Saturday, September 13, 2008

Broadcasters squaring up to Newspapers

Internal reviews and policy implementations are an ongoing affair within any media outlet.

Often its a genu-reflective of their direction and how management need to stem the hemorrhaging of viewers and readers.

Sometimes it can be an exercise in self-indulgence; ignoring the obvious signs as scaremongering. This thing called the Net, it won't survive, was the tune being sang by many a management in the early days.

Now, mainstream media has more or less adopted the free-for-all tools of participatory info flows, but that might not be nearly enough.

There lies an inherent attitude thing. What do our viewers think about us?

First you've got stop your readers from drifting, then you've got to up the ante, get bullish and win them back, then drive the numbers up.

The two require different strategies and due to the nature of the wisdom of crowds, require constant attention.

The problem Labour are going through reflect that as much: first we've got to stop the rot, then steady the ship, then drive the new message. Place the wrong one in front of the other and you're in danger of being ridiculed.

In the 70s/ 80s and 90s, specialist pollsters were almost exclusively responsible or judging the health of a network and prescribing medicine that ran along the lines of: counter programming, tent polling and hammocking - a process of running a new show or item between two successful shows favoured by NBC.

The net rendered the more austere of these redundant, though many schedulers still work around similar processes.

In the last couple of months the BBC in particular has been pushing its offline to the web with regular announcements on radio and TV of added value online.

Not just an extension of the same but by a neat trick of changing the direction of a story at the last few seconds of the item, and then telling the listeners there's more on line.

Digital experts refer to this as a second shift aesthetic.

Within the BBC and a number of broadcasters it has not been lost on them that newspapers are making heavy inroads into web audiences, so the debate is skewing to how do we ( media) extend the shelf life per item of our correspondents.

How do we use the web for more breaking stories? How do we keep the audience in our garden.

Watch out at some point for perma links on TV, more cross talk between the online and offline teams in hand overs and perhaps another new favorite of "ploughing".

The latter I'll explain in a visual theme I'm working on very soon.

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