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#ftmedia12: BBC’s director of future media on plans for ‘connected studio’

March 7th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Online Journalism

Speaking as part of a panel on ‘technological innovation – shaping the future of media’ at the Financial Times’ Digital Media Conference today, the BBC’s director of future media Ralph Rivera briefly introduced the broadcaster’s new idea for a “connected studio”.

The plans were first reported in an FT report earlier today, based on an interview with Rivera ahead of his appearance at the conference.

According to the report, Rivera is “keen to bolster the corporation’s reputation as a finishing school for digital entrepreneurs”.

Mr Rivera is set to announce the creation of a £3m “Connected Studio” project which aims to connect BBC developers and producers with their commercial counterparts, and establish a new technical platform for outsiders to build digital services around BBC content.

Speaking about the plans at the conference today Rivera said “the studio is that space where technology and the creative storyteller come together” and that it “made sense” to “create a connected studio”.

He told the audience this could see the creation of a virtual space and possibly a physical one also.

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#ftmedia12: FT content revenues could overtake advertising in 2012

March 7th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Advertising, Business, Journalism

Image copyright Chris Young/PA

This year “could well be” the first year in its history that content revenues, including print and digital, overtake advertising revenues at the Financial Times, its chief executive, John Ridding, told the news organisation’s Digital Media Conference today.

The latest figures show content revenues for the FT accounted for 41 per cent in 2011, while advertising revenues accounted for the majority.

Speaking on a panel debating “the future of digital journalism and news”, Ridding said the FT’s relationship with its readers has helped to “sustain” quality journalism.

Having that understanding about what readers want is very helpful in continuing to improve the quality of journalism we provide.

We are confident in the business model and confident it will not just sustain quality journalism but enable us to further build quality journalism.

The site currently offers free registration which gives users access to eight articles a month, after which they would need to pay a subscription to access further content.

During the panel Ridding also spoke about mobile, which he said has been “a complete game-changer” for the FT.

One of my issues to start with was will the kind of content we do work on mobile? The answer is yes.

He added that one question to consider is whether there are ways publishers can reach out to “large continental economies” via mobile and tablet devices, such as by using “incentives … to stimulate that demand”.

Last month the FT’s parent company Pearson reported in its end-of-year results that FT Group revenues increased by six per cent to £427m in 2011.

Digital subscriptions to the FT were said to be up 29 per cent year-on-year to 267,000 and registered users on FT.com had risen by 33 per cent.

Last week paidContent reported that “in the US, to where its online chief recently relocated, digital subscriptions have now overtaken print subscriptions”.

The interview with Riddings also revealed that content revenues are expected to overtake ad revenue in 2012.

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#ftmedia12: Jimmy Wales’s advice for journalists on using Wikipedia

March 7th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism

Picture by Lane Hartwell [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

I caught up with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales at the Financial Times’ digital media conference to find out more about his views on how journalists should – or shouldn’t – be using Wikipedia.

He said while “generally speaking we always recommend journalists shouldn’t necessarily cite Wikipedia”, he advised reporters to use it as a “starting point” and then search out community discussions and what they “want to know”.

He added that he is pleased with the “stamp of approval” when news outlets link to Wikipedia.

Listen to the audio below in which he also explains the licences used by Wikipedia, such as for the use of images.

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#ftmedia12: Jimmy Wales on the power of Wikipedia’s free access ethos

Giving the opening presentation at the Financial Times’ digital media conference in London today, the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales discussed the power of the free access it offers for content on the site.

He said the “main original vision for Wikipedia” was based on the following quote:

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.

He said by following the idea of free access from the beginning, the site, which currently reports around 65 million monthly visitors, saw “a huge amount of traffic”.

He outlined what Wikipedia sees as the most important part of what it does.

We aren’t just talking about cost. We’re talking about free as in speech, not free as in beer … It’s more fundamental than cost.

He added that the power of this “technique” of content dissemination for “growing online presences” is “still not fully understood”.

Wales said when Wikipedia started the mindset for many was “that in order to have successful content, you need unique content no one else had”, and then to erect a paywall or “vigorously pursue people copying content”.

He took the opposite route, with the only requirement being that users of the content have to follow the licence terms, usually meaning attribution to the source.

Lots of people made clone sites, or they would take an article and put in on a blog. It drove over time a huge amount of traffic.

He added that today this continues to be a “big factor” in the volume of links to Wikipedia and its ranking in search results.

When it comes to finding a business model for online content in general, he added that micropayments could be the way forward, in particular for newspapers online.

One of the things I’m very excited about is the rise of the app store, the app model. For the first time we have a very convenient method to pay relatively small amounts of money.

He added that payment for online content had “always been a barrier” in the past.

He said the ability to make an “impulse purchase” is “really important and going to have major impact when we think about content”.

Here are some of the interesting statistics Wales shared with the conference about Wikipedia 11 years on:

  • Over 20 million articles in 270 different languages
  • Over 3 million articles distributed in English
  • Around 150,000 articles in Arabic
  • Only two African languages available
  • The most popular category in English, Chinese and Japanese languages is popular culture

He added that we are now “in an era when the general public has a voice in a way they never had before”.

But he said there is also a “heavy” responsibility on Wikipedia and its community to “think about quality of Wikipedia”.

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