#TheDebut of high school basketball on Twitter
The popularity of high school basketball is immense. A Statista report claims that more than five lakh boys and over four lakh girls were part of high school basketball teams during the 2016-17 season. Now, to cash in on the sport, social media platform Twitter is set to livestream eight high school basketball games in association with Gatorade and Intersport for #TheDebut. Twitter’s force has helped the sport earlier from coaches liking and retweeting the posts from players to recruiting. The strategy, it seems, for Twitter is to livestream sports and bring more niche sports to the platform. Previously, the social platform has inked deals with the likes of NFL, MLB, National Women’s Hockey League and Wimbledon to livestream events.
For #TheDebut, the timeline will feature running commentary from current and former players, potentially including players participating in other games in the eight-game slate. Gatorade will also contribute to the timeline by interacting with fans during the games and posting highlights.
Kenny Mitchell, Gatorade head of consumer engagement, was quoted as saying, “Conversation around high school basketball is very popular among teen competitive athletes on Twitter. With this partnership, we are able to offer that audience a unique opportunity to watch top-tier high school prospects when they otherwise might not have had the chance to. Gatorade is always looking for ways to connect with the teen athlete in new and innovative ways, and we think this partnership gives us that opportunity.”
“This partnership will get the same treatment as other Twitter live stream experiences such as WNBA.twitter.com; live.twitter.com/ESPN. The broadcast will be on-par with linear TV in terms of production value but deliberately digital in nature by integrating tweets, player Twitter handles, and engaging with fans throughout the broadcast in a way that’s differentiated with what would be expected from a basketball game on a TV network,” said the official statement from Intersport.
Former NBA players Baron Davis and Nate Robinson along with NBA 2K TV host Rachel Demita will serve as the broadcast team, providing live commentary from the eight games.
Twitter has been banking on brand-advertiser video collaborations and had recently launched #Breaking2 with Nike, Converse Public Access, and #TommyNow with Tommy Hilfiger.
Turner, Warner Bros launch SVoD service
Turner International’s Digital Ventures and Innovation (DV&I) Group and Warner Brothers Digital Networks (WBDN) teamed up to launch a new, multi-territory movie streaming service. Named as FilmStruck, its launch in the international marketplace will leverage the strength of both companies, bringing together a broad and diverse movie catalogue as well as long-standing expertise in programming and curation. The service will draw primarily on the Warner Bros library and the Criterion Collection library, as well as other global and local content partners.
The UK is the joint venture’s initial launch market in what is planned as a multi-market rollout over the next two years. The UK service will launch in association with iconic cinema brand Curzon as Filmstruck Curzon and will feature a branded Curzon area within the service curated in collaboration with Curzon. It will also include access to titles from the Curzon Artificial Eye film library.
The agreement with Curzon also includes opportunities to leverage its established market position, experience, consumer base and cinema operations and to launch additional Curzon branded cinema services in other markets.
The service is already available in the US. Turner currently operates two SVoD brands internationally: El Plus in Brazil and Toonix in the Nordics. The addition of FilmStruck to its international portfolio of brands forms a part of Turner’s wider strategy to do more in the OTT space and create more fan-centric experiences that engage new audiences.
FilmStruck will offer film lovers a broad collection of high-quality and critically-acclaimed movies across many categories — mainstream, cult, independent, classics, art house, foreign and documentary.
Aksel van der Wal, executive vice president, DV&I said, “We are thrilled to take this significant step together as a joint venture with Warner Bros Digital Networks, after many years of growing collaboration across various other projects with Warner Bros as a whole.” He further added that FilmStruck helps JV partners to realise a shared vision for what they see as a clear gap in the market for film lovers around the world. “We are also delighted to be working with a partner of Curzon’s heritage and prestige,” he added.
China’s Vivo enters Singapore
Chinese smartphone brand Vivo has entered the Singapore market with the launch of flagship handsets — V7+ and Y65. The handsets will be available through roughly 100 authorised dealers in Singapore. The company is also currently in negotiations with three local telcos in Singapore and aims to offer its products through them, starting February.
Vivo’s plan to enter Singapore first emerged in October last year when the brand launched in Hong Kong. As part of its expansion into more markets, the company will soon launch its products in Taiwan and Russia followed by a push into the African market.
According to Counterpoint research, Chinese smartphone brands have seen sharp growth in the last year, holding a record 48% of the global smartphone market share as they continue to grow beyond their home turf.
A study by Gartner informs that Vivo ranked fifth in global smartphone sales in Q2 2017 in terms of volume with a 6.6% market share. Alex Feng, SVP, Vivo said, “Since our first entry into the international markets in 2014, we have been dedicated to understanding the needs of consumers through an in-depth research to bring innovative and stylish products.”
Adidas prefers to take the train
To encourage the use of public transport seems like a clarion call from all corners. Not only are governments across the world taking steps to encourage it, brands are also missing no opportunity to ride on the sentiment.
Adidas, and Berlin’s public transport company, BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe), recently partnered to launch the limited-edition EQT Support 93/Berlin shoe. At €180, Adidas Originals’ sneakers come with fabric tickets incorporated on the shoe tongue that allows free rides in Berlin’s public transport system all this year. An annual pass reportedly costs about six times the price. It is no surprise then that the shoes sold out within 24 hours of being released on January 16. Only 500 pairs of these shoes were available for retail, limited to one pair per customer.
Apart from functioning as transit tickets, the shoes also feature the famous mottled seat fabric design of the BVG’s U-Bahn trains.
Conceived by German agency Jung Von Matt, the shoe’s debut coincides with the 90th anniversary of BVG. The shoes were sold through Adidas Originals Flagship and Overlin. The fabric tickets on the sneakers are valid for all of BVG’s underground trains, buses, trams and ferries until December 31, 2018. Berlin’s public transport usually relies on spot checks to nab the ticketless.
BVG’s association with Adidas can also be seen as an attempt by the transport company to revitalise its 90 year-old image. It had also recently rolled out a camouflage rebranding which had spun out to other merchandise such as bibs, swimming trunks and teapots. Reportedly, these new shoes are an updated version of the EQT shoes originally launched in 1993 that were popular with East Germans after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Adidas’ rival Nike had previously collaborated with the London Underground for its various sneaker lines to mark the tube’s 150th anniversary in 2013.
Previously, Adidas had made puke- and beer-resistant shoes in honour of Oktoberfest.
Now, everyone can Go inside this store
Amazon Go, which debuted as a convenience shop for its own employees in December, 2016, in a test phase, has opened up for public in Seattle. The checkout-free grocery store can alter how bricks-and-mortars function across the globe. Once the shopper has downloaded the Amazon Go app, they can walk into the store with Amazon’s AI technology tracking every move and analysing it in real-time. The shopper can pick up whatever they want from the store and walk right out with their shopping bag. The user’s Amazon account gets charged accordingly.
Experts claim that in a store where people can just scan what they want, consumers would pay lesser attention to the cost of their purchases and are likely to make more impulse purchases.
However, not everyone can enter the store. A row of gates guard the entrance to Amazon Go that allows only people with the store’s smartphone app inside the 1,800 sq ft store. There are no shopping carts or baskets inside Amazon Go either. Since the checkout process is automated and customers put selected items directly into their shopping bags, the store, obviously, has hundreds of cameras. The unveiling of the cashier-free store has also put a question mark on the employment opportunities in the US. However, Amazon insists that it put associates on different kinds of tasks where they add to the customer experience in both the kitchen and the store to prep ingredients, make ready-to-eat food, stock shelves and help customers. An employee also sits in the wine and beer section of the store, checking IDs before customers can take alcohol off the shelves.
Will the ‘no lines no checkout’ concept deliver healthy results for Amazon, which is increasingly focussing on AI? We will have to wait and watch.
— Compiled by Ananya Saha