Archive for the ‘Media Future’ Category

Online Viewers Switch on to Public Speaking

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 by Tom Maddocks


A guest post by Tom Maddocks of Media Training Associates

In the era of the TV news ‘soundbite’, the idea of a long political speech appeared to most of us be very old-fashioned, something that would never catch the interest of people with today’s near-zero attention span.  Many would continue to make this argument, pointing to modest audiences even for the leaders’ speeches at the October party conferences.  Yet elsewhere, public speaking appears to be gaining a renaissance, with more and more presentations now being streamed across the web – the popular TED talks being just one example – these have gained over 1.5 million followers on Facebook.  Others (including all the Presidential candidates in the 2008 US election) have used Ustream.tv to stream themselves live over the internet.  In the UK the RSA has made innovative use of the visual opportunities in its RSA Animate series – see http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/videos/

Could more organisations in the public, private and third sectors be making use of these opportunities to find an audience?  To succeed, you don’t need high technology – some of this stuff is recorded with very basic equipment – but if you are representing your organisation, you do need to be able to sound interesting, and look professional.  Increasingly when we run media training courses we find an element of coaching for appearing on videos or webinars is essential, even for people who think they’ll ‘never be on TV’.  So good old-fashioned presentation skills are as important as ever.  Convey energy, convey passion, convey enthusiasm, and ensure you have relevant and engaging content.  Get to the point – whatever your platform it’s usually best to take a leaf from TED’s book and keep presentations, videos etc to 20 minutes maximum –  a lot less for some topics.  Don’t let yourself appear nervous by letting your eyes wander around – if talking direct to camera, keep them to camera.  Finally, remember to smile and convey warmth, so you can really make a connection with your audience.

 

NLA v Meltwater dispute may hit Newspapers

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 by Rob Brown

A copyright dispute between Meltwater and the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) comes to a head today when the UK’s copyright tribunal sits to consider whether Meltwater’s users will need to pay a licence fee for online news content.

The NLA is owned by the UK’s newspaper industry and already licenses the distribution of hard copies of newspaper clippings. The NLA previously took Meltwater and the PRCA to court in 2010 confirming that web links for online news were protected by copyright law.

The problem for the NLA and the newspaper industry is this.  In addition to Meltwater News which monitors the papers in question (and others besides), Meltwater also has a product called Meltwater Buzz which monitors social media, networks and blogs.  It may be that over time agencies, clients and in-house organisations can measure the effect of media coverage just as well, perhaps better, through social channels as they can by looking at conventional media.  If this happens it will boost blogs and social channels and hit mainstream media.  Perhaps it is time for the newspaper industry to reconsider the role and scope of the NLA.

The case is scheduled to run until 26 September.

 

 

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

Techcrunch Time for Media Future

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 by Rob Brown

We’ve often talked about the demise of dead wood and ink (and sometime of its resilience) on this blog.  What then of the fortunes of the natural successor to newspapers; online media?

TechCrunch along with Mashable has been at the forefront of this evolution. Focusing on technology news it has carved a powerful niche since it was founded by Michael Arrington in 2005.  It is one of the top 200 websites in the world and has over 4.5 million subscribers.   However the future of this new media Leviathan has been thrown into some confusion today with a post on the site entitled “TechCrunch As We Know It May Be Over”.  The post is written by MG Siegler a respected Techcrunch staffer since 2008 (Official title: Kick Ass Pool Party Coordinator).

The central theme is whether Techcrunch will stay the same if, as seems increasingly likely, the newish owners AOL, dispense with the services of founder Michael Arrington.   His tenure at least in part centres around a complex debate about transparency and editorial control.  Allegations in the New York Times suggest that Techcrunch lacks transparency when reporting on ventures in which its owners or leadership have a financial interest.  Defenders including Siegler say that the loose editorial control ensures that Techrunch can not have an editorial policy in favour or against any organisation and this unrestricted environment is what also makes the site able to break so many stories.

The debate here is not just about ethics, its about the sustainability of loosely controlled new media models.  Stay tuned.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

Low take up of magazines’ digital editions

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by Mark Perry

Hidden away in the latest ABC issued last week were interesting facts relating to digital editions of magazines.

With the growth, in particular of tablets and e-readers, you would have expected it to be a strong market.

It seems that where they are available the digital versions represent about 1% of total sales accroding the Press Gazette. The top sellers are Men’s Health (1,746), Hello (1,165) and Stuff (981).

Magazines such as House & Garden, Autocar and Cosmopolitan sell around 300 copies each and Vogue just 185.

While these are just optimised versions of the established print editions, there are magazines launching, such as Football Espana, which are solely as electronic versions having the look and feel of a traditional magazine. It will be interesting to see how well they do without the legacy of having had a print edition.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Murdochs meet their phone hacking nemesis

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 by Jon Clements

The Murdochs – father, Rupert, and son, James – face Parliament today to answer for the phone hacking scandal that has dominated UK media coverage in what is normally the so-called “Silly Season” of newslessness.

Predictably, the Today programme rolled out a big hitter this morning – former Labour leader, Neil Kinnock – to debate this afternoon’s grand political theatre; and Kinnock is – in no small way – relevant to the topic, as the principal whipping boy for Murdoch-owned media in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Whether or not today’s Culture Select Committee interrogation will achieve anything concrete, Kinnock is hoping for nothing less than “from now on, no-one ever in politics will seek to serve the interests of any newspaper proprietor” and a “readiness to confront the ownership of newspapers”. I suppose his revenge has been a long-time coming.

It’s 30 years since Rupert Murdoch became the owner of The Times and The Sunday Times and – in light of where News International finds itself today – it’s worth considering the history of the man who has wielded such media power for so long.

Former Times and Sunday Times editor, Harold Evans, captured the period from Murdoch’s initial entry into UK newspapers in his 1983 book, Good Times. Bad Times.

Evans, reflecting on Murdoch’s success with the “soar away Sun”, more than tripling daily sales to three million in three years, says: “He [Murdoch] had done much for the newspaper business, but had he done anything for journalism?” He quotes an Australian editor of the time, Graham Perkin, who knew Murdoch from his earlier career as media magnate in the country, who was “at odds with Murdoch in what he saw as his contempt for political objectivity and professional standards”.

Following a News of the World article involving the photograph of a government minister, Lord Lamton, in bed with a prostitute, which brought criticism from the Press Council (the precursor to the Press Complaints Commission). Evans had responded with an article in The Sunday Times, criticising the “pornographic surveillance and the sloppy way the paper had allowed the unpublished photographs, instruments of blackmail, to be taken away by a petty crook.”  Murdoch responded to Evans with: “I do not hate the Press Council. I just think they are a pussy-footing arm of the establishment.” From this, Evans concludes: “We got the message – he wanted it to be known he didn’t give a damn.”

Plus ça change…

While BBC political editor, Nick Robinson, calls today’s potential,, verbal evisceration of the Murdochs a “cathartic moment”, Kinnock turns to mythology to frame its importance: “It may be that in the true Greek fashion, what we are now witnessing is at least a partial nemesis.”

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR.

Connect at:
JonClements

Is News International still a bit Old Skool?

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 by Rob Brown

Within minutes of James Murdoch sounding the death knell on the News of the World, the twittersphere was crackling with the rumour that The Sun would become a seven day a week title.   The evidence seemed to stack up when it emerged that someone had registered the domains sunonsunday.co.uk and thesunonsunday.co.uk a couple of days ago.  Now there’s no proof at all that this was done on behalf of News International, but if it was then why didn’t they register the twitter account too?

Well someone did.  A spoof account @thesunonsunday appeared within the hour.  It gained over a thousand followers in 60 minutes.  Registering websites and forgetting about social networks – who would do such a thing?

 

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

PR evolves for the digital audience

Friday, July 1st, 2011 by Jon Clements

 

One possible subtitle for this week’s business and media news could be “a dose of commercial reality”.

On the high street Thorntons, Jane Norman, Habitat, TJ Hughes and Kitchens Direct are all either downsizing or going out of business altogether.

And, in publishing, Centaur has gone through a restructure, making New Media Age and Design Week digital only, while closing its Reputation Online brand.

The first and most important issue, clearly, is the human impact of these changes in terms of job losses and the decline in previously successful businesses.

But what does the increasing movement to digital media mean for PR people? Well, there are pros and cons…

On the upside, the amount of time people spend online should make it easier for digital publishers (and, in turn, communicators) to find, interrupt and engage the reader at their PC, Mac or mobile device. With print, it has always tended to require readers to break off from other activities and enter a bubble of concentration where they can consume their chosen media in peace. With digital media – arriving via email into inboxes, through Twitter, LinkedIn news, etc, there is less reliance on readers to allocate dedicated consumption time; they are presented with information in a myriad of formats any time they’re logged on, pulling them in a stream of link consciousness to increasingly niche locations they consider relevant. Surely, those places are where communicators can succeed?

But with this digital shift comes an online beast with a different set of behaviours.

Research by San Jose University, California, entitled Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment, found “a screen-based reading behavior is emerging. The screen-based reading behavior is characterized by more time spent on browsing and scanning, keyword spotting, one-time reading, non-linear reading, and reading more selectively, while less time is spent on in-depth reading, and concentrated reading.”

More than 70% of research respondents admitted to “keyword spotting” as a “strategy to locate needed information” and “cope with the overloaded information environment”.  Other significant research take-outs included:

  • People allocate their attention more selectively
  • Time spent on non-linear reading is increasing – helped by hypertext
  • Jumping from one link to another via hyperlinks creates fragmented reading
  • Digital makes people explore more topics extensively, but at a more superficial level
  • Hypertext discourages the absorbed and reflective mode that characterises literacy reading

What’s worth noting is the research was presented in 2005, pre-dating social media’s domination of the internet and an even greater contest for people’s attention.

So, for PR people, while we may have a population of online media consumers, they are increasingly tough to pin down and engage. To give your story, your message a cat in hell’s chance of being received, understood and acted on, it needs a constantly creative approach. Communicators are not competing only with other communicators, but with the itinerant web user’s brain and a wealth of digital distractions.

It means going beyond the trap of churning out media relations as an end in itself and thinking hard about how your media materials will grab the attention and deliver something useful and memorable. From there, providing the link to something else – that brings the reader, listener or viewer closer to your objective – may be your only chance to develop the relationship. Equally essential is tracking and measuring the living daylights out of everything that can be measured to understand what’s working and what needs to be recalibrated.

As with the subtitle for this week, the switched on communicators will have realised that meeting the needs of the digital audience is very much a commercial reality.

 

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR.

Connect at:
JonClements

Economic times force daily paper switch

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 by Mark Perry

Having battled falling circulations and the digital revolution this week’s news from the daily Torquay Herald Express gives a new warning to regional newspapers. Northcliffe has decided to cease daily production and to turn it in to a weekly.

This is not an unprecedented move, the Birmingham Post went weekly in 2009 as did the Bath Chronicle in 2007, it seems that it is the economic downturn and the failure to attract advertising that has forced the change.

Compared with other regional newspapers its circulation has held up well with a daily sale according to the last ABCs of more than 21,000 down only 3.7 per cent compared with an average 6.7 per cent for the sector. According to the editor Andy Phelan it is one of Northcliffe’s best performing in terms of circulation.

Despite this strength, as a daily the Herald Express is deemed to be no longer viable. As Torquay is predominately a holiday location, there simply is not the sustainable advertising to support the newspaper in a sector where most revenue comes from advertising rather than sales. It seems as if Northcliffe has taken the decision it can’t wait for better times.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Injunctions get tabloids all of a twitter

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 by Mark Perry

 

Under all the debate about the role injunctions are having in stopping the press talking about celebrities indiscretions there in an interesting sub-text about  what place the media – in particular the ‘red tops’ – have in the era of social media.

It seems as if the combination of the growth of social media like Twitter and the use of injunctions may just have taken away one of the key platforms for the tabloids – gossip.  Take away that and with it goes a reason to buy the chosen newspaper.  

This week it was interesting to hear that actor Hugh Grant on Richard Bacon’s Radio 5 Live programme – both no strangers to tabloid revelations –  call for all tabloids to be put out of business – “We don’t want them, we don’t need them and the sooner they go out of business the better…. as they rely on stealing people’s privacy.”

It is that privacy so many celebrities are now keen to maintained through injunctions while, as events of the last few weeks have shown, their names have come in to the public domain through Twitter. Indeed, such is the desire to uncover these names that Twitter has seen a 14% increase in traffic on the day names had been revealed.

There is no doubt that some of the names have not always been accurate. Indeed Jemima Khan had to deny her involvement in an injunction after she was named on Twitter.

Reflecting that the celebrities with their injunctions may be opening a long-term problem for themselves. If a newspaper does publish something that is later proved to be inaccurate it can be sued. At present it is almost impossible to take action against a claim which appears on Twitter and can do just as much damage in the long term. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for”.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Record radio ratings – still a relevant medium

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 by Mark Perry

 

As Queen’s song Radio Ga Ga said in 1984 “You had your time, you had the power you’ve yet to have your finest hour”, and it seems as if that might be true.

The publication of the latest Rajars  show that some stations are growing strongly with record audiences. This growth is not confined to any one genre with big gains in speech  at Talksport and Radio 4 as well as music including, Radio 3 and Classic FM.

Digital only stations are also doing well with records being set by BBC 6 Music and Radio 7, now rebranded as Radio 4 Extra, and  1 Xtra. Smooth seems to have gained from becoming a national station with some ‘headline signings’.

So while the choice of media continues to grow it seems that radio still maintains a special place and maybe video hasn’t killed the radio star after all.

 

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.