Wow. What a week. Some very interesting results in the UK Election and now lots to debate as we discuss what’s next for Britain in the weeks ahead. Of course, we’ve been following the election extensively on LBC ever since Theresa May made her call for a vote back in April. Now that it’s over (although, you could argue the fun has only just begun!) I thought I’d highlight some aspects of our digital coverage you may be aware of.
Howdy! 🔥 Apologies for the radio silence but with the upcoming UK Election and preparing for Capital’s Summertime Ball, it’s just been a very busy time.🔥🔥🔥 Here’s some of my top reads from the last few weeks. Enjoy!🔥🔥🔥🔥 PS, I’ve just discovered how to add fire emojis to WordPress! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
As we all know, linear TV is really challenged at the moment, but these graphs showing how audiences dwindle over time for top US TV shows were pretty jaw-dropping. As Josef Adalian and Jeni Zhen write:
“We’ve been trained to understand that if we fall behind on several episodes of a show, we can always catch up later on streaming. Binge-watching an entire season is, for many, a better experience than watching week-to-week. The enormous sums Netflix and Hulu are paying to stream shows such as This Is Us underlines just how much value remains in network-TV fare. Sure, as measured by Nielsen, Empire is drawing half as many viewers as it did at its peak a couple years back. Some of those early adopters of the series have no doubt given up on the sudser altogether, but odds are many of those viewers are now simply watching in ways not captured by traditional metrics. (Another “encouraging” sign for the health of broadcast TV: Most big cable comedies and dramas are down, too — even the good ones.) None of this makes the double-digit declines shown below any less depressing for executives. Ratings declines result in fewer overall ad dollars, period. While networks are proving adept at opening up new revenue streams, they’d much rather their Nielsen numbers were going up.”
Elsewhere, I really liked the way the social team at Huffington Post are using their editors to front their coverage of news and entertainment on social. Sounds like a win-win to me.
I thought this article looking at why Alt-Right messages and memes during the French election didn’t work was interesting. Also, kinda reassuring that civilisation can’t be entirely derailed by just anyone with a good knowledge of Photoshop and Google Docs. Well, for now.
“There’s a big cultural gap that these groups have to jump over to expand their message,” said Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank, who has studied the far right’s recent efforts in France. “The language and iconography of the alt-right is pretty specific. Most of it just isn’t going to translate well.”
I’m sure you’ve seen this video looking at texting and the internet in film. Just brilliant.
As an avid long-distance runner there’s nothing better than escaping the city for the country, negotiating numerous maps, losing your GPS signal and having to deal with the local farm dogs. Thank goodness for the National Trust Open Data site which launched recently – I now know where I’m bloody going!
Lastly, shameless plug, have you seen our fantastic new Capital Xtra responsive website? 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Steven Wilson-Beales (@stevewbeales) May 18, 2017
As the new year is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d fire off a series of short posts covering some of my personal highlights taken from the various brands across the year. I’m starting with Classic FM not only because it’s an amazing brand, but because I’ve just had a ping from its Social Media Editor saying that they’ve just reached one million likes on Facebook.
Here is said editor looking extremely chuffed, as he should do because this really is a fantastic achievement.
But what drove that engagement? Well, I thought it might be insightful to take a look at a short selection of popular posts from 2016 to give you a flavour of what we do. So here goes..
A selection of highlights has to start with our ‘David Cameron’ moment from September. This was all down to an editor who was watching Cameron’s speech and noticed he was humming a melody as he walked back into No.10. The rest was, indeed, history.
This piece was successful for a number of reasons – a quick turnaround from the editorial team, the shareability of the idea and the brilliant response from the Classic FM social community as a result. This all resulted in some fantastic press coverage throughout the week that followed as pundits tried to work out the significance of the melody.
In addition to news reaction, we also post topics that we know we inspire debate across all our platforms. You can see how the topic below, for instance, could create a fantastic discussion on air as well as online.
The joy of learning to play an instrument is also a popular topic – and one I can fully sympathise with now that I’m trying to get my own children to DO THEIR BLOODY PIANO PRACTICE!
OK OK, deep breath…
Here’s another example, this time an adorable moment captured between mother and child shared with us from the classical music community.
And lastly, and as Kyle mentioned above, we’ve also had some very popular posts featuring cats…
So there you have it, just a little insight into how we hit that one million figure. Why not like us on Facebook to see what we’re publishing every day?
Each year, Web Summit attracts digital enthusiasts from around the world, seeking networking opportunities and juicy thought-leader presentations. This year, however, there seemed to be very little of that, from a content maker perspective at least. The 2016 event in Lisbon was heavy over-subscribed (50,000 attendees was the number quoted) and there was a change in style from previous summits – relaxed sofa ‘chats’ with speakers over detailed analysis. When there was a formal presentation you heard yourself muttering ‘thank god for Power Point’ which is, as you all know, a hideous crime.
Some hastily scribbled thoughts following the recent US elections. What do US journalists (and perhaps all of us) need to do going forward?
- Don’t get too hung up on this whole echo chamber/filter bubble analogy. Although its been important to acknowledge the narcissistic nature of social media, we now need to be careful that these kind of convenient and simplistic metaphors don’t obscure the good work journalists are doing every day to ‘break on through’. When you start talking about people being ‘trapped’ in their own ‘bubbles’ it starts to sound like ‘What’s the use?’ We need to engage, listen and speak a language that the majority understand.
- Take as a given that advocacy ‘journalism’ websites is only going to get bigger and bolder. They will continue to attack academia and mainstream media for being elitist/disconnected from the populace/ordinary man/forgotten man.
- The answer? Become excellent, amazing journalists. Let’s get better every day at what we do.
- Let’s take another look at local news where investment has slipped.
- Help Facebook become the responsible publisher it needs to be.
- Challenge the notion that free news probably isn’t worth reading. Don’t hide the truth behind a wall.
- Find news ways of funding good journalism – like getting Google of Facebook to pay for it.
- Work with UX/Design to create experiences that facilitate comfortable reading of complex issues.
- Reject the notion readers are only interested in surface skimming over depth.
- Fight the titillation of fake news with well-researched, annoying details.
- Listen more, comment less.
A list of my most interesting content strategy-related reads this week…
Here’s What Makes The Guardian So Successful On Facebook
A great insight into FB distribution strategy at the Guardian. And if you like that, find out what Buzzed are up to in the video space as well.
Facebook videos live fast, die young
We all knew this right? but still interesting read…
‘While YouTube and Facebook have established themselves as major hubs for mobile video, the lifespan of content on each platform is markedly different. Put in astronomical terms, a Facebook video is a brief supernova, peaking early and then quickly fading out; a YouTube video is more like a cooling star that emits a small flash of light then slowly decays.’
Facebook is going to start showing you pieces people actually read
Time online is back people!
With a scripted daily comedy news show, Mic looks to add a little late night TV to the social video mould
Interesting to see how Mic is choosing the comedy format to increase reach amongst the millennials. Again, it’s an example of a team that has been given the freedom to experiment.
How to build audiences by engaging your community
Great starter-guide for approaching community journalism in your newsroom.
Netflix Knows Which Pictures You’ll Click On–And Why
“One of Netflix’s earliest findings was that interest tended to drop off when an image touting a show or movie contained more than three people. It seems that users find it hard to focus when there are too many people, and may not be able to absorb cues about the storyline. This was a surprising insight for Netflix, given that some shows are popular precisely because they have large casts. Orange Is the New Black is a good example of this. “While ensemble casts are fantastic for a huge billboard on the side of a highway, they are too complex at small sizes,” Nelson says. “They are ultimately not as effective at helping our members decide if the title is right for them on smaller screens.”
Here’s a roundup of top pages I’ve been reading this week:
Teenagers and tweens watching TV half as much as adults, Ofcom finds
“Tweens and teens watch just half the amount of live TV as adults each day, and choose to “top-up” viewing by watching clips on services such as YouTube, Vimeo and Vine, according to new research by the UK media regulator.”
It’s not just about print vs. digital media — it’s about culture
Interesting table included here looking at the differences between legacy media and ‘digital-first’. Worth looking at…
This building is an organism for making newspapers
In the Agile world we often talk about how locating people in an office is just as important to product output as knowledge. With that in mind, take a look at this diagram from a 1920s newspaper company.
Digital Publishing: There’s No Place Like Home
Some choice quotes here:
“According to the analysis, a user who visits a news site directly spends, on average, 4 minutes and 36 seconds per visit, while a Facebook user spends just an average of 1 minute 41 seconds on your site. In addition, direct visitors view about five times as many pages per month as Facebook users, and visit the site three times as often.”
“Even though they’re a smaller percentage of overall traffic, app users listen to much more audio,” said Perry. “Mobile users might visit a couple of pages and stay on the site for five minutes, but our app audience seems more willing to listen to a stream for an hour.”
“Despite the reduction in traffic, newspaper homepages harken back to the historic place the front page of a newspaper had in the community. Forgive me for sidestepping into marketing speak, but editors should think of their news organization’s homepage as their ultimate brand statement.”
How are brands driving TV ad viewers online?
“It’s either a case of brands not understanding the importance of driving TV viewers online or they already assume it’s a pointless exercise because viewers disengage as soon as adverts appear.”
How Technology Is Changing Media
An in-depth look at how BuzzFeed is leading the industry’s trends in social, mobile, and video.
Why social is key to creating habit-forming news products
“According to Nir Eyal, it’s often fear that encourages a person to return to a product again and again. Boredom drives return visits to YouTube, loneliness encourages people to go to Facebook, uncertainty encourages people to search Google, he says.
So for newspapers, news sites and digital products, perhaps the driver is FOMO, a fear of missing out. People return to find out about the key news events that they don’t want to miss.”
“1. Everyone’s talking about Serial. Seriously. Vox has gone one step further and built an interactive guide to keep track of who’s who in this character-driven crime story. Brilliant? Yes. A step too far? Maybe. But the resulting audio cards are really user friendly and offer sideways entry points into the story, in addition to making it all easier to follow. Now, just think of other ways we could break down a story that might make it easier to for the
audience to enter and understand.”
Why We Crave Human-Curated Playlists
“Context is key for music, and that is where services like Songza and Beats Music are picking up tips from FM radio. These services are essentially using algorithms to help people discover new playlists, instead of discovering new songs. This allows for a marriage of both technology and human curation.”
“Sharing content is another key part of the strategy. Other publishers aggregate news from elsewhere or open their sites to outside contributors to increase their publishing volume quickly and at low cost. With all of Hearst’s magazines as well as newspapers to draw from, the publisher has a long way to go before it has to look to outside sources for content. Part of Lewis’ mandate, then, has been getting Hearst to surface stories that can work across brands. Ultimately, the goal is to have 20 percent of a given Hearst site’s content coming from another Hearst property.”
“An ageing population and an increasing numbers of retirees could mean increasing popularity. However, the test is to ensure that young people continue to reach out to radio as they grow older.
“To address this challenge, radio must continue to be a place of ‘music discovery’ and must adapt to new ways of enjoying content on the go – and on modern media devices.”
“We don’t adhere to the preset roles you have in news organizations,” Seward said. “It prevents a myopic view of how stories need to be told. When you have the ability to think about how to tell a story differently, then it leads to more creative ways.”
“So while Instagram currently isn’t the best host for what most publishers are doing right now, as the platform becomes more video focused publishers with expertise in creating narratives in video form will find Instagram’s a more effective way to reach audiences. Until then, though, as Guyatt says, there’s very little purpose to publishing content to a platform on which it does not belong.”
“The money and raw numbers have finally gotten investors to pay attention, and investors have a lot of press influence. But podcasts have never exploded and have never died. The truth is that they’ve grown boringly and steadily for almost a decade, and will likely continue to do so. And that’s great!”
“To see the mistake here, just look at the most popular mobile app supposedly leading this turn away from the web: Facebook. A substantial portion of Facebook content offers links to other websites. Tapping them opens a browser within the app, and there you are, on the web. The latest version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, in fact, brings in-app browsers on par with the company’s own Safari browser in terms of capabilities and performance.”
“Each week, Williams and his designers choose one of the feature articles set to appear in the print magazine, usually the cover story, and brainstorm ways they can add visual design elements that improve the storytelling process. This has become increasingly common at many publications ever since the launch of Snow Fall, the multimedia story project produced by a team of New York Times journalists, designers, videographers, and coders — though when I mentioned Snow Fall, Williams was quick to note that New York’s forays into the medium are much less epic in scale. “It’s possible to build them with each issue and without overwhelming the team,” he said in a phone interview.”