Every Friday, The Big Smoke looks at industry news curated by MediaScope. This week, we bid farewell to big data, we analyse the key trends on how different generations consume media, and we illustrate why journalism is not dead.




Goodbye big data, hello thick data (Philip Seacrest – LinkedIn)

Truthfully big data is here to stay, but it is only half the “truth” because, for marketers, genuinely valuable customer data comes in two distinct forms: thick data and big data. Thick data is generated by ethnographers and anthropologists adept at observing human behaviour and its underlying motivations. Big data, on the other hand, is generated by the millions of touch-points companies have with their customers across platforms and devices. To date, thick data and big data have been supported and employed by quite different people. Thick data is usually handled by organisations grounded in the social sciences. Big data has been pushed by people with analytics degrees, often sitting in corporate IT functions. There has been little dialogue between the two.


How Generation Z, Millennials and the rest of us consume media – seven key trends (Damian Radcliffe – Media Briefing)

Trend-watchers have, for some time, paid considerable attention to the media habits and preferences of Millennials (people aged 20-33), with Generation Z (those aged 14-19) becoming an increasingly important demographic for many companies to engage with. Where these audiences go, others tend to follow, providing an additional incentive to understand the next generation of media consumers. A flurry of new studies from Deloitte and GlobalWebIndex offer us fresh insights into these audiences, in both the US and globally.


The future of journalism is not all doom and gloom – here’s why (Emilie Kodjo – Global Editors Network)

It’s been an extraordinary year for the news industry because of this perfect storm of fake news, business models and the growing realisation that platforms are not just platforms. Those three things together condition how we create journalism, how we distribute journalism. They show that we are really at an inflection point as an industry. Everyone is realising that one single business model is not going to be enough. Essentially what is needed is, three, four or even five different approaches, meaning that publishers will be protected, to some degree, from a sudden down, a sudden change of an algorithm by Facebook for instance or a consequent downturn in terms of display advertising. Having a more distributed model would help. We have been seeing increasingly over the last year, positive signs with publications starting to develop income streams around events, sponsored content or data. These make for different business models, every publisher will have a different approach.


The Internet economy (Chris Dixon – Medium)

We are living in an era of bundling. The big five consumer tech companies – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft – have moved far beyond their original product lines into all sorts of hardware, software, and services that overlap and compete with one another. But their revenues and profits still depend heavily on external technologies that are outside of their control. One way to visualise these external dependencies is to consider the path of a typical Internet session, from the user to some revenue-generating action, and then (in some cases) back again to the user. When evaluating an Internet company’s strategic position (the defensibility of its profit moat), you need to consider: 1) how the company generates revenue and profits, 2) the loop in its entirety, not just the layers in which the company has products. For example, it might seem counterintuitive that Amazon is a major threat to Google’s core search business. But you can see this by following the money through the loop: a significant portion of Google’s revenue comes from search queries for things that can be bought on Amazon, and the buying experience on Amazon (from initial purchasing intent to consumption/unboxing) is significantly better than the buying experience on most non-Amazon e-commerce sites you find via Google searches. After a while, shoppers learn to skip Google and go straight to Amazon.


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