Archive for May, 2007
May 31st, 2007
According to the latest comScore traffic figures, out today, many of the UK’s news outlets enjoy a higher web readership outside of the UK.
According to comScore‘s findings, 69% of its web users are outside of the UK, a factor linked to the ex-Pat community.
Furthermore, 73% of the Independent’s web audience is international.
These figures are especially interesting for the online marketing community, evidencing that international readership outweighs local audiences on most of our major news brands.
The survey is also another reminder of the importance of maintaining a robust web offering, a fact that won’t have been lost on three of the sites that spent at least some of the last week or so out of action, including The Independent, which was down today, the Mirror which was down yesterday, and the Telegraph, which was down briefly in mid May.
May 30th, 2007
US media giant CBS Corporation has continued its spate of social media acquisitions today with the purchasing of music community Last.fm for $280m (Â£140m). This makes it the largest-ever acquisition of a UK online community.
Industry commentators have reacted positively towards CBS’ social media strategy. Jeff Jarvis on Buzz Machine refers to its “notion of the audience as the network”, reflecting CBS’s willingness to learn more about the behaviour of its social media networks.
In this online publishing sector, this should be an interesting Web 2.0 case study to follow…
May 25th, 2007
That was one of the quotes from The Daily Telegraph’s editor, Will Lewis, according to Matt Well’s Media Guardian coverage of Lewis’ keynote at last night’s ‘change and renewal in the press’ debate.
The full quote is included below, but in essence Will Lewis is continuing his public and honest appraisal of the newspaper industry’s approach to the digital age.
It’s refreshing to hear such a candid opinion, considering it would have been practically unheard of for an editor to be that outspoken about the industry just a year ago.
Lewis is also confident that the future holds better things for the newspaper industry if it evolves, and he is certainly walking the walk as it were. I hear the multimedia newsroom at the Telegraph, which initially caused so much upheaval, is superb.
On top of that, the Telegraph is genuinely trying to push forward, its blogs have certainly stepped up a gear and even when things go wrong, as in the case of this week’s denial of service attack, it is still pushing forward.
Of course you could say The Telegraph has no choice but to develop if it wants to survive, and it still has some catching up to do, which I wouldn’t argue with. You could also argue that Will Lewis is PR savvy and his statements reflect well on his own paper, but the fact that the Telegraph has pulled its head out of the sand and is pushing ahead deserves a bit of recognition.
Here’s Lewis’ quote from Media Guardian:
“Having fought and won its battle with the print industry in the mid-80s, the industry became once again bloated, lazy and arrogant. Fleet Street continued to operate on the same assumptions about its readers, just as those readers began changing their reading and consumption patterns, and in many cases walking away from the newspapers they once held dear,”
“And what was the response of the industry? Not much, it would seem, except to take heart that we were all in the same, sinking boat.”
“If the newspaper industry took a beating, it deserved one. It took readers for granted and continued to make assumptions about them that no longer held true.”
May 24th, 2007
The word “tabloid” was invented by Harmsworth, the trademark name of a pill, to describe something highly condensed and easily swallowed. A description that many would still argue is still applicable to the tabloids we know today - but is it?
A chunk of the programme focused on the importance of photojournalism in tabloid history. The example was cited of the Mirror publishing a photograph of King Edward VII on his deathbed, which sold two million copies of the paper that day. No complaint came from the Palace because Queen Alexandra consented to the picture being published on the basis that the Daily Mirror was her favourite paper. The example highlighted the level of impact a still photo can have on a nation, and consequently newspaper readership.
Within the programme Piers Morgan also referenced the photographs of Princess Diana’s death which he was offered at 5am on the morning of her death, but declined. He claims he advised the paparazzi responsible to withdraw the photos and leave the country, which he reportedly did.
This got me thinking – would either of these incidents have happened today in the world of social media?
Arguably the photo of Kind Edward VII would have circulated on the Internet before any newspaper could get hold of it, and without doubt the video of Princess Diana’s death would have leaked onto YouTube within minutes. The recent Virginia Tech shootings were a prime example of how quickly high-impact photographic footage can spread through social media networks.
It seems a shame to me that we may be losing our nation’s photojournalism roots. A three minute video on YouTube is undeniably a great source of news information, but equally I wouldn’t want to say goodbye to those great front page photo exclusives.
May 23rd, 2007
Have you heard of 23andMe?
You probably hadn’t before today, so to bring you up to speed, according to the website it’s: ‘a privately held company developing new ways to help you make sense of your own genetic information’ and it’s just scored a $3.9 million investment from none other than Google.
Hang on what exactly do they do? Back to the website: ‘Our goal is to connect you to the 23 paired volumes of your own genetic blueprint (plus your mitochondrial DNA), bringing you personal insight into ancestry, genealogy, and inherited traits.’ Got it?
So what has that go to do with Google? Well after a bit of reading on the subject, there seems to be two theories.
Bobbie Johnson’s post on Guardian Unlimited’s technology blog has more.
2. 23andMe was established by Anne Wojcicki, who married Sergey Brin, Google co-founder in the Bahamas earlier this month.
So, is it a case of ingenious data acquisition or a very nice wedding present?
Google said the transaction had been scrutinised and approved by its independent audit committee.
I’ll let you decide.
May 22nd, 2007
The service aims to offer a user-friendly alternative to mobile keypads, enabling bloggers to phone-in post updates while they are on the move.
Blogs are already used heavily by national news correspondents as well as citizen journalists, and this mobile development is likely to aid remote reporting.
Full details of the announcement are available on the MediaGuardian website.
May 18th, 2007
I’m sure the news of Microsoft’s biggest acquisition won’t have gone unnoticed today.
The proposed acquisition of aQuantive, one of the worlds largest players in digital advertising for Â£3.04bn, yes that is pounds, is sure to cause a stir. I thought Microsoft didn’t make big acquisitions?
aQuantive consists of three major businesses: Atlas, which provides digital marketing technology, DRIVEpm, which matches advertising inventory from content publishers with advertisers and, Avenue A | Razorfish, an online advertising agency, all of which are new sectors for Microsoft.
Having lost out to Google on the purchase of DoubleClick, for Â£1.57bn, Microsoft has raised the stakes, but these two massive deals have almost eclipsed the other acquisitions that have taken place in this sector over the last few weeks.
Just yesterday, WPP announced it will purchase 24/7 Real Media for Â£329 million, earlier this week AOL announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in AdTECH, an online ad-serving company, after failing to buy TradeDoubler, and earlier this month Yahoo purchased the remaining 80 per cent of online ad exchange Right Media for Â£344 million.
And breathe! But don’t believe the land grab is over, there will be more.
So why has Microsoft made such a massive acquisition? Well the figures tell you everything. Google made $1 billion over the last quarter in online advertising alone, while Microsoft’s MSN unit lost $205 million. Who says Microsoft missed the web? Well they just bought a big chunk of it back.
Whatever the reason, the online advertising industry has changed forever, the change won’t be noticeable straight away, but the big boys have truly arrived and they’re playing for keeps. If you want to advertise online, soon you’ll have to do it on their terms, and if you don’t like the service…well there isn’t going to be much of a choice.
May 17th, 2007
Social networking sites have become an integral part of teenage life, with more than 90 per cent of UK teenagers having used one, according to research commissioned by MediaGuardian.co.uk.
The survey of 11- to 20-year-olds, conducted by Q Research, found that one-third of teenagers have at least four social networking profiles on sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.
To see how these figures compare to console and online gaming would be interesting. Five years ago communities such as Habbo Hotel were looking at ways to cash in on the booming MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing games) market, but have the tables turned completely?
The big question still remains – how to monetise these online communities without encroaching on the user experience. If the market manages to crack that question, communities such as MySpace and Bebo could be sitting on a goldmine.
May 16th, 2007
As you may have seen, US military personnel or “milbloggers”, have had their web activity restricted.
The restrictions mean milbloggers must submit blog entries to supervising officers before posting them.
Furthermore, the US defense department has now announced it is blocking access from military computers to 13 communal websites, including YouTube and MySpace, to reduce the drain on computer capacity caused by downloading videos on these sites. Although troops can still use these sites through their personal ISPs.
In the case of restricting military personnel blogging, is this an extreme example of trying to control the conversation, rather than getting involved in it? Could the US military actually have done with some consultancy on the positive aspects of the blogosphere? Is this a missed opportunity to gain real insight into the daily lives of military personnel and perhaps even achieve some much needed support?
I can understand the argument that military personnel can’t publish operational details that put others at risk, but that hasn’t been an issue up until the ban, so is this a case of overkill to regain control?
What about the positivity that milbloggers have created, allowing people to understand the lives of military personnel and even experience some of the good work that they do, such as food aid, clearing mines, disaster relief, etc.
The major reason for this change of heart seems to be the result of this year’s Blooker Prize (the best book of the year based on a blog), which was won by Colby Buzzell, former US soldier, for â€œMy War: Killing Time in Iraqâ€ based on his blog that detailed his experiences of active duty in Iraq.
According to Ed Pilkington’s piece in the Guardian: “Buzzell rapidly built up a huge following and was profiled in the media. However, after six weeks an order came down that his blog should be stopped, without any explanation.”
The UK military has placed similar restrictions on books from former UK forces personnel, and more recently British service personnel were stopped from selling their stories to the media in the wake of the release of a group of British Sailors and Marines who had been held in Iran, one of whom profited from selling her story, as overviewed in The Times.
However, the rules have not spread to blogging in the British military yet, as far as I can find, but it will probably only be a matter of time.
May 15th, 2007
As a closet Sky Showbiz reader, I was pleasantly surprised to see the celebrity newswire leading on a blog-generated news story yesterday afternoon, which has since been picked up by other national news outlets including the MediaGuardian.
The story highlighted a MySpace blog post by pop star Lily Allen, complaining that she felt “fat and ugly”.
The London-born singer wrote: “I used to pride myself on being strong minded and not being some stupid girl obsessed with the way I look. I felt like it didn’t matter if I was a bit chubby ’cause I’m not a model, I’m a singer.”
Media coverage led fans back to Lily Allen’s MySpace page, where more than 1,800 people have posted messages of support.
It’s not rocket science, but a perfect example of how the blogosphere can be used to fertilise the national news agenda, and vice versa. Today’s news is clearly no longer tomorrow’s fish and chips paper, particularly when readers demonstrate such higher levels of interaction.