Posted by & filed under Tech Review, Tech Tuesday.

History

Soo Meta is a browser based editing tool which according to the website blurb allows you to create multimedia stories in minutes.

How it helps you

As well as marketers and educators, this tool was created with journalists in mind “Viewers expect more and more visual content. It’s time to deliver short movies, rich-media stories in your posts! Your audience will love it!” Like with Popcorn Maker the idea is that you enrich your original media by adding more multimedia frills. The video demonstrates how to use the Google bookmarklet to collect words, video and images from around the web, this has the added advantage of allowing you to cite your sources.

In practice

It took longer than “a few minutes” to get to grips with this tool. This is because the demonstration video only shows how to grab material via the bookmarklet, yet it doesn’t show you how to install the bookmarklet. Once I’d worked that out I was well into my story. When I attempt to install in Chrome it crashed, I finally installed it in Firefox but was unable to view the video in this browser. I had to complete the edit in Chrome then add the images again (so it carried across the metadata) in Firefox. More than once whilst hopping about I crashed my browser and had to step back. Finally, here’s what I created:

Drawbacks

Aside from the browser malfunctions, there’s very little support for this tool and you are pretty much on your own when it comes to working out what’s wrong. Even more unhelpfully if you do try and Google “Soo cut” (the name of the bookmarklet) you get a load of “soo cute” images and chintzy Google aps.

Summary

A great idea which appears simple but can be frustratingly tricky in practice.

Rating


Posted by & filed under Tech Review, Tech Tuesday.

Originally posted on the Newsroom 360 website, I’ve decided to post the series on my blog starting with the most recent first.

History

The fact that this app’s name is pronounced I-pay-dio gives some clue to its origins. Long before the iPad was even a glint in Steve Jobs’ retina this tool was originally created to host IP Radio, making it easy for people to broadcast from their mobile phone. Instead of just being designed for the slick multimedia prowess of the iPhone, ipadio was way more utilitarian, enabling people to be able to broadcast on many mobile phones with a reception of 2G or less, and even from satellite phones. At news:rewired they announced the launch of an iOS app which like its Android equivalent also has the ability to livecast across a broad spectrum of social media channels.

How it helps you

According to ipadio’s CEO Dr Mark K Smith there are over 200 uses for ipadio but there are plenty of features useful for journalists. It’s particularly good for live news stories because of its efficiency in low bandwidth areas. The fact that you’re able to phone in your report also means it can get past internet restricted events, which is why it was used during the Egyptian revolution and is currently being used by someone climbing Everest. It also has a mapping function which makes it perfect for travel journalism or filing back reports from a march. Journalism.co.uk have also shown how this phone call function can be used as a conference call to record an interview – which is partially transcribed via Spinvox.

In practice

I installed the new iPhone app onto my phone and did a quick quiet test. The system is straightforward to use and you can attach up to four pictures before uploading.

I also uploaded an old John Paul Jones interview with pictures or “Phlog” to the site. This offered more customisation including the ability to add tags and alter the location.

After I’d done this Dr Smith (CEO) got in touch with me in person and said he liked the John Paul Jones interview and allowed me to video stream on my phone. I tested out this function with a video that was broadcast and also uploaded to YouTube almost instantly.

Although this ipadio video Flash embed (which is still in Beta) disturbs my the HTML on this page.

Finally, I tested the audio from both the iPhone recording function:

And by phoning my broadcast in:

As expected, the phone-in audio was more condensed than iPhone but both uploaded very quickly, with the latter actually beating the former despite having to run through Spinvox’s transcription.

Further conversations with the very helpful Dr Smith led me to the discover the Beta Admin function which allows you to fully customise the privacy settings of each broadcast. This means you can keep your phone interviews private but can still report “as live” if need be. I was very impressed by the support community around this app including the blog and training videos.

Drawbacks

Only a few minor gripes, I’d say that the audio quality is not as good as Audioboo and that the video doesn’t allow you to add metadata on-the-hoof like Bambuser does.

Summary

A great tool for filing multimedia stories from the field no matter what device you’re on.

Rating

driftless

Posted by & filed under Multimedia.

This week at Newsroom360 we were visited by Brian Storm.

Storm cut his teeth in MSNBC and Corbis before starting his own production company. MediaStorm works with journalists for a variety of news organisations, NGO’s and charities. Its style is longer form, non-perishable, universal stories with high production values. Although the films have beginnings in beautifully composed photo-journalism it’s the interplay between this and well rendered video composition which really give the stories an emotional impact and feeling of quality. Storm showed us “Harry and Helen” from Driftless as an example of this.

Borrowing from Hollywood

MediaStorm’s films take conventions from cinema rather than a vérité news style, using atmospheric music and dropped introductions to heighten dramatic impact and put people at the centre of the story. Even the way that his videos are marketed using teasers or “preludes” which resemble Hollywood trailers.

Based on 14 trips to Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan is the work of photojournalist Seamus Murphy. His work chronicles a people caught time and again in political turmoil, struggling to find their way. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/publication/a-darkness-visible-afghanistan

Revenue Models

These promos are often used to raise funds through the Kickstarter crowd-funding site. For A Darkness Visible, $10,000 was raised privately in return for limited edition rewards. Even when making work for with clients Brian depends on his work’s virality, allowing sharing on social media and embedding for dedicated blogs helps build momentum. Book-ending this content with adverts is a significant revenue driver, although Storm concedes that CPM (cost for thousand impressions) for adverts in the US is higher than here. Interestingly longer stories retain the viewer if the film is interesting enough, Storm gave his own sites stats as an example: the average time on site is 16 minutes. Storm also recommended treading carefully and choosing advertisers and other streams such as sponsorship affiliation should also be explored.

Slow vs Fast

Brian’s message is you can be two things with online video: funny or quality. Journalists tend to be better at the latter. We have to consider how longer-tail in-depth production fits into the daily or weekly news cycle. Although, as a passing shot Storm also shared a three team collaboration of writer, photographer and film maker who managed to turn around a stirring documentary in a week.

A family is determined to give their disabled son a whole and vital life. In the midst of a great burden, one small child – with a seemingly endless supply of love – is the blessing that holds a family together. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/training/a-thousand-more

Posted by & filed under Social Media, Uncategorized.

We’ve been thinking recently about installing some facilities for streaming shows at Village Underground. My first three month catch up meeting at VU (slideshow to follow) led to us discussing the possibilities of starting a small radio station or video streaming studio.

In the mean time we’ve been trying out different alliances including Boiler Room through to B@TV whose live stream of Layo and Bushwacka’s Shake It! event had 22,000 views. Speed of delivery and exclusivity still have a real value and offering something instantly and live (even with prerecorded elements) can have a huge international audience. Until we get the tools to do this well the best we can do is good partnerships with respected titles with established audiences.

Mixmag will be hosting several excellent nights at Village Underground over the next few months and this livestream with Acid House pioneer DJ Pierres was a dry run. I have to say it wasn’t live by 1:45AM when I went to bed last night but hopefully something will appear here.

Posted by & filed under Mashed Festivals, Multimedia, Social Media.

Continuing my experiments with mobile journalism, this weekend I embedded myself at Womad Festival with the onsite radio team.

I used last year’s project with Shambala as a template for my activity. The live blog in particular carried through similar elements, including a mobile friendly blog and distribution techniques – but there were differences, as I’ll explain.

Wi-fi Network
Uploading material on a 3G network was a real problem at Shambala, and as I’ve mentioned before this made mobile journalism at last year’s festival very tricky. Thankfully this was not an issue at Womad, which was down to the excellent site wide public WiFi provided by Etherlive. I spoke to the MD Chris Green and he told me in total they shifted 1TB (terabyte) of internet traffic this weekend – which I got really excited about, my wife didn’t.

Kit and Tech
Last year I had an Android HTC Tattoo, Flips, dictaphones, SLRs and a Flash mic. 2011, I had an iPhone 4. My dependency on additional bits of tech to give comprehensive multimedia coverage was less needed. It also meant that I approached it differently. Video was shot and uploaded directly to YouTube from my phone and photos were initially shared on Instagram first. I still had my SLR but Instagram tended to be my first port of call. I would like to find a web app that makes it more useable and interactive online – not least an app that allows search and the opportunity to search for tagged photos and install slideshows. Further investigation is needed into the Instagram Realtime API and these interfaces. At Womad Festival, all my photos were run through Flickr with video and slideshows broadcast on YouTube.

Radio Womad
Being involved with the Radio Womad staff meant audio was a priority, features and “Secret Sessions” (essentially backstage acoustic performances), were broadcast on the radio and enhanced for the internet. Unfortunately a big question mark still hangs over whether we have the right to publish this material. I hope we can as the Secret Sessions were fantastic – particularly the session with Bomba Estereo whose improvised instruments included a fire extinguisher and a water bottle.

Radio Womad’s backstage gazebo was a perfect platform to let the artists do what they want in their way and I’m delighted there’s a digital archive of this ready to be shared with a global audience. I think it would be great for Radio Womad to have a shareable archive of the sessions.

Whilst the video was by no means professional it would offer music fans a glimpse into the unique, unplugged gigs. Also many of the labels and artists liaisons want to see the material so it seems a shame not to share with the wider public. Surely sharing this material would be good for everyone?

Staff
My experience with Shambala was essentially to manage a team who in turn managed our Press Gang (teenagers we trained to capture footage on our behalf). For Radio Womad it was about adding value, enhancing social media and putting a multimedia twist on the audio material. Although the Radio Womad team were largely impressed by what I achieved it was difficult to wrangle multimedia stuff (which they were taking personally) off them, in the end I managed to steal memory cards and copy clips from the station server to create my material.

The benefit of the team at Shambala is that we saw the festival through younger eyes. I’d love to work with Radio Womad again but I wonder whether next time the project might benefit from repositioning itself with the main website, which could also help sidestep any reproduction permission issues.

Moving on
Whilst for the moment the secret sessions may remain secret it seems to me that this is a direction that I’d been thinking about with Village Underground “In The Cab” performances. I know recording and sharing the performance of the artist Marques Toliver secured him several UK gigs because the material was so shareable and exposure extended beyond the 300 people who turned up to see him live. This is an area which I will no-doubt return to when I undertake some more work with Village Underground later this month. As for the festival itself and working with Radio Womad, it was a hugely enjoyable experience and I would love the opportunity to do something next year.

I’ve collected everything together at the working blog, Facebook, and have hosted all material on the Mashed Festivals Soundcloud Flickr and YouTube Channels.

I would love to know what you think – or if you’re interested in working with Mashed Festivals.

Posted by & filed under Radio.

The digital revolution raging through traditional media is accelerating and radio is no different: there are growing numbers of digital and internet listeners, meaning that the business model and consumption trends are changing fast. Yes, people mostly listen via AM/FM and the stations sell advertising (or get publicly funded via the BBC) but the next few years are crucial.

As James Cridland points out, the combined audience of the Radioplayer online radio platform in the UK is 5.7 unique users a month, with more than 22 million individual sessions, a bigger audience than ITV and Channel 4 combined.

And the possibilities are huge: according to RAJAR, radio listening reached its highest level ever recorded (91.6 percent of the UK population) in the first quarter of this year.

But the BBC still looms large with an audience including more than 55 percent of the UK adult population, making the job of commercial radio brands – facing the threat of platform shift and the BBC – a tough one indeed.

One man charged with understanding all that is James Rea, who was last month appointed Guardian Media Group’s deputy group programme director. He still retains responsibility for for news output and special broadcasts, but with a lot more besides, including “developing new partnerships in the digital arena to extend the group’s content to new audiences,” according to the company.

According to figures from last October, one in four listeners of GMG stations (which comprises Rock, Real and Smooth radio) audience are tuning-in via a digital/online platform. I caught up with Rea to ask him what the plans are…

Read more »

Posted by & filed under hyperlocal.

Digital revenue growth for news and information publishers is going in the right direction in the UK. But is it rising fast enough in regional news?

Thinking big but not acting locally

For example, Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) is making serious money online from Mail Online – £8 million in the six months to April 3 – and pushed past the Huffington Post to become the world’s second largest news site with 60 million unique visitors a month. But at the same time digital revenue from its regional Northcliffe division actually dipped two percent.

Guardian.co.uk has more than 50 million users but it stopped its Guardian Local experiment because it was commercially “unsustainable”. TheMediaBriefing’s contributor Ed Oldfield suggested that the scheme may spark other local startups to follow in its wake, but they will need to avoid the same mistakes of failing to innovate enough commercially.

Self-serve ad managing tool Addiply generated only £500 for the three sites over the past year, although there were local advertising opportunities for Guardian Local, including its highly profitable Soulmates dating service and Google Adsense revenue, but not enough. (Read Addiply founder Rick Waghorn’s comment clarifying that £500 figure here)

Could a start-up prevail in local ads?

Are established newspaper publishers putting the content first and the business model second when it comes to online media?

This is where a smaller operator could make a big impact. Media Street Apps, which launched with Kingsroad.co.uk in 2009, was founded by online marketer Jack Rutter and tech specialist Jonathan Lloyd. Their approach was to generate revenue first.

“We’ve started backwards,” says Lloyd “By that I mean we started with the local business owner first and then have added local news content last. I know that seems crazy but it’s enabled us to shape both the Media Street software and our products.”

Focusing on the London street which stretches from Chelsea to Fulham, King’s Road is a community site and carries local news like many other “hyperlocal” start-ups. By choosing a street renowned for clothing boutiques and other independent outlets there was a clear opportunity for person-to-person ad sales. Local businesses that advertise or are listed on the site range from the independent FiFi Wilson boutique to the established King’s Road Sporting Club.

In May, King’s Road joined the Glam Media network – the American digital female-focused ad network. Major brands such as Boots and Net-A-Porter have appeared on the website. However the buck doesn’t just stop at placement ads.

“Our business model is not just built on online advertising; we do video, online marketing, competitions and paid content. Hyperlocal sites should look at these other revenue streams too,” says Lloyd.

Marketing as a service

This is wider trend on small scale. Publishers are beginning to offer more than just simple advertising: trade publisher UBM is offering varied and interesting packages in B2B, and magazine publisher Condé Nast launching its Ideactive client services division, as my colleague Patrick Smith detailed here.

Media Street also has plans to increase SEO for clients and online and affiliate revenues as well as paid events. This will be the first full financial year for the company but and it has a modest target of £60,000 revenues for its financial year end on December 31 2011.

By this time Lloyd hopes to transfer the Media Street model and software across several streets in London starting with Fulham Road.

Herein lies a digital media business model for our times: keep the content local but the operating system universal.

Originally published on TheMediaBriefing

Posted by & filed under Mobile.

We all know that mobile is a rapidly evolving marketplace packed with plenty of sleek shiny gizmos – but it’s all too easy to be dazzled by the newest toy and forget the basics. James Hilton, joint managing director of M&C Saatchi Mobile, says commercial success comes from creative and effective communication – and you don’t need an app to get it.

Just five years ago when the company was founded as the independent agency Inside Mobile, mobile content was a tricky terrain. Phone apps were created in Java and required individual builds which, even after a considerable investment, wouldn’t necessarily run on all handsets.

The irresistible rise of the smartphone

But now smartphones have revolutionised how and when we interact with the web and online-enabled apps. Hilton believes a major shift in perception came from the stability that the Apple store and the iPhone platform provided.

But development costs are high. In order to get a successful uptake there needs to be considerable investment and bug testing. When the app is launched it needs to be closely monitored and promoted carefully to be picked up in the Apple Store or Android Market.

Nevertheless if he had £10,000 to spend on a campaign, he’d opt for a mobile site rather than an app:

“This makes it agnostic of all technology so all users are open to the opportunity. If you are designing for mobile internet then the content needs to be a lot shorter and more snackable.”

The bad old days

Illustrating what can be done without apps – and that people have been doing this stuff intelligently for years – Hilton mentions one of Inside Mobile’s most award-winning campaigns was for Reebok, built around the 2008 NBA basketball playoff final. The campaign combined branded SMS and ringtones while greater context and exclusive content was carried by voice messages and a WAP-enabled microsite.

See it for yourself:

Resistance to viral

Whilst certain things stay the same there is no longer a secret formula for making digital or mobile content go viral. In fact it’s much more difficult to do this now given the number of agencies specifically trying to make their product take off on forums YouTube….

“In 2000 almost everything on the internet was viral. Now we find that our audience has matured and become more sophisticated. We can still provide the touchpoints for viral – allowing sharing of something using social media – but it’s difficult to predict what will work.”

Apps are currently leading the mobile media debate but perhaps this won’t always remain this way – according to Hilton, something very close to all phones around today can access the internet. He anticipates that because of increasing deployment of Google’s Android operating system, there will be some innovative use of HTML 5 on the horizon – and the boundaries between apps and the web will start to blur.

“We’re finding the lines between mobile and digital is blurring. Companies such as M&C Saatchi appreciated that their clients want to move smoothly between different platforms. Mobile is now integrated and at the heart of the business.”

For more vital analysis and case studies on the evolution of mobile media, come to Mobile Media Strategies 2011 on June 14 in London, the second-full-length conference from TheMediaBriefing.

Originally published on TheMediaBriefing

Posted by & filed under Social Media.

The role of community manager has gone from being a social experiment to an integral part of the newsroom. But are they there to teach old hacks new digital tricks or is there now a genuine business imperative and ROI factor in having staff to represent your brand through social media?

Which side are you on?

Kate Day, social media and engagement editor for Telegraph.co.uk, and is about to appoint a community manager, a new role for the title. Although Day admits she spends a lot of time in both marketing and editorial departments the new role will be closely linked to editorial.

She tells me: “We received a lot of applications from journalists, and also social media marketing people. This role is rooted in editorial so we are looking for someone who really understands the newsroom and it’s likely that they will be a journalist. The role will involve helping journalists source and develop news stories by making the best use new tools and platforms as well as helping to build a loyal, engaged digital audience.”

As far as Day is concerned, this role is there to not only help journalists do more but also to recommend the best social tools and skills to others. They will be required to have an overview of the industry and what competitors are doing with socially online.

The Telegraph’s community manager will focus largely on Facebook and Twitter but also keep an eye on comments on the site and the My Telegraph blogging platform.

Making it count

Day claims that because the Telegraph’s audience is fragmented across external networks and its own website, it’s no longer possible to generate a single stat to measure success.

“We can measure referral traffic, the number people on Facebook and Twitter amount of time they spend on the site and so on,” says Day. “There’s no single number that represents engagement or revenue return very well.”

Justin Fogarty is online community manager for Ariba a spend management site. He oversees a customer community called Ariba Exchange as well as managing several LinkedIn groups. He maintains that even from a B2B perspective the money is often difficult to trace, at least at first.

He writes on Mashable: “It’s not about ROI or advertising dollars at the beginning. It’s not about messaging and positioning. Customers will come back to a place with a compelling reason for going there in the first place.

“Let the user determine the model, and look at the type of user that you want to attract as the primary driver behind the online presence.”

But surely some companies by now are reaching a point where we can begin to see the money?

Social monetisation manager?

Mashable’s community manager Vadim Lavrusik, who previously worked at the New York Times, says making money is the next logical step for news organisations. He cites a job advert from Cox Media Group, which emphasises the revenue generation aspect of community management. Cox runs 15 broadcast television stations, 85 radio stations and eight daily newspapers. Interestingly, it already has a social media manager, Mathilde Picard, and this is an extra role – another example of how media groups create interaction first before moving to monetisation.

“In some ways, Cox is making a big bet that social media will play a big role in its revenue strategy — at least one big enough to require such a position,” says Lavrusik. “The position is part of a further shift in company strategy to invest in digital.”

The question is: are we ready to take this leap into a focus on not just interaction but revenue in the UK? Social media is about conversation, not pound signs, and brands risk losing credibility by seemingly selling out to advertising and harsh marketing messages.

Originally published on TheMediaBriefing

Posted by & filed under Mobile.

This is part of a series of articles ahead of our conference Mobile Media Strategies 2011, taking place on June 14.

If you were to ask Screen Digest senior analyst Ronan de Renesse the best price is for an app, he doesn’t consider the answer for very long: “Free”. Giving apps away is still the most popular app strategy – look how much green there is on this graph of Distimo data from March.

But in an interview with TheMediaBriefing, de Renesse argued that while free is the best entry point for new users, freemium is the most promising business model. Hook your customer in and you can still charge extra for improved functionality.

Here’s our video chat with de Renesse:

Easier with TV?

In the UK, Sky is offering mobile access as part of its premium subscription package. For example, for its iPad app Sky customers paid just £6 extra while non-subscribers paid £35.

News monetisation

In March this year Sky announced that it intends to charge for its Sky News app. Despite showing promise by being a live app rather than edition download, de Renesse is less convinced that this will work.

“The more devices you include the more you reduce the addressable market. So how many people today have a tablet, smartphone, PC and are reading a lot of news as well.”

Originally published on TheMediaBriefing