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

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