Tag Archive for media

Twitter for Newsrooms

Twitter Media Logo

Twitter Media has rolled out a nice platform update in the last few days that offers a best practice guide for Newsrooms wanting to use twitter to report and publish better. There is a growing need for media organisations to start to follow some consistency and not mix and match terms between Twitter and Facebook and it’s obviously upset the right branding people inside the Twitter Media term who put a fair bit of effort into the contents of their expanded Twitter media platform.

The Twitter Newsroom tips and guides cover 4 primary areas

  1. Report (Search Strategy,Finding Sources,via Mobile)
  2. Engage (Effective Tweeting,Personal Branding)
  3. Publish (Tools,Display/Brand Guidelines)
  4. Extra (Support,Blogs,Partners)

It’s really a fairly decent overview but the platform needs a fair bit more promotion to ensure journalists know that it is there and that it contains valuable information they should check out!

France Bans Social Media

Under what is an interesting government decree passed back in 1992 which prohibits news organisations from promoting brands during newscasts, the countries TV council has now enforced the law that prohibits specific mentions of Twitter or Facebook on TV. It’s an interesting move as many networks are pushing and promoting Twitter & Facebook over their company websites so it might please their webmasters but is it taken free-market law too far? It’s raised some interest in Australia with the government-funded ABC heavily promoting platform but it’s typically banned from promoting commercial partnerships.

Quick video review of the portal

I’ve published a quick video review of the service and found there is certainly some great content and advice there so check out the video below and check it out.

Vodafone Australia censored

Self CensorshipFollowing the leak one day early of the new Samsung Galaxy tablet in Sydney in a video and promoted heavily via an article on SMH.com.au, it seems that Vodafone corporate head office wasn’t as ready to talk about the new device as a blogger on their social media team. The Vodafone social media was over eager to start promoting news about the new Samsung Galaxy but had to retract their blog post because the Samsung product has not been official released.  I’ve had one request in the past from a client to remove blog posts discussing a product that is not yet officially released and actually still hasn’t been technically launched so it might still be a sore point, I will avoid at this time…

The issue with censorship around blogs when discussing a relevant product that has been seen and is due for release, it’s not the case of hearsay and promotion of the device is likely to benefit Vodafone when its official launched. The self censorship cannot help the difficult task that the social media team has and it doesn’t promote trust in their ability to do their work if there is limited support from head office and it really clouds the transparency perspective social media is able to provide for companies.  Overall the removal of the post is a very unsettling to have the power taken out of your hands by a supplier, it’s not as if they are Apple and will take it personally.

It’s very interesting to see that corporate head office was so quick to respond and they censored their bloggers with such a heavy-handed approach, its likely that they have done more damage by this reaction and a very public failure. You can see the error page that was left after the post was retracted, it would have made more sense to add in a teaser message or if they really didn’t want to further promote the leaked video, they could have redirected the blog post to Vodafone’s listing of Samsung devices currently available.

A spokesperson for the company said it had told its social media team to remove the post as the product had not yet been released

Most marketing efforts to self censor or retract something once its public leads to more negative press and often provides more coverage around the topic that they tried to censor, but its great to see that this time the device wasn’t left in a bar.  Seriously using the device on a public commuter train has to make you think that someone might notice such as another tech blogger from Electronista and record the whole event on video. My last thoughts on the aggressive reaction are that maybe Vodafone may not be an initial launch partner and have taken all steps to try to limit promotion of a product they are not able to sell….

Google News Features

Google News continues to expand its product to move from a glorified RSS feed into a news portal with its recent move towards launching its own Newspass “pay wall”.  The Google Newspass which may reduce the impact of the News Corporation to start to move all their papers to a paywall system as other publishers may wait out to see the Google News platform before risking losing their readers.  The Google Newspass will enable publishers to charge readers for viewing their content via subscription or micro-payments while staying within Google News.

Google News benefits as it will reduce the number of publishers such as News Corporation who try and build their own paid portals.  The secondary benefit is that the News payment gateway will likely be via Google Checkout.
Search Engine Watch have done a bit more detailed exploration of the side effects on free quality content once the Google Newspass paywall is live.
Google News Improves Features
It is interesting as Google continues to improve the interface and Google News product while considering a future paywall. Its likely that once the testing begins information will start to leak out about its success or failure for publishers using it. So expect a large number of improvements to Google News leading up to the release of Newspass, as visitors will want to pay for something more than a RSS feed such as the feature I only noticed today “Quotes.
Google News Quotes
While Google has been experimenting with various ways of displaying quotes and a search to find out more about the fate of Kevin Rudd, ex-prime minister of Australia showed the follow articles with one of the many recent quotes made by the now ex-prime minister.
Google News QuotesThe link goes through to the existing Kevin Rudd quotes, but is a nice improvement to the Google News interface as it makes the quotes more prominent while allowing for users to search for other past Kevin Rudd quotes made over the last few years. It is likely that a number of journalist will be spending the next week trying to analyse his past quotes to see if there was a sign that he would step down as PM of Australia, while ignoring the fact that his well used KevinRuddPM Twitter account has not been updated since June 18th.
Google News Kevin Rudd Quotes
The quote feature is setup only for those who appear to be official figures, celebrities or those Google News feels important enough, so I decided to test some of this with those who have been quoted recently or frequently in the news. The first off the rank is seeing if a product is good enough to be featured and it seems that Google News is smart enough to not give “apple” news items a quote module but is there anyone else who should have but Google News fails to provide?
Steve Jobs obviously gets his quotes when doing a news search for him.
Jessica Simpson provides some entertaining news bites in her763 Google news results, far less than Jessica Watson.
Jessica Watson the solo sailor who recently successfully sailed around-the-world has around 2480 items of news but interestingly no quotes even when she has more news articles to source quotes than Julia Gillard and Jessica Simpson.
Jessica Watson Quotes
The new Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard has her own quote section but doesn’t seem to be very up to date, which shows the limitation of this platform.  If someone has just been appointed as Prime Minster of Australia you would expect a more recent quote than June 12th 2010.
Greg Packer the well know MTA rail worker who was the first in line to buy the original iPhone and iPad and has attended a number of events and ceremonies just to provide a sound bite or quote, does not have his own quote section.  So does this mean that he is not news worthy or does not have enough quotes in his 75 Google News results?
Greg Packer Quotes
So it seems that there is a bit more technology built into the platform that just a simple scraping of content, and its interesting to note of what Google News selects to avoid even when it is deemed newsworthy enough for the person to have hundreds of articles, interviews and stories written around their quotes. So while the new feature is great for that sound bites for radio and bloggers its not yet got enough to replace journalists who can mold that sound bite to be used out of context if it will sell more papers.

Is Disney the new Google?

disneyIt was annouced today that Walt Disney Co would buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.  This makes it the largest purchase since Pixar Animation Studios in 2006.  This purchase opens up a potential gold mine for Disney films with upto 5000 lesser-known characters and story lines that can be introduced to the world.

While it does allow them access to a number of recognised characters such as:
Iron Man
Spider-Man
X-Men
Fantastic Four

The match allows disney to broaden its reach and potential expand the total amount of DVD sales possible.  The question is how this will affect licensing fees with long term distribution deals with Disney competitors. This control of content brings Disney back towards its previous position as a media powerhouse and closer to matching Google’s aggressive behaviour of purchasing key technology/licenses.

Disney seems to be leading the charge to make their content available on every leading platform possible with distribution deals with iTunes, YouTube, NetFlix & potentially Hulu. The interesting point will be how Disney will respond to the strong fan community that associate with comics and events such as ComicCon. There is a lot of discussions across fan-pages in the past of how “fair use” is used to use images such as logos and book covers as part of a “fan club” but will the legal team at Disney treat these fan pages as terrorists?

But it is possible that Disney will respond better to industry groups such as the Comics Code Authority who seek to set a code of ethics standards about what particular story lines comics can feature.  Many of these topics seem to mirror Disney’s family friendly story lines, but are often not consistent to Marvel story lines.

Some of the many film companies that will be affected by the purchase include:

  • Sony Entertainment
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Paramount Pictures

The biggest issue will Disney allow some of the darker characters and story lines to make it too the silver screen.  Disney has in the past censored Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911″ so will it tone down darker characters such as Wolverine? Will future Marvel productions feature happy endings and singing teapots?

Masterchef winner is Julie

masterchef-logoWhat makes MasterChef different is the the contestants are eliminated by a panel of skilled/expert judges.  This differs from traditional reality tv shows as judges usually only have control of the direction early in the show and the direction is left to the audience to vote for a winner.

This change in concept has caused some controversy with many viewers who are not used to not having control over their “reality tv shows”.  The benefits to the show is that the producers can focus on presenting the best contestants and push the contestants to their limits without worry that large groups of supports, friends & family can skew voting.  It is also a reasonable argument that this move away from hard edge push marketing has helped widen this shows appeal and may make it one of the most successful non-sport broadcasts ever.

While the re-inclusion of contestants voted off caused some complaints it also produced an interesting twist in what might have been an expected with the show favourite “Chris” to win. TV Shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, the judges control the top 100, and down to the top 20.  From this point it is upto the audience to decide by voting, which is different to the MasterChef format. But this change in format has likely made the show better as the show producers can focus on quality TV and not having to depend on audience voting for guidance.  The show format also works differently as it does not have the judges directly engage with the audience but work to encourage the contestants to become better chefs.

The show has increased the amount of interest in culinary equipment stores and  increased Google search traffic around cooking and recipes terms.  Based on the search interest it seems that “Julia” and “Chris” were the favourites, and after the departure of Chris on Friday the interest in the show atleast online did take a hit. This does not mean that the final viewing numbers will be low, but it is likely that a final between “Julia” & “Chris” might have produced a larger viewer audience.masterchef-traffic-growth

Regional Interest for Masterchefmasterchef-traffic-map
New South Wales (Julie,Lucas)
Victoria (Chris,Sam,Julia)
South Australia (Poh,Andre)
Australian Capital Territory
Western Australia
Queensland (Tom)
Tasmania
Northern Territory

What is interesting is that the top 3 state based by online interest in the show, also have more than one contestant competing for the final. The interesting point is that the interest Queensland is quite low, this might be due to the early elimination of “Tom”.  If “Tom” had of done better when he was invited back it is likely that QLD would have had a higher online audience.  Based on population ration the interest from ACT, & WA is substantially higher and shows how interest in this show has exposed a new potential audience for marketers outside the traditional east coast.

The show has shown such popularity that it is even being promoted by other networks such as Channel 7 & 9 in their current affairs programs “Today Tonight” & “ACA”.  There has even been spin off mini-contest by Channel 9 “ACA” with its  “mini masterchef” competition and its 11 year old winner from Tasmania.  These guerrilla marketing events further promote the hype around “Masterchef” but give benefits and exposure to sponsors who missed the chance to be associate with the real “Masterchef”.

So is network 10 making the best use of its online interest? Channel 10 has setup a separate domain just for the show, which allows much more flexibility for online marketing of future series and the potential to own the traffic and branding around “Masterchef”. The move away from subdomains on ten.com.au seems to show a good move forward with an effective web marketing strategy for their new TV shows.  masterchef-ads

The advertising promotional spots shown during ad breaks were well above average and tied in quite well to the show and the audience, but its online aspects seem out of touch.  Online ad placements feature “how to become an Avon…” or promotion of Lily Allen’s new album, don’t seem to be as suitable.  While this might be a perfect match, it seems out of place compared to their quality broadcast packages for show sponsors.  Channel 10 is beginning to get better at understanding their online audiences and cross promotion between offline and online sponsorships but this recent example seems to show a step backwards.

The show’s final was recorded 2 weeks ago and only 100 people knew the results, which is also a change from traditional reality tv shows with live announcements. Based on pre-broadcast interviews and skills it seems that Poh is the winner, but the competition was decided in the final few minutes of the competition, did Poh’s attitude to not following recipes let her self down?

The competition came down to the final chocolate dish….

So now everyone in Australia knows who is Australia’s first Masterchef and will likely have a huge future media career based on the exposure of this show.

Media need broadcast revenue not online

It is not a secret that many media companies have been struggling with falling ad revenues as advertisers cut back and ask for more bang for their buck.  But how does their online strategy affect their advertising revenues and how serious do these companies take this future revenue model?

It is not known how much extra revenue is made from running sponsor sections and onsite advertisements but it is likely not enough to halt the revenue lost to reduced broadcast revenue.  A report today outline that Ten showed a 15% decline in third quarter revenues which goes against the growth of its online audience this quarter.  This online growth was supported by quality content and user generated material built around a few key shows such as SYTYCD, which is still generating interest online.

So the interesting point is that until online makes up a larger portion of overall revenue for a majority of the networks, they will remain dependant on broadcast revenue which is likely to continue to fall.  As the networks fill screens with reality shows and encourage their audience to engage with the show through user generated content they can keep costs low. Networks need a sustainable Ad platform to not just support costs but contribute revenue and allow them to re-invest this to expand online projects.

Online Competitors?

With TV losing audience numbers and potential revenue to iTunes Store, Hulu and Bittorrent how are they faring against their competitors?

We have looked into their competitors with the leader in the online space ABC Networks, with a massive lead with a larger share than all their competitors combined.  This government sponsored network places it in a very similar monopolistic position similar to BBC in the UK and has the advantage of being able to allocate significant online resources without requirements for ROI.

Australian Media Companies Online Market Share

Unique Visitor Statistics

Ten.com.au (28,000/month)
Unique Visitors Stats for Year up by 62% with 12 month ASX Share price down by 21%

au.tv.Yahoo.com (21,000/month)
Unique Visitors Stats for Year up by 91% with 12 month ASX Share price down by 26%

Ninemsn.com.au (428,000/month) – Unique Visitors Stats for Year up by 28%

Abc.net.au (908,000/month) – Unique Visitors Stats for Year up by 0.2%

Sbs.com.au (29,000/month) – Unique Visitors Stats for Year up by 31%

Competitor Site Reviews

Even with its extensive reach of Yahoo, the Seven network continues to struggle for online market share, lagging behind the smaller niche network of SBS.  Yahoo is following the NineMSN revenue model of branded sites for sponsors but they ensure they don’t over kill the ads and use the site to promote their TV shows.  SBC follows a similar model with limited onsite advertising but appears to have a much more successful layout and design for a media portal.

yahoo7sbs

The ABC website is the direction that the Network 10 seem to be taking their website, with minimal relevant promotion and the ability to watch full TV shows for free.  The only difference is the use of screen real estate with ABC making it easier to find its Podcasts for Triple J and Network 10 hiding them below the fold.

abcten

The interesting point that the millions that have been spent on building NineMSN into a online powerhouse has paid off in unique visitor figures, but they have taken the advertising model to the extreme. Its recent Transformers promotion takes over the whole frontpage with a mini animation that ends with a large promotional screen advising that Transformers is now in cinemas.  This seems to be more annoying and a little too pushy to be an ongoing promotion, while this may work for one-off deals because of the intrusive nature it is likely just to irritate users.

ninemsnninemsn transformers

I think the biggest point to take forward to media companies is to look towards the industry leaders such as BBC and even ABC who make it easy to download, listen and share their content.  There is no point fighting the battle against iTunes, Hulu & Bittorrent but I feel online advertising can contribute towards overall revenue but needs to be done right and not follow NineMSN.