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FT: BBC officially partners with AudioBoo to add programme web clips

The Financial Times has reported that the BBC has officially partnered with AudioBoo to post sound clips from programmes onto its website.

BBC journalists have been using AudioBoo since shortly after its launch in 2009 and the Radio 4 Today programme has providing catch-up audio for some time, getting around 20,000 listens to the 24 “boos” it posts each week, the FT states.

According to the article, the deal will “result in a series of branded BBC channels using AudioBoo, which the BBC hopes will broaden its audience reach worldwide”.

The FT states:

The decision to back such a small home-grown technology company is also a big step for the BBC, which has until now limited its official media partnerships to larger companies, such as Facebook and Twitter.

AudioBoo allows users to record and share up to three minutes of audio using the iPhone app or website. It also offers paid subscriptions for those who want to record and share longer interviews and sounds.

After launching in 2009, London-based AudioBoo gathered a loyal following of journalists and well-known personalities such as Stephen Fry who gave the platform an early boost.

AudioBoo founder and CEO Mark Rock told the FT that the BBC deal “took 18 months and 38 meetings to complete, because it was the first time a large media outlet had given official sanction to his business”.

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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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Financial Times: Sunday version of the Sun on hold due to arrests

January 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Newspapers

Sean Dempsey/PA

The Financial Times is reporting that the launch of a Sunday newspaper “to replace the News of the World” has been delayed due to the arrests of News International journalists at the weekend.

On Saturday (28 January), four current and former Sun journalists were arrested by officers working on Operation Elveden, the Met team looking into illegal payments to police.

The FT reports that a launch date of 29 April had “been set in stone”. Journalism.co.uk heard late on Friday, the day before the arrests, that the launch date had been brought forward.

The insiders said that managers of News International had decided that the adverse publicity surrounding the arrests and the suspension of the four journalists while police inquiries were going on would hamper any possible launch of a new title, which earlier reports said would be called the Sun on Sunday.

The article includes a comment from anonymous insiders, plus an interview with former chief reporter at the News of the World Neville Thurlbeck.

Mr Thurlbeck said that an internal group, the management and standards committee, set up at the direction of Rupert Murdoch to co-operate with a police investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, had handed over so much material that it had lost control of the situation.

“The staff [of the Sun] have lost trust in their own management because they [the MSC] don’t believe that they know what is contained in the material that the police now have.”

The FT adds that News International declined to comment.

The full Financial Times article is at this link [part-paywall].

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paidContent: Apple drops Financial Times apps from store

August 31st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile

Apple has pulled the Financial Times’ native iPad and iPhone apps from the iTunes App Store after updating its terms which state in-app subscriptions must be paid through the store, reports paidContent.

The FT launched a web-based app in June which allows the publisher to avoid paying Apple a 30 per cent cut of it’s app revenue and to gather its own audience data.

This article on paidContent states:

It is a blow to the FT, whose apps had processed subscription transactions independently. Last year, 10 percent of its new digital subscriptions were taken out on iPads. But the publisher says its model is premised on owning data about customers that goes through along with transactions. This was more important to it than Apple’s 30 percent take, CEO John Ridding told [Robert Andrews] recently.

The FT’s web app, which was described as a ‘wake-up call’ to publishers, saw 150,000 uses in the first 10 days before the part-paywall went up, in line with the FT’s other digital platforms.

 

 

 

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FT study exposes problems in finding media information on corporate websites

August 31st, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, PR

A study by the Financial Times and web effectiveness experts Bowen Craggs has found many corporate websites fail to provide journalists with information and serve the media in a useful and effective way – which is often not in the company’s favour in terms of generating positive press coverage.

The study finds “many press offices simply do not see the online medium as an important” and this article (part paywall) in the FT theorises that this could be as many press officers are former journalists who left the industry before the advent of online and social media.

The FT Bowen Craggs Index looks at:

How well a site caters to four areas of journalistic enquiry: the news release service and archiving; the ready availability of good quality contact information; the range of background about the company and its industry; and the provision of publication quality imagery.

News release service

The FT article states journalists “do not want to be spoon fed”:

Give them a ready-made story, and they will either ignore it, or look for a way to put a different twist on it (not necessarily in the company’s favour). The last thing they want is to write the same story as other people. What they do want is leads, which explains the keenness with which they have taken to Twitter. Companies need to understand Twitter – both to feed journalists leads and to get early warning that a nasty news storm is about to blow in.

Contact information and background about the company and its industry

The FT article states:

[Journalists] tend to be in a hurry, and impatient. Their inclination is often to pick up the phone rather than trawl a site. Companies can make themselves unpopular by failing to make press contacts easy to find.

Provision of images

The study found that “one of the most significant trends this year comes from the image library metric”:

The big move forward is the increasing use of Flickr as a complementary library: see for example Nestlé and Novartis.

A remarkable number of companies do not provide an image library at all – almost a quarter of the companies in the Index, including most of the Chinese companies but also a slew of banks – Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Santander, Westpac and more. Why? If you do not provide images yourselves, media organisations will surely go to your rivals or to a library.

German company Siemans comes out on top and is heralded as an example of best practice of serving the media. It has an index of 28. An example of a lower score is Johnson and Johnson with an index of nine.

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Paywall rises on FT’s ‘flexible’ iPad and iPhone web app

The Financial Times paywall will go up on its new web-based app this week, which has so far reported encouraging stats with 150,000 hits during the first 10 days, during which time users have not been required to login.

“We’re seeing a strong conversion from the existing subscriber base who are using the iPad app and we’re also seeing a large cohort of new users as well,” Steve Pinches, group product manager for FT.com told Journalism.co.uk.

The new web-based iPad and iPhone app was launched on 7 June and is downloaded by the user clicking on the URL app.ft.com. It has received a great deal of attention from media organisations considering investing in native iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry apps.

Advantages of web-based apps include flexibility: HTML5, the language the FT app is written in, has the potential to be used across different devices, reducing the cost and time spent in developing separate apps in different languages. The new web app bypasses Apple’s App Store and therefore avoids the FT losing a 30 per cent cut.

Pinches explained the FT will be prioritising development of the web-based app. Indeed the home screen to the new app states the FT is “encouraging our readers to switch immediately to the new FT web app”.

“It’s not that we are diametrically opposed to being in apps stores. It’s just that it makes a lot more sense for us to develop things in a web-based framework,” Pinches said.

“We have a business model that we’ve spent a lot of time investing in, which we feel is great for users because it gives them access across multiple platforms and whenever we evaluate any channel, we have to make sure it meets the basic criteria for us to be able to run our business as we do.”

As the web app can be used by both iPhones and iPads, it is easier to maintain than two separate natives. It also offers various new features for iPhone users, including video and images, which were not available in the native iPhone app.

Asked if there will be a point when they will remove the native from the App Store, Pinches said: “We’re still in discussions with Apple and that’s being handled by our MD”, and described talks as “amicable”.

Unlike the iPad app which was built by a company in Colorado called Wall Street On Demand, the new app was built by London-based Assanka, which also built the FT’s Android app, predominantly using HTML5.

“They built the Android app, that was their first HTML5 app so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve.”

“The next plan is to roll that code out into the big screen Android, the small screen Android, the [BlackBerry] PlayBook and webOS,” Pinches said.

That may manifest itself as a web-based app compatible with other platforms or more native apps, Pinches explained.

“We always want to keep the two options open: being able to launch as a web app or a native app or both.”

Related content:

FT looks to bypass Apple charges with new web-based iPad app

Nearly half of FT online subscribers accessing content via mobile

 

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FT sees 150,000 uses of new web-app in first 10 days

The Financial Times’ new web-based app has been viewed 150,000 times since its launch 10 days ago, which includes 100,000 hits in the first week of launch, the FT said in a media release today.

The FT is the first major news publisher to launch this type of HTML5 hybrid app, which can be viewed across a number of different smartphone and tablet devices.

Steve Pinches, FT group product head, said the app has received very positive feedback.

“Comments include recognition of the technical capabilities of the app and being at the cutting edge of technology. Users have also expressed appreciation for the improved speed of the app and look and feel enhancements when using on the iPhone.”

He explained where the app is heading.

“We will take a two-fold approach to improvements to the app. Firstly we will focus on adding new content to the existing app, including special reports, newspaper graphics and the ability to save articles for later. Secondly we will develop the app for other devices including Honeycomb, Samsung and BlackBerry Playbook.

“Our next priority is releasing the app for Android devices, both large and small screen. Following that we will work on an FT web app for BlackBerry Playbook.”

Initial analysis shows the ‘Companies’ section of the web-app is the most popular, followed by the Life and Arts section, which makes up around 10 per cent of consumption overall. Other popular features include Markets Data, World, Markets and Lex.

“Interestingly, we are seeing much more leisure-type usage, with user peaks early morning, evening and around lunch time. This suggests that as well as a core tool for use during the business day, like FT.com on a desktop, the app is an accessory being used on the way to and from work and planning for the day ahead.”

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Independent: Ten years of FT’s metered pay model

The Independent reports on the 10th anniversary of the Financial Times’ metered paywall going up.

For a decade the FT has allowed readers to access a limited number of articles for free before payment is required, a similar paywall model to that adopted by the New York Times last week. The FT has notched up 210,000 digital subscribers, each paying at least £250 for a year’s access.

[Managing director of FT.com Rob] Grimshaw points to the price of an FT digital subscription in the US – at $389 (£241), it is costlier than a subscription to the newspaper – as evidence of the growing value of digital content to the consumer.

Yet the view that online journalism should be free still largely prevails. Grimshaw is mystified: “There seems to be a real nervousness and lack of confidence amongst publishers about the lack of value of their content. The free content evangelism movement has not helped, neither has giving away content for free over a 10-year period.”

But as a couple of the comments on the article point out, the FT is a specialist publication and both companies and individuals are willing to pay for valued digital content.

The Independent’s full article is at this link

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Media Business: FT launches new Brazil website

February 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers, Niche, Online Journalism

The Financial Times has launched a new subscription-only website focusing on Brazil’s finance, government and industry.

Brazil Confidential provides research and analysis of trends in the Brazilian market, Media Business reports.

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Victory for FT Chinese journalists

February 25th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

Good news for the Financial Times journalists who faced redundancy if they did not return to China, on half their salaries.

The management has changed its mind, following the FT chapel’s threat that its members would ballot on industrial action if the FT Chinese journalists were not allowed to stay.

We reported on the National Union of Journalists’ outrage over the affair on 12 February. The latest update comes from NUJ Active (we expect a fuller NUJ statement soon):

The immediate defence by journalists at the Financial Times of Chinese colleagues threatened with redundancy by management has brought complete victory. The FT chapel demanded unanimously that the redundancy threat be lifted from their four colleagues on the FTChinese website, and warned that otherwise FT journalists might ballot on industrial action. So management did as it was told.

Update: and here’s the fuller NUJ statement:

Two of the four Chinese journalists are British citizens, and they all work on terms and conditions inferior to other journalists at the Financial Times. The newspaper had decided that the specialist group of Chinese journalists at the paper had to return to China on half their current salaries or else accept redundancy.

The NUJ chapel voted unanimously at a capacity meeting: “We condemn the outrageous treatment of journalists on FTChinese. We demand no redundancies on FTChinese and that the journalists be placed on the same terms and conditions as the rest of FT editorial We will ballot for industrial action if these demands are not met.”

“We are pleased that our employer has realised just how unfair and unacceptable were its proposals for our Chinese colleagues. We look forward to talking with management about securing the future of our Chinese journalists at the Financial Times on proper terms and conditions,” said David Crouch, the father of chapel.

“Financial Times management has had the good sense to reconsider an unacceptable decision. Our FT Chapel is to be congratulated on its speedy and determined resistance to a management error which was entirely unacceptable to the culture of the diverse media culture of the NUJ,” said NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear.

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