amount of time on air and must get straight to the point. They know during an interview not to look directly in to the studio camera like a scared rabbit and not to bang their hand on the desk. They know to give the presenter pointers on what questions to ask before the interview when the cameras aren’t running.

There may be other experts on hand. But they may not be willing to make themselves available at very short notice to travel to inconvenient locations (Sky News studios are in Osterley) for what are very modest appearance fees. Put simply, they could be earning a lot more money doing other things. And they simply may not perform well on what is a very superficial medium.

Thus, it’s easy for a researcher working in a high pressure newsroom environment to pick up the phone to someone they know who will be both available and reliable rather than try someone who is untested and risk the wrath of an editor and the viewers.

Rough Guides Remembered

A large part of television today is influenced a short-lived programme called “Network 7” that ran on Channel 4 for just two series in the late 1980s.

Dubbed “a channel within a channel” the two hour programme that had the mantra “News is Entertainment. Entertainment is News.” It featured short bite-sized features, frenetic camera work and ever changing graphics were a near permanent presence on screen.

One of its co-creators Janet Street-Porter was recruited by the BBC to revamp its youth output. Janet took two of Network 7’s reporters, Magenta De Vine (known for her trademark sunglasses) and Sankha Guha, with her. One of Janet’s creations was “The Rough Guide..”

With sometimes awkward juxtaposition, it featured both serious and light insights on its featured destinations from the perspective of its residents for independent travellers. At the time this was genuinely groundbreaking television. Previously travel shows featured what were effectively heavily mannered infomercials on package holidays.

Magenta De Vine sadly passed away last week at the young age of 61.

Also of note this week:

How the internet travels across the oceans. (New York Times)

US Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren calls for the breakup of major US technology companies. (Washington Post)

How Twitter wants to change the way we tweet. (Recode)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 March 2019

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

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HBO Logo
HBO Logo (Image Credit: Home Box Office)

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

HBO

For decades HBO has been the benchmark for the “golden era” of television producing a string of exceptionally high quality and critically acclaimed hits from The Sopranos to Game Of Thrones.

One of its latest works is the Michael Jackson documentary “Leaving Neverland”. Part 1 aired in the US on Sunday and will be shown by Channel 4 in the UK tomorrow. As per Slate, it has generated extensive coverage.

It’s this benchmark that led rival channels to create “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”.

Its success is partly down to the fact that it relies exclusively on subscription revenue and, crucially for an American channel, does not take advertising and doesn’t answer to advertisers.

Quality is also profitable. Last year, the channel made a profit of $2bn.

Although it has been part of a media conglomerate Time Warner, the channel was largely left to its own devices under the leadership of Richard Plepler who, until last week, had been CEO of HBO for 27 years.

That has now changed since Time Warner merged with AT&T. HBO is being subsumed with other TV channels in the group and is expected to produce more hours of output to rival Netflix.

How a channel built on nurturing personal relationships on the East & West Coasts survives the data driven demands of its hands-on new parent will be interesting viewing in itself.

Also of note this week:

Emily Sheffield launches a new news start-up based around Instagram Stories. (Buzzfeed)

Luminary is a new subscription podcast service promising 40+ ad free podcasts, with the inevitable Netflix comparisons. (New York Times)

The New Yorker reports on the extensive levels of co-operation between Fox News and the White House. It includes that Fox spiked negative stories in advance of the 2016 Presidential Election. There are shades of phone hacking at The News Of The World here. This is not going to end well. (The New Yorker).

The hapless Chris Grayling manages to make it to the pages of The New York Times. (New York Times)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 26 February 2019

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

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"After Life", Ricky Gervais, Netflix
“After Life”, Ricky Gervais, Netflix (Image Credit: Netflix)

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

After Life – Netflix

After Life is a new six part comedy series written and directed by Ricky Gervais.

Ricky Gervais plays Tony who had a seemingly perfect life but changes after he becomes a widower. Reports from previews have been very encouraging and it does look beautifully shot. It will be available on Netflix from Friday 8 March.

Also of note this week:

Adland reflects on 35 years since Apple’s “1984” TV ad. (Campaign)

How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain. (New York Times)

What happened to the Vanity Fair Oscars Party? (New York Times)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 19 February 2019

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

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“The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley” (Image Credit: HBO)

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

“Fake it till you make it”

HBO investigates Theranos, a once multi-billion dollar healthcare company, founded by the charismatic Elizabeth Holmes.

“Move fast and break things” has long been the mantra of Silicon Valley. It’s not such a wise idea when it comes to people’s health.

Thermos had promised to revolutionise healthcare with a proprietary blood testing kit that was not only more effective and considerably cheaper than its alternatives. The company had high profile backers, including Rupert Murdoch and Larry Ellison. Holmes was feted as the Steve Jobs of healthcare.

There was one small problem. It simply didn’t work. The entire product was an artifice. Not only that, its products put patients health at risk. The company is now worthless. Its founder is due to stand trial, charged with defrauding investors, doctors and patients.

“The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley” documentary premieres next month on HBO in the US. There’s no date set yet for broadcast in the UK.

Also of note this week:

Apple is expected to launch a new video streaming service featuring original content this autumn. (Variety)

Apple may announce the new service at a press event at its Apple Park campus on 25 March, where it is also expected to unveil details of its news subscription service. (Buzzfeed)

It has also been reported that Apple has hired Sam Jadallah to revamp its smart home business to compete against Amazon and Google. (CNBC)

Facebook under fire again in the UK is also negotiating a multi-billion dollar fine with the US Government for privacy lapses. (Washington Post)

This Time with Alan Partridge. A Q&A. (BBC)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 12 February 2019

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

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This Time With Alan Partridge
This Time With Alan Partridge (Image Credit: BBC)

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

Alan Partridge Returns To The BBC

Nearly 25 years after his debut on BBC Television, Alan Partridge is to return to the BBC shortly on “This Time With Alan Partridge”.

Alan is a stand-in host on a weekday evening magazine show “This Time”, described as a heady mix of consumer affairs, current affairs, viewer interaction, highbrow interview and lightweight froth. Filming started a year ago, and the series is expected to air shortly. Felicity Montague will also reprise her role as Alan’s PA Lynn.

BBC Scotland

To make sense of the BBC’s programming strategy you have to understand it is largely concerned with the corporation’s political survival.

Before the last BBC licence fee settlement, faced with a hostile Tory Government, the BBC chose of its own volition to close down BBC3 as a linear broadcast TV channel.

Ostensibly, this because the future of TV was on-demand streaming, but in reality its budget had been slashed. As a consequence, the BBC significantly reduced its reach amongst 18-34 year olds – who are vital to its licence fee funded future.

Then, out of nowhere, the BBC found £30m to launch BBC Scotland. The channel launches on Sunday 24 February 2019 and will be available across the UK on the iPlayer and on Sky / Virgin Media. Meanwhile from Monday 4 March, BBC1 is to introduce a new slot to showcase BBC3 programming after a shortened News At Ten. (BBC)

Also of note this week:

The BBC is to revive cult children’s TV show Crackerjack. (Crackerjack)

LBC’s James O’Brien fighting Brexit, one caller at a time. (New York Times)

Sky’s Adam Boulton: Why I’ve spent 30 years at Sky News. (Sky)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 February 2019

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

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Sky News Raw
Sky News Raw (Image Credit: Sky)

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

Sky News Celebrates 30 Years

Sky News celebrates its 30th anniversary this week.

Launched in 1989, Sky News was first UK based rolling news channel and in that time has won many accolades, notably an International Emmy Award for its coverage of the London bombings in 2005.

It soon became the channel of choice for opinion formers and has shown up its better funded public rival on many occasions, most recently in its coverage of Brexit.

To mark the occasion Sky is providing uninterrupted behind the scenes access to its newsroom, editorial meetings and Outside Broadcasts from 07:00 to 17:00 GMT for today only, albeit delayed to ensure compliance with OFCOM guidelines, on a dedicated channel “Sky News Raw”.

Also of note this week:

Former Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter is to launch a weekly subscription newsletter “Air Mail” sent to subscribers every Saturday at 06:00 EST promising an international outlook for American audience, and steering well clear of Washington. (New York Times)

The Drum charts 15 years of Facebook.. (The Drum)

The Financial Times has taken a 25% stake in a new media website targeted at European tech start-ups, Sifted. The website was co-founded by John Thornill, Innovation Editor of the FT.

HBO, under pressure from its new parent WarnerMedia to increase original programming to compete with Netflix, will begin to premiere new shows on a Monday evening. (New York Times)

The New Statesman interviews Lauren Laverne of BBC 6 Music and Radio 4. (New Statesman)

Spotify is reported to be in talks to acquire Brooklyn based podcast production company Gimlet Media. (Recode)

The number of TV viewers in the UK cancelling their licence fee jumps. (The Times)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 29 January 2019

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

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British Airways WiFi
British Airways WiFi (Image Credit: British Airways)

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

BA WiFi Installation Progress

BA’s plan to roll out in-flight WiFi continues to be something of a moving target.

The latest official update from BA last week is that more than 50 aircraft are now fitted with WiFi.

80% of its long-haul fleet will be fitted with WiFi by the end of 2020. The entire short-haul fleet, excluding BA CityFlyer at London City, will have WiFi by this summer.

If you are flying long-haul you have a good chance of flying on aircraft with WiFi if you are flying on an Airbus A380, 86 Club World seat Boeing 747, Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 777-200.

You have no chance if flying a 52 Club World seat Boeing 747 or Boeing 787. Future deliveries of Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft will have WiFi installed.

Also of note this week:

Buzzfeed has announced further redundancies worldwide. Yesterday, Buzzfeed staff in London were advised that its editorial headcount of 37 staff will be cut by 17. Although Buzzfeed became famous for its listicles and it has produced a lot of good long form journalism.

Miranda Sawyer interviews Eddie Mair, formerly of PM on BBC Radio 4 and now at LBC. (The Observer)

Mark Zuckerberg plans to integrate the technical infrastructure behind Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook had originally intended to keep these as standalone “products”, in keeping with the wishes or their original developers. This may be pre-emptive move as some are pressing regulators in the US to force Facebook to dispose of Instagram and WhatsApp. (New York Times)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 22 January 2019

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

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Scala Radio
Scala Radio (Image Credit: Bauer Media)

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

Simon Mayo Joins Scala Radio

Simon Mayo ended a decades long career at the BBC last year, after some clumsy ham-fisted people management by the corporation.

For some time, Simon has been teasing his future plans. These have now been revealed. Bauer Media, which also owns brands such as Absolute Radio and KISS, will be launching a classical music and entertainment station on Monday 4 March 2019. It’s called Scala Radio, with the streamline “Classical Music For Modern Life.”

Other presenters include Angellica Bell, Goldie, Chris Rogers, Charles Nove, Mark Forrest, Mark Kermode, Sam Hughes, Jamie Crick and William Orbit.

One small technical point: BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM have higher bit-rates in stereo on DAB digital radio to preserve audio quality, whereas commercial radio groups happily compress their music stations into low bit-rate mono to squeeze in more stations. This station will need to have a high sound quality to compete.

Also of note this week:

The Controller of BBC Radio 4, a station with one of the most resistant to change audiences, Gwyneth Williams is to leave the corporation. (BBC)

In a sign of the pressures on online news websites, Janine Gibson, Editor In Chief of Buzzfeed UK, is to leave the website.

Beyond the Barbed Wire – Cyber Security in the UK (BBC Radio 4)

Facebook continues to play Whack-A-Mole with malicious Russian actors. (Facebook)

On a similar note, an extract in TIME from the book “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe” by Roger McNamee. (TIME)

The Financial Times takes lunch with Meg Whitman, now CEO of short-form mobile video platform Quibi. One pertinent comment for Facebook, Google et al is how when at eBay it made a conscious decision not to allow listings for certain products, even when legally permissible. (Financial Times)

Google is to buy Fossil’s smartwatch business. (Fossil)

Heathrow launches Heathrow Sound Escapes. (Heathrow)

The Huffington Post interviews Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. (Huffington Post)

Netflix now has a 10% TV audience share in the US. What happens in the US will happen here in a few years’ time. (Recode)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 15 January 2019

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

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BBC New Broadcasting House, London
BBC New Broadcasting House, London

Hello and welcome to our first weekly travel media and technology bulletin of 2019, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

January is a busy month for UK radio.

Yesterday, Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Jo Whiley and Trevor Nelson started new weekday shows on BBC Radio 2.

Last week, Lauren Laverne, Mary Anne-Hobbs and Shaun Keaveny started new shows on BBC 6 Music.

Most anticipated all is the return of Chris Evans to Virgin Radio, next Monday. In an illustration of how disjointed Virgin’s brand licensing can be, Virgin Radio (owned by News Corp UK) has secured sponsorship from Sky, an arch rival to Virgin Media (owned by Liberty Global). No doubt to placate drifting Radio 2 listeners, the show will initially be free of advertisements. Chris will inevitably benefit from cross-promotion in News Corp newspapers, but he joins a station with relatively limited distribution and a spartan schedule compared to Radio 2.

Also of note this week:

The personal life of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, is his business. However, the prospect of his 16.3% stake in Amazon being diluted due his impending divorce could radically change the direction of the company. (The Atlantic)

The Australian Open, which started yesterday, has a daily podcast. The first edition inevitably focuses on Andy Murray. (Australian Open)

The BBC begins consulting on extending the catch-up window of content on the iPlayer. This is likely to presage further closures of linear TV channels, partly due to the BBC having to make further cuts. (BBC)

Facebook has introduced a new podcast “Three and a Half Degrees: The Power of Connection”. (Facebook)

Norwegian is introduce WiFi on its long-haul aircraft, with a free basic option. (Norwegian)

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

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 11 December 2018

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

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“Santa’s Little Helpers” by John Cuneo for The New Yorker

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

This is our last bulletin for 2018. It will return on Tuesday 15 January 2019.

Spotify’s 2018 Wrapped

Unless you’ve been on a social media blackout over the past week, you couldn’t have failed to notice Spotify’s 2018 wrapped.

With services like Spotify there’s a fine line between using data effectively to create personalised experiences and giving customers the impression they’re just one entry in a massive database to be mined for someone else’s benefit.

Spotify stays on the right side of the line. Check out your most played artists, songs and genres at Spotify 2018 Wrapped.

BBC iPlayer Boxsets

In preparation for the Christmas holidays, the BBC has added over 100 TV drama, comedy and documentary “box sets” to the BBC iPlayer. (BBC)

Box sets of audio podcasts and mixes will also be available on the BBC Sounds app. (BBC)

Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 11 December 2018”