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Archive for August, 2010

UAE’s Blackberry Ban – The World is Ending, or Is it?

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Today “UAE” appeared on twitter’s global trends list. Normally, this would be a good thing; a sign that the region is featuring in the global consciousness. However, in this case it was for a negative reason: the ban on Blackberries announced by the TRA.

Countless people have weighed in on the decision itself, so there is no need to do so again. However, there are some lessons to learn and conclusions to be drawn.

The first is that news can now travel faster than any PR effort can, and with less context the further from the source. Twitter’s 140 characters are the extreme of this: a complex argument reduced to a few words retweeted endlessly out of context with no explanation for the helpless souls who read them halfway around the world.

The second is that people have forgotten (or perhaps they are so young they never remembered in the first place) that the stone age man was not equipped with a blackberry. To read the reactions, which are usually preceeded by expressions of horror (OMGs were in great abundance), you would think the world will end on October 11th. Yes, technology is a great enabler and tools like the Blackberry make our life easier in many ways. But we can live without them if we have to, and we can substitute them with other technologies. We underestimate our ability to adapt and change at times and have become too attached to our comfort zones. A shake and jolt every now and then can only do some good.

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Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,

The Premier League and the Joy of Statistics

August 2, 2010 2 comments

A strange thing is happening at ADTV. For the first time, we are able to actually count the number of our customers. We recently launched our Premier League pay-tv offering and can now, in real time, all sorts of data: the number of subscribers, their location, the number of decoders in each market, the number of calls to the call centre, the average call answer times etc. We can react instantly and alter allocations of resources and manpower as the situation changes on the ground. This is so refreshing.

To most people in developed markets, remarking about this may seem trivial. As broadcasters, we have been numbed by years of late viewership data (6 weeks late, at times), incompatible research methodologies and limited market information. We routinely make assumptions that drive million dollar investments and set sales targets based on a loose mix of statistics and black magic. The internet changes that a little, but until broadband penetration reaches saturation levels, the internet will not provide the answer.

I can see why it would frighten some people. Waking up every day to a precise sheet of data that lets you know if your programming or media allocation decisions from the night before were right would be a scary thing. But it would be challenging and it would most certainly lead to a better product and a better marketing plan.

Media and Telecom, convergence?

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I went to a conference recently that was meant to focus on the intersection of media and telecoms. The list of speakers was full of A-list names from the top of telecom organisations so I was looking forward to it. After a coupe of hours of listening though, it was very clear that the conference should have added a question mark at the end of its title. The so-called “convergence” was not apparent. Telcos spoke their own language, which few media people could relate to. The elephant in the room was the fine line separating a telco from becoming a broadcaster or a “dumb” pipe and neither side was comfortable with either scenario. We still have a long way to go to understand each other’s priorities and drivers.

Categories: content, Technology Tags: ,