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Finding affinity and authenticity in a maturing market

Influencer marketing made some predictable shifts in 2020 — TikTok, for instance, turned out to be as essential as many predicted. (Including our own talent manager Jerry Barajas, as quoted in Forbes last year). There have, of course, been some surprising turns as well. Despite early cries for the end of the era back at the start of the pandemic, influencer marketing has in fact proven itself to be a valuable asset to followers, brands and even to non-profits and government organizations. …

New and inventive uses of text messaging in 2020

In a year when nearly all means of communication went virtual, one medium stood out against the noise. Text messaging, a technology that’s been around for nearly 30 years, appeared in a number of new and inventive uses in 2020, even before the pandemic. What was once simple lines of text punched in with T9 (remember that?) has evolved into a vast language of emojis, reactions and images.

Unlike email inboxes, which can become crowded or social media, which is by definition an endless stream, text messages offer brands, individuals and even government organizations something unique: the opportunity to succinctly…

Studio71 has its biggest year in podcasting yet, with over 30 shows launched in 2020.

Studio71 helps creators do what they do best by supporting the talent behind the mic

2020 has been a big year for podcasts. In a year where everyone’s routines were interrupted, the reliability of podcasts as a source of entertainment and escape has proven especially valuable. When other mediums like TV shows, movies, and books lagged behind the day-to-day reality of life during lockdown, podcasts were there. Hosts recorded podcasts in their closets under blankets. Guests called in via Zoom. The limitations were real, but somehow, it all worked. A medium whose popularity preceded the pandemic took on new relevance at a time when audiences craved comfort, knowledge, and escape — all without having to…

The 2020s are focused on Gen Z, and TikTok is the medium for financial wisdom

The internet has led to the democratization of knowledge in a number of areas, from beauty to home improvement to cooking. In recent years, another arena in which people have turned to YouTube and, more recently, social media, for guidance is personal finance. According to a recent report in Bloomberg, there’s more overlap between the world of influencers and personal finance than you might think, an effect that’s been heightened by the pandemic. While millennial bloggers and YouTubers pitched the financial independence, retire early (FIRE) movement in the 2010s, the 2020s are focused on Gen Z, and TikTok is the…

Brands focus on offering a different kind of experiential product ahead of more upcoming time indoors

As we prepare for hygge season stateside, brands looking to capitalize on all that inside time have fixated on the ultimate consumable good for cozy days and nights: candles. While high-end candles have existed for decades (French brand Diptyque has been making them since 1968), the public appetite for luxurious scents has grown with social media.

Candles are an ideal branded accessory to feature in, say, an Instagram post of a bedside table. Like an eye-catching hardcover book or an artful flower arrangement, branded candles add visual appeal to a post, and better yet, give viewers something tangible to purchase…

Shoppable content makes it that much easier to buy things from your couch

Earlier this month, One Platform Commerce, NBCU’s initiative for shoppable TV, announced a partnership with PayPal. And this week, just in time for the holiday shopping season, NBC ran a two-hour shopping special on “Today All Day,” Peacock’s dedicated streaming channel for its tentpole morning show. This is a particularly savvy use of the brand’s streaming platform, which allows for virtually unlimited run times as compared to the tight segments of Today’s broadcast program. The showcased products were available for purchase on a dedicated brand site and accessible via on-screen QR codes.

This option presents a novel entry point into…

Dynamic advertising allows platforms to rely on subscriptions

Last week, Spotify bought Megaphone, one of the biggest podcast advertising and hosting platforms, for $235 million. It’s been a busy year for Spotify, so you may have missed this one and its significance. In 2019, Spotify acquired Anchor, a creation and hosting platform, and Gimlet, a production company. Megaphone is more like the former. Instead of adding to Spotify’s content library, the Megaphone acquisition bulks up Spotify’s ad sale muscle, expanding its reach outside the Spotify network.

As recently noted in The Verge, podcast ads have come a long way in recent years. In the early days, podcasts relied…

In a year marked by uncertainty and misinformation, documentaries have come to fill an important need.

Documentaries educate, entertain and reveal the workings and motivations beneath the gloss of famous figures and events. At a cultural moment where behind-the-scenes coverage is preferential to a perfectly manicured facade (see Instagram, YouTube, the whole of TikTok), documentaries offer us a way into topics that’s easy to digest. Of course, this genre long predates streaming services and the internet. But the speed with which today’s technology helps ideas spread has made fact-based stories appealing to both consumers who want to learn more about the world and to producers, who are always on the hunt for gripping, real-life stories.


The live-streaming platform broadens its self-definition to include all kinds of creators and content.

The last few months have been big for gaming. Perhaps you’ve heard? It’s also been a time of growing popularity for live streaming, which has allowed industries and the personalities that drive them to connect directly with audiences from a social distance.

In the midst of this craving for virtual engagement Twitch, a livestream gaming platform founded in 2011 and acquired by Amazon in 2014, has slid into the mainstream. Despite the shifts the pandemic has precipitated, Twitch has been preparing for this moment for years. …

The short-form video app plans to shut down in December

Quibi was founded on the belief that people need, want, and are willing to pay for high-production value, short-form content that’s viewable on a mobile screen. Six months later, that idea hasn’t played out. In December, the app will be shutting down, taking with it millions of dollars in investment. Over the past decade, platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube have changed consumer expectations around video, especially video that’s available for free. Rather than adapting to the ecosystem created by on-demand video, Quibi sought to upend it, creating a serial format that banked on novelty and talent rather than…


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