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William Owen

William is a founding partner and strategy director at Made by Many, where he applies some of the things learned in previous lives in journalism, investment banking and brand strategy to making sense of the wicked problems of how to make successful products

How and why we made two apps in nine weeks for ITV News

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Back in April, when ITV News first suggested the idea of making a news app, we asked Why? We had doubts that an app was the best way to invest in News. But after a quick round of investigating options and potential returns, and then 9 weeks of rapid design and development, we delivered two apps, not one. This is the story of why, how and what we launched into the App Store and Google Play...


Striding with ITV into the future of news

For the past ten months Made by Many has been working with ITV and ITN to transform ITV News into a multichannel news service by adding online, mobile and connected TV to broadcast television. Leading on a live news feed, the first web, mobile and tablet releases of a radically different digital news service went live on Monday 19th March. This is the story.  


Understanding picle (with apologies to Scott McCloud)


picle's a bit like a comic. As @malbonster said, it's more dreamlike than video. I think part of that comes from the spaces between the frames into which you have to insert your imagination. That was a theme of Scott McCloud's amazing graphic explanation of the history, meaning and art of the comic, Understanding Comics. Here's his illustration of the design decisions a comic artist makes. It's a remarkably good guide to how to make a great picle, too. 


The Guardian reinvents the match report as picture story

This is a small thing, but something I really like: a story well-told with lots of pictures and a few words, but a story of the kind that's usually told with one picture and about a thousand words - a match report. 

It's the Guardian's piece on Wednesday night's Classico at Camp Nou, where Real Madrid crashed out of the Copa Del Rey to Barcelona, made entirely in pictures and captions but - obviously - on the web and not in the newspaper.  

Harking back to a format developed at Life, Paris Match and Picture Post, it starts with a portrait of Mourinho's twisted face and a teaser: after a first round home defeat and leaked stories of a split in the squad "only a victory tonight would he salvage his reputation" Over 13 further pictures the drama unfolds:


FT Tilt lists and sinks: a cautionary tale of product development

The Financial Times closed FT Tilt on 13 October which was a big surprise and a bigger disappointment because it bore so many of the hallmarks of a successful web media product: it was niche, it was a rich source of hard-to-get information, it aggregated content and viewpoints, it filtered information really well, it was aimed at a wealthy, professional and highly interested target market who might be expected to participate and even shell-out to cross a paywall.

Tilt was an emerging markets news service created by Paul Murphy, an editor with a successful track record in product innovation with the markets blog FT Alphaville. The powerful idea underlying Tilt was that the source of global market influence was tilting (their pun) to the BRICs and that you couldn’t rely on reporters in London, New York or Tokyo to get the best information about what was happening in Shanghai, Sao Paulo or Mumbai, you had to go to the source. Tilt was all about creating a network of organisations and individuals in situ in emerging markets and aggregating and distributing their intelligence to a community of market analysts and investors in global financial markets around the world, people who are part of the FT’s natural constituency.

So why did it fail? Almost certainly not because it wasn’t a good idea. Felix Salmon in his blog at Reuters argued that 

“I don’t think that FT Tilt failed, in terms of its core journalistic output. I think that the FT got greedy for subscription revenues from day one, and never let Tilt grow and thrive as it could and should have done”
That must be true but I don’t think it’s anywhere near the whole story...