Digital Media News (week 48)
21 November 2011
Weekly bulletin collating public sector, industry and company news for creative industries by David Hartley.
From The Telegraph
Last month, 850 students across the country took part in an ‘appathon’, where they had 48 hours to create an app using Government data. The competition was part of an annual initiative called ‘Silicon Valley comes to the UK’". Two of the eight winners came from the Edinburgh appathon: one was "School Hunt, created by five students from Edinburgh University, will allow parents of children to find local schools and compare them using OFSTED data", the second Scottish success was EyeSore which provides the community with a tool to crowd source the reporting of local “eyesores.
Local industry news
From Comics Alliance
It's been some time since fans had easy access to a modern Superman videogame -- let alone one they actually wanted to play -- but from the looks of Tiger Games and Chillingo Ltd's newly released Superman iOS title, the wait might finally be over... at least for fans with iPhones, iPod Touches and/or iPads.
From The Drum
DC Thomson comics The Dandy & The Beano are to introduce a digital subscription which will allow readers to download both titles through Apple’s Newsstand…The free to download apps come with free issues of the comics, with the digital versions including interactive advertising, videos and links to websites for the Beano and the Dandy. DC Thomson has already launched an app for Commando and is understood to be developing a range of existing titles for Newsstand in the coming months.
From Internet Retailer
Virtually every retailer in mobile commerce has an m-commerce web site. Many have smartphone apps. But very few have iPad apps. However, that’s slowly changing as traffic to retail web sites from the Apple Inc. tablet soars. On the heels of Walmart.com6Walmart.com Mass MerchantOnline Sales:$4,095,000,000 Growth:17.0% See More and Overstock.com Inc. recently debuting iPad apps, Saks Fifth Avenue has released one of its own. The new app, available in Apple’s App Store, enables customers to browse, search and buy products from Saks’ complete line of fashion, jewelry, beauty and home products.
The app comes from Edinburgh-based No Need For Mirrors.
From The Herald
Hay Systems, the Scottish mobile messaging specialist whose technology is used in Indonesia to send emergency tsunami alerts, has revealed expansion plans that will take its staff numbers to 45 and its turnover up to around £5.5 million over the next three years…What is notable about Mr Hay’s endeavour is that he is applying what is essentially earlier mobile-phone technology to the modern world and companies are increasingly finding it more useful than any of the latest high-tech smartphone technology.
From The Huffington Post
A dramatic and visceral depiction of the Bengali sport of bull racing has won top prize in a new photography competition. The runner-up in the competition, launched by Channel 4 and Blipfoto at the BT Paralympic World Cup, went to a photograph of a 'swamp soccer' match by Damian Glowacki. Third place was awarded to a picture of a girls rugby match taken in New Zealand by Caroline Foster.
From The Herald
Edinburgh-based CereProc, the only major UK player in the global $5.2 billion text-to-speech market, is set to achieve a seven-figure turnover next year on the back of the newly patented 3.0 version of its core synthesis technology. The technology is compatible for the first time with iPhone and other mobile devices and allows customers to turn written text automatically into an increased range of expressive styles and languages. A spokesman for the firm said: “The new patent is for emotional speech synthesis and the aim is to look towards the future and see where the technologies might be going with better artificial animation. We have voices that are able to be sad or happy or annoyed or chilled out, so it’s going to be a useful tool for avatars.
From The Herald
Based in Rosyth, Larosco has secured a six-figure sum from venture capitalists Par Equity, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Investment Bank. The money will be used to step up sales and marketing of its online marketing product, BongoMagic, as well as funding continued development. BongoMagic combines a company’s existing contacts with automated viral marketing to create a targeted system for reaching an online audience. Those who receive the message can then share it with their own contacts. The firm says it is particularly useful for companies looking for potential employees.
From The Scotsman
Redesigning its websites and the success of its 'Find It' business directory have boosted digital revenues at Johnston Press, the Edinburgh-based publisher of The Scotsman. Circulation revenue in the 18 weeks to 5 November fell by just 1.6 per cent, lower than the 1.8 per cent decline during the first half of the firm’s financial year and beating analysts’ forecasts for a 3 per cent drop. Digital revenues rose by 4.4 per cent, while debt fell to £357 million from £386.7 million at the start of the year.
BBC Future Media has established a £1m Innovation Fund to give creative thinking at the broadcaster a shot in the arm. The initiative is the brainchild of BBC director of Future Media Ralph Rivera. As part of the scheme, broad creative briefs will be posted on the broadcaster’s e-commissioning site, with internal and external creatives and developers invited to pitch for work at a workshop. The funding launches in late January with a view to fostering innovative ideas in areas such as gaming, IPTV and two-screen interactivity. Rivera cited the planned audio watermarking app for BBC1 gameshow Secret Fortune as the type of idea he hoped to discover.
From Tech Crunch
Thanks to a nifty infographic from Mixpanel, the realtime analytics service, most of the future revenue from mobile gaming will come on the back of mobile ads and in-app payments… Freemium monetization models are becoming increasingly popular, as you’ll see in the data below, but while mobile advertising gets busy maturing, there’s also the monetization model of incentivized installs. This approach, which rewards users for downloading a mobile application in exchange for a secondary reward, usually free in-game virtual currency or goods, definitely has some potential. Incentivized traffic can be a meaningful alternative when things get slow organically building traffic, and the ROI can be there.
Roku is following Boxee in trying to go global, as internet TV operators of varying stripes compete for place in the living room. Roku says it will start retailing the UK and Canada from early 2012. That will go alongside what will have to be Roku’s effort to find local content channel partners for the new markets.
From The Guardian
Pearson has reported a 6% year-on-year revenue increase at FT Group, the division that publishes the Financial Times, announcing that ebook sales at Penguin have more than doubled in the first nine months. Pearson, which owns an extensive educational publishing operation as well as Penguin, said that paid-for digital subscriptions at the FT have increased 30% year on year to almost 250,000…At book publisher Penguin, revenues were flat year on year for the first nine months. Pearson said the rise of eBook sales, which more than doubled in the first nine months of the year, helped offset the decline in physical sales of titles.
From the Guardian
Sting has said he may never release another album, preferring the "new model" of iOS apps. As the singer celebrates his 60th birthday, he has hailed the possibilities of his new Sting 25 app. "People are going to stop buying CDs," Sting told Billboard. "People are going to stop selling and making them, so I am looking for different ways to get music to people, and the [app] at the moment seems to be the favourite … The app is the new model.
From The Guardian
The smartphone market grew by 42% year-on-year in the third quarter to reach 115.2m units, with Google's Android operating system running more than half those sold, according to data from the research company Gartner. The overall mobile market grew by just 5.6% worldwide, to 440.5m units, as smartphones grew further to hit a record 26% of the total sold. Smartphones also continued their pattern of outselling PCs, which first happened in the fourth quarter of 2010; the gap between smartphone and PC sales is now widening steadily.
A new 2011 market report has found that 118.5 million people now play social games at least once a week, up 71 percent compared to results from 2010. The 2011 PopCap Social Gaming Research survey, as conducted by Information Solutions Group and commissioned by PopCap, noted that, in comparison, 81 million people play social games at least once a day. In terms of spending on social games, the report explained that 31 million players have spent money on in-game purchases, up 86 percent year-over-year.
From Edinburgh Interactive
EIF is pleased to announce the dates for its 10th year anniversary - 9 and 10 August 2012. In the energy charged setting of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, EIF will continue with its successful eclectic mix of presentations and debates relating to emerging trends and future gazing at the world of interactive media and entertainment. Nintendo, MCV and Develop have already confirmed renewal of their partnership for the 2012 anniversary year.
And finally ...
From The Mail
From girly accessories to mohawks, footballers have been known to sport bizarre hair styles. But when the players of Bromley FC were visited by the barber today - to have barcodes shaved into their heads- they surely took hair styling to a new level. The celebrity stylist was asked to shave Quick Response (QR) codes on the back of Bromley's starting line-up's heads, which, when scanned with a smartphone reader will link to betting company Betfair's mobile site.
Eat your heart out, Kinect, Move and Wii - the list of new video game controllers just got its weirdest addition yet. London startup Captive Media’s new Captive8 system is a video game screen for men’s bathrooms that hosts branded games controlled by patrons’ bladder emissions. Ubiquity Communications, the PR agency which gave paidContent the news, assures us this is not an early April Fool. The device has been implemented for trial in a Cambridge pub and has now gone live in a Soho, London, bar.
Compiled by David Hartley