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The Latest Media Breakthrough

In his book, Zero to One, PayPal co-founder and investor Peter Thiel rightly suggested that breakthrough tech ideas only happen once — meaning the next Bill Gates won’t build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network.

Given the attention and
media coverage surrounding Fortnite this past week, it’s safe to say the immersive social network is the next transformational platform to bet on.

Fortnite is the unlikely example of breakthrough innovation happening before our eyes. I’ve touched on the platform's draw in past
newsletters — but the events of last weekend offer added context about the scale of its success. 

Last Sunday, Epic Games staged the first ever Fortnite World Cup Finals at Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens New York. With a $30 million purse, the tournament pulled in an audience of more than 2 million viewers who watched a 16-year-old win $3 million in grand prize money— the largest cash payout ever for an individual esports champ. Check out the charts below for some perspective on those numbers. 

16-year-old Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf isn't the only player who walked away with a big cash prize. Each of the 100 competitors was guaranteed $50,000, with four of them taking home seven-figure sums.

With record-breaking audience numbers and a high schooler who won almost
50 percent more than Tiger Woods did for winning the Masters, its clearly time to start taking Fortnite seriously. Due to its unique blend of elements from both the tech and traditional sports worlds, immersive gaming and esports have proved to be an emergent category for investment

There may not be another Apple or Google, but there is a new powerhouse in the mix, and it's not what most people expected sports, gaming or tech to look like. But what seemingly comes from another world can eclipse the old very quickly, whether we see it coming or not. 
Chris Perry 

As always, if you find this newsletter valuable I would be grateful if you encouraged others to sign up by directing them here.
What We're Reading
Content Experience
The Fortnite World Cup Finals Were a Victory Lap For Epic Games
By Andrew Webster, The Verge

Fortnite is a lot of things: a game, a social network, a sport, an ever-evolving piece of fiction. Up until now, all of these aspects of Fornite had remained largely separate. The World Cup showed what could happen if you brought all of those elements together.

Platform Economy
How Billion-Dollar “Unicorns” are Changing the Beauty Industry
By Chloe Malle, Vogue

A new class of female entrepreneurs is challenging preconceptions about the beauty industry and its ability to secure sizable investment and, subsequently, astronomical valuations. Several beauty companies have used social media to break into the list of “unicorns,” a Silicon Valley term used to describe start-ups valued at $1 billion or more.

Artificial Intelligence
Chase Commits to AI After Machines Outperform Humans in Copywriting Trials
By  Adrianne Pasquarelli, Ad Age

Chase says that ads created by machine learning performed better than ads written by humans, with a higher percent of consumers clicking on them—more than twice as many in some cases. The difference can be as simple as what word choice resonates with consumers.

Synthetic Content
Livestreamer Caught Using Face Filter to Make Herself Look Younger
By Amrita Khalid, engadget 

It appears we're now in the era of face filter malfunctions. The popular Chinese vlogger known as "Your Highness Qiao Biluo" was revealed to be decades older than the online persona she projected to her thousands of fans.

Media Forensics
The Illinois Artist Behind Social Media’s Latest Big Idea
By Will Oremus
, OneZero

Since 2012, an Illinois-based artist named Ben Grosser has been exploring how social media numbers, including likes on a post or the number of friends or followers you have, mold our online behavior in ways deeper and more insidious than we realize. Now big tech firms are beginning to incorporate his call for “demetrication.”

Media Forensics
Consumers Are Becoming Wise to Your Nudge
By Simon Shaw, Behavorial Scientist
Companies in certain sectors often use the same behavioral intervention messaging. For example, hotel booking websites repetitively use scarcity language such as “Only two rooms left!” or social proof  like “16 other people viewed this room.”  But consumers have become wise to the fact that “scarcity” is usually just a sales ploy, not to be taken seriously.
Media Forensics
Renovation-Porn: How the Housing Crisis is Driving a New Boom in Influencer Content
By Sarah Manavis, NewStatesman 

Instagram and YouTube influencers have found a new lucrative subject in buying, rebuilding and renovating old houses for audiences near the millions. The brand sponsorships and free home products are already flooding in, from paid promotion for paint brands to pricey gifted furniture. Ironically most of their Millennial viewers are struggling to even put down a deposit on a property. 

Content Experience
Is the Internet Killing Language? LOL, No.
By Megan McDonough, Vox

Texting, posting, and emailing have become key parts of how we communicate in our lives and relationships, so much so that it’s fundamentally changing language and communication. According to linguist Gretchen McCulloch, the author of Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language and co-host of the podcast Lingthusiasm, it’s making us better writers, speakers, and communicators.

Emerging Technology
How Spotify Can Predict An Economic Downturn Through Sudden Shifts In People Listening To Bummer Music
By Cheddar, 

Using algorithm categorization, music we collectively listen to can be used by Spotify to predict downturns in the economy. Economists, banks and governments are started to pay attention. 

Deep Take
A TED Talk Explaining How to Spot Clickbait At a Glance
By TedEd, digg
Complete with interactive examples and actionable tips, this video will test your wits with a set of hypothetical health studies and find out just how good you are at spotting clickbait.
Copyright © 2019 Weber Shandwick

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