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The GoPro generation – Too much, or not enough?

Watching the GoPro production of maniac (and brilliant) base jumper Jeb Corliss crash into the base of table mountain, makes me realise just how the lines between sport and entertainment are truly blurring.

Similar I suppose to the RedBull sponsored Stratos project, which saw millions of people break Youtube in a vein attempt to see Felix fall to earth (you KNOW thats why you all watched really) due largely to shortened attention spans, it appears sport today is becoming more about the moments, than the mastery.

I get it! In fact I endorse and agree with the need to package live sporting content for social media streams as F1 and the NBA are started doing in real time, largely for second and third screen viewing to create relevance amongst new sports fans.

However, and here’s my point, we still need to ensure we create enough hype and awareness around the full game, the stadium experience, the smell of the hot-dog stand and the goose-bumps of a national anthem being sung by 50,000 people or we run the risk of focussing so closely on our timelines, we forget that the actual sport is far larger than the sum of its individual micro-moments.

Simply put, if we aren’t careful, the GoPro generation through its desire to experience life on a timeline could materially change the way sport is actually played, not just consumed.

Makes you think!

South African radio content – 90% missing the point

South African radio stations are now playing 90% local music, but who will still be listening?

The South African state broadcaster, the SABC,  announced yesterday in a somewhat radical decision to carry 90% local content across all 18 of it’s radio stations, with immediate effect.

Taking this decision after extensive consultation with music industry representatives is frankly noble in intent, yet clearly misguided in execution.

Interestingly the report stated that majority of the focus would be on kwaito, jazz, reggae, and gospel.

Some South African musicians say the decision to prioritise local music on all SABC radio stations will not only give local artists more exposure and royalties but could also promote local entrepreneurs and record labels. 

While it doesn’t take an MBA to realise this is clearly motivated by a healthy dollop of political grandstanding in a conveniently close election year, a larger concern is the  lack of understanding of how the modern consumer has evolved.

To be clear I really get and empathise entirely with the local pool of musical talent, trying in vein to squabble for airplay against Adele, but I cant help but think everyone has missed the point here.

Simply put the days of genre specific content serving a loyal audience are fast dying, alongside the ageing listener that still believes in this old habitual single streamed or mono-genre entertainment offering.

We simply don’t crowd around our wireless in the evening waiting for “Squad Cars” to come on!  We as the consumer, and Radio as the medium have both matured and evolved.

Research recently completed in Europe showed an average of 14 different music genres on modern youths mp3 players, up from an average of 3 when the portable music revolution first came of age. Digital music streaming, widely accessible content platform and social media have all made music a compelling and largely interactive form of entertainment.

In South Africa a larger portion of the population are self proclaimed “fans” of music (97%) than of “sport” (92%).

As a result whilst the noble political gesture may well move the 18 government owned SABC radio stations closer to a Public Broadcaster mandate, there is bound to be commercial carnage as carefully planned media strategies will be torn up and thrown in the bin, alongside advertising contracts booked on a listenership that will frankly, follow Beyonce in a heartbeat to more commercially cool stations.

The modern consumer is needy, wants to feel involved and most importantly cares greatly about passion points that matter, with music being a massive part of this process.

In my opinion, unless this wacky knee-jerk content strategy is revisited, and quickly, the real commercial players in the radio space, as well as the new kids on the block such as CliffCentral will be laughing all the way to RAMS.

Cry, the beloved customer

“I see only one hope for our country”…wrote Alan Paton in one of the more famous quotes from Cry, the beloved Country.

To gently paraphrase Paton, “I see only one hope for our country’s retailers”…and frankly it involves a paradigm shift in the way customers are treated.

Whilst I certainly do not subscribe to the dated and largely old-school concept of the customer always being right, I do believe the fact we have bothered to take time, money and energy to enter a retail space deserves more than a begrudging grunt from the bored and uninterested staff.

Being from the broader marketing industry, I read with interest, almost daily, the ongoing debate around the challenge faced by bricks ‘n mortar retailers, again the “unfair” advantage e-tailers have due to simpler infrastructure requirements.

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Top Gear – Lessons from the Stig

We originally posted this in early 2016 when the BBC decided to retain the format of popular TV show Top Gear, knowing the 3 iconic presenters Clarkson, Hammond and May were all departing.

Flooding social media timelines, the mostly negative comments on the first episode its-always-the-children-who-suffer-the-stig-top-gearof “new” Top Gear screened on 1 June obviously have begged direct comparison to the old crew’s styles, patter, similar themed inserts and even highlightd the casual jokey delivery of studio links.

It has little to do with the actual quality of the new team to be fair, and was inevitable given the way in which the entire character of the show  was so closely aligned to the individual personalities of the dear-departed.

Its a bitter lesson in brand building, watching such an iconic, popular and influential programme being dramatically dissed on most platforms.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see the programme disappear all together after its inaugural “new” season this year and hope the BCC do what they should have done to begin with – gather their collective talents together to create something, new and entirely devoid of references to the past programme.

A great pity, and a poorly handled rebirth of a brand that should have been re-invented not ressurected. 

Original Blog Below…

So unless you have been living in the boot of a reasonably priced car, you will pretty much know that the writing is on the test track tyre-wall for the once mighty BBC motoring institution Top Gear.

The edgy, and charismatic Jeremy Clarkson seems to have allowed his legendary ego to get the better of him once too often. and in an altercation around the provision of a hot meal, punched a producer for not doing his job. (The producer WAS Irish, but I’m not sure that alone is reason enough to swing a right hook?)

From the outside, objectively, the BBC are pretty much “damned-if-you-do”, “damned-if-you-dont” in the scenario planning of the future of their biggest selling franchise. At best they have publicly aired their dirty laundry surrounding the real personality of their affable, blokey, everyman presenter who is actually, if reports are to be believed, an ego-manical, celebrity-fuelled tosser. At worst, should they axe the iconic Clarkson, they will no-doubt pretty much succeeded in toppling a mighty franchise and global cash-cow.

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