Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts on another media year

There are a number of fast forming trends shaping and reshaping the media. In a few short generation the influence of the printed has diminished dramatically with much of the audience seeking their content online, sometimes behind paywalls. Any well-informed clues on  where these trends are going is gold dust and the CIPR in this video-cast featured David Pemsel, Chief Commercial Officer, The Guardian; a paper advocating free access, for the time being anyway.

He highlighted that newspapers can be more flexible online, using a more diverse a selection of media  sources and formats. The Guardian take the view that they need to have a scale of usage to gather the influence necessary to be a news 'player', and that level of engagement presently only come from the site being without a paywall.

The discussion make a point about news ownership. The Guardian believes that their news content is most trustworthy as a result of their being owned by a aspect they believe contrasts with other providers which may be subject to commercial or political pressures.There's also a perspective on newspaper opinion and if they are being dragged into a competition with bloggers for influence. The idea of the media 'melting pot' seemed central with good ideas and perspectives rising to the top.

Monday, September 09, 2013

What is the value of an online newspaper comment?

Much has been said about the value of a Facebook Like and so it seems only logical to think about the value of other online  third-party endorsements and claims. What about comments on online newspapers? Just about every site that could be described as an online newspaper has a mechanism for allowing readers to comment, however in the many years I have been evaluating online content (mostly manually) I have not included or ever been asked to include consideration of the online comments. I would be very interested in any readers experiences?

While it might be suggested that online comments have moved up the agenda following Arianna Huffington's decision to stop all anonymous comments on the Huffington Post, it was actually an article in the Telegraph this weekend that got me thinking. There a few more emotive subjects in the UK than housing and this article waves a red flag with the headline 'House prices spiral up in 'virtuous circle''. In the last 3 days there has been 466 comments, taking for main part, a counter view. 

If I were evaluating just this article (not the comments) I think you would have to ascribe it as positive towards the housing market and the efforts of the Government to support it. If on the other hand you were evaluating just the comments you could seriously only take a contrarian view. Just take a look - see what I mean?

Comments seem to be becoming a bigger part of the online newspaper experience. Today's Guardian home page has on average received 232 individual comments per news article. 

A search of Google on the value of comments has so far been unproductive - if you have anything please get in contact. I strongly believe this area needs more research.

As mentioned, with this volume of feedback there is a need to find ways of analysing and integrating this material. 

There are a couple of options:

  1. Skim-off the top comments for separate or composite analysis. Most online newspapers allow you to sort the comments in order of the time, popularity, recommendation, etc.  
  2. Develop a comparative index to integrate the impact of all the comments across the online newspapers.
But there are also a few hurdles. If you relay on electronic cuttings from a cuttings agency the likelihood is they will not include the comments. Similarly if you use a social media monitoring tool the chances are it will not capture or analyse comments - I just tried to use one to find the comments on this Telegraph cuttings, with no success.

So if these tools won't help you find the stuff and there is little research to suggest it matters, maybe we should carry on ignoring it? I am thinking to the contrary. In our social/connected world there is valuable intelligence and relationships going to waste.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Is it ever okay to use AVEs? - Thinking the unthinkable

I was reading this article on the BBC website about the value to sponsors of the Olympics and it led me to think a little about that horrid PR conundrum. Are there ever circumstances when the use of AVE is acceptable?

AVEs have loads of reasons for their non-use. I really don't want to rehash that list, but they are irrefutable and compelling. They are also the default measure for lazy PR folk. They are just complicated enough to allow the lazy types to explain the methodology to the layman and make them look clever, but not so complicated as to loose those same people.

However the world changed and they are now a bit like Babycham, deeply unfashionable, widely regarded as horrid. The transparency around AVEs methodology exposes their flaws making them easy to reject; end of discussion....

But I keep getting this nags away at me demanding satisfaction. Its a question...why won't AVEs just die?

If they won't go away are there circumstances then they might be considered as okay to use them? Arguably within the sponsorship industry they are still widely used as a measure of velocity (frequency & audience & scale). All sponsors coverage is positive (?) and progress is ink on page. I have major questions about applying same thoughts to the digital world. Also, (& this is where lazy PR can happen) if we say its okay to measure sponsorship coverage by default it is okay to measure other 'good news' stories - the creep begins!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Are you missing something?

Having been around media monitoring and analysis for quite a few years I sometimes wonder if a tipping point has been reached and you can achieve a picture of coverage by considering just the online sources.

However, is there a possibility you are missing something by taking the web exposure as a proxy of all exposure?

For the last couple of months I have been comparing the online and printed output for a couple of trade publications to establish how much is original to each medium. Although this is a limited sample the results seem quite startling.

In essence, if you only consider the online coverage you are missing almost half of the picture. Please note this is quite unscientific and I would hasten to add much dependant on the titles. With some, their online coverage almost mirrors the printed coverage, while others are apparently quite different. If I were to offer a broad observation on which types fit into these, the more frequently published titles (daily & weeklies) will often more closely resemble the online offering, while the less frequent (ie. monthly magazines) tend towards greater unique online and printed content.

That said, I am sure many of us have found it difficult to find a printed article in the online version of a daily press title.

Obviously press is in decline and online is the future, but we would appear to not quite be there yet. I would be very interested in if this matches with your experiences?

Friday, May 03, 2013

The iPhone in the media - a chartist approach

Apples stock price has fallen some 40% in the last six months and its fair to say the iPhone 5 experiences have been mixed. So is the media still fixated with what in the past was called the 'god device'?

This charts sets out the relative use of the term 'iPhone' for the 3 main markets. There is an unmistakable drop in use over the last 2 years or so.

Who is the ascendancy? This next chart takes the world-wide media use of the terms Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.
The Samsung Galaxy, like many other devices use the Android operating system. Interestingly this is referred to far more than any handset.

Staying with the Apple iPhone comparison theme, where is its standing compared to the newest device to hit the market, the Google Glass?

The iPhone is very strong brand and largely made Apple into (depending on how you measure it) the worlds largest company. The tide is undoubtedly turning; the media are talking, but about other things and Apple will have to try hard to regain the media momentum lost over the last 18 months.

*Data Source: Factive, Inc

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New Facebook page for Media Evaluation Research

I just created a Facebook page for Media Evaluation Research which was a mixture of easy & difficult. Pictures required a bit of re-gigging and I have been trying to get a blog button link beside the number of Likes (currently 1...!). Not figured that yet and this is an issue when you try search Google for tips. So often do they seem to tinker with the structure of Facebook that any walk-through's are problematic to say the least when it related to an old version. Just take Badges...where are they?

PR Standards - Social Media Measurement & Monitoring Conference London 2013

This event has been going for a few years now and I last attended it 2 years ago. This year many of the same faces were there, taking sessions and filling the audience. I wanted to see how things had moved on in the past years. I know there has been a lot of behind the scenes work on PR measurement standards and new to me was hearing from Katie Paine talk about the latest stage in the standards discussion - the conclaves to gather detailed opinion and gain (final?)consensus.

While PR measurement standards may not be the most sexy of subjects it is widely acknowledged as key to the development of PR and in particular how it addresses the issue of success in the digital age. I asked Katie about the need to police standards and she indicated it was a pertinent next step following consensus on standards being reached.

I would like to see a combination of carrot and stick. On the one hand a clear reference to the success queues, the gold-standard methodology; and on the other hand possibly a mechanism to name and shame!

I have mixed feeling on the need to audit research companies, for them to have their processes scrutinised. Very capable smaller media researchers might be dissuaded by the bureaucracy and cost. The industry needs to think very carefully about anything which looks like a hurdle to entry into the market. Get this wrong and providers 'passing' the test could start looking like a cartel, repelling new entrants, new ideas and no doubt putting up the costs for their work.

I strongly believe it is feasible to introduce PR standards and uphold those effective
providers of measurement services. In summary, I should explain where I would like the market to get to. My hope is that those looking for research suppliers will be able to easily invite proposals from conforming providers; knowing clearly what methodology will be used, and very importantly eliminating any suspicion of smoke and mirrors around their processes.  

As a postscript, if you are interested in knowing more about the current measurement standards debate look at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tax loyalties

Image credit: Brandwatch
Like many UK consumer I have been dissuaded from purchasing goods, refreshments and services from the multi-national organisations implicated in the parliamentary investigation into corporate tax avoidance. As a small business operator I don't understand how there is such a chasm between the rules governing a small coffee or book shop from their bigger rival.

I have watched with interest and growing incredulity as organisations like Starbucks try to reinstate their social credentials through their voluntary tax donation and (the massive car crash that is) the  #spreadthecheer sponsored Twitter hashtag.  Google take a different tack and suggest its just entrepreneurial; seeming to run counter to their corporate motto 'don't be evil'.

I am no crisis communications specialist, but the organisation caught up in this I am sure can relatively neatly side-step much of the negativity surrounding this issue. After all, if they were each football teams and were criticised for the rules they play under, that would seem unfair. However, if they do decide to take my approach they will need to be to be brave; as it does not come without risks. Some organisations may have (in part) taken this approach and, if so, I am sorry for my ignorance.

Possibly the multi-national organisations need to acknowledge that the days unceasing growth and consumer ignorance are over. If they get found out doing things they they shouldn't their reputation is toast...just ask the banks. The public does not like to be treated like ignoramuses and the public now have through social media the instruments to propagate their disquiet.

In short, they need to admit the game has changed and offer to work fully with the authorities both nationally and internationally to create a corporate tax structure fit for all types of organisation. They also need to improve their organisational transparency, particularly regarding their finances. Multi-national organisations would also do well to actively push the international  tax regulatory authorities like the OECD to sort this out sooner than later, for as long as this goes no they are vulnerable.