Chris Brown, JK Wedding Entrance Dance And Unintended Consequences

The trouble with applying offline rules to online business is that you fail to account for new models. The music industry has fought perhaps the longest, and most misguided, battle of this sort.

In an effort to protect what has historically been its cash cow (the album) the industry has vigorously gone after illegal downloaders, sharers, rippers and burners. Legally and morally, it’s not difficult to side with the musicians and their masters. But logically?

Look what can happen when someone illegal rips a tune. Take the amazingly popular – and funny – JK Wedding Entrance Dance.

Featuring Chris Brown’s Forever, the video has now been watched more than 22 million times. By the middle of the summer, Brown’s single reached number four on the iTunes singles chart and number three on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list – and it has continued to sell steadily ever since. That’s over a year since its official release.


It is arguable whether either the music industry or the artist deserve this kind of luck, but luck they have had.

As the media industry obsesses over paywalls and micropayments, it would do well to look at the story of Chris Brown and the JK Wedding Entrance Dance.

(UPDATE: Some interesting analysis of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance phenomenon from the Official Google Blog. Clearly Google – owner of YouTube – has an agenda but it’s interesting stuff nonetheless: I now pronounce you monetized)
Free is just another cover price
What Chris Brown’s YouTube Apology Tells Us About New Media
What if the business model for news ain’t broke?

Don’t Write That Freesheet Obituary Just Yet

You may recall earlier this week how a picture of Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alistair Campbell featured erroneously on another man’s obituary. Well, expect his name to be added to Wikipedia’s list of premature obits any time soon.

Another entry for that list? The freesheet.

Despite the demise of thelondonpaper, the layoffs at the Metro and fashionable talk of paid-for online content, the freesheets has still got a lot of life in its lungs.

As I argue in my latest piece for – Free is just another cover price – :

thelondonpaper isn’t closing because the model was flawed but because News International either couldn’t make it work in the current economic climate or was unwilling to give a paper, still in its infancy, the time it needed to become commercially viable.

Not to mention that it was only ever designed to be a spoiler (which may mean that the spoiler’s spoiler, aka London Lite, may go the same way).

Regardless, if you want to know why you’ll still get mugged by a freesheet vendor at a station near you, continue reading: Free is just another cover price.

Born Free: Why the free-sheets’ law of the jungle is a joke
Scarcity, Abundance And The Misapprehension Of Online Advertising

Top 10 News Aggregators In The UK

Another interesting piece of number crunching from the people at Hitwise.

Robin Goad began the week looking at the Ashes effect on the UK internet landscape (mixing business and pleasure, I suspect).  He ends it by looking at the relative power of aggregators in disseminating the stuff of news producers.

The peg? The entrance of a relative newcomer in the shape of Bing News Search. And Bing is straight in at, er, number nine:

Top 10 News Aggregators in the UK

  1. Google News UK (36% of visits)
  2. NewsNow (20%)
  3. Digg (12%)
  4. Stumble Upon (9%)
  5. Ezine Articles (7%)
  6. Google News (6%)
  7. Google Reader (4%)
  8. Reddit (2%)
  9. Bing News Search (2%)
  10. NetVibes (1%)

(source: Hitwise, w/e 22 August 2009)

Goad notes:

Last week just over three quarters of Bing News Search’s traffic came from other Microsoft properties, particularly MSN UK and the main Bing search page.

So where are these aggregators sending people? Google News is largely sending people where you would expect. The news sites with the largest reach (BBC, Telegraph and Mail Online among them) are receiving most referrals.

Bing is different. BBC remains number one but is followed by Fox News while Times of India features at number four.

What Would Google Do? Fail Quietly.
‘I Consider Google News A Gift, Newspapers Consider It Theft.’

Why Ashes 2009 Really Was A Shared National Moment

According to Mark Lawson writing in today’s TV Matters column in the Guardian:

These Ashes felt less like a shared national moment because fewer of the nation shared it.

There’s no doubt the numbers are compelling – Channel 4 averaged three million viewers when it broadcast the 2005 series while this time around Sky Sports had just 850,000.

Even allowing for the two million that tuned into Five’s terrestrial highlights on Sunday night, millions of TV cricket fans have gone missing this summer.

There’s little doubt too that TV does matter, as the column’s title insists, which incidentally is why live events – not just sport but news too – represent the TV industry’s most robust challenge to a time-shifted, platform-shifted, fragmented future.

This aside, England’s 2009 cricketing success was a “shared national moment”, perhaps even a shared international moment.

Witness the spikes in traffic specialist and generalist sports sites enjoyed on Sunday. More importantly, witness the conversations that were happening on the truly social parts of the web – #Ashes was a regular in the Twitter trending topics top 10 throughout July and August.

And most unexpectedly, the BBC’s Test Match Special became the social hub. With some five million listeners sharing the experience.

As Christopher Martin-Jenkins – the TMS veteran who was given the microphone at the game’s denouement – noted in Monday’s Times:

Emails had poured in to Test Match Special from all quarters of the globe yesterday, including Mozambique, Ghana, South Georgia and the base camp at Everest.

Many were describing where they were and what they were doing when Andrew Flintoff threw down Rick Ponting’s stumps. But the one from Ghana demonstrates best how a broadcaster can become a social conduit in the digital age.

Suitably, this story was recorded on the TMS Facebook blog:

We had a text from one listener tuning to TMS via his mobile phone on a beach in Ghana. His message was that his wife had forgotten to pack a phone charger and he was desperately searching for a listener who would just happen to be also on the same beach and could help.

A few seconds later, Josh Grainger contacted the programme to say: “Hello, I heard the e-mail you’ve just read out, and i have got two spare phone chargers, i’m in Halloway beach in Ghana, hope it helps. I’m wearing a fluorescent yellow top, so I’ll be easy to see!”

Welcome to the new shared experience.

links for 2009-08-27

Introducing The Ego Retweet

Researchers at Microsoft have been applying their large brains to the phenomenon of retweeting, the act of copying and rebroadcasting other people’s insight, anecdote and trivia on the microblogging site Twitter.

Indeed, as the author’s of the draft paper observe, the retweet (RT) is much more than “copying and rebroadcasting”:

Spreading tweets is not simply to get messages out to new audiences, but also to validate and engage with others.

All in all it’s a pretty interesting read, even if it does weigh in at 8,000 words. It deals with:

  • RT practitioners (the ‘preservers’ and the ‘adapters’)
  • the nature of a RT (more likely to contain a # hashtag and a link than other tweets) and,
  • reasons for the RT (to amplify, to validate, as an act of loyalty etc)

Another reason for the retweet is to disseminate tweets about yourself:

Some see this as “narcissistic” or “self-serving,” while others see it as a way of giving credit to and appreciating the person talking about them.

Welcome to the Ego Retweet.

The researchers give the example of a recipient of a #followfriday tweet who re-sent it (with a thank-you, naturally), thus amplifying his new found status as someone worth reading.

There’s also an example of big business retweeting a customer’s message that mentions their product or service (in this case @southwestair). Designed as a means of validation, it’s a practice that can easily backfire:

Many marketers wish to be in conversation with their consumers, not all consumers are looking to be in conversation with marketers.

Here’s Why Twitter As Glorified RSS Misses The Point
Five Ways News Organisations Should Use Twitter

links for 2009-08-25

Howzat! What The Ashes Did To The Web

So, it turns out that we don’t just follow the over-by-over stuff – fingers guiltily poised on Alt-Tab* – when we’re at work.cricket_ashes_guardian

Hitwise’s Robin Goad has been crunching the all-important numbers and it would seem that the Ashes decider had fans logging on in unprecedented numbers. On a beautiful summer Sunday, no less.

Sky Sports enjoyed its best spike ever, boasting 0.74 per cent of all UK internet traffic. For the BBC, only last year’s Beijing Olympics outdid the 1.12 per cent it received yesterday.

Meanwhile, Hitwise’s category of 100 specialist cricket sites reached its highest level for three years yesterday, collectively accounting for 1.11 per cent of all UK visits.

Doubtless, a Monday finish would have resulted in even more spectacular numbers.

By comparison, Australian cricket websites suffered a dip, down to 0.12 per cent.

Must be the time difference.

*For the uninitiated the Alt-Tab key combination will take a PC user from an incriminating, non-work website to an impressive spreadsheet in under 0.01 seconds.

What’s Wrong With This Telegraph Front Page?

Alistair Campbell Not Dead Despite Portuguese Spin

alistair_campbell_spectator2Great spot from the Spectator’s multilingual Clive Davis. Browsing the obituary page of Portugal’s Diário de Notícias, as one does, he discovered “that Britain’s most famous Burnley and Brel fan had spun his last.”

Not in the least bit true, as it turns out. The opening – “poet, novelist and playwright” – is probably enough to put that one to bed regardless of the four and a half stars All in the Mind gets on Amazon.


What’s Wrong With This Telegraph Front Page?
One Of The Best Photo Captions Ever
Fox News Anchor To Rupert Murdoch: ‘Mr Chairman Sir, Why Are You So Great?’

The Week’s Most Read Posts (17-23 August 2009)