Tag Archives: Guardian

Free content and advertising divorce imminent

I have been busy for a few weeks retooling myself for some new projects.

What has become increasingly apparent to me is superbly articulated in one line by Cindy Gallop made in a talk two weeks ago at the Guardian’s Changing Advertising Summit, telling the advertising business audience you need to “blow yourselves up and start again”. Watch the full video here or read a Campaign magazine summary.

Cindy talks about ethics, how brand owners need to behave responsibly rather than pay blood money to charities as compensation for their real-world exploitations.

Ad agencies themselves, and I’ve worked at a few, have never been shy of displaying their own self-importance and W+K’s latest recruitment campaign is surely planned to scream “look how creative we are”. W+K is looking for a social media strategist to work on its “high-profile” Old Spice account. Applicants, and there are sure to be a few, have to complete one or more of an extensive list of “social” tasks. This stunt typifies the industry’s approach to hiring talent on the cheap, as bad as the unpaid slavery of internships, encouraging people desperate to live the dream of a life in advertising, to commit masses of time and energy for 0.0p. However, I smell cheap crowdsourcing, where W+K will nick any original ideas to further their own “cutting-edge” credentials. Of course once they hire someone, they will milk the story for all it’s worth and probably win some kind of award that’s not worth pissing on. READ MORE.



Oh, No! It’s the Groaniad

Maybe the Guardian column written by David Leigh suggesting a “£2 monthly levy on broadband to pay for news” was originally written for April Fools but not considered sufficiently mad or amusing enough for publication.

Whatever, it’s a joke.

In the UK most homes already pay just over £12 a month to the BBC in the form of a license fee. For that you get multi-channel delivery of live TV and Radio, on-demand archive iPlayer and online news. I presume the news bit passes the Groaniad’s “quality” threshold. I am absolutely happy with the value and services the BBC provides for my tax payment. Although I do think they have spread too far in some sectors where commercial operators could prosper, with a combination of paid services and advertising. READ MORE



Extra: DEVO video

Pyromaniacs, Twacking, FreeTV and Olympathletics


The summer is over, in more ways than one, back to blogging.

First here is a video of last night’s pyromaniacs spectacular over East London, Stratford I think. This should get round the “heavy hand of LOCOG

My Twitter account got hacked over the weekend, and what is worse it’s 100% my fault. Last Thursday I was out-and-about and got an email alert about a direct message on Twitter. I clicked on the link and was asked to enter my Twitter login credentials. On a mobile you don’t easily notice the URL and anyway it said apps.facebook.com and a string of numbers. I typed in my username and password and then couldn’t view anything. The following day, at my PC, I checked the link again which directed me to Facebook, or a false Facebook page as I could clearly see by the URL in my browser. I should have immediately changed my Twitter password and checked the list of authorised apps. I didn’t and the consequence was 530 people got direct Twitter messages from me promising hundreds of dollars a week, with a link to a fake Facebook page. Lesson here, I am a donkey but you need to be more vigilant than ever responding to stuff on your mobile. I have apologised for being a spammer and I can only forecast this is going to get a whole lot worse as mobile social keeps on growing.

I see there was lots of Twitter comment about those annoying ad breaks on Channel 4 during the Paralympics closing ceremony. I’d like to ask all those complainers what they’d have been willing to pay to watch the coverage. Everyone with a TV must currently pay the £145 annual license fee to the BBC, about 40p per day. People who subscribe to Sky pay on average £1.50 per day. If the 35m people who watched the Paralympics on Channel 4 had all paid about 25p each that would have just about covered the £9m C4 reportedly paid for the TV rights. The thing is would most people have paid? I doubt it. Most people, cultural custodians and old gits excluded, get the commercial TV deal, you pay nothing and get the ads, which you can choose to watch or ignore. Personally during the closing ceremony last night I found the ads more entertaining than Coldplay.

I think Owen Gibson is a top media pundit and as Olympics editor for the Guardian has done a great job across multiple media channels, print, social, online in bringing the series of extraordinary events of summer 2012 to life. Yesterday I read Owen’s blog “Five things we learnt about the Olympics and Paralympics 2012”. As is often the case, I don’t wholly agree with him, this time about one thing in particular. Number Two is headlined “Athletics can fill and thrill stadiums”. This misses the point. I believe many if not most people going to the Olympics fulfilled the Great British Public’s desire to have “been there, seen that, done that”, rather than athletics as such being such a crowd-puller. If I am wrong the next athletics event at Crystal Palace will sell-out quicker than an Oasis Reunion Tour, feature on the front and back pages of every newspaper and bump much loved TV soap operas to the outback of a +1 digital channel.

Getting ahead of yourself

I am slightly bothered that Mike Baker of the OMC saw fit to put me down in a comment on last week’s blog which contained a few lines about on-going delays to the release of new Postar, audience data for posters. In the spirit of interacting with your audience, however small, it is my turn for a poke, or at least a go with the tickling stick. READ MORE




Not funny letting the talent get on with it

Yesterday I saw an interesting article in the Guardian titled “Recession sparks comedy golden age as demand for TV scripts doubles”. Although I see no evidence of increased demand because of the tough economic climate, one line stood out for me in relation to Sky’s surge in comedy commissions.

“Once they commission you, they let you get on with it. It is a less structured environment than the BBC.”

I was already looking forward to new Sky comedy series “Starlings” and this was a timely reminder to watch, which I did last night. Well cast and produced, but really slow and lacking in jokes or much humour even. I will watch again, as a light drama, but to me it’s not comedy compared to something like last night’s BBC2 “Episodes”, previously from first series above and series two, episode one on iPlayer, here.

Even the most creative of talent needs some guidance on their output, a trusted person looking at things differently and making sure they get the best out of themselves, and deliver what their audience appreciates.

Ban all outdoor ads, says street artist to the stars

People are entitled to their opinions, and those vociferous minorities who attack advertising are no different. I saw a comedian once who considered working in advertising less ethical than being a landmine salesman, not funny to most, riotous whooping from a few radicals.

In my opinion the latest ad-attack, including the campaign to ban all outdoor ads in Bristol, gifted oxygen by the Guardian, is less freedom of speech and more ignorant ranting.

The full article is here, but the writer Ian Lawson does not acknowledge he is recycling the thoughts of a certain semi-anonymous, street-artist-to-the-stars and presumed Bristol ex-pat, citizen Banksy.

Patronising most of the population with the assumption they can’t make choices and are natural lemmings is one thing. Stating that Outdoor advertising should be exterminated because it can’t be chosen or tuned-out-of is another. READ MORE




TV’s old boys can’t save local TV election promise

Local TV is hot news right now, at least to a politician and some media people.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is attempting to fulfil his pre-election promise to give people their own city-based TV station.

This objective alone shows yet again that when it comes to media, politicians know little about people and have even less business acumen.

His original idea has morphed into a new free-to-air channel as the spine supporting local opt-outs (not my words) and has been opportunistically badged Channel 6. This approach has been formulated by groups mainly comprised of TV’s old-boys, coming out of semi-retirement and riding into town with their myopic visions for another commercial TV channel, or stations. READ MORE

Local TV bids only fit for the 20th Century

The Guardian headlined yesterday with “Jeremy Hunt stakes his reputation on local television culture” for an informative piece by Maggie Brown about moves to fulfil the culture secretary’s pre-election promise to provide a number of UK cities with their own local TV station.

Bids to run these city-based TV stations are due in today but already the concept of a “channel 6” for the UK has emerged, with some local programmes.

I am not involved in any way with any of these bids, those listed in Maggie Brown’s main article and two follow-up pieces here and here, but they all seem to me to miss the point completely.

I believe there is no viable advertising supported business model for local TV, as part of a national channel or not.

Local news, information and entertainment have an attraction for people, but not when the TV is the sole delivery channel. There are just too many more popular programmes on other channels, or on-disc, or on-demand.

Surely the workable model would include all local media, not just TV, produced and distributed in such a way that people would really benefit. That could make commercial sense.

Regional newspapers and radio stations already produce reams of local content, online there are loads of local and hyper-local services and their numbers are growing all the time.

Why not take the best of all this material and distribute to any type of screen; TV, computer, tablet, mobile and digital outdoor. Each media owner could still expect to make their own money from advertising and new producers would emerge to fulfil the increased need for video footage.

Media for 2011 should be available where and when people want to eat, not just while watching the telly.

Perhaps it’s the fact that most of the bidding groups are loaded with traditional media old-boys, that a nationwide TV only channel with that old chestnut “local opt-outs” is being touted. This is the old ITV model and what the BBC should perhaps be doing already.

I think all they’ll do is provide 20th century TV when what’s patently needed is local media fit for the 2020’s.

What a missed opportunity this is, plus financial disaster for anyone mad enough to invest.

Yet again when it comes to media, another politician shows how little he knows about people and how lacking he is in business acumen.

The Independent R.i.P

A rather long, personal rant this week.

I was THE Independent reader.

I read the first issue in 1986 and then every day I was in the UK for the next 20 years or more.

I had been obsessed with news since spending a lot of time in my early twenties travelling with not much to do, apart from drinking and smoking, which you could easily do in most places those days.

The only way for me to get a decent picture of what was going on in the world was to buy a broadsheet newspaper, very hard in the US, or to watch Channel 4 news at home. READ MORE

Is the Sun fun?

Dave Trot writes really good blogs, they always contain a story. Today he’s written one about freedom, the story involving page 3 in the Sun and whether it passes the consenting, between adults, in private test. READ IT HERE

My view:

If I am travelling to work on the bus/tube I buy the Sun. Although Metro is free, the Sun has more in it I haven’t already seen online the previous day, so I pay my 20p. The content in grown-up newspapers is too deep for my journey time; I want a quick look at lots of things.

If I am going on a train journey lasting over an hour, I buy the Sun, Guardian and Mail. That way I can get a feel for what different people are reading about and with what slant.

As a Guardian reader I don’t find the Sun offensive.

I read the Mail as an alternative view to the Guradian, I am interested.

I don’t believe the newspaper(s) you read defines your morals.

The Sun is fun :)