Five key media tech trends from August

1. BBC Good Food launches voice skill for Amazon Alexa

BBC Good Food has launched its first ever Alexa Skill allowing users to access its entire collection of over 11,000 recipes. Users can search the entire Good Food database, select a recipe and enjoy a completely hands-free cooking experience. The skill, which was built on behalf of BBC Good Food by digital product and innovation consultancy Hi Mum! Said Dad, has a range of categories to search by, including ingredients, dishes, diet types, time (’quick’), difficulty (‘easy’), cuisine, course and chef. You can read the full story on the FIPP website here.


Amazon Alexa ()

Image: Amazon 


2. Facebook Watch launches worldwide

Just over a year after its US launch, Facebook’s Watch video-streaming service is rolling out on a global basis, as reported by the BBC at the end of August. Often portrayed as a rival to YouTube, Watch also offers an alternative to platforms like Netflix, Amazon Video, and BBC iPlayer, as well as traditional TV. Users will be able to choose from a range of shows from both established brands and independent creators, who are all able to include advertising breaks providing they hit certain viewing figures – the revenue split will reportedly be 55 per cent to the creators and 45 per cent to Facebook. It’s a timely expansion into the content world for the much maligned social platform, which recorded the biggest single day loss in US stock market history in July.


Facebook Watch ()

Image: Facebook


3. Silicon Valley stalling?

As Facebook migrated further towards content from conversation in August, a fascinating article appeared in The Economist, titled: Why startups are leaving Silicon Valley – The new geography of innovation. Younger companies are now struggling to gain access to capital and talent against more established players like Alphabet, Facebook, and Apple, with the number of first financing rounds in the US down by around 22 per cent since 2012. If this simply represented a global redistribution of innovation, The Economist claims, it may not be such a bad thing, but it is possibly a warning that technological innovation everywhere is becoming more difficult.



4. African tech hubs

If another global region is to rise up and take over the Silicon mantle in 2018 and beyond, then it looks set to be in Africa. UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, visited numerous countries on the continent in August, just a month on from French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Nigeria. “Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya’s technology sectors are growing rapidly and generating a significant part of their economic output. This means huge opportunities for UK businesses and for future partnerships,” said UK Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright. New UK partnerships with South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria will include dedicated teams to boost innovation in technology and research, an accelerator programme to help grow African start-ups, and entrepreneurship schemes.



5. Civil partners with Associated Press

Two year old crypto startup Civil has partnered with the 172-year-old Associated Press to help further its mission to save the journalism industry by leveraging blockchain and cryptoeconomics. According to TechCrunch: “The AP-Civil deal has benefits for both sides. For Civil, they’ll get the opportunity to learn the ropes of the licensing business from the premier news wire service, and the AP will get a lesson in blockchain tech, with a goal of determining what kind of impact, if any, the blockchain can really have on journalism.” It will be an interesting field test for the use of blockchain technology in the fight against fake news, and FIPP recently looked at how artificial intelligence is also being leveraged by Duke Reporters Lab in the US to combat the same enemy.


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