Archive for December, 2006
December 29th, 2006
The Christmas period has made me realise how much I’m addicted to online video. I didn’t miss email or even online news too much, but I couldn’t wait to turn on my PC this morning and check out the latest videos on YouTube.
I get the feeling I might not be the only one…
If you haven’t seen it already, the Justin Timberlake video of ‘A Special Christmas Box’ is one not to be missed. It is currently number four in the YouTube chart.
However, I am disappointed to see that The Guardian has abandoned its newsy style Viral Video Chart, in favour of a more mainstream consumer chart. It was a great idea to be ranking news and political videos separately, and I don’t know why they have abandoned it.
December 21st, 2006
It’s that time of year, when various media outlets review the year’s highlights. The best example I’ve seen so far is the TechnologyGuardian supplement, which features in the final print edition of the year, also available here.
- The new 100 most useful sites, broken down by sector. Here are the top mainstream news sites by way of example:
- A review of the year
- A great article by Charles Arthur titled: ‘Why is it so much easier to use computers in films?’ Relating to usability expert Jakob Nielsen’s analysis of the top 10 usability “errors” in films.
My favourite quote from the article looks at Hollywood’s finest technology moment: ‘The most marvellous and jawdropping plot device, of course, remains that from Independence Day, when Jeff Goldblum uploads a virus from a Mac to the aliens’ starship, crashing it (and the aliens to the ground).’
Hooray for Hollywood…
December 20th, 2006
As the aftermath of Sam Sethi’s dismissal as UK editor of TechCrunch sets in, I couldn’t resist posting this cool slidebar summing up the sequence of events, courtesy of Tech Paparazzi.
Luckily, we haven’t had to wait too long for Sam and Mike Butcher’s return. Check out their new blog Vecosys here. It’s looking like it hasn’t taken them long to secure heavyweight sponsorship from the likes of 3i, Accel and Olswang!
December 19th, 2006
I was interested to read Rick Wray’s Guardian story on the social networking bubble bursting.
The story relates to the cancellation of the Upload 2007 conference, which would have focused on the development and delivery of personalised content, due to lack of interest.
To be honest, I don’t believe the cancellation of this event necessarily points to a slow down in social networking. It could have more to do with a lack of understanding in Europe, as confirmed in the piece. Even if that isnâ€™t the case, event organisation can be tricky at the best of times so there maybe many reasons why this event failed.
However, I do believe these questions need to be asked, and we should welcome an open and realistic debate on the future of social networking and, for that matter, social media. We should also consider that those closest to social media are not always the best judge of its successes or prospects.
On reflection, 2006 has been a landmark year. As Antony Mayfield points out, Google’s end of year Zeitgeist shows 8/10 of this yearâ€™s top searches are web, if not social media, related and we’re all Time magazine’s person of the year for using the Internet.
Very nice, but just as we shouldn’t read too much into the cancellation of an event, we shouldn’t get carried away with the perceived successes either.
2007 is sure to see a great many developments and perhaps even a new label for the sector, but isn’t that par for the course? Shouldn’t social media, by its very nature, continue to evolve and progress? If that means certain elements are improved or lost, so be it.
Perhaps Iâ€™m too close to itâ€¦
December 18th, 2006
News has just broken that VNU has agreed to sell its European business magazines to private equity firm 3i. The sale is likely to result in 4,000 redundancies, in order to reduce VNU’s cost base by 10 percent next year.
UK magazines being sold to 3i are Accountancy Age, ComputerActive, CRN, Computing, Financial Director, Information World Review, IT Week and Personal Computer World. The online newswire VNUnet is also included in the sale.
Further details of the sale have been reported this afternoon by Reuters.
According to reports, the BME deal has been valued at â‚¬320m (Â£215m).
December 15th, 2006
I’ve since discovered that the trial went live earlier in the month, but it is still interesting to map the development of personalised advertising.
The BBC piece confirms that the trial is a ‘proof of concept’ at this time, but we could soon see adverts sent to phones dependent on the precise location of the viewer.
In other words, advertisers could target an individual who is passing a shop that stocks its products.
In a separate piece, NRK director of development Gunnar Garfors said: ”Many viewers even appreciate adverts, as long as they are relevant and may help lower the price of the service.”
A fair point, but the thought of my mobile pinging repeatedly with the latest two-for-one offer, as I walk through town, doesn’t fill me with appreciative feelings.
Here are the facts:
Research firm eMarketer say there are 44.5 million 3G subscribers worldwide who watch mobile TV on their phone. This number is due to reach 520.9 million by 2009.
Jupiter’s U.S. Wireless Forecast, 2005 to 2010 confirms revenues from mobile video will grow from $62 million in 2005 to $501 million by 2010.
December 14th, 2006
Freedom of speech, post deletion and editorial control have all come under the blogsphere spotlight this morning with the dismissal of TechCrunch’s UK publisher and co-editor Sam Sethi.
The move follows his coverage of the recent Le Web 3 conference in Paris, which caused offense with event organiser Loic Le Meur. Loic left a response calling Sethi an “asshole”, which he later retracted and apologised for.
I will not attempt to reconstruct events myself, as certain facts seem unresolved. However, the US editor of TechCrunch, Mike Arrington, has explained his version of events here.
As of this morning, TechCrunch UK has been suspended until further notice.
The sequence of events has resulted in a full scale online war, with many unsurprisingly taking Sethi’s side. Arrington’s claim that this is not “censorship” has not been well received, and it is easy to understand why.
It’s disappointing that such a highly respected blog should fire its editor for allegedly crossing the editorial line. I would argue that in the blogsphere, that line is not as firmly marked as it is in the offline work, and based on the facts that are available, it seems that Sethi has been sacked for voicing a very valid opinion.
I am sure TechCrunch UK will continue – it would be a terrible shame if it didn’t. Once the dust settles, I imagine there will be a long queue forming for the new editor position.
Aside from the obvious issues this incident has highlighted, the issue of TechCrunch’s US editor having ultimate control over the UK voice is something that will need to be reconsidered. A separate UK entity might well be the answer.
December 13th, 2006
Hot on the heels of my ‘national newspaper slide continues‘ post on Monday, where we covered the downward spiral of readership figures on the nationals, and lambasted the general lack of online innovation, it appears we have signs of positive change.
Jemima Kiss, Media Guardian, reports that Telegraph.co.uk, which already includes a range of excellent blogs, will be introducing a new social networking tool allowing users to upload text and photos based on births, deaths and marriage announcements.
Apparently this is only the beginning for Telegraph.co.uk, which has 5.9 million users according to August’s ABC figures, as it plans to extend the service to include other sections, such as motoring, property, travel, jobs, etc.
I do believe that’s a step forward, and from a national newspaper other than the Guardian, which is certainly one of the most savvy online.
December 12th, 2006
As an ex-NMA journalist, I felt I owed it to my comrades to report on the changes that are afoot in the digital media newsphere…
Beginning with some good news, it has just been made public that Justin Pearse, news editor and former features editor of NMA, will be taking on the role of editor in February. He will be taking over from Mike Nutley, who will assume the new position of editor in chief. Justin has been with NMA for almost seven years, and I think anyone who knows him will agree that it’s great to see his loyalty to the magazine being rewarded in this way.
But this era of change is bringing with it some losses.
Dominic Dudley, interactive editor of Marketing Week, and former business editor of NMA, made his departure from the world of digital media on Friday night. He will be embarking on a new career in Middle Eastern politics from next week. Dominic will be sorely missed by his contacts in the industry, and Soho restaurant profits will never be the same again!
Rumours of other movements in the sector are rife. Two other high-profile departures are likely to be announced imminently, but cannot be named at present.
At a time when digital media is undergoing its most dramatic transformation in the past decade, it appears that similar changes are taking place on the news front. However, fresh faces are always a good thing in the world of news, and we look forward to seeing big changes in 2007.
December 11th, 2006
Is it fear of feeding the enemy? Do some nationals really still see online as the problem, and not the solution?
Turning to the figures, sales audited by ABC from November 05 to November 06 show daily popular papers down 4.95%; daily mid-market papers down 2.18% and daily qualities down 2.74%.
As Greenslade comments: “Given that last year was the worst post-war record for national newspaper sales, this year is even worse, another record, and another sign that there is no way back.”
In a BBC piece on Friday, Michael Oreskes, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune commented:
“For more than 100 years journalism has been sustained by this virtuous circle in which the audience paid for their news, and the advertiser paid to reach that audience, and the publisher made a profit and paid his journalists and the society benefited into the bargain.
“That whole circle breaks down on the internet. This requires wildly creative thinking on the part of media companies to preserve the base of support that’s created quality journalism for all these years.
“And that’s a subject that the whole of society needs to be interested in and not just those whose livelihood depends on it.”
I believe national newspapers will have a key role in a future news landscape dominated by the web, but I find it difficult to understand why too many newspapers are leaving it so late to make their online presence felt. This problem isn’t simply going to go away.