Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 17 July 2018

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

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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.

Twitter Cleans Up

If you’ve logged on to Twitter recently you may have noticed that some accounts you follow have experienced large drops in follower numbers.

There has long been a common practice of “buying” followers on Twitter, and other platforms such as Instagram, from bot accounts. The biggest clues are sharp rises in follower counts and relatively low levels of responses to tweets. A Twitter user with followers in the tens of thousands should have a signifiant response to every tweet. It’s a very short term and self-destructive move as it destroys a user’s credibility.

Twitter has previously responded to this by locking accounts that exhibit the behaviour of bots. Twitter is now in the process of removing locked accounts from follower counts. As a consequence some users, including some aviation commentators it has to be said, have experienced sharp falls in their followers.

On a related note, given events in Helsinki this week, NPR reports on how the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg set up “sleeper” accounts to build trust in users ahead of its influence campaign during the 2016 US Presidential Election.

BBC Under Fire

Brexit continues to dominate the political climate in the UK and, barring some shock event, will continue to do for at least the next 9 months.

Despite two years having passed since the referendum result, attitudes towards the UK’s departure from the European Union have barely shifted.

There has been very deep frustration, particularly those who supported Remain, at the BBC’s coverage. Notably its failure to carry out original investigative journalism which other outlets such as Channel 4 and The Observer have done. Also, under fire is its painstaking pursuit of “balance” giving all sides of every argument equal weight which has arguably given the likes of Tim Martin of Wetherspoon and hardcore Conservative Eurosceptics more air time than they merit.

Traditionally supportive voices such as former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger are raising the alarm. The Observer columnist Nick Cohen has also penned a polemic for The New York Review of Books “How The BBC Lost The Plot On Brexit” to which the BBC has issued a rebuttal.

Why Streaming Is Not Necessarily The Future of TV

The day after the World Cup ended, Netflix released its latest subscription figures, posting net subscriber additions of 5.2 million that fell 1 million short of its own expectations.

The World Cup brought record-breaking TV audiences to the UK’s terrestial broadcasters BBC and ITV. It wasn’t such good news for YouTube which had to apologise when its YouTube TV subscription service suffered an outage in the middle of the England – Croatia semi-final.

Streaming offers consumer choice and value, but for traditional mass audience events, good old broadcast does the job much better.

On a related note, Comcast and Disney are currently engaged in a bidding war for most of the assets of Fox as well as Sky in Europe. If Disney is successful in bidding for Fox and Sky it would bring together a number of streaming platforms such as Hulu and Now TV. Expect to see a lot of moves to counter Netflix.

Now That’s What I Call Enduring

The compilation series “Now That’s What I Call Music” celebrates its 100th release this week.

In spite of the growth of digital downloads and streaming, the brand has endured. The first NOW album will be released on vinyl this week. BBC Radio 2 takes a look back at its history in “Now That’s What I Call Compilations”.

Also of note this week:

Apple celebrates World Emoji Day ahead of 70 new characters coming to Apple platforms later this year. (Apple)

The World Cup in Spotify Streams. (Spotify)

BBC4 takes a look at The Rise And Fall of Finnish company Nokia. (BBC)

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