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Creative Links

Stronger privacy laws could save advertising from itself

For more than ten years, an ad network called The Deck showed the world that digital advertising could be different. The service displayed only one small ad per page. Its parent company, Coudal Partners, vowed not to collect personal data. Instead, it carefully selected both the publishers and the advertisers it worked with, cultivating a collection of relevant ads for an engaged audience. The Deck was, in short, exactly what most people would want in place of today’s nightmarish advertising ecosystem.

But last month Coudal Partners announced that it’s shutting the network down. The company blamed the ad industry’s tectonic shift of funneling dollars to Facebook and Google and away from other platforms. Advertisers are drawn to the two tech behemoths precisely because they each collect an enormous amount of user data and can theoretically serve ads to targeted audiences. And now ad networks that value privacy are casualties in a battle where gobbling up personal data is routine. All of which raises the question, does The Deck’s dissolution mean that ad networks can only survive in the industry if they collect and sell against massive troves of information?

“No one is going to give their consent [to be tracked],” says Johnny Ryan, of the Ireland-based advertising company Page Fair says. “The kind of information you’re going to be shown about how your data is used, who it’s shared with, how often its gets stolen, all of these things are going to create a wave of paranoia about data use and people are going to be very conscious about keeping a tight grip on their stuff.”

But he doesn’t think these changes will destroy the ad industry. Instead, it will have to adapt—and the industry could be stronger for it.


The Brexit challenges facing the creative industries

The creative industries are of huge importance to Britain’s economy - the music industry alone contributes ?3.8bn to the economy.

The value of exports to the EU across the creative industries is ?19.8bn, and these products are not fully covered by WTO rules - a future option the government has failed to rule out.
Baroness Bonham-Carter, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport said: “Liberal Democrats have always been proud to back the fantastic creative companies and individuals who are based in Britain.

"We will stand up for them as the government pursues a hard-Brexit that poses a real risk to their future prosperity.
“We want what is best for Britain, and best for our industries. We will fight to keep Britain in the single market, which would support our industries and preserve their access to the biggest market in the world. The Government have rightly recognised the impact of changes to market access for banks and financial services but they must think about other industries and sectors too.”

It is important to remember that 6.1% of the creative industries workforce and 10% of the design, publishing and advertising workforce are EU (non-Bristish) nationals.


Book publishing in the digital age

It’s critical to understand Thought Catalog Books in the context of the website because when went live in 2010, it wasn’t a viral publisher. The non-buzzworthy “Thought Catalog” name reveals a total lack of foresight into the viral publisher trend. Thought Catalog was supposed to be an “experimental cultural magazine.”

The problem was, the experiment with journalistic writing had a conclusive and dire result. Long-form writing like profiles of musicians, book reviews and cultural analysis would bankrupt us, and we pivoted. Audience insights from Facebook data become our publisher, Google data our editor in chief, and Twitter signals our managing editor. Thought Catalog was one of the first magazines built by data from social media and that made us, along with BuzzFeed and a few others, part of the first gold rush of digital publishing.

“The lack of video, the lack of audio,” writes Richard Nash in What is the Business of Literature?, “is a feature of literature, not a bug.” This is exactly how we look at the book business at Thought Catalog. Books aren’t an antiquated technology. Books are cutting-edge technology. In fact, books are the greatest virtual reality machines on the market. While virtual reality gear like Oculus engulfs the brain to present a different reality, books engage the brain and present a different reality through a more creative exchange between medium and self.

This should be reassuring for publishers, and, while a book publishing company will never grow at the exponential speeds of Facebook or a traditional technology company, that’s their charm. It’s an industry about deep engagement, not quick growth.


The war on talent is over, and everyone lost

Today, in a world full of many more Chief People and Chief Happiness Officers, that war nevertheless appears to have been lost on all sides. Of course, many workers excel in their jobs and make pivotal contributions to their organizations. But for every one employee who does, there are many more who are underemployed, underperforming, and just plain miserable at work.

Instead of winning a war for talent, organizations appear to be waging a war on talent, repelling and alienating employees more successfully than harnessing their skills. The result is a highly inefficient job market where most companies complain about their talent shortages while most employees complain about their pointless jobs. So what can organizations do to improve the situation?

1. Get better at measuring and understanding talent. This means shifting from intuitive toward scientific assessment methods. It also means refocusing on the proven predictors of job performance, such as the raw ingredients of talent: being rewarding to deal with, and able and willing to work hard.

2. Stop developing people’s “leadership skills.” Shockingly, research suggests there’s a strong negative correlation between the amount of money spent on leadership development and people’s confidence in their leaders.

3. The better people understand their own strengths, limitations, and interests, the smarter career choices they’ll make. They’ll end up liking their jobs more, performing better, and staying put longer. Self-awareness is a sorely undervalued talent enhancer because it can help people identify jobs that actually match their values and skills.


From screen to paper: How three Twitter users put together a publishing house for emerging writers

The journey that Timeline Publishers took from 140-character conversations on Twitter to the world of paper and ink is an exciting story.

25-year-old Hisham, a techie who works in Bengaluru, tells The News Minute that a tweet from Akhil in June last year marked the beginning of Timeline Publishers.

"All the three of us were individually planning to go on a North-India tour and Akhil’s tweet that he was going on one came at the right time. Midlaj and I joined him and we made a three-week long journey covering most of the states in the north," Hisham says.

Along the way, the trio talked about everything under the sun, eventually stopping on literature and writing, Akhil chimes in.

The resistance Midlajj faced from publishers while trying to get his book of short stories out then became the centre of the discussion, and brought the trio around to the idea of starting a platform for new writers.

Getting the works of new writers published in a cost effective manner is what the firm aims to do, explains Akhil. One of the firm’s key principles is also that the royalty for each work lies completely with the author, he points out.

Born from a Twitter group, it was only natural for the book to be called Neelachumaru, after the familiar colour scheme of the micro-blogging platform. The 100-page book features short stories from 11 new writers, who came through... Twitter.


Advertising is key for radio’s future

The “Uber-fication” of society has made it possible to fulfill human desires with ease and convenience. The consumer now has an unprecedented amount of control.

What does this all mean for ad-supported radio? Interruptive advertising models are challenged to create great user experiences in an on-demand, curatable world. Consumers are doing their best to tune out ads and get just the content they want.

2017 marked the first time that the number of consumers subscribing to music streaming services topped 100 million, according to MIDiA Research. That means more consumers pay for streaming music services than pay for Netflix!

How, then, can ad-supported radio continue to protect its revenue model while not driving away more listeners? The answer to reducing spotloads while maintaining and/or growing revenue may lie in one of terrestrial radio’s unique assets: the local personality’s power of persuasion.

Radio is no stranger to personality endorsements. In fact, some of the earliest advertising on radio consisted of the announcer doing live reads and endorsements. The endorsement continues to be a powerful tool, as radio personalities enjoy a special relationship with their audience. They are often trusted, relatable, and opinion leaders. They have a great ability to influence the audience and shape purchase intent through their deep connections and on-air conversations. This interweaving of sponsored messaging within appropriate programming is known as “native advertising.”


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