Nov 20

FOE: Changing Audiences, Changing Methodologies

Session 2: Changing Audiences, Changing Methodologies

Audience Research has long been a vital part of the media industries: research helps determine which ideas get produced, where content is distributed, and how content is monetized. Transmedia storytelling has forced media researchers to re-evaluate their notions of the audience since transmedia, by definition, allows audiences to engage at different levels across platforms. Research must now determine how to value audiences across different sites of engagement as they participate in different ways.

This panel will explore how research practices have adjusted to new ways of gauging audiences and making that knowledge useful. How does research understand and predict audience behavior? How does research contribute to monetization models for transmedia properties? How has traditional research adapted to keep up with the demand for better metrics? This panel will draw from a variety of industrial and academic perspectives to understand how we imagine media audiences and how we make them valuable.

Moderator: Eleanor Baird – Director, Partnerships & Analytics, Tube Mogul; Panelists include: JuYoung Lee – Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, ACE Metrix; David Spitz – Director of Business Development, WPP; Trapper Markelz – VP Products, GamerDNA; Joel Rubinson – Chief Research Officer, The ARF; Jack Wakshlag – Chief Research Officer, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

EB: Covering the role of research in TS.   In the last panel we were talking about measuring success. Research can help us assess impact; what they do as a result of engagement. Does it change behaviour, encourage spreading? Also what are the goals of TS. Research helps us figure out our goals and if we have met them

  • EB: What does it mean to you and some examples:
  • JYL: technology doe snot make TS. Effectiveness is driven from audience psychological context when using tech and that is what we focus on research. we look at same advertising across TV and online
  • TM: in gaming, its the different types of experiences – mobile to tv, tracking content and artifacts across the platforms. we look at all the ways gamers interact with content and IP. follow them as they change context.
  • JR: we don’t use the term. We use cross-media, or 360 media marketing. What it means is living in a 360 world, with human lives a the centre. The questions coming from marketers are quite different; what meshes with a brand strategy has got more complicated – but more interesting in a way. we;’re having more fun!
  • JW: trying to create more opportunities to immerse themselves, when when and for as long as they want with content we can offer.  large scale and long term, , CNN TV vs CNN.com etc.  Some simultaneous or some asynch
  • EB: so what role does research play?
  • TM: the amount of research we can do is reliant on the data available.  Prior to the last gen of consoles, it was less, fewer people to generate data. We aggregate explicit interactions from data networks trying to merge with behavioural targeting types etc, browsing and watching videos, sharing, plus the network data on the playing.
  • JR: It’s not a force in marketing that is happening in isolation. We are learning a lot about how the human mind works. Interested in behavioural economics – it’s not all rational for decisions. Have to look at what people are looking for and understand what is up for grabs. Engagement counts for a minority in customers; advertisers should be asking different questions, purposing touchpoints in different ways. each touchpoint does a different things I see digital and shopper marketing will merge – the mobile device is the main point.  Were not constructing these metrics nor have the right tests in place to do this. How does the ability TV create meaning and shopping create activation come together?
  • JW: we can do almost anything if we have enough money,. the question is what should we spend our money on. We need metrics to assess size/scope of businesses, what we should stop etc. If we can’t measure it you don’t know how big/strong it is or what you can do it./ figuring out social media does not fly, you have to ask what you want to know – hoe many people, what they do. It is not the figuring out we have to focus on questions about business metrics. it can be behavioural or financial. don’t care if transmedia, uni or what. There are 3 things i need to know – how may, how often. how long. Need to know it about every medium I play in. Not all I need to know, but key for all channels.
  • JYL: Our metrics are different from many/long/often.  But what we focused on the vast majority of audience that take no action after seeing a commercial. Advertisers need to understand effectiveness evenif no one takes actions there and then. We focus on developing ways to assess from behavioural data.
  • EB: What do we have now or where are we falling short?
  • JW: we have nothing except what people say. we don’t believe what people tell us (if we did, no-one watched the OJ trial). We need to find a way to go deeper. there are companies that are helping us explain non-concious decisions making, we can get info. Asking people what they want does not give you.
  • TM: easy to measure when not, or don’t or actively choose not to.   We looked at Amazon, looking at what people actively did not vote. So the got presented options and watched what they flicked by.. It’s about trying to present choices, so they can actively chose to consume or not, to skip by.  Present as many options for choice and using implicit actions to discern the process
  • JR: Media companies used to think of themselves in terms of the platform they are on. Now content is the organising principles. Thinking about it this way, is a media or publisher perspective and may not be the right way for an advertiser. Not sure impressions are additive. not sure you can add mobile, tv web impressions etc. So we need to consider measuring the holistic user experience, to calculate the multiplatform reach. or get accurate on each platform and put together as a secondary measure.
  • JW: the average person on TV is 35hrs a week, average is 6hrs a week online.  Your world may be different, but that’s the world I live.  Online video is 3hrs month, about half is YT shortform, then Hulu. Neither of them have made a nickel in profit. We have to deal with ad impressions and time spent and count. Sometimes we have to live with the reality is 95% is TV, 4% is timeshifted. Those are the facts that I must grapple with.
  • JYL: Online vs TV is different mind set. TV is passively engageed, so enough brainspace to accept advertising. Online they are more engageed, so not enough room to process advertising. Watching TV is driving with no distraction…online is like driving and texting…
  • JR: from a branding POV…you need to have strong properties.  One of the ways MTV evaluated the different environments for The Hills (online, tv), they looked at brand perceptions. If they consumed in all environments, then highest engagement metrics. but is it that people are more engaged are are looking for the environs or are they engaged because the environments. But it does not matter. you have extended the brand experience in places that are new, it is up to you to assess whether they will add value and then build it. you should do it as entertainment or brand – eg Zappos. their culture is online via social media as well. It’s not just about media measurement it is also about what you want to be.
  • JW: Cause and effect is really important. If building cross platform makes people more interested, but I’m convinced it’s the other way. More interested people look for cross platforms. We provide opportunities to immerse themselves as deep as they want. heavy users of CNN.com are heavy users of CNN. People are watching more TV than ever before.
  • JYL: from an advertisers perspectives it s simple – can I use the same TV ad and put it online. Our online people have created something can we put it on tv. When they have something good they want to use it different platforms.
  • TM: looking at the gamin space, none of the TS things in gaming, non have been very successful in driving engagement over and above the ones who would be engaged anyway. Metrics not there yet as data is not there, not mature itself. We need unified identity to help. few have made =the idea of TS to move more units. No-one has unlocked how to take a relevant message and target it by behaviour.
  • JR: if you are creating a brand and deciding strategy, you have to decide which media will be the essence which matches the essence of the brand.  Some brands have specific channels. There are multiple plays in the playbook, one of the aspects in media measurement is a testing aspect. You may have alternate strategies, you need to test them. There are organisations that have an experimental design approach to assess effectiveness.
  • EB: Looking to the future, if you could have metric/tech what would you want..is it worth measuring?
  • JW: In my dream, I;’m not sure how to do it. I need lots of metrics..but the ones I need for tv and mobile, is many, often, long. I can’t get those three now.  Everyone Knows it but no one does it! We re decades away from answering the fundamental metrics of those 3 platforms
  • TM: we are going to have to unify a lot of data silos.  Huge data warehousing problems. the data may be collected but consumers are uncertain about it being used. It is up to us to package the data as value add so it does not matter it being used. In gaming, data is useful as it is packaged back as profile etc, but does not work well in TV if they track everything you watch etc. If we can bring all the data together and make it portable then we may be able to do this.
  • JYL: After the many/often/long, then advertisers want to know what kind of content can be used across the platforms. can I re-use stuff, can I use the 10sec from online on tv and still get ROI. most people do not take action, but most is not designed to generate immediate action,. have to be able to measure cumulative impact and then on the impact on behaviour. Standards is good, so they can compare against competitors and past behaviour.
  • JR: if you have a multiplatform brand communication effort, and if it is important to you then you will probably commission a study. They are expensive discrete projects that are hard work to assess the impact. they are expensive, lots of time so limit usage. It is hard t build up a knowledge base. I would love to find a way that media becomes self-measuring, so it is generated as it goes. So the energy goes into not collecting the response but in analysing the response. In a digital space it is much more imaginable about how this works. It’s passive self-measuring is what I want.
  • EB: How can the research side work with  the experience teams in a way that is constructive.
  • JR: I got interested in engagement and dimensionalising it. I tried to calculate the % of sales from engaged customers. Most is more than half sales, but 10-15% of customers. You need to dimensionalise for the situation you are in,, the need to build the platform. For others it is important, for others it is OK to have a transactional view. you need to have a business perspective to create a proportional view.  For a storytelling perspectives, the story still needs to stand up on core platforms, or most won’t go and find the rest.
  • JW: We are fortunate that the core business is growing, people are watching more TV. this allows us to do new and experimental things. We want to provide the options. Do we think the numbers will be large – no. Even of the numbers are not large, I can still be successful, the most engaged customers go, that is where the people who like the product go. You come to us and be prepared to try new stuff but accept that the numbers may be small. Not everything you try is a success. We learn form our failures, not our successes.
  • JYL :Engagement is hard to figure out. Engagement with a programme is not the same as brand etc. Until there is answer to what is engagement, then advertisers have a problem with using that as a standardised metrics.
  • TM :one of key successes in gaming is UGC, and how gamers self-organise in other channels. In MMORPG, guilds were not planned, but they happened. Now gamers are trying to get that to happen elsewhere. it is too new, there are not enough examples. the companies are having to change the models the games are sold, you can lower upfront cost and pick it up for new content. Or a free-to-play model with microtransactions. there is a shakeup and it is too early/
  • EB (via backchannel). If you could quantify engagement, would it change business.
  • JW: we fool ourselves that small niche projects make a model. I would generalise that big brands have more engagement and loyalty than small brands. Coke is coke…if you are trying to create small niche products that is not the way products get big. Successful bigger brands have a different approach.   the difference between TNT and FOX, it is not the time spent, it is the number, Far more people spend time with FOX, even if the time spent is very the same. Small brands suffer on two counts – few people choose them and not very often…law of double jeopardy (1963..missed name). There are exceptions,,eg religious, language – lower reach, longer time spans. Looking at transmedia opportunity, be realistic in how big it can be. It does not have to be big to work for us.
  • JYL: shopping and consumption is a social activity, you want to buy things your friends have.
  • JW: it is partly to do with brand awareness as well, you don’t choose brand you have never heard of. Even if equally good. (measures on perception and return). Even if 2 places are equally good, you tend to go to the one that more has heard of.
  • JR: My problem is that whenever i try to measure it with respect to branding, it is a different brand equity measure, close to brand loyalty, so does not add much. In entertainment, there is a slightly different measure. the big win would be about finding away to apply behavioural economics to marketing problems. Understanding the heuristics that shoppers use to make split second decisions is a more fruitful area than new metrics.  Whereever you can analyse it, it exists. It happens in media, If you want to find light tv users, you look for them in the big shows, not the long tail.
  • JW: of you don’t know how you want to measure it, then you will never know. If you ask them, they will never know, it is unconcious process.  Innerscope we have used…they will measure pupils, heartbeat, sweating etc. Tey are measures that make sense to me, not asking people.
  • JYL: there are ways of asking questions, that do not rely on rational opinion. Innerscope are good for measuring reactions, but practically it is hard to attract people to that study…no-one likes to to be in a machine to watch a commercial. We are trying to look for alternates, they act as a proxy for physiological changes.  Fear of unknown is one reason you go for the larger brand.
  • JR: I took over a marketing class and asked them to write their favourite brand. I asked her how they knew about a brand -no-one said tv. it was peer recommendations.  eg for a mac. But they all knew the Apple commercials by name. the influence of those commercials was not something that could be said.
  • AudQ: how can you do AugReality/mobile in a store. One of the things a web does is give comments…so people can add their own impressions of products. Is there for marketing to get aroudn this? Will it push large bransds to get better
  • JR: there will be brand teams that will be in denial and prevent it and the others will embrace it.  Will also embrace it as manufacturers fight with retailers. So apps allow manufacturers bring their message right into the store, bypassing the retailers. Eg an app to show IUPC code which then shows video about the organic growers, tell the story. you have to be able to embrace it. The smartest people are some of the smaller guys.. but also P&G and Unilever who are all over this stuff.
  • AudQ: Do we need the big measurements or do we need to redefine it?
  • JW: I have 140 people who comb through data and that is there job. Data turned into information and turn it into knowledge and that is their job. You want overriding rules of the road as you don’t need to test everything and ask data questions everyday. There’s tonnes of data out there, but we don’t have people who make sure it is really good, etc, I will not do business with any company that hides behind a black box. Quantcast is not someone I do business with as it is a black box. I need people who will take the data and analyse it to provide information., We don’t know who is online..a lot of people share their computers, erase cookies etc. We have data, we don’t know the demos, how much money etc, we know they visited and then someone used the computer to go elsewhere.
  • TM: When we look at the data directly on the wire. There’s value but it seems really small.  franchise and genre loyal people, with TS experiences, you never get the huge initial audience, it is hard to get back to the main release. there is value created but not a lot.
  • JW: researchexcellence.com has data you could use, funded by Neilson, they did a large scale multiplatform observational study.  It’s as big and as close as any study has come.
  • JR: you can also mine social media, get insights into hat people think about you and your competitors, plus lifestyle issues etc, Collectively this is referred to as listening. This is about listening for the unexpected.   Comparing research questionnaires vs listening – value in both, but different insights. In research, the researcher controls terminology, in listening ,the user controls it.
  • AudQ: About CNN…every network comes underfire. When networks were putting more focus on Letterman/Palin than Iran, then the tweets CNNFAIL appeared to be reacted to. Also Stewart reactions,. So how do you measure the metrics of complaint?
  • JW: We monitor Twitter, Facebook, blogs, letters, emails. We respect the feedback from people who spend time to send us a message. We are an audience facing business, we have to respect the audience.  You can’t ignore the feedback but you have to weigh it. as CNN as a professional journalist whether you did a good job. We look at shows everyday and ask us the questions about journalism..dod we do the job we should have. Proud to say that CNN take the job seriously.
  • AudQ: would like to respond to some of the statistics.  If you take the average audience, that is a problem. Add age demographics then it is different (JW: that is untrue) So how do you measure?
  • JW: we gather data in a public way..I challenge you to show me data about what they DO.  We have looked at it in 3 ways and all show 15-24 watch lots of TV. People under age of 17 spend least time online as they have the least time. (Missed some as it got into a back and forth overlapping discussion)
  • AudQ: Many/Long/Often is based on advertising.. But not a lot on why. If you can’t do the how questions is this an opportunity to come up with new measures. So why focus on the old measures if there are opps to talk about the why?
  • JW: so I need to know what I want to know the why? It is not that I don’t need to know the why, when I’m doing the media plan, working out how to much to pay people to create, I need to know the How.  We have models on the how
  • JR :you need to know both. but there is commercial purpose for all. I did a meta-analysis of ad campaigns. What you heard in echo chamber it said TV was no longer viable, but the analysis showed that is was as effective as ever. Media strategies and brand platforms need to be done together.    Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty was one of the most innovative campaigns recently. It was all about the customer, not the change to the product.  TV is not everything…it is like a rubiks cube, you have to solve everything together. to do that you need to know they why but you have to quantify it to take it back to the commercial space
  • TM: look to gaming space. we know how many and how long, so the why is being played with. games companies are finding that it is not successful way of monetising as it is the same small group.  Now it is the the change of audience that is happening, eg Eve, moving to a FPS platform, to go after a new audience.
  • JYL: it also depends on product. One of the most successful campaigns…insect repellent, there is a belt clip version of this product (OFF) not a lot of engagement.  they put on a TV ad, they spent a little amount..sales 400% increase right after. Low interest, no brand loyalty…TV large audience has large impact.
  • AudQ: Jack, you are concerned about what people DO rather than say they do. So how do you approach situations where metrics not really reliable…eg Time Magazine poll, Twitter trending topics. Metrics as what is goign on vs cultural attitudes.
  • JW: is a big problem, we know people game the figures. Eg ad click farms. It is about data quality, and quality controls. It should in theory be large and stable but people can  game it, so not there.   It is a problem for us. you can criticise the Neilson system, how can they generalise from 18k to all the home, I wish they could do something better but you take the metrics you have.
  • TM: Game data is very young but there are the same challenges. People who leave games on. they are anomolies, but not huge. eg gold farmers, It can be filtered out, normalised for outliers.
  • JYL: extreme data is online, the vocal minority rules the space. you need 3rd party non-biased, not just the listened to stuff in tweets etc. these opinions are skewered and you need more.
  • AudQ: What internal discussion about making the data publicly available for us to use?
  • JW: It is not our data, we buy it from another company.  I’d love to know where Quantcast get the data from.
  • JYL: as a data provider, we have a business to run. It is hard to make profit by providing data in public. We collect data as well as we can, then make it to other businesses. It is hard to give it away.
  • JW: Has access to all TV data..come and talk to me about getting access as long as it serves a useful purpose.
  • TM: in the same boat. We have provided lots of data to MIT Lab, there is a lot of data out there. we will work with anyone who will look at it.
  • JR: so what analysis would you do?
  • AudQ: what is more valuable, data or analysis?
  • JR: or is it C….what is the data, so what is the analysis and the now what is the business decisions.
  • JW: the data are useless, the information and knowledge is useful. I create the whys, the explanations., Humans observe the world and come up with explanations.We construct explanations for the things I see. My managers don’t want to see data everyday, they want information and knowledge, i need to search for empirical irregularities and come up with why. It is my job to find the secret sauce., If it was easy, I’d be rich! But it’s not and I’m wrong sometimes.
  • JYL: yes, it’s the information,. Look at the large amount of financial data, but few people saw it coming
  • JR: but it is not good enough, you have to take a stand and do something.  With the TV world changing, about DVR etc, the tv people had to make the call about what to do. It is not the analysis, but the choice to make a choice and be held accountable for it.  Everyone should have a now what moment with respect to their business. this is a cultural change, one of the aspects of being a researcher is doing great analysis. It is not good enough anymore, we need to find a way to drive the business forward.  We need to get the marketers past their fear of control.
  • JW: you need to build a model with one set of data..and then test it with another!
Nov 20

FOE – Producing Transmedia Experiences: Stories in a Cross-Platform World

WARNING: LIVEBLOGGED – not checked

Session 1: Producing Transmedia Experiences: Stories in a Cross-Platform World
As the production of transmedia experiences becomes more commonplace, this panel seeks to pick apart some of the tensions emerging around transmedia as creative practice. As a narrative form, what is transmedia anyway? How can we keep it from being more than a shorthand excuse for multi- or cross-platform narratives? Is it anything more than that? Need it be?

Focussing around a series of case-studies, this panel digs into questions around genre, interactivity, and franchising? Are there certain genre constraints to transmedia narratives, particular genres — science fiction, drama — better suited to become transmedia properties than others? What might a transmedia event built around a romantic comedy look like? What role does interactivity play in transmedia narratives? Can transmedia narratives be satisfying simply by distributing their narrative in lots of forms, or does an “effective” transmedia narrative require opportunities for the audience to “participate” in a more active way than simply interpreting and discussing amongst themselves? Does transmedia require room for the audience to take a narrative in their own directions?

Moderator: Jason Mittell – Middlebury College. Panelists: Brian Clark – Partner and CEO, GMD Studios; Michael Monello– Co-Founder & Creative Director, Campfire; Derek Johnson – University of North Texas; Victoria Jaye – Acting Head of Fiction & Entertainment Multiplatform Commissioning, BBC; Patricia Handschiegel – Serial Entrepeneur, Founder of Stylediary.net

  • JM: asked our panellists to add their own definition of Transmedia Storytelling (TS)
  • PH: founder of Nine; how we see it is a solution ot the fragmented market, takes that approach to it; I bring that mindset into new places
  • DJ: a definition is a cultural experience that is shared and proliferated across channels. There is a place for adaptations etc, one of the strengths is about thinking about all the different ways that it can be done.  My interest is about the media franchise, eg IP that is shared by multiple sites of production
  • VJ: we don’t use TS much we tend to use the world multi-platform. they unfold across multiple places, to encourage discovery and access. We see the lifecycle of our content expanded by this world.   Expand reach, innovate and provide a platform for new talent etc.
  • MM: founded Campfire, does things like True Blood.  I tend to shoot down all terms for what we do but not having an answer. It’s about freedom as a story teller, freedom from gatekeepers, freedom to tell stories in way that are unconstrained.
  • BC: Mike and I both come from independent media, excited by the opposite to what HJ said. TS is the result of freedom of talent, not the goal. I tend to use the goal of experience design, interested in the performance relationship as well. It’s not about designing for each box at the time, which seems to be the TV model. It’s about making narratives about of everyday consumption
  • JM: not always clear what examples people share? So I asked the panel to come along with an example to discuss.
  • BC: wants to talk about an original IP we are doing – a techno-thriller. A few years ago we created an experience where we would get people lost. we had 38 hours of character immersion. we watched it all. we did not hide cameras everywhere, but we could have. The idea of losing ocntrol, of letting the audience be part of the narrative, the active protagonists of it, reshapes the idea of all media we touch, about getting it early in process.
  • MM: HBO and true Blood. In writers strike, we met then, looked at building websites, about 20 of them. no connecting story, just sites that should exist outside the show. The HBO said we could not put up a bunch of sites, needed a story. We were tasked with the story of how the vampires had come out the coffin, how true Blood was developed. We had 2m views of the online episode for a show that had not been promoted. We created the framework, then we had ad agencies working off the framework. For Series 2, we were asked to reflect on how the world had changed, we worked with Gawker to integrate the blog into their network.  there were lots of issues, about control, (eg if on Gawker, it had to be written by Gawker etc)
  • VJ: (played showreal) – Strictly; Ashes to Ashes, Dragons Den, Online Psychic test; The Apprentice; Just a Minute remix; Being Human.  The breadth of what we are doing – amplifying our tv programmes. One example is around a soap opera. Eastenders, The forma website is high traffic, as part of the 25 anniversary, we have commissioned 13 young writers to create a new story, of 4 students who move it. A new point of view on the characters.
  • DJ: I don’t make them, I study them. Interested in the way properties are shared and co-produced. Worked with Marvel, spoke with people in a wide production network of people sharing the same world. Marvels exemplifies the breadth of production practice; it’s not just one company managing it but several. With Ironman, the studios practiced a production based licensing model, had close interaction between film and game makers.  Even though the game was badly reviewed, but it was still a cohesive story.   But animated Ironman adventures, was a different Ironman, to target a different market.   Marvel Ultimate Alliance game features Ironman, but a different version. Used the same character but little co-ordination of story.  So interested in the many different ways they are done
  • PH: The New Power Girls, based on an audience of women who are trying to be moguls. we look to create content across platform that is palatable.  We create end to end content, with all elements, with own monetisation for each piece.   A blog, (NPG daily) with TV shows, it’s not just about getting them engaged but useful for whatever platform
  • JM: so the 7 principles that Henry talked about – which are most relevant for the panel.
  • BC: Still reflecting on how many are true when not TS. a lot is still variations on reader response and implied relationship on reader/author and how that is being stretched. Especially when it feels more intimate.  For TS, I know the audience as well as the audience knows me. When Someone come sand says they like the Art of the Heist I ask their username, and have a shared experience about it. It’s about the idea of Multiplicity makes me most exciting. a work does not have to be some finished piece, its the roll between the teller and the audience
  • MM: for me, the direct interaction with the audience. the first experience was Blair Witch, it went on for 8 months before a bible was built. the story emerged in direct contact with audience and still in contact with some of them.
  • JM: can I quote your twitter….MM you wrote…performance of the creator is essential (not just fans)
  • MM: too often is see with clients, they want to lock down a world. They get nervous if audience tries to create things that feels like canon. The storyteller is in the midst of the performance.  You have to deal with what the audience brings you; there is active participation and I react to the audience and change as it goes along.  In Heist we built a story and 2 weeks after launch it was gone and we changed.
  • BC: When you point a camera at something, you are capturing the performance; it is not just documentation, The relationship is changing,
  • VJ: the catalytic power of performance is what creates the drillability, how this transforms into audience performance in response to this. Drillability chimes enormously, the hunger of fans for extra story, or proximity of talent. It’s a Hygiene factor, we have to have other sites, if we don’t then the BBC has not done it’s job
  • PH: our audience participation is in the community where the PG share online.
  • DJ: on drillability, we talk about what can the users investigate. So for the Producers, how does this impact, the ability to produce more, or licencees have the ability to drill more into a property.
  • JM: Comics are interesting, multi-authored by design. a set of stable characters, but you know there will be shifts in authorships.   Many of them focus on non-realistic genres. For genres, what opens up for the producers when talking about a non-fantastic genere – eg Eastenders. What are the limits? What pre-existing properties seem ripe for this. Or are their properties that are difficult?
  • BC: you tend to see more escapist genres at the birth of an artform. Horror and scifi, existing fanbases, this is low hanging fruit. I got stuck with The Lakehouse! there are some stories that do not provide enough universe to get it started. I want to see a comedy, I want to see the opportunities explored.
  • VJ: consistent motivations for the audience, get involved, connect, drill down, take part in action. The creative expression is different for different genres.  So Playalong, light interaction, instant gratification for Entertainment properties. Interactivity etc, I-TV. For Comedy, engagement triggers are sharing funny stuff, shortform video, It pens up the canvas and other forms – puppets, magic, animation, expands it. Drama – more conventionally in TS, for soap opera etc.  We have to be clear on where the audience is in their journeys,, we have to be clear where the fanbase is. With Eastenders is a lot more handholding.  Eve if we point to the website after each show, most EE audience are not aware of it.
  • PH: all is non-fiction. Reality shows. it is not fantasy. In the past, Bravo used it a lot as a marketing channel; so now we have to ask what the audience wants. A lot is to touch the characters.  
  • BC: so want to do a puppet show!
  • DJ: PH does the ability to play a little, share your interaction with audiences. Is it more about creating a system them a story world.
  • VJ: the desire for audience to measure and understand themselves, the web allows this. Eg Sex/gender quiz. It is about extending learning journeys through content.  More product driven approach, ef wildlife, food recipe, earth news. There is a category approach for knowledge, and still a lot of innovation.  Adam Curtis – He created a ‘kit’ to describe a journey, movies and documentary, immersive theatrical things.
  • JM: About the audience, you can know your audience, you can conceive ideas about the group…when you are talking about an emergent property, how do you concieve of the group before it starts. Is it from the client, this demo etc, or from the storyteller POV. And then there is reality, so how do you cope?
  • BC: so an ad agency would say….our aspiration customer is an 18-24 yo girl in her first job who want to be taken seriously, our real is a 45-55 men who is cheap!  But everyone has a sense of narrative. You get the client to tell the narrative, it becomes more goal orientated.   you have a concept, but it’s an internal justification to allow you to tell the story anywhere. In TS it is a highly interactive process. If it has not launched publically, it has not happened.  In most cases, the narrative is far richer if iterative. haters are a problem, dealing with them that is the real test and most frequently the rest of the audience works out a way yo deal with them
  • MM: for original projects, it always starts with the story.  Once you have the story, you can envisage the audience. For marketers, it is about trying to draw out who is the real audience and then looking at their behaviours.
  • DJ: it’s about Multiplicity, you don’t have a single audience, you can’t please all of them all the time, you have to do different things. 
  • PH: it’s the most critical element in storytelling. We have to know our category. We don’t create for brands, but we have clients, we have to keep our finger on the pulse, know what will sell, what the audiences are.
  • MM: the goal is emotional goal. it drives everything else. If you make this you can do a lot. 
  • VJ: we are clear abut having an audience agenda on commissioning. Largely it’s fans we are pitching the ideas at, those with a high level of engagement. Too many producers underestimate the appetite for the multiplatform content.  You can get producers who over-estimate it though, there is danger of too much expectations, have to get the right reasons.
  • MM: one thing I find disappointing, the gatekeepers tend to view the audience as ‘freaks’ or obsessives,
  • JM: is the primary goal to TS to motivate people who would not get involved or those who are fans anyway?
  • BC: for independents the web is a way to build an audience before you are done. you can share what you are making in the process; you can shape what you are making and loyal fanbase.
  • MM: we had about 1000 people on list a year before it…they had ALL connected with it. Those 1000 fans, called shows to talk about; called Sundance to ask for the film. they called the cinemas asking for the film.  We had a core fanbase and it grew and then we reset the topline experience to attract new people and had another layer to connect with the originals. So we had 2 levels.
  • JM: so today, can we do 2 levels etc?
  • MM: absolutely, the most difficult challenge to do
  • BC: but is this a false dichotomy.   We did some work on 39 Clues, with Scholastic,. It was designed for multi-channels, To send readers who wanted the Owl to know that they had moved if they were going to get the Owl letter inviting them to Hogwarts.. We created something to make it real – letters back to the kid
  • VJ: fan management has a bif deal. it is not something that we are skilled with. As we socialise our content, we have a relationship. Some fans are really hard core..we have had to increase management 3x on message boards as the fans are not happy with the way the show is going. this puts off new people, who just want to chat. so how do we host conversations that are worthwhile and fun, this is causing some issues. There are use cases on other platforms, some want to just catch up, others want more immersive, others want to add fictions etc
  • PH: No, the goal is to reach audience where they are at.  fragmentation is what happens..it is to reach them, lots don’t watch TV, they want different behaviours. TS is to reach peple
  • DJ: what VJ is talking about is a central tension; how to leverage TS in a way that is managed. Central vs decentralised. It’s not about shutting down, but incorporating
  • PH: fostering the community allows them to play a part int he management – they can do things to regulate.
  • JM: is it the tension between control of property and the audience.  But what’s the tension between the various producers interest.
  • MM: this a legal issue. Compromise is needed
  • BC: there’s no framework for it. If there’s a no risk attitude then it won’t work
  • MM: tension between audience and canon/created. In most cases it’s clear and most people move between OK.  But a lot of tension is between the creators/partners. I often come in via marketing. But you have partnerships, like with Gawker. So only Gawker could write content on Gawker, We had to create content for Gawker writers to write about.  It seemed Gawker were not prepared to deal with fans of the show..and there seemed to have been a lack of comms between marketing and editorial.  Content in advertising spaces – upset when advertising does not act like advertising.  It put off the fans – the story focused on Gawker and their attitude.  We shy away from it more..if media is creating content on behalf of advertisers.
  • BC: but independent is still full of lots of partners, creators, who are specialists, You need to get a whole load of people who would not necessarily work together. There is tension there as well
  • MM: on Blair Witch, we saw the need early to create a Bible, then handed it to licensors. Comic etc . When they added stories we would look at it to see if would be added to canon.
  • VJ: We are a broadcaster, moving towards being a content provider. A big shift. Many producers are less familiar, less excited,  They feel it’s about visibility. Some of the younger get it, they invest in it from the start, that is when it cuts through with the audience. They sell in as a rounded project. we have had most success when this happens. Comedians and comedy world really get it. Sometimes you have to re-engineer shows to recognise it. There are real challenges form talent as well, about signposting this stuff. So many things to balance.  It’s complex. In commissioning, we have to understand strategically what we are trying to achieve and which of the hurdles we are prepared to tackle,
  • PH: we are coming in with an end-to-end franchise, well thought out, and that is why we doing well. It is becoming more about thinking before hand, not add-on.
  • DJ: so TS, talking about bridges across different production studios. It’s not even. So with Marvel, then film is always the lead – even if it a comic book company. cultural issues of prestige and value and meanings, have shaping influencers.
  • JM: so how do you define success and failure.  When does it work and for whom
  • VJ: there are very blunt tools. we don’t have th overnight measures. We have reach metrics etc. Reach/Quality/ Impact/Value for Money. We set out things before a project. So entertainment may be focusing on Impact.  For others it is reach…a big show that does not have a lot of numbers is a failure. So Quality, recommendations is another measure. We map out in advance. so we know what we sign up for. We are now getting a sense of the numbers. Simple light, well-executed, thought through are best. nothing much has changed – performance, story telling, timing etc is the same.  It’s   of tools, be strategic about what you use.
  • BC: back to the pastiche idea. Any success you want to prove, there are metrics already. I look for metrics that our clients are already bought into and how do you use these metrics. Eg advertising ROI and marketing efficiency.
  • JM: as a storyteller, when do you feel you have done something that has worked?
  • BC: no two films have the same goal etc.  there are diferent goals. There is no one metric of success.
  • MM: do you have fans (as a storyteller)
  • DJ: so the implicit question is why is something valued. It is easier to measure commercial success. 
  • BC: it is hard to prove transmedia sometimes So what produced what, everything has a synergistic lift effect. So movie clients are amongst the most difficult, How do you show a dent with $100m movie marketing budget

(Now onto questions)

Nov 01

Twitter Lists

Twitter Lists got widely released this past week and people are trying to get their head round what they mean. It’s a slow process categorising people, as there’s no quick way to put people into lists. With a new tool and a slow process, I think it’s going to take a while before user behaviour and list norms get established. It hasn’t stopped people putting their opinions out there though. Chris Brogan has decided he does not like the lists:

Immediately, I realized what I’m not going to like about them: they will exclude people. Sure, on the one hand, they’re a great way to group people and information together. For instance, I might make a list for news feeds. I might make a list about travel, like hotels and airlines. But the minute you move into the people department, things get sketchy quick.

Scoble responds:

Sorry Chris, but life isn’t fair. Steve Gillmor tells me all the time I’m not in control of how people view me. That’s why I don’t feel bad about lists I’m not on. I CAN control my own lists, though, and even when I do my own lists I leave myself off of most of them. That does NOT make me feel bad.

He gives examples of lists that are obviously exclusionary by nature, eg VCs; they’re a fairly objective description of what a person is, so lists like this are self-selecting. The problems that Chris refers are are going to more prevalent when lists are more about what a person is like, when it starts to move towards personal, subjective viewpoints; that’s when feelings are going to get hurt, in the same way that they can be if a person is not followed back. (because unfortunately that’s what people are like).

Another set of posts are about what lists are for – which this one probably falls into. As Alan says on Twitter, there was always bound to be one about how lists are the new measure of influence

Twitter Influence (screenshot from Twitter)

Twitter Influence (screenshot from Twitter)

On that linked post, Todd Zeigler says

I think Twitter Lists will end up helping separate the men from the boys when it comes to influence. In addition to seeing a Twitter users follower count, we can now see the number of other Twitter users who have added them to lists (example to the right). I would argue that getting added to a list is a bigger deal than simply getting someone to follow you.

And some are already acting on that, with mashable.com basically begging to be added to lists. But as I said earier, I think it’s still too early to determine where lists will go. Being on a list labelled ‘idiots’ or ‘met’ or ‘Bristol’ is not a measure of influence because the lists are being used for a different reason than to categorise expertise in an area.

So I’m going to examine ways in which I think may be used, having taken a look around the developing list frenzy. I think there could 3 main ways that people will categorise things

  • To organise the information for themselves. With no thought of others, the lists are there to see sub-sections of the people and entities they follow. From what I’ve seen, this will be the most common use, reflecting the personalised nature of Twitter usage for groups.
  • To organise information for others. These will be people who will do the most talking of about the lists, about how good they are, how they will replace the SUL and follow friday. They provide the lists to help others find good stuff (or to demonstrate their influence)
  • As a temporary element, around a conference or an event – a list of people attending, a way of pulling all the tweets together.

So how are list users categorising tweeters? Here’s a few methods that I’ve seen so far.

  • By their relationship, eg met is a common name at the moment, also buddies, best mates etc
  • By their employment, eg company lists, or job type lists, such as Rackspace, or journalists
  • By their perceived expertise or role, eg social media, programming
  • By their perceived social role, eg connectors, celebs
  • By Geography eg London
  • By type, eg news, objects, organisational tweets.
  • By perceived worth, eg cool, interesting,
  • favourite

So how are you using your lists?

Oct 24

BBC Baloon

I love how even an august organisation such as the BBC can sometime have typos (yes, I know I have no leg to stand on with the frequency of mine)

BBC Baloon

BBC Baloon

Oct 10

Augmented Reality – the History application

I like the idea of augmented reality, the idea that using a device (usually a mobile) I can get more out of the world. For someone who sits watching TV with the laptop, so I can dig into more information about what I’m watching, being able to do that on the move would be great. Yes, I can look it up via the web, but it can be easier to have it all pulled together.

Whenever I talk about the subject, I bring up my most desired application. Tube stations and restaurants tourist places and all that are fun and useful but I want something with a bit of depth, and that depth is time. I want a history tool. I want to be able to walk around London and know that Marble Arch used to be Tyburn. That this is the path of the Fleet. That Trafalgar Square used to be the Royal Mews. Point my phone at something and it would offer me the chance to move back and forward in time, giving me information about what it was. In some places, where the images are there, I want to see what it looked like. A perfect example is the paintings on the walls of one of the Tube tunnels at Charing Cross, which gives you street plans and drawings of buildings of the area. Let’s put that on the phone.

This isn’t a simple mash-up, it’s not pulling ready-made data together, because as far as I know, it’s not there. We’ll have to build the database, turn into historians to pull it together. I think that Layer is a possibility, with the ability to create data sets. This is what I want, but I have no idea how to build it..anyone out there doing it already?

Update: I went along to Mobile Monday London yesterday and ended up chatting about this app. A few more ideas got developed.

  • The database element and app itself appears to be fairly simple. It needs to use the location and retrieve the data for that location, and then be able to move through the different time layers.
  • Collecting content is more difficult. There could be ways of partnering with museums, ie Museum of London, or other local museums. A great source would be local history groups, that often have specialised archives. It should be possible to allow users to develop the content, around a specific location.
Oct 08

Twitter Broken

Twitter is currently broken, it’s stopped sending out updates. But the search is still working, so you can see that everyone is still using Twitter to tweet that it’s broken!

Twitter Broken

Twitter Broken

Sep 17

Twitter Trend Explanations

Interesting. Twitter is now providing explanations for trending topics, which makes good sense giving sometimes you just don’t get it. Here’s the explanation for one of the ones tonight, where man of the tweets are in Portuguese.

Twitter Trend Explanation

Twitter Trend Explanation

Aug 01

Sky – How to annoy customers

I’ve been lucky this year in that I’ve had a Sky subscription through a friend which was part of an offer, so I pay nothing this year. I’ve never felt the need to get additional channels or pay a TV monthly subscription, so this was really an experiment to see how I liked it. And it’s been good, I’ve added a couple of programmes to my watch list and the Sky+ box works well (although not as nicely as my Tivo).

However, I have a HD TV so thought about upgrading to the HD box and service. This is when I run into the problem – if I upgrade I lose the other deal. So instead of paying £9.75 for the next few months, I have to pay the full £30 or so. Which is completely ridiculous. The service is good enough for me to consider upgrading, which means they’re going to keep me after the initial year’s end but they put this barrier up, which means I will now consider alternatives. Silly short term thinking, not long term lifetime value thinking.

Jul 11

Books June 09

  • Summer in the City, Pauline McLynn. Following the lives of a group of people living on one close in London, it’s initially confusing, as you try and work out who all these people are and how they are connected, but it all starts to make sense and come together nicely. Everything ends well, a good story
  • The Dirty Secret Club, Meg Gardiner, US Thriller about a forensic psychologist who constructs the state of mind of dead people, playing a central role in the cracking of a murder plot. A little over the top, but good read.
  • Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell, Cornwell turns his attention to the 100 Years War, focusing on a bowman who marches with Henry V, ending at Agincourt. Basically, this is Sharp but just set in a different period. Same type of hero who gets through battles despite the odds, war and battles and same writing style.
  • Kings of Albion, Julian Rathbone Another historical novel, this time set in the War of the Roses, what happened when the English got fed up of fighting the French for a while and decided to fight each other. The style vould not have been different, focusing on a ‘tourists’ version of visiting the English, full of satire and subtle comedy.
  • Uglies, Scott Westerfeld. I’d read a lot about how good a YA book it is, but I was slightly disappointed at it, because it was not as expected. I still loved the book but for some reason, I expected something different (although not sure what!). No matter, it was still an excellent read, telling the tale of Tally, growing up in a world where on reaching the age of 16 you get to become a ‘pretty’, get made beautiful and move into the adult world. But all is not what it seems.
  • Trust Me, Jeff Abbot. A familiar tale – in fact, Id read something similar recently – of circumstances pushing an ‘innocent’ on the run, where they learn more about themselves and those around them. Here it’s all tied into global terrorism conspiracies. However, it’s going to be most memorable to me as the first book I’ve read where Twitter is namechecked and plays a small part of the plot.
  • Silks Dick Francis. Another strongly plotted racing thriller, this time co-written with his son. I’ve got a lot of his books, always awell put together story.
Jun 08

Weird Genetics

This ad is for Artificial Insemination, for egg donors. And it completely annoys me whenever I see it, because it’s wrong, all wrong. Not because the idea is wrong, but the maths is.

(if you haven’t studied basic inheritance, a child gets half of its chromosomes ie genes from each parent. So a child only ever has 50% of the two biological parent’s genes. So when you use donor genetic material, replacing one part of a couple’s contribution, the child will only have 25% of their genes)

May 13

A changing role

A Press Release with reference to me

TWENTYSIX LAUNCHES TWENTYSIX SOCIAL MEDIA

It was announced today that full service digital agency twentysix is launching a dedicated business unit to provide brands with much-needed support in the world of social media.

The new division, called twentysix social media, provides in-depth analysis of the social media landscape, strategies and plans for organisations to take advantage of this route to market and ways to build and maintain dialogue and brand interactions online.

It is headed by Rachel Clarke, head of social media, who joined twentysix after working for Diageo and JWT New York. Her expertise in social media is drawn from working with some of the world’s biggest brands as well as her own online presence through the Behind the Buzz and DigitalStuffing blogs.

Rachel comments: “ Many public and private sector organisations need to know more about how to best connect with customers through social media, whether networking sites, interest groups or the many others ways of receiving and distributing content and information. Currently, very few get it right first time.”

twentysix social media offers a range of services all of which cover every aspect of the online community and, crucially, allow brands to measure their success . These services include strategy and brand planning, campaign set up and monitoring through to asset creation, activity stream delivery and measurement.

Gail Dudleston, CEO of twentysix, adds: “This is a really exciting development for twentysix and complements our existing agency proposition. ‘Full service’ means covering every possible angle of digital communications and social media is a vital part of that equation. Having the expertise and knowledge in house is really important to us and our clients. A lot of clients and prospects have spoken with us about social media, underlining the need for a specialist division to handle it. We aim to deliver expert guidance across every part of the social media spectrum.”

Apr 13

Amazon Fail

Update: this becomes even more confusing.

A cataloguing error, a lack of response from Amazon followed by confusing messages and a lot of jumping to conclusions (including me) led to a social media storm that can only damage the reputation of the brand. As BL says, you need to think about how you monitor your brand all the time, not just 9-5 Mon-Fri; although Amazon did appear to be responsive over the weekend even if the answers were not fully clear.

According to Amazon, they’ve been having a ‘glitch’ over the weekend that has stripped the sales ranking form a number of books, thereby reducing the likelihood of the books appearing in searches, so impacting sales.

The only problem with this is that the glitch appears to affect gay/lesbian/sex titles only and even then the impact is inconsistent, which is unexpected if there was a logic behind it. Playboy and Girls Gone Wild is not adult under the glitch, but literature with a gay themes is, even when there’s no sex written about. Apparently, before they called it a glitch, they had called it a policy according to the email received by Mark Probst

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

If you’re on Twitter, or have been reading feeds over the weekend, you’ll have seen this. It appears that the power of public opinion, published all over the web has forced Amazon to update a policy to a glitch and then to fix it. But is it enough to rescue their reputation or the new meaning of Amazon Rank

Feb 21

CIPR, Non-for-profit and social media

On Thursday evening, the CIPR ran a session for not-for-profit PR types and for bloggers interested in the same, as part of their Fifth Estate activities. The evening was set up casually, with wine and nibbles and a short overview of social media to introduce the topic; the rest of the evening was spent in conversation. Although at times I felt like I was just their to offer free consultancy, in the whole it was a good night with plenty of questions asked. The PR people wanted to learn and asked a lot of great questions. I think I had 4 key conversations:

  • The group behind the Great Gorilla Run, supporting Gorillas in Africa had a lot of questions about connecting with their supporters the rest of the year, not just around the time of the race.
  • A great conversation with someone who was new to using online tools but not new to social media, if you view that as getting out their, spreading the knowledge, talking , discussing, writing white papers and all that stuff. He already had all the behaviours, just needed to try a different set of tools.
  • One charity who looks to develop entrepreneurial behaviour in teens. An interesting discussion about how to reach with children who are not in school and not working
  • A discussion about local council usage, message boards, community management and staffing requirements. Plus about not sending out press releases as attachments!

One key thing I siad 3 or 4 times during the evening was about ASKING the people yu are trying to conenct with for ideas. If the charity is unsure how to use these tools, there’s a good chance that some of their active volunteers and supporters have a better idea, so how about involving them?

Overall a good evening and I’d be interested in doing something similar again.

Feb 14

Google Lattitude and other location services

I use a few location services.

  • Dopplr to record my travels. You can see them all on the MyTravels section of the site
  • Brightkite. Because it is a nice little mobile connection and has connections out but I’m not using it a lot at the moment. It won’t take a feed from Dopplr, but will feed into that service.
  • Fireeagle. Simple, all it does it record where you are and then act as a hu to other services. I like it to use it like that, at the centre of things, but not everything is quite there yet with the other services.
  • Google Lattitude. I’ve just started using, especially the mobile version, and quite like it.

I’ve been playing around with all the services over the last week and have been thinking about ways I’d like to add some control. I’m not a power user of these in anyway, but like to just play around with them

  • Connectivity. Google is particularly bad, it does not appear to have any. From past experience, it’ll likely be a while before it does. What I’d like to be able to do is have Fireeagle as the hub and be able to control and feed in and out from the other services. I’m likely to drop Brightkite if Google had this – I only need one mobile version.
  • Location Setting. Latitude allows you to decide to set your location manually or automatically. But it only has this per account, I’d like to be able to do this per device. I’d like anything from the computer to be set manually and anything from a mobile device to be automatic (well usually)
  • Granualarity. Fireeagle allows you to tell other services your location at different levels – exact, area, city. Google seemed to miss that nicety, in allowing you to define who can see what. Every service should have the ability to fuzz things.
  • Exclusion zones. I’d like to be able to set exclusion zones, so that a service will never display you at certain points (like personal addresses). When I start to approach these zones, the location becomes fuzzy, moving around a bit. I’d like to be able to turn this on at a click of a button – say if I’m visiting somewhere. I may tweet that I’m with someone but want to be able to fuzz out the location.

I think that will do for now.

Feb 07

TwitterSheep

You’ll have probably seen this a few times, but Twittersheep do a word analysis of the bios of your followers. I saw this when it first came out, but didn’t try it, as they were looking for username and password. They’ve fixed that problem and now you can just add your (or another) username. Then you get something like the image below. So the people following me are interested in this stuff – which means I must provide somekind of information that meets the need. I’m not sure how accurate the sizes are – I’m pretty sure “bre ♥ twittersheep” is only in one bio, so there’s something a little weird going on. It’s fun though.

twittersheep

Jan 19

A 2009 Restaurant Plan

In the 2009 Michelin Guide, there are 8 restaurants in London that newly have a star. A plan was hatched, to visit them all the new ones this year.

  • Chapter One, Bromley British type restaurant with main courses from £16.50 at dinner, I like dishes such as Pressed Rabbit & Foie Gras Terrine, Cranberries, Mushrooms, Truffle Mayonnaise & Roasted Apples (a starter) and Slow Roast Belly of Packington Pork, Choux Crout, Baby Leeks, Caramelised Onions, Apple & Pork Jus. This is a re-entry after they lost their star a couple of years ago
  • St John, Clerkenwell. This is a restaurant that does nose-to-tail eating, which does not appeal too much to me, I’m fairly conservative, but I’m happy to give it a go. Definitely British food, mains this evening include faggots and peas at £15, which I quite like.
  • Ambassade de L’Ile, South Kensington. Definitely French with a name like that, it’s only been open 7 months. They have a 3 course set lunch for £30 and do a 7 course for £90! (may be a bit beyond the budget). dishes this month include steamed Scallop with Lobster coral Nage and black truffle and Mille-feuille of Pot au feu.
  • Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair. Big hotel, only open during the week and with an inability to turn their menus into HTML, it does 3 courses at lunch for £39 or dinner for £75. The menu is French, with things like le Saint-Pierre de Ligne and La Perdrix Grise, neither of which I recognise so it could be an interesting meal.
  • Kai, Mayfair. And now for something completely different – Chinese. (although same problem as the previous restaurant with pdf menus). I knew this was not your regular Chinese when I saw it did Peking Duck for £118 (it is for 2 over 2 courses though!); it does a more reasonable Szechuan Chicken for £16
  • Murano, Mayfair. Mayfair has it’s fair share. This is a Gordon Ramsay restaurant with a set lunch for £25 or 3 course dinner for £55 with options such as Carnaroli risotto, gorgonzola and apple, fresh walnuts and Roasted turbot, potato galette, wild mushroom duxelle and cep velouté.
  • Semplice, Mayfair. This is Italian, with mains from £16 and pasta from £9. I like the look of Pheasant ravioli with potatoes and thyme sauce or Roast Chicken breast with taleggio fondue, french beans and hazelnuts, tomatoes and white wine sauce
  • L’Autre Pied, Marylebone. Another French offerings, with mains around £18, they also do lunch or pre-theatre 3 courses for £20.95 with dishes such as Pithivier of Game, Savoy Cabbage, Celeriac Purée, Puy Lentils and Red Wine Sauce

The plan is to get together a group to try them out over the year, to get out there regularly. So if you want to volunteer, let me know

Dec 29

Radios and Fire Engines

I’ve been digging into some history, of the house and into some of the things hanging around.

First up we have an old EKCO radio, with the various choices of Gram, Long, Medium and VHF for wavelength choices.

EKCO radio

Then we have an old Corgi Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, model 1127. You’ll see quite a few of these for sale around the web but none quite like this. Grandad was the Chief Rate Fixer/Engineer at the Simon factory in Dudley having moved there from the Simon factory in Stockport in 1959 to start a new production site for the engine. When the first sample models were delivered to the team from Corgi, he was pretty upset that the toy manufacturer’s had got it wrong and painted the whole thing red. So he painted the lift white to demonstrate what it was supposed to look like and apparently got into a big argument with them. But he didn’t win it, as the production model still has the lift painted red.

Fire Engine