Despite high censorship the UAE has a very active social media user base. It tops the Arab states in e-readiness and the number of Facebook users. In our post earlier in the month looking at social media in the Arab states we found out that the total number of Facebook users in the Arab world stands at over 45 million (at the end of June), up from 37 million in Jan 2012. The total estimated number of Twitter users there exceeds two million.
So with such a captive audience marketers in the UAE need to be creative and make their communications stand out from the crowd. Here is a project we worked on recently for Close Up Arabia – we developed a rather cool Facebook app that has been going down a storm with their fan base.
We’ve observed YouTube to be slowly but surely becoming a peer partner when it comes to broadcasting. The good news for video pros is that the company continues to develop its service, while a recent UK short shows Hollywood really is watching what happens on this emerging channel.
UK filmmakers, John Watts and Thomas Woods recently shot a low-budget pilot film (above) to demonstrate some of the concepts they hoped to use in a Chinese action epic. Read More…
Apple may be ditching YouTube app from iPhones, but that’s unlikely to do too much damage — all anyone needs to do is navigate to the video sharing site’s homepage using Safari and use the ‘Add to Home Screen’ command to access the clips. The move does however serve to confirm that the online world’s video broadcasts are becoming as important as conventional broadcasting.
[We’re really quite pleased with this Olympics video we made last week.]
Changing the channels
Viewing habits are changing. This means online destinations such as YouTube are becoming “real” broadcasters. That’s part of the thinking behind the evolution of YouTube channels, specific places for different sorts of content that you can find if you dig around the service.
These channels are part of an ambitious attempt by the Google-owned service to begin offering a range of niche channels from showbiz veterans. The company has poured $100 million into the channels so far and intends spending twice that on marketing.
There’s a huge range of channels on offer, including Comedy, Bollywood movies, Investigative news reporting, Monty Python and more. These destinations have been quietly made available throughout 2012.
Dreamtek has made a contribution to this, developing and installing a state-of-the-art TV studio at Google’s London headquarters as part of the Creator Space scheme. Take a look at the Creator Hub and keep it bookmarked for some of the work that’s coning out of there.
[Here’s an example of the investigative reporting you can find exclusively on YouTube.]
Content is king
Similar investments are being made worldwide, Nirvana Digital a Bollywood audio and video content creator and distributor has launched a YouTube Content Creators Network in India. As in the London studio, YouTube partners will be able to use these facilities to create new content.
Nirvana Digital said that it plans to create the largest video network for Indian content and it is looking for video creators across various genres. It’s also preparing to offer thousands of Bollywood films for free viewing via YouTube BoxOffice.
What does this mean? That’s simple, really, it means a viewer in the UK will be able to access homegrown content from different parts of the world on their mobile device, computer or smart TV. As smart television evolves (Apple TV, Boxee and so on) you’ll see these viewer friendly resources made increasingly available on the box in the front room, too.
That’s a problem for conventional broadcast models. The world is becoming multi-channel, giving viewers a broader choice than ever before. Key events such as The Olympics will continue to draw crowds, but everyday viewing faces even stiffer competition.
The promise of wider choice is great, but it’s also a challenge. Not only will this impact conventional broadcasting business models, but content consumers will increasingly be challenged by the complexity of navigating through all this choice. And that’s where social media comes into its own.
A UK TV Licensing survey suggests 57 percent of adult social media users aged under 35 turn to social networks when they’re deciding whether to watch a show or not. It there’s a buzz online, they might give it a try.
[We also made this Olympic-related clip]
The Olympics have been a huge example of how things are transforming. Queen’s University social media expert Sidneyeve Matrix notes: “Social media is stealing away some of mystique of Olympic television spectatorship. You don’t need to tune in to prime time Olympic coverage to find out who won the gold medal in swimming or rowing. Why watch a broadcast in the evening of an event that happened four hours ago when you already know the outcome because of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or reading an on-line newspaper article?
“The Olympic audience is becoming more fragmented,” said Velti chief marketing officer Krishna Subramanian. “For brands that want to reach Olympic viewers, this is an important finding as it highlights the ability to look beyond TV and focus on secondary devices such as smart phones and tablets.”
All of these services are hungry for new content, and that’s where the opportunity sits for creative — the world’s crying out for interesting new content, and the race between these services means the next big thing could come from somebody’s front room. And we think that’s potentially very, very interesting.
A series of online symposia marking Adobe’s Creative Week event begins July 9. In the prelude to the show, Adobe has published extensive research which reveals that while creativity seems more important than ever, only one-in-three creative professionals feel they’re getting the chance to fully realise their potential. That’s tragically ironic: economic malaise and global gloom means creative pros are being asked to be more productive than ever, but the focus increasingly seems on quantity, not quality, reading between the lines.
The State of Create report tells us that over three quarters (78 per cent) agree creativity is key to driving economic growth but just a third (35 per cent) feel they are living up to their creative potential. Being a creative professional isn’t just about pounds and productivity, though: Adobe reveals that 78 percent of us feel that being able to create makes a difference to their lives; 71 percent say it defines who they are as a person while 68 percent say they derive a sense of belonging from the creative act.
The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport estimates (December 2011) the creative industry accounts for 10.6 percent of the UK’s exports of services. Creativity isn’t just good for the economy, either, 1.5 million people are employed in the creative industries. That’s 5.1 percent of those people who are employed in the UK.
Expression versus productivity
This suggests the power to create mini masterpieces in any digital medium isn’t just about fulfilling client obligation, but also about creating a space in the world. Creative expression stretches the psychic envelope. Adobe’s survey suggests creativity is about personal empowerment; self-realisation; self-actualisation. And, like all such attempts to forge a little slice of identity within a homogenous planet, there’s plenty to get in the way, typical barriers include:
— Education: Many creatives think creativity is stifled by the education system.
— Lack of time: Almost half of those surveyed by Adobe think there isn’t the time to be creative.
— Lack of cash: 42 percent of creatives say they can’t afford to be creative — a shame when you consider the personal and societal benefits of the creativity biz.
Perhaps the biggest pressure is the need to be productive.
An astonishing 88 percent of creative pros complain they’re under huge pressure (and it’s growing) to be productive, rather than to be creative.
Technology and the social network
Can technology help enable creative expression while also satisfying enterprise in its need to be productive? Anecdotally, the impact of technology has been to create a situation in which more is asked of a smaller pool of talent. Adobe notes that 53 percent of creatives already see technology as the single most important factor inspiring them to create.
You need good tools if you want to realise abstract ideas here in the physical plane, so it’s no surprise that many (67%) see technological tools as the most influential factor to help them boost their own creativity. The Internet is also a big influences: social media is driving a new form of creative renaissance. 48 percent of creatives spoken to by Adobe for its survey note the ability to share work via social media is important, with 12 percent saying this new era of immediate communication between friends and strangers is inspiring them to create.
Speaking at the recent Le Web conference, TV chef Jamie Oliver spoke up for creativity in the social media era. Oliver believes social media is a vehicle for passionate expression of ideas. “Content is key,” he said, likening the creation of it to the challenges of making a “hit song”. “You don’t always know what will work,.” As a creative thinker, Oliver explains, “Everything I do is driven by creative ideas, if they’re good enough, I’m going to make money. If not, then not.”
Also at Le Web, Bonin Bough, Kraft’s vice president of global digital and consumer engagement, said: “I think there’s a renaissance of creativity about to happen….what we’re seeing now is nothing in contrast to what we’ll see in future.”
With its focus on social media, Le Web confirmed that big business is anxious to stake a claim in the social networks. Adobe’s study also confirms a drive among creative folk to embrace the space. Naturally, the two sides want different things: Business wants bucks; creatives want a chance to do what they do, but as the social world reveals a growing demand among consumers for original content (a la Jamie Oliver), it’s possible this new business driver will open up new opportunity for self-expression in a digitally-connected age: could this mean a new gold rush for digital creatives? That’s got to be part of the conversation at next week’s Creative Week event.
It’s not too late to join the creative debate, get involved and share your views register at http://www.adobecreate.co.uk/creativeweek
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