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Tuminds Newsflash – January 2016

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

January 29th 2016

WhatsApp Is Now Free

After reading this headline, you’re probably thinking – was WhatsApp not always free? And you would in fact be wrong, as most people did not appear to notice the annual subscription fee of 99p after the first year. In a recent company blog post, WhatsApp admitted that as they’ve grown, they have realised that this approach hasn’t worked well.

If you were an early adopter and one of the first of WhatsApp’s one billion users, then you’ve most likely never experienced the subscription fee, with most original users being granted a free lifetime service. It has only been in recent years that the company introduced this fee, and although users who have already paid their subscription will not be refunded, it will cease to exist immediately.

The Facebook-owned company are also testing software which will allow people to use WhatsApp to communicate with brands such as their banks and airlines. The company is also maintaining its original principals and remaining ad-free, something which the founders are strongly in favour of, stating in 2012 that, “when advertising is involved, you, the user, are the product”.

There Is No Hiding From Periscope

The leading live streaming app, Periscope, will now automatically play within Twitter for iPhones and iPads. This integration into Twitter, who own Periscope, will see these live videos play in a similar way to Twitter’s Vines, pre-recorded video or GIFs; they all currently download and start playing without the user being required to interact with them. If users do choose to tap the Periscope video when it begins to play, they will be taken to a full screen view and the comments and hearts from other viewers will show.

Although this feature is currently only being rolled out on Twitter for iOS users, the Android and web versions will be available at some point in the near future.

Instagram Is Curating Video

With the take-off of not only pre-recorded video content, but also live video content across numerous social media platforms, Instagram could not be left behind. They have incorporated this feature into the platform by stringing together video content for live events. This works especially well for award shows, music festivals and sporting events, proving itself during the Golden Globes earlier this month.

Users can access these live video streams through the “Explore” tab, where a banner at the top of the page will highlight the name of the event being streamed. Users then click on this tab and the videos being to play continuously, one after the other. Videos can be also be skipped and moved on to the next one, which is similar to Snapchat’s popular swipe feature.

A dedicated team at Instagram’s HQ are responsible for curating the streams, and users can access the videos for only 24 hours before they disappear, which is again very similar to a Snapchat story.

It’s All Change At Twitter

Nothing stays the same for long and Twitter knows it. Within the space of one weekend, five of Twitter’s top executives had abruptly left the company. It was reported by multiple media sites including Re/code and The New York Times that the heads of product, media, engineering, HR and Vine had all departed the company, with immediate effect.

A major Twitter investor confirmed that the departures were the result of a long-planned restructuring to the company. CEO, Jack Dorsey, also posted on his own Twitter profile about the departures and explained each person’s reasons for leaving and commenting on the media’s inaccurate reporting.

The departures come at a time when Twitter are shaking up the way this social media giant works. As noted above, Periscope videos will now play automatically and there have been rumours that the company are seriously considering increasing their trademark 140 character limit to 10,000 characters – quite the leap!

In addition to these changes, Twitter is also reportedly developing a “brand enthusiast gallery” feature, which would take tweets from ordinary users and place them into brands’ campaigns, making it easier for marketers to source relevant content. Users’ permission would initially be asked by Twitter via direct message on behalf of the company wishing to use the content.

Snapchat and Facebook – The Race Is On

Analytics from mobile video traffic provides a clear indication that Snapchat is closing in on Facebook’s viewing figures. Snapchat’s growth is exponential, with over 7 billion views per day between June and November last year. With this figure, Snapchat are on the tail of Facebook’s 8 billion video views per day.

However, when it comes to another key figure – number of users – Facebook are strides ahead with 1.55 billion people logging into their account at least once a month. This is 15 times more than Snapchat, who currently have 100 million daily users. However, something tells me Facebook won’t be so far in front for long…

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