Big Brother Africa

Big Brother Africa is one of the larger “own productions” in the DStv product suite. It has a Facebook fan base of 650,000 people who are extremely committed about the show. Our brief was to add some interactivity through gaming to the show.

What we did was create a suite of Big Brother themed games (Bubble Popper, spot the difference, crossword, find word and quiz). We also created bespoke avatars and accessories that you could theme for the Big Brother experience.

The coolest part was the competition that we constructed around it; we had a tiered competition; the more points that were scored on each of the themed games the more beer and fast food that went into the house for the Saturday party. Players also got an opportunity to win cool Samsung prizes.

the results;
time on site increased by 40%
new players +20%
return visits +17%

milion pound drop

I’ve been investigating the overlap between tv and games at the moment (more on the reasons behind that in the future). Nickolodeon and the BBC are doing some pretty interesting things. Mostly not to be monetised, but more as a supplementary service to their tv campaigns. For doctor who on the bbc they created four episodic games that correlated to the tv program. These were played over 2.4 million times.

This is cool, but to get an authentic second screen experience . I like the example of the million pound drop. The million pound drop is a new tv series from Channel 4. Essentially what it is is “who wants to be a millionaire” upside down; you start with a million pounds in cash, and get asked 8 questions, each time you have to guess and put a cash amount on a number that you think is the right answer. You can hedge your bets by putting it on numerous numbers, but every question that has a wrong answer has a trapdoor below it that your cash disappears in. this makes it more exciting for people watching because losing money is more tragic (and more entertaining) than winning it.

The gaming side is great because it taps into human behaviour around quiz shows. I always shout the answers at the tv, and this allows the same thing. You play along at the same time as the tv show, so you get to answer in real time. The presenter shares this during the show (i.e. They’d say you answered that as well as 50% of the playalong audience). If you at home keep more money than the person on tv you can play through till the end of questions (or until you lose). They’ve also partner with bet365 to offer betting games, which you can play to win money. This seems to really work with a maximum of 8.6% of the TV audience playing along.

viral loop

I just finished a pretty great book called viral loop.
We all want our product to have a viral loop and not have to pay any acquisition costs for getting any new customers. I liked this because it was a history lesson about which elements worked best to grow a large audience naturally. The case studies include tupperware, hot-or-not, ebay and facebook. It went into the viral coefficient, the levers that you can control to make your product viral and which products are more viral. Recommended!

social games prezi

i had to do a couple of presentations last week and i thought i’d do one of them in prezi

its a great presentation tool which uses a large screen instead of a slide and you bounce along through it. my learning curve was extremely steep (and actually too long) because; 1) i’m crap at powerpoint and 2) not creative with these kind of things it ended up pretty good though;

.prezi-player { width: 400px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }

my favourite app

I found an app the other day that i expect will be lifechanging for me. Its called runkeeper and basically what it does is approximate what a fancy watch will give you in terms of running statistics (distance, route, pace etc). i’ll look at this from two perspectives,; 1 the running dork, and 2 the digital marketer.

Running dork
This free app gives you a google maps overview of the route that you’ve run, on the go pace and distance information and your calories used at the end (less interesting, but still). Instead of buying an expensive watch, this does all of it for you and for free. It uploads it to a website where you can compare yourself to your friends, and show off/share through twitter and facebook.

Digital marketer
At first i thought they were giving away too much for the free version. You get all this functionality, and the pro version is $10, so its not an easy upsell. But after id used the product a little i found out it was a real smart try-before-you-buy model. You can’t change tracks on your iPod while the app is running (something i want to do surprisingly often), but you can do it with the pro version. The pro version also comes with specific programs that can be inputted and you can be coached through the headphones. I’m still debating whether i’m going to spring for it, but i’m motivated (hey time magazine had it as one of their top 10 apps). The other cool thing that they do is offer you reports on your fitness/weightloss etc. i read an interesting article in wired about how people start to get motivated by tracking their results, and i think this could tie nicely in to this (maybe they need to have a free trial of their measurements to get people motivated)

now have an android version too, so get running

ebookers fail

I got up at 5 this morning to go to the airport;
We had a day flight from cape town via London to Amsterdam, booked a hotel and schipol and then a flight first thing tomorrow with easyjet to geneva for snowboarding. Unfortunately there was no plane waiting for me this morning. Ebookers had neglected to send me an email to say that they were rescheduling the flight to this evening. Which means that my hotel and flight to geneva are currently wasted expenses. Apparently they mailed me four times in july and once in august (i checked to see if maybe i had a delusional month and didn’t remember this important detail), but they didn’t (and i’m sure ebookers ensures they’re on every email whitelist possible)

So this is an exercise in seeing how closely ebookers pays attention to social media. I’ve twittered about it, and asked my colleagues to retweet it, and this post is to compound that….
I’ll keep you updated if anyone contacts me to sort it out.

UPDATE So today i have spent 2 hours and 4 phonecalls with ebookers. They said they sent the mails informing me of the change and as such couldn’t do anything to help (even though they never rescheduled our connecting flights). Someone has got a hold of me from on twitter but hasnt got back to me yet.

christmas number 1

an ex-boss of mine once called me a “business hippy”. but i’ve always believed in the idea of social media as a force for change, and i wear a beard- so maybe i am a bit of a hippy.

for these reasons i love the fact that rage against the machine is winning the race to be the uk’s christmas number 1. a couple of people get irate about simon cowell, create a facebook group and orchestrate the mechanics around how to create a number one (when and where to buy), and mobilise a sufficient force/tap into a zeitgest.
and now the uk has the potential christmas number one with the most christmassy of all sentiments; “fuck you, i won’t do what you tell me”.

WoW vs Farmville

I have been head down in budget season, which is challenging but fun (how to forecast 18 months in the future with 1 month of data- always interesting). Something that i picked up during this was how huge Farmville had become. Now everyone knows that 62 million play it monthly, but what you don’t see is how it stacks up against other games properties;
World of Warcraft is a great proxy for MMO games, and Farmville is the default social game. Look at the difference in searches for these over the last year. This is an industry that has got busy in a really short space of time, the next while is going to be interesting

mobile web africa

i went to the mobile web africa conference a couple of weeks ago. it was very illuminating in terms of the challenges, opportunities and methods of overcoming these that people are employing to get their product out (whether it is philanthropic or commercial). i took some notes, so excuse how rough and indstinct they are. let me know in the comments if i can explain anything.

6.65% of Africa uses PC internet
Top 10 countries= 85% of market
15% of cell users use net globally= 500MM
Google & Facebook #1 destinations- PV in Africa increased 422% YoY
SA 25.7% CAGR- 2013-16.9MM (2/3 mobile)
Tier 4 (R20/day) is shrinking, Tier 3 has exploded(R20-R140/day)
LSM 1-6 never use data
Big peak in December
Vodacom Live has 3MM on portal
Smartphone usage = 39x data usage
3 things to get net to Africa-data pricing
Settings configured
Content adaptation

the grid-location based services
LBA_ push-enter a mall, get an ad
LBA_pull-GPS then trigger something
How to find you- GPS, cellular LBS (cell mast triangulation), wifi hotspot(US), IP address, user defined
Advertising- time of day/week
Susceptebility to message
Low value of ads, high ctr
The grid-80% java, 10% mobi site, 10% other
90% prepaid

Africa 32% YoY subscriber growth
Cellular drives business, not just communication
Nigeria highest global access to BBC sports channel

Opera Mini 4.2 – sync with internet cafe- (bookmarks, history etc)
Wml dead- big for games, porn & ringtones
More mobile future- simpler code, minimal javascript, move less data, adapt better for everyone, use what is available- less battery usgae & data cost
Content is still king
Make mobile simple
Site, apps or widgets?
Apps- rewrite for each device
W3c widgets- specialised tools, html- easy to make
Websites- generic spaces
2 year cycle from phones sold in europe to trickle down to markets in africa

16MM reg users
1,940 phones compatible
Daily- 20-23MM logons, 10MM logouts, 2MM pictures, 600MM packets.
Demographic 42% 19-25, 27% 15-18
First thing people ask- what is you SLR (sex, language, race)
Very price sensitive audience
Things they do (some more speculative; dating, counsellling, ads entertainment (virtual goods etc),social development, radio & TV interaction, classifieds, LBS, social network, microtransactions (skins, chat rooms)
Classifieds 2,100 postings/day 330k subscribers
Mxit confessions
Roleplayers in ecosystem- Mxit, phone manufacturers, end users, mobileoperators, content providers, brands & advertisers, government & regulators, competitors

How to catapult mobile web;
Free & low priced data plans
Bring down handset costs- don’t compromise on user experience
Create lots of local content

More mobile phones than toothbrushes
Next 1BB is emerging markets
$2-$1/day=2.7BB= nothing
Need to find solution-total cost of ownership<$5/month

Peer to peer learning vNB for getting people to use new technologies
Age 25-50 are not English speakers, technical neophytes, below that more literate

connected action consulting
Social fabric will be digitised & available on mobile
2% of the population care about a topic, 0.5% are regular contributors
-start conversations
-answer people
-trigger discussions
20% of internet content is Q&A
Information wants to be copied
2pm & 2am tells who you are
Robin Dunbar says your brain can handle 150 r’ships