Sorrell On ‘One Medium, One Country’ ITV

martin-sorrell-wppSir Martin Sorrell is one of the Today programme’s go-to men.

Every three months, when his company’s quarterly results are announced, the WPP CEO will appear on Radio 4’s flagship news show and offer his economic state of the nation.

WPP employs 135,000 people around the world, is worth some £5bn and has its fingers in many, many media pies – advertising, public relations, lobbying, marketing and investment management among them.

All of which makes him an interesting and informed listen on business and consumer sentiment.

Right at the end of this morning’s interview he was asked about ITV’s continued search for leadership, and he offered this stark assessment:

ITV is in a tough spot. It’s a one medium company in one country. And that’s a very difficult place to be particularly when you compete against the BBC who get three and a half billion pounds from the licence fee payer every year, in cash, upfront on January 1st.

One medium, one country? News to all those beavering away on catch up, or at its Global Content division.

Perhaps ITV should have held on to FriendsReunited after all.

(You can listen to the full interview on the BBC iPlayer. Starts around 1.21.00)

 – YouTube If You Want To: Why Susan Boyle Won’t Save Michael Grade’s Micropayment Plan

The Me, Me, Me Blog Post

jon_bernstein2I think I’ve finally got this blogging business cracked.

Self-indulgent? Check.

The worst kind of vanity publishing? Check.

All about me, me, me? Check.

From 12 November I am joining the New Statesman as deputy editor.

I’ll be working under Jason Cowley and alongside his very talented team. And I’m pretty excited about it.

More details over on the Press Gazette and on The Media Blog.

Normal service will now be resumed.

Not All Social Media Is Digital

Late last night a hand-delivered letter dropped through my door. It began:

Dear colleague,

You should have received a ballot paper to vote for a new editor of the Journalist – the NUJ’s magazine.

I live in Honor Oak, SE23, and have dropped this through your door to ask you to vote for me, Richard Simcox.

nuj-the-journalistI was impressed, not necessarily by the Simcox manifesto, but by the campaigning. Honor Oak is not a million miles away but nor is it a stroll around the corner.

During a postal strike, the message needs to get out and this would-be editor was willing to put in the hours.

There are eight candidates  hoping to run the National Union of Journalist’s house magazine. It’s a high-profile role and the first time in 21 years that the position has been vacant.

It’s also a key point in the evolution of the print publication. Its production cycle has been cut from 12 to six issues a year as more and more NUJ news and information goes online.

One of the dilemmas the new editor will have to wrestle with is how to balance a web presence with a print presence. Sound familiar?

And that’s another reason why the hand-delivered letter was interesting. It brought home the potency of ‘push’ communication, when done right. 

Simcox, like his fellow candidates, has ticked all the digital boxes: website, Twitter, Facebook etc. The NUJ, too, will explore ways to use social media to make the most of its ready-made community with its shared interests.

This all matters but so too does the ‘physical contact’ that the print magazine dropping on the doormat every other month provides.

Any future editor who thinks that the only social media is digital would be very wide of the mark.

How The Atlantic Is Rethinking Magazine Publishing
As Print Dwindles, can Amazon Re-Kindle?
Five innovations in news journalism, thanks to the web

links for 2009-10-28

YouGov Responds to BNP Gaming Claims

Earlier today this blog reported claims that BNP were seeking to ‘game’ YouGov’s online polling. Since then YouGov has been in touch to put its side of things.

Here’s the statement in full:

There have been reports in parts of the blogosphere that certain YouGov members have been attempting to recruit BNP members to the YouGov panel, in order to influence the results of polls and generate revenue for the BNP. Here is YouGov’s response to these reports.

YouGov actively recruits the majority of our panel using a variety of techniques, although self-signup and referrals from other members are also possible. We constantly monitor the profile of new panel members, and track differences in survey results, to ensure that our panel is representative, and to protect the quality and integrity of our data.  Moreover, YouGov’s sampling methods ensure that new members who sign themselves up cannot have a statistically significant impact on any YouGov polling results.

As a further test, YouGov has examined the results of the survey conducted after BBC Question Time poll. The survey, of 1,314 electors, included 156 who had joined our panel since May 2009. This covers the period when, it is claimed, BNP bloggers advised party members to join our panel. Of these 156, just one respondent said they would vote BNP in a general election. Any attempts to inflitrate YouGov’s panel with the aim of increasing the BNP’s reported support have plainly failed.

Nevertheless, to put the issue beyond doubt, and in line with our practice at the last general election, we had already started a “close” period, during which no new self-signups or member referrals to YouGov will be invited to take part in political polls. This “close” period started on September 1 and will last until after the election.”

‘BNP Gaming YouGov’ Adds Another Chapter To Question Time Blockbuster

The BNP/Question Time story arc has followed a fairly predictable trajectory.

It began with several weeks of pre-show outrage mixed with libertarian nose-holding. This was followed by on the day protests, the 105 minutes of television, the reaction and the backlash to the reaction.

As a final act we had the post-show opinion polls which rather conveniently provided ammunition for both the ‘Griffin blew it’ and the ‘BNP boost’ brigades.

But now an unexpected epilogue.


Sunny Hundal over at Liberal Conspiracy notes that one of the administrators on the BNP website recently set up a page on its social network titled:  YOUGOV – Let’s increase BNP’s support in polls, and raise money at the same time!. (note, this links to the BNP site).

The post urges BNP members to sign up to YouGov so a. the pollster won’t ignore them in subsequent sampling and b. they can raise money for the party via regular £50 participation payments.

Gaming YouGov? This feels like a conspiracy too far. Only one place to turn: the Political Betting blog where Mike Smithson writes:

Such ideas have been floated from time to time and clearly all online pollsters which use polling panels are vulnerable. There was talk of UKIP doing the same thing ahead of the 2004 Euro election. I’m emailed Peter Kellner [YouGov’s president] and I’m sure he’ll tell us that measures are in place to identify and deal with such approaches.

As a starting pointing the BNP might have had a better chance of succeeding if they hadn’t first put it on a website that anybody could find within a few seconds on Google.

We await the Kellner response.

How ‘Nutter’ Griffin Matched Nobel Obama
BNP on Question Time: The BBC should be applauded

What’s The Future Of Syndication?

the-sunday-times-25-oct-2009Prisoner Of The Taliban‘ looked like a compelling, if slightly familiar, read. Spread across pages one, two and three yesterday’s Sunday Times News Review section, it was an American journalist’s account of his seven-month kidnap in the Afghan desert.

A quick scan to the end of David Rohde’s piece revealed all, in customary italics:

Extracted from an article that first appeared in The New York Times.

And that’s where I and, most likely, other Sunday Times readers had read the original in all its five-part glory.

Syndication is a normal part of the newspaper business, whether it’s a tabloid previewing the latest celeb photo-shoot from one of the glossies, a broadsheet recasting an essay from a highbrow monthly as op-ed, or – as here – a UK paper taking some of the best journalism from abroad.

But in the link economy, where access to the original source is only a click away, isn’t syndication increasingly redundant?

Last week, I suggested that the likes of the Associated Press were the real losers in a world where aggregation ruled. And that’s probably still the case for those whose business is predicated on providing copy for multiple sources. In other words, those businesses which conform to the most exact definition of syndication. 

But for publishers there is another, softer reason to continue this content-sharing relationship besides any monetary exchange: profile.

And that, after all, is what I am doing by publishing this article here and here. Albeit on a much, much smaller scale.

NewsNow: ‘End These Indiscriminate Attacks’

Tweets, Pokes And Uploads: Watching Social Media’s Growth In Real-Time

Twenty hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, nearly a million blog posts each day, 600,000 new members of Facebook and around four million tweets via Twitter every 24 hours – some social media numbers are quite hard to fathom. 

Not sure if Gary Hayes’s real-time counter makes things easier but it does offer another way to watch the dials whizzing round.

 – Is Social Media A Fad? Apparently Not

The Week’s Most Read Posts (19 – 25 Oct 2009)

  1. Lots of column (and blogosphere) inches are being written in response to the suggestion that the Jan Moir backlash was an orchestrated campaign. []
  2. While the blogosphere and Twitterverse is censorious about others, here’s a rare instance of internet self-flagellation. []
  3. ‘If Arsenal offers fans direct, undiluted access to highlights, interviews, news and maybe one day live action, why would fans pay for access to Time Online’s football zone?’ []
  4. The BBC reported 10,000 comments were left on the Have Your Say section of the corporation’s website (normal activity: a few hundred). []
  5. ‘We don’t redistribute your web pages to anyone. We operate within the law.’

How ‘Nutter’ Griffin Matched Nobel Obama

daily-star-nick-griffin-bnpWhile much of the Nick Griffin / Question Time chat was happening on Twitter, some people went straight to the source to express their views.

The BBC reported 10,000 comments were left on the Have Your Say section of the corporation’s website (normal activity: a few hundred) while, by mid-morning today, 2,000 posts were viewable on a specially created message board.

The figures come via the Online Journalism Blog’s Paul Bradshaw who put a few questions to Matthew Eltringham from the BBC’s UGC Hub.

Eltringham notes that the Have Your Say numbers were recently matched in volume by responses to President Obama’s Nobel Prize win.

But in that instance the traffic was global in nature whereas last night it was a more parochial affair.

BNP on Question Time: The BBC should be applauded
Daily Mail Ends Moderation. Will Anybody Notice?