Archive for July, 2007
July 31st, 2007
It seems everyone is either talking about, or trying to avoid talking about, Facebook at the minute, so I’m steering clear of the subject.
Even the Guardian’s technology section reported on a brief outage at Facebook today, which probably resulted in a huge surge in profitability as the UK’s workforce caught up with work, rather than their friends.
But enough of Facebook, today I will mostly be talking about…hang on, here’s another example; Facebook posts a job listing for a stock administration manager and suddenly the company is floating, as reported by The Times.
This ‘leap’ causes Peter Thiel, Facebook board member and PayPal co-founder to confirm that the earliest Facebook would file for an initial public offering would be 2009, â€œand hopefully not until significantly after thatâ€.
He then went onto propose a figure for Facebook: “It would take a significant sum to gain the managementâ€™s attention. If we got an offer from someone of $10 billion, we would probably listen to them. I donâ€™t think weâ€™re going to get that offer, and weâ€™re not going to solicit.â€
Well I think he just did, and sure enough, the figure is everywhere.
Anyway, I’m not talking about Facebook. The point I wanted to make, was in relation to the effect social networks are having on digital music.
- 53% of people actively surf social networking sites to find music.
- 30% said they went on to buy or download music that they had discovered on a social network site.
The survey also suggests that the number of people illegally download music tracks has risen, from 36% in 2006 to 43% in 2007. Not a huge rise, and the survey doesn’t go as far to suggest a link between social networks and piracy, but does clearly confirm social networks are effecting music consumption.
I would go further. I think the issue is much wider than just music, social networks are having a considerable effect on the way we purchase and communicate, both as individuals and as organisations, in all sectors.
Furthermore, those that thought this effect would only be relevant to techies and bloggers are quickly realising that simply isn’t the case. Take Facebook as an example, I’m continually surprised by the people that pop up on it, people who I thought would have no interest in Facebook, and ping, there they are - poking me. Perhaps that’s the most interesting point; social networks are driving the population online, the various apps act as a magnet and the simplicity keeps them coming back.
We now have a situation where the usage and understanding of social media, in all its forms, is growing consistently. Combine this with widespread access to the web and a new eagerness to join in, and By Jove! I believe we may just have something.
The second dotcom boom may well have a different ending to the first.
July 30th, 2007
Stephen Armstrong, writing for MediaGuardian, has beaten me to it today with a thought piece on how TV programmes about the media are increasingly becoming hot property.
I’ve been pondering the same idea myself recently, with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip airing this week, and other fictionalised insights into the media such as Dirt starring Courney Cox and Lipstick Jungle by Sex and the City’s Candace Bushnell, also in the pipeline.
It seems a warts-and-all look at the media is increasingly what people want to see, and I still firmly believe the catalyst was 7/7 2005, when citizen journalism took on a life of its own around the London bombings.
The media industry has always positioned itself as sexy, cut-throat and exclusive – but three years ago a crisis situation broke down some of these barriers, and mobile and social media technology enabled citizens to access it from the inside.
To quote from the MediaGuardian article…”I think in part this is about television’s reaction to the internet,” says Mark Olsen, who writes about TV for the LA Times and Interview magazine. “There is a desire to include the audience, to give them a sense that they are insiders, and that they know what’s going on behind the cameras.”
The public want more access – uploading mobile video clips, or writing their own blog etc, is no longer enough. There seems an insatiable appetite for transparency in the media, and TV at the moment is responding to this need.
This is not just the age of social media – it’s the age of media, full stop!
July 25th, 2007
They allege that Mark Zuckerberg stole their site’s software code while he was working for them on a project called Harvard Connection, creating a social network for Harvard university’s students.
In the suit they claim Zuckerberg was asked to complete software and database work on the site before they graduated from Harvard in June 2004.
According to the suit this never happened, and in an almighty claim they have demanded ownership of Facebook!
Let’s put this into context, ConnectU has 70,000 users, while Facebook has 52 million. Facebook launched 3 months before ConnectU, and Facebook was the subject of a $1bn approach from Yahoo! in the not too distant past, a valuation that has significantly risen due to the increasing popularity of the service.
You have to ask yourself, if ConnectU are right, and Facebook is based on the same code, what has Zuckerberg done to make Facebook so much more successful?
I don’t think Facebook will be unduly concerned by the eventual ruling.
MediaGuardian has the full story.
July 24th, 2007
It’s a risky idea using YouTube to host a presidential debate, and last night’s experiment certainly had its flaws and frustrations…but if one good thing came of it, it’s the realisation that there’s a global and active online community who wants to make a difference to politics.
The CNN debate enabled Americans to pose questions to presidential candidates through short YouTube videos. Nearly 3,000 videos were submitted – an impressive response in light of the disinterest that plagues global politics today.
Only 39 videos were selected for the two-hour debate, and there seems to be conscensus in the blogosphere today that many of the best videos were left out. But no suprises there!
The candidates did a great job of dodging direct answers, which in my mind was the single most disappointing result of the debate. We all know this happens in Question Time, but a YouTube debate should by its nature demand more transparency and honesty. Clearly the candidates have some learning to do on the behaviour of social networks, and how to go about building authority with their online audiences.
Finally, I leave you with a YouTube video from Faint Starlite, aka Esther, who sums up nicely why American youths don’t care about politics as much as they should.
July 20th, 2007
It’s been a busy week at Liberate Media, I know, I know, we’re all busy…But between a hectic travel schedule, announcements, meetings and a few surprises along the way, the blog posts have dramatically dropped off this week – bad Lloyd and Wendy!
Therefore, I thought I would do a quick round-up of some of the issues that attracted my attention this week.
PR Week reports that 75 per cent of journalists would prefer to receive media-rich press releases than a standard email or Word file attachment. To confirm, a media-rich press release is one that links directly back to a website where journalists can access additional information, images, video or sound clips, graphs and statistics. This supports the movement towards social media releases, which we at Liberate Media are following avidly.
The research comes from software designers Glide Technologies, and I’d be interested to hear any direct experiences or opinions from any journalists that are reading this post. Although this may not be possible as the piece also confirms that most of the surveyed journalists do not receive such releases on a regular basis.
PR Squared has the full story.
Sticking with PR, and relating directly to the image attached to this post, hats off for this supreme PR stunt linked to the opening of the Simpsons movie in the UK.
The story broke at the start of the week, and as you can see, the Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset has a new neighbour in the shape of a doughnut-toting Homer Simpson. Brilliant.
The BBC has the full story.
Finally, Facebook, (did you spot the new widgets BTW?) has made its first acquisition in the form of web-based operating system start-up – Parakey, the latest project from the founders of Mozilla Firefox.
The purchase will boost Facebook’s open source strategy, allowing developers to write applications that can be shared by Facebook users.
The Times has the full story.
That’s it for the round-up, onwards to the weekend, we’ll be back on track next week.
July 16th, 2007
The IPA’s Q2 Bellwether Report has been issued today and it’s good news for the marketing and advertising community, as it shows a continuing rise in the UK’s marketing activity.
The report, which uses a sample of 250 marketing professionals, confirmed Internet, direct and public relations are the fastest growth categories, with advertising expenditure also rising at its fastest rate for seven years.
In fact, Internet advertising budgets now account for seven per cent of all marketing spend, which is the highest percentage yet recorded by the report.
The report also confirmed earlier marketing spend predictions for the year may need to be revised, after 24 per cent of companies posted an increase in total marketing budgets.
However, this trend may not continue considering Ernst & Young’s confirmation this weekend that profit warnings have increased to their highest level since the end of the dotcom boom.
In the first half of this year 191 profit warnings were issued by UK-quoted companies, up 13 per cent on the first half of 2006, and the highest since 2001.
The FT has the full story.
So, good news, but high interest rates may slow spending in the near future.
July 13th, 2007
The age-old argument between editorial and sales has come under scrutiny again today, with news that Google is being taken to court for allegedly misleading its users on paid links to advertisers.
In the first legal action of its kind, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking an injunction to stop Google from displaying paid search results that are not clearly distinguished as advertisements.
The Times has a full report here.
The claims against Google seem very outdated and naive. In today’s digital age, the majority of internet users are perfectly capable of differentiating between editorial and advertising content themselves. The boundaries between the two have become increasingly blurred, and Google’s approach towards making this differentiation is completely transparent and ethical in my opinion.
In addition, paid search results are becoming increasingly more useful, and if they have been deemed relevant by Google, they have every right to appear where they do.
I don’t think Google should be too worried!
July 11th, 2007
It’s being called “a major new initiative in citizen journalism” and it just might be, well the mainstream exposure might be.
The deal will see Five News added to Friction.tv’s existing platform, with Friction.tv gaining space on the news pages of Five TV’s website and show in return.
Friction.tv was only launched earlier this year, but already has 100,000 unique visitors per month, offering a platform for individuals to upload videos of themselves discussing local or global issues.
It also recently launched in the US and has signed a deal with Al-Jazeera.
I think this is a great way to introduce UGC to the mainstream, and I’m sure we’ll see other major broadcasters following suit.
Sky may have had a hand in this, but it will be interesting to see how this feature continues to develop on Five news, and vice-versa. Will Five news gain traction on the web via Friction.tv?
NMA has the full story.
July 10th, 2007
The internal changes mark a major step in UK publishing, and acknowledge the impact that social media is having upon journalism.
“Our newspaper business continues to be the mainstay of News International, but along with the rest of the industry we face the pressures of an evolving media world,” executive chairman Les Hinton is reported to have told staff.
Increasing audience and profitability in new media, have been cited as the two key motives for the announcement, as well as opening up new opportunities in mobile.
But setting those aside, the move is set to have dramatic impact on the editorial rivalry that has traditionally existed between NI titles.
Social media has instilled a new notion of collaboration in UK journalism, with the objective of building a bigger and better story, and NI has the opportunity to take thought leadership position on how this can work within the national publishing industry.
The days of the Fleet Street hack are numbered, and there is bound to be some fallout…
July 9th, 2007
The Guardian’s Media 100 has been published today, and unsurprisingly it tracks the continuing rise of digital media and internet businesses.
Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief exec, who wasn’t even on last year’s list goes straight in at number one, heading the list of 47 new entries, many of which will be familiar to readers of this blog.
Schmidt is followed by the ‘daddy’, Rupert Murdoch at two, his son James at five, with TV bosses Mark Thompson (BBC) and Michael Grade (ITV) separating father and son. Richard Branson makes it in at a respectable six and Apple CEO Steve Jobs at seven. See the full list here.
Matthew Freud, chairman, Freud Communications, keeps the PR flag flying at 86, alongside Alan Parker, founder and chairman, Brunswick Group at 89. There are other notable inclusions, such as Ajaz Ahmed, Chairman and co-founder, AKQA at 93 and Guido Fawkes (or Paul Staines) political blogger at 91.
Bill Gates, number nine in last year’s list, drops out completely, but in at number 100 is Facebook. For those that don’t know, Number 100 is the space reserved for people or phenomena which don’t quite fit elsewhere on the list.
The MediaGuardian 100 takes economic, political and cultural influence into account, and is intended as a snapshot of individuals’ power today.