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Make it personal, or don’t bother

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

The end of the year always brings on a flood of the dreaded “personalized” season’s greetings. I am sure you are familiar with this phenomenon: without warning, an email arrives from a company you have had a business with (or one that would like to do business with your company) with the following format:

“To: blank [bcc’s aplenty]

Dear [Mail Merge Name Inserted Here, hopefully they get your first name right],

Jpeg image [something with a tree or the word Happy]

Email Signature “

What is the point? Other than proving the sender’s mailing program knows how to pick up all names in their address book and send a generic image, there really is no benefit to receiving this type of email. People who do this should think twice about their motives. If their intention is to reconnect with someone or show appreciation for a client, they totally miss the point by sending a cold impersonal automaton of a message.

If you don’t have time to write a couple of words and make the message personal, then don’t bother.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Track Me, Please

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Foursquare and similar location-based services are gathering steam. Unfortunately in our part of the world, the only benefit this seems to have generated so far is an endless stream of “I am now at [this location]” messages automatically posted on twitter or facebook by foursquare. One can quickly come up with a business where you can create a profile of a person’s daily routine just by tracking their tweets. A more unsavory use is to identify the optimal time to rob someone’s home when you are sure they are away.

I can see the utility of divulging your location to an application that for example, informs you of (opt-in) friends who are nearby, or let’s you know about (selected) offers from merchants in the area, or alerts you to traffic conditions. But simply broadcasting your location on twitter or facebook just for the sake of it must surely be a voluntary act of shedding your privacy without getting any benefit in return.

Categories: Uncategorized

Is broadcast media in the Middle East doomed?

April 30, 2010 4 comments

Every time I attend MIPTV or MIPCOM, I am enthused by the dynamic nature of our industry around the world. Every “constant” is changing at the same time: audience behaviour, business models, media consumption habits, viewing technology. This is a time of great disruption but great opportunity and is very exciting.

Then I return to the Middle East, and it feels like we are dinosaurs happily going about our daily grazing while oblivious of the approaching asteroid. We are still debating twentieth century concepts while the world has surged past us. We don’t have a real understanding of our audience due to a lack of the most basic measurement tools. Our business model is broken and means no media company would exist today if it hadn’t been supported by a government or a wealthy individual. We have a huge mobile base, yet all we seem to do with it is generate tons of profits for telcos from good old voice and sms sending. Satellites are a boon to cheap distribution but at the same time dilute the boundaries of individual cultures and oversimplify content development. Producers are too busy sticking to the tried and tested 30 episode Ramadan cash cow. The web and mobile are still seen as “novelties” while other markets have placed them at the heart of their business strategies. We are losing the connection to the vast majority of our young population as their attention fragments either to politics (where else do news channels feature so prominently in the viewer psyche?), corners of the web or chatting to break away from their daily monotony. There is innovation, but in pockets not proportional in size to the population numbers and unsupported by a healthy eco-system of financial backers or business support systems.

How to change this before it is too late?