Archive for April, 2007
April 30th, 2007
The BBC’s on-demand service, iPlayer, has today been given the thumbs up, meaning that viewers will be able to watch programmes online for seven days after their first TV broadcast.
The decision follows a public consultation by the BBC Trust, which involved 10,500 individuals and organisations. The move will bring the BBC more in-line with other TV broadcasters, and will help to keep it relevant in the digital age.
Ashley Highfield, the BBC’s director of new media and technology, spoke of the service’s importance in his keynote speech at MIPTV earlier this month. He claimed: “All our evidence is that the provision of this free seven-day window will stimulate usage and demand for downloading TV programmes over the net and boost the market for both paid-for download-to-own programmes and advertising revenues on programming from outside the seven-day free window…
“Where we have already been offering the ability to download programmes from our website the statistics speak for themselves. There have been nearly 4 million downloads since our video podcast trial began last August (including 1.3 million downloads of Breakfast and 1.1 million downloads of Newsnight).”
With rival on-demand TV services like Joost hitting the headlines, its about time the BBC brought itself up to speed. This decision couldn’t have come at a better time.
April 26th, 2007
Well, not quite, but blinkx certainly think they’ve got the jump on Google in terms of video search, and according to Rick Wray’s piece on MediaGuardian today, blinkx is about to be demerged from Autonomy in preparation for a listing on AIM (Alternative Investment Market).
The Press release confirms blinkx will join forces with Autonomy’s consumer division as part of the new blinkx company and develop a video-based search product for the consumer market.
In a quote from the release, Suranga Chandratillake, Chief Executive Officer of blinkx, confirmed: “The development of television, for example, is at a pivotal moment – technologies such as IPTV, on-demand, non-linear, personalisation and implicit query are expected to significantly change how consumers interact with content. Autonomy’s technology made it the world leader in the enterprise space, and we believe the same technology arms blinkx for success in this new, complex rich media environment.”
Apparently blinkx already allows internet users to search more than 7m hours of video and UGC, and it has search deals with 200 media partners including MTV and the New York Times.
Video is certainly a key consideration for search, and blinkx is ahead of the game, taking it in a slightly new direction.
However, the future of search must consider text-based, video and social media searches, so although I don’t think this is ‘the answer’, it is certainly an interesting avenue to investigate.
It will be fascinating to see how this develops, and to see how Google gets involved. Maybe another future acquisition if all goes well? But in reality, I suspect Google is quite well covered in video search considering recent acquisitions.
April 25th, 2007
You may have noticed that the Liberate Media website has relaunched this week, with the blog still very much at its core. If you have an RSS feed set-up to our blog, then we’ll let you off not noticing the change!
Our loyal followers will remember the initial dilemma we faced when setting-up the company back in September – should we get a blog going straight away and allow the website to come later, or wait to launch everything at once. We decided to jump straight in with the blog, and it’s a decision that we’ve never looked back on.
Speaking from first-hand experience, we’ve seen the level of influence a blog can have in building a new brand. Our search rankings have benefitted massively, as well as our industry profile and reputation. We’ve received compliments from industry and media contacts, which proves that we must be doing something right.
It has been hard at times keeping our blog up-to-date amid the volume of work that comes with getting a new business established, but it has all been well worth it.
We hope you feel that our website reflects the personality of our blog. Thanks to 2merchdesign for the design and build.
All comments gratefully appreciated, as that’s what a blog is all about!
April 24th, 2007
Comments from the Daily Telegraphâ€™s editor Will Lewis have reignited the newspaper v search engine copyright argument, which recently saw The Belgian court rule that Google infringed copyright and must stop aggregating Belgian newspaper content.
According to Roy Greenslade, Lewis spoke at Friday’s Ifra newsroom conference in Paris on behalf of his CEO, Murdoch MacLennan, and started by confirming that newspapers should embrace new media as a friend rather than treating it as an enemy, but went onto argue that search engines are seeking to build a business model on the back of newspapersâ€™ own investments:”Our ability to protect content is under consistent attack from those such as Google and Yahoo who wish to access it for free.
“These companies are seeking to build a business model on the back of our own investment without recognition. All media companies need to be on guard for this. Success in the digital age, as we have seen in our own company, is going to require massive investment… [this needs] effective legal protection for our content, in such a way that allows us to invest for the future.”
So, does he have a case, or is he simply biting the hand that feeds him?
Roy Greenslade also covers the argument in detail, confirming that the newspapers are on one hand reaping the benefits as aggregators such as Google provide links to news stories and are therefore actually doing the providers a favour, giving advertisers a wider reach, and journalists more readers.
While on the other hand, traditional news-gatherers still have a lot to offer and therefore they should receive compensation from the aggregators who are reaping profits while apparently doing so little.
Personally, I agree newspapers should be rewarded fairly for their content, and any licensing agreement should be developed across the board, rather than with specific titles, as suggested by Greenslade. However, the rules have changed. The way we consume news is constantly evolving, and we have to be careful not to make traditional rules fit into a web-based environment.
If pioneering newspapers, such as the Daily Telegraph, are putting the effort in to embrace a web-based news service and therefore evolve, then it also needs to realise the new environment comes with a new set of rules. Traditional content rules do not necessarily apply, and itâ€™s the business model that needs to evolve as well as the technology and reporting strategy.
Iâ€™m not suggesting a free for all, but I think both sides need to adjust their expectations.
Whatâ€™s the alternative here? The newspapers withdraw from search engines and lose the related traffic and wider exposure. In that case, they had better get their collective feeding hands down to A&E (ER).
April 23rd, 2007
The Financial Times relaunched today with the objective of becoming more modern and accessible for today’s readers.
The launch has been well documented by the press, but what’s interested me has been the interviews given by editor Lionel Barber, and the insight they give into the newspaper of the future that he is aiming to create.
In recent months we’ve read more about newspapers relaunching their websites than print papers, and taking this into account, the language and reasoning that Barber has been quoted on today is more akin to him discussing a website launch than print newspaper.
In the interview he gave to the MediaGuardian, Barber talks about providing “better navigation, liveliness, accessibility, sharpness, modernity and …making [sic] the paper easier to scan.”
To Brand Republic he similarly said: “These changes are evolutionary and will provide extra news, deeper analysis and comment. By improving the navigation of the newspaper we’re aiming to help our busy readers get more out of the paper so that they understand that the Financial Times is not only an informative and entertaining read, but also an essential business tool.”
It may be that we’ve all been brainwashed by internet terminology, or, does Barber forsee a change in print newspaper readership behaviour, where people will come to read them in the same way that they would scan a website for news?
It’s an observation that intrigues me. I personally believe we have a long way to go before that happens (in my generation at least), but for the younger generation who have grown up in the age of online media consumption, might their reading habits be evolving in line with the digital revolution?
April 19th, 2007
Hitwise collects and aggregates information from ISPs on how over 25 million consumers use and search the internet. It reports on almost 1m websites each day in the US, UK, Australia and Asia Pacific. The company has increased its customer base by more than 40% in the last two years to 1,200 clients, including the likes of HSBC, AXA, Google, eBay, CBS News, Ask.com, Ikea, MTV and Qantas.
Experian chief executive Don Robert said the acquisition will boost the group’s knowledge of how consumers behave online, helping it capitalise on the continued switch away from traditional media to online advertising.
Does this mean Experian is the latest traditional organisation in a long line, well not that long really, to wake up and smell the online roses? Have they seen the opportunity that the web presents, and thought: ‘I’ll have a bit of that!’
Let’s hope the change in management doesn’t mean a reduction in the insightful data that Hitwise has been churning out, e.g. Heather Hopkins’ blog, which has kept us up to date with topical digital marketing data since it’s launch.
MediaGuardian has the full story.
April 19th, 2007
Online video has become such a prolific news source that it’s hard to remember how we coped without it.
The reality hit me on Monday when news broke of the Virginia Tech shooting, and I my watched myself instinctively go to YouTube to find out more. It’s astonishing how quickly habits form, particularly when it comes to social media. Had you told me a couple of years ago that I would be turning to a viral video network for news before a news organisation, I would have been shocked.
Jon Snow in his daily newsletter Snowmail sums it up very nicely:
“Another busy old day, dominated by a product of our technological age – the ghastly tape of the Virginia Tech killer recorded in the period between the first and second spate of killings. The 23-year-old killer sent the material to NBC in New York – but got the postcode wrong so it took an extra day to arrive.
“Of course, there is enormous controversy over whether it should be shown by the American TV networks. But in truth, if they didn’t show it in this day and age, it would be on YouTube soon enough.”
Extracts of the killer’s video are available here.
April 18th, 2007
In the age of page views, click-throughs and CPAs (cost-per-acquisition), two reports from comScore and Nielsen/Netratings have today raised a big question mark over the way in which the industry currently measures web audiences.
As the BBC reports, measurements based on page-views and cookies could be affected by changing user behaviour, the studies warn.
Net measurement firm comScore found cookies used to track user behaviour could be being over-counted, while the Nielsen/Netratings study argues that page-view measurements are outdated due to an explosion in audio and video content.
While we tend to not plug clients on our blog, it is worth mentioning in this instance that Foviance’s web analytics division has recently discovered in client research that cookie figures can be inflated by as much as 300 per cent.
This has enormous impact on estimates of conversion rates – if we are repeatedly over-counting, then conversions might not be as bad as experts suggest.
Web analytics is often dismissed as the realm of techies, but if we can trust the findings of these reports, it is likely to become a far greater concern for marketers in the future. If online advertising costs are explained by CPA etc, its important that the figures are adding up correctly.
April 16th, 2007
Google’s planned acquisition of DoubleClick for $3.1 billion has understandably stirred up the competition. Since Friday’s news the antitrust calls have started rolling in from Microsoft, backed up by AT&T. We await input from Time Warner and Yahoo, the other major bidders in the DoubleClick deal.
Bradford L. Smith, Microsoftâ€™s general counsel, said Googleâ€™s purchase of DoubleClick would combine the two largest online advertising distributors and thus â€œsubstantially reduce competition in the advertising market on the Web.â€
He has a point, but would the situation really be any better if Microsoft acquired DoubleClick? Who else would/could buy DoubleClick, maintain a competitive market and still evolve the online advertising industry? Yahoo?
I’m not saying he is wrong, but I am saying what’s the alternative?
On the other hand, Jarvis Coffin, chief executive of Burst Media, a DoubleClick competitor, thinks the move is a positive one: “Google is building a very efficient apparatus for buying and selling ads online, and that’s fundamentally a great thing for the Internet economy. It’s starting to look like the advertising agency of the future.”
Today’s New York Times has the full story and details of AT&T joining in.
Whilst we’re on the subject of Google – good or bad, may I draw your attention to Sam Sethi’s ‘Google, Google, going…gone’ post on Vecosys today, which has some less than favourable feedback on Google’s integration, or lack of it. Go Sam!
April 13th, 2007
It’s another shrewd move by the search giant, as not only does the scheme offer long-term incentives to advertisers with a Google Checkout option, but it will also enable Google to begin collecting data on consumer online shopping habits.
If early signs are any indicator of merchant interest – I’ve received three emails today from well-known internet retailers, announcing their uptake of Google Checkout.
With general apathy in the market towards Verified by Visa (of which the usability is awful in my opinion), there is definitely room in the market for a competitor to Paypal. The strength of the Google brand will undoubtedly help consumers to perceive Checkout as a trustworthy payment service.
I’m intrigued to test out the user experience of Checkout – any excuse to shop!