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Opposition to BBC’s newspaper video-sharing plans grow (the links)

Journalism.co.uk feels like its gone back in time today – specifically to autumn last year when regional newspaper groups, unions and industry bodies were voicing unanimous opposition to the BBC’s plans to increase its local video news content.

Well, another year, another video plan – and more opposition.

Yesterday the corporation announced an agreement to share news video from four subject areas with the Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent websites. The clips will appear in a BBC-branded player and run alongside the papers’ own news coverage.

In the announcement, the corporation suggested it would extend the plans to other newspaper websites – and asked third parties to register their interest.

The reaction

Welcomed by its launch partners (The Telegraph described the deal as ‘a step in the right direction’) – the plans were quickly denounced by commercial rivals ITN:

“The BBC’s plans to offer free video content to newspaper websites risk undermining the demand for content from independent news providers, potentially undercutting a very important revenue stream,” said ITN CEO John Hardie in a release.

“The pressure on commercial news suppliers has never been greater which is why ITN has led the way in opening up valuable new lines of business, and the BBC’s latest move risks pulling the rug from under us.”

According to a MediaGuardian report, News International says the arrangement is far from a ‘free deal’ for the papers, but rather free marketing for the BBC, which will lead to less diffentiated content on newspaper websites in the UK.

Meanwhile the Press Association said it had spoken with the BBC Trust about the plans before they were announced and was hoping for a market impact assessment – a process it says cannot now be completed because of yesterday’s launch. In a statement given to both Press Gazette and MediaGuardian, a spokeswoman for the PA said there were other ways for the BBC to work with commercial rivals, such as by sharing facilities.

The PA launched its own video newswire for newspapers earlier this year and has said the BBC’s plans undermine investment in video by commercial players.

The questions

Arguably, providing a pool of news video for diary events/supplementary content could free up the titles’ staff to cover original content and produce more multimedia of their own. A similar argument to the PA’s recent announcement of a ‘public service reporting’ trial.

One question that should be asked – hinted at in Alick Mighall’s blog post on the matter – how will the commercial details be hammered out? Will the BBC add pre-roll ads for BBC programming to the clips; and what if a pay wall is erected in front of the video players?

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Jon Bernstein: Five lessons from a week in online video

July 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Multimedia

It’s now four years – give or take a few weeks – since broadband Britain reached its tipping point.

Halfway through 2005 there were finally more homes connected to the internet via high speed broadband than via achingly slow dial-up. Video on the web suddenly made a lot more sense.

And given that we’re still in the early stages of this particular media evolution, it’s not surprising that we are are still learning.

Here are five such moments from the last seven days:

1. If you build it they will come…
…provided you build something elegant and easy to use. And then market it like crazy.

This was the week that we learned how the hugely successful BBC iPlayer has overtaken MySpace to become the 20th most visited website in the UK . The iPlayer is now comfortably the second most popular video site even if its 13 per cent share is still dwarfed by YouTube’s 65 per cent.

If you want more evidence of success just look at the BBC’s terrestrial rivals. ITV, Five and even Channel 4 – which had a year’s head start over the BBC – are now aping the look, feel and functionality of the corporation’s efforts. No hefty applets to download – just click and play.

Of course, this model – a different player for each network – will look anachronistic within a few years. Maybe less. Hulu arrives on these shores soon.

2. Don’t do video unless you’re adding value
If you are going to put moving pictures on your newspaper website it’s a good idea to ask why? And the answer should be that it adds something to your storytelling.

Last week the Independent completed a deal that sees the Press Association providing more than 100 90-second clips a week, each focusing on a single news item.

Nothing wrong with the quality or content of the video that the Indy is getting, but where’s the added value? Unless the video has some killer footage or a must-see interview, why would a reader of a 500-word news article click play? I’m not sure they would.

As someone eloquently put it on my blog:

If it’s visual, it needs pictures and maybe video. If it’s verbal, sound will do. For everything else, words are cheaper for the producer and quicker for the consumer.

3. You can’t control the message
Singer Chris Brown chose YouTube as the medium to deliver his first public pronouncements following February’s assault on his now ex-girlfriend Rihanna.

He plumped for the video-sharing site rather than a TV or newspaper interview presumably so he could control the message – no out-of-context editing of his words and no awkward follow-up questions.

To some extent he got his wish. Within 24 hours of posting his 120-second, unmediated mea culpa, it had been viewed nearly half-a-million times.

More significantly, however, the video had received over 12,000 comments and most were hostile.

4. Brands love YouTube
In an oddly defensive post on its YouTube Biz Blog, the people behind Google’s file-sharing site set about busting what it claims are five popular myths.

Putting ‘Myth 4’ to rest – namely that ‘Advertisers are afraid of YouTube’ – the post asserted:

Over 70 per cent of Ad Age Top 100 marketers ran campaigns on YouTube in 2008. They’re buying our homepage, Promoted Videos, overlays, and in-stream ads. Many are organizing contests that encourage the uploading of user videos to their brand channels, or running advertising exclusively on popular user partner content.

We wait, breathlessly, for a follow-up post so we can discover how many of these elite brands made a return on their YouTube investment.

5. Death becomes you
Nearly a month after his passing, Michael Jackson’s life is still being celebrated online. Eight out of this week’s viral video top 20 are either Jackson originals or owe their inspiration to the singer.

A case of the long tail occupying the head. For a few weeks at least.

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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140conf: Follow the event here

June 16th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Social media and blogging

Following on from last month’s UK event on microblogging, Media140, a new event dedicated to all things Twitter takes place today and tomorrow.

140Conf or ‘The 140 Character Conference’ features sessions on Twitter and TV; Twitter and newspapers; and Twitter for newsgathering, with contributions from BusinessWeek.com editor John A. Byrne (@johnabyrne), Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) and Andrew Keen (@ajkeen) amongst others.

You can watch a livestream from 8:45am (EST) today – you’ll need to register and download the player. There’s also a great backchannel site hosting video, tweets, speaker profiles and latest coverage of the conference.

Alternatively, follow the Twitter stream of #140conf tweets below:

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Currybet.net: Phil Spector Twitter hoax proof of ‘online honesty gap’ between bloggers and newspapers

Joanna Geary’s overt self-correction of a blog post about the Birmingham Mail and the ex-Villa player, Gareth Barry, in contrast with the mainstream media’s handling of the Phil Spector Twitter hoax, was evidence for blogger and information architect Martin Belam of the ‘online honesty gap’ between bloggers and newspapers.

Belam asks:

“Can you remember the last time you heard a newspaper executive stand up and say that ‘One of the problems our businesses face in the digital era is that we have repeatedly been caught publishing completely untrue things on the internet, and in the face of that, we then neither correct nor retract them, or apologise to our audience’?”

Jem Stone, communities executive for the BBC Audio and Music department, raises another point in the comments below Belam’s post: not all bloggers might follow Geary’s lead, he says. “Joanna is an excellent journalist who deploys blogs, tweets, social media in her work. So making those corrections comes naturally to her. But not all bloggers do this do they?”

Full post at this link…

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Audio reporting tool Audioboo experiments with paid-for account for ITV

Since its launch in March, Audioboo, the service which allows users to record and upload short audio recordings, has notched up 30,000 registered users and been taken up by both hyperlocal and international news media.

This Saturday ITV.com is planning to use the tool as part of its FA Cup Final coverage: fans using the Audioboo iPhone app will be able to submit their audio reactions to the site.

Significantly this seems to be the first foray into running a paid-for version of an Audioboo account.

As CEO Mark Rock explains in this blog post, there will always be a free version of the tool, but the firm is developing a range of paid-for options intended for media organisations.

Audioboo Pro will be the version used by ITV tomorrow, ‘which will contain a series of web tools which make it easy for companies, particularly media companies, to manage content coming from their audiences’.

Key to these tools are ‘magic tags’ – a private tag that the account use can apply to any Audioboo content creating a specific feed for use in a player on their site. ITV are using this system to help moderate the ‘boos’ left by fans.

The use of Audioboo by ITV marks a focus by the broadcaster on capturing the online buzz about the match alongside the roar of the crowd within Wembley Stadium. As such, the site will use Twitter aggregator Twitterfall to stream relevant updates to the microblogging site.

In addition, using a tool developed by thruSITES:

“The players’ names and faces will appear alongside bars which will move up and down to reflect the buzz around players during the game. The tool will be available after the match so that fans can scrub along a timeline to see which players caused a buzz at crucial moments.”

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Video: Information Valet conference and launch of CircLabs

May 28th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

Yesterday’s InfoValet conference (‘From Gatekeeper to Information Valet: Work Plans for Sustaining Journalism’) at DC’s George Washington University had a great line-up of speakers debating the future of journalism in the online age, news aggregation, crowdsourcing and what’s next for the news media industry.

One particular announcement of note: the launch of Circlabs – a technology company building a new service to finance online news.

Writing for Nieman Journalism Lab, Martin Langeveld, one of the project’s founders, describes the need for a new approach:

“More Americans now say they get most of their national and international news from the Web rather than from printed newspapers. Yet news publishers, and particularly publishers of the kind of essential journalism that’s necessary to sustain a democracy, enjoy a relatively small share of total Web traffic.

“Although no clear strategies have emerged for news publishers to thrive in an online-only environment, CircLabs believes that the right technology can play a key role in improving the market share of news content and increasing the Web revenue of news publishers.”

The first stage will be a product called Circulate. Details are scant at the moment, but it’s expected to be available in beta from the end of the summer and fully launched by the end of this year.

“Circulate addresses two critical publisher needs: (1) the need to attract, both locally and nationally, a strong and loyal online readership, and (2) the need to monetize that audience, both directly through the sale of premium content and indirectly through high-value, targeted and interactive advertising.

“Circulate will meet these needs of publishers and allow journalists to thrive in their roles as gatherers and curators of news and information. At the same time, Circulate will provide consumers with a new, post-search way to discover the news and connections they need. Circulate will serve all publishers of online news, ranging from newspapers to local news blogs. Circulate requires little or no technical integration on the part of publishers.”

There are plenty of videos of the day’s discussions on the event’s UStream site – though the player below should provide most of the links:

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TEAMtalk goes all a Twitter for football finale

May 22nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Social media and blogging

It’s a bank holiday weekend here in the UK and the end of the season for the Premier League football clubs and promotion play offs in League One and League Two – so why not have some tweets with your footy?

BSkyB owned football website TEAMtalk is going to be using Twitter (@TEAM_talk) to covering breaking news from the games – but aims to be more than just an automated updates feed. The site’s journalists will offer more info and analysis via the service.

Access to Sky’s live football feeds makes the reporting possible, Jon Holmes, mobile editor, sport, of TeamTalk, told Journalism.co.uk.

According to a report on Revolution, ITV is also getting in on the social media act, embedding Twitter updates relating to certain players onto pages on ITV.com.

“The tool provides images of each player and ranks them based on the number of mentions they get on microblog Twitter. ITV is also giveing the chance to comment on the game through AudioBoo, the audio comment service available for iPhone users,” reports Revolution.

Another development from the Telegraph’s use of Twitterfall to aggregate tweets around key Premiership terms on its live match pages.

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Cnet News: Newly prominent videos on Google News

“Google News was inaccessible for many on Thursday morning. But when it re-emerged, it sported newly prominent news videos hosted at YouTube,” reports Cnet.

Some of the news headlines now feature a small YouTube logo. “Clicking on it triggers an embedded YouTube player with a news video. Although the videos had been present before, Google is calling attention to them with the new logo as part of a facelift launched Thursday,” Cnet explains.

Full post at this link…

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Telegraph uses Twitterfall for live football pages

Appropriately enough a Twitter update from @BenLaMothe alerted Journalism.co.uk to an innovative new use of Twitter on Telegraph.co.uk’s sport pages.

After displaying Twitterfall, which can be set up to aggregate tweets containing multiple terms, on its big news screens, a stream of relevant Twitter updates are displayed in a widget on the right-hand side of the site’s live Premiership football match report pages.

Developed by a team of students, using Twitterfall could provide a neat way of following the conversations around certain players, transfer gossip or matches as they’re played.

Telegraph.co.uk's live match report page

Ian Douglas, head of digital production at Telegraph.co.uk, explained to Journalism.co.uk that list of club names and key player names are currently being tracked, but if new trends or keywords emerge they can be quickly added.

Certain tweaks to avoid irrelevant updates have been made – #chelsea is being used as opposed to Chelsea to avoid tweets about nights on the Kings Road, for example.

The Telegraph wanted to trial Twitterfall on pages that have ‘a lot of activity and a lot of people talking’, said Douglas, but is being considered for other areas of the site and potentially topic pages. The appropriateness of the widget to a given page, because it updates so rapidly, must be taken into consideration, he added.

The title is happy to look outside of its own development team to third parties when necessary, said Douglas, with other recent collaborations including this interactive guide to new Formula One cars.

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TechCrunch: Ustream’s Watershed allows websites to broadcast own live streams

This week the live video streaming service, Ustream, introduced Watershed, a ‘white-label service for websites and businesses that want to broadcast their own live streams’ on a pay-as-you-go basis, TechCrunch reports.

“Watershed comes with a lot of extra management capabilities like the ability to customize the player, add a logo, turn on features like chat, polling, picture-in-picture video chat, Twitter integration, analytics and more,” TechCrunch outlines.

Full story at this link…

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