About Me

If you want to get a different perspective on my journey, try this blog from Zac. A friend I'm travelling with. zacstravelcolours.wordpress.com

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ok. You win. Old Media is kind of great

I was wrong. Now read closely because like most people, that's not something I say a lot. Several weeks ago in this very same blog I went slightly on the attack against Old Media, especially TV and radio news. I argued they were too passive, not immediate enough and basically just weren't new and sexy enough for my liking.

Well something's changed, the last two weeks I've been working hard. I mean properly hard, not uni student hard. 12 hour a days hard. And I've come to appreciate the passivity of Old Media. TV and radio certainly still have their place in today's world and I for one, hope they're not going anywhere soon.

A good friend of mine (and I use the term in the most optimistic way possible) @SpencerHowson once said to me:

At the time (about 7 weeks ago) I was too young and proud to admit it but now, gosh darn he's got a point. When a properly busy person gets up in the morning they don't have an hour to spare browsing the interwebz for every little news tidbit. What they often do have is a long drive to work, in a car which, unless it's stupidly old or stupidly sporty, will have a radio.

I feel I was more than a little unfair to TV news as well. After a hard day of tree wrangling (that's actually what I'm doing for work this week), nothing feels quite so good as to sit back on the couch and have the news spoon fed to me by people who know much more about it than I do.

Old Media: It's great, just try some.

Friday, 16 September 2011

How to make money from journalism Part 1: Advertising

The future of traditional journalism looks sketchy at best. Newspapers are dying, TV and radio viewers are switching off, online is the answer blah blah by now you should all know the spiel.

It's getting to the stage - scratch that, it's already well past the stage were we can continue to refer to the internet as some vague guardian angel who'll swoop down and save our sweet, news-gathering souls. Most news organisations well and truly missed the boat when it comes to bringing their content online and it's going to be a long, hard swim to catch up.

As with any emerging industry (which is what we have to consider journalism as, so massive are the fundamental changes occuring), everyone's got their own ideas of how to succeed. Unfortunately, at this stage none of them are very good. Essentially there are two philosophies on how to make money from online journalism: Advertising and Paywalls.

Advertising can be broken down into two main categories, Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per Impression, both of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

PPC advertising is easily the least beneficial because advertisers only pay when someone actually clicks on the ad. Rates are much higher but studies suggest click through rates on these ads are at 0.1% and falling meaning the revenue stream is tiny.

For this reason, PPI is more beneficial because the advertiser gets charged every time an ad is served someone browsing the website. Unfortunately, because their is so much choice for advertisers on the net, rates for this sort of advertising have to be many many times cheaper than comparable ads in newspapers. If you charge too much, it's not too hard for companies to find somewhere else to advertise.

Many sites use a combination of both tactics to make a base sum of money from impressions and then treat any clicks as a bonus.

Coming Soon: Paywalls

Sunday, 11 September 2011

TV News online: The current situation

This video gives a comprehensive rundown of the Australian online TV news landscape.

Apologies, I just figured no blog is complete without tumbleweed (#interwebrulez). Excuse me also for using extreme hyperbole (also known as Hyperbowling) but our options are definitely pretty thin on the ground.

What they offer:

Channel 7

Channel 7’s solution is probably the best as far as an actual bulletin goes, they upload a short (seven or eight minutes) afternoon bulletin and also add most individual stories to the site after the evening news airs. Here's an example of the short bulletin from 25/08/2011:


The ABC, much lauded for its iView service, simulcasts their bulletin online on the News 24 channel, meaning you have to be there at 7 PM to tune in. This is great for people who live with parents or housemates who might want to watch Home and Away or the 7PM Project (both of which are of course available for viewing at a later date) but not a lot of use for people like me who simply aren't at home. I'll admit, the News 24 is a pretty phenomenal service to have available online but it's no reason to not put the nightly bulletin up as well. For overall online news quality, this has to be the winner.

Channel Ten and SBS

Channel Ten and SBS both offer an online 'Catch Up' service on which they offer the majority of their programming. Once again, news bulletins are the obvious exception.

Channel Nine

Channel Nine essentially offers the same service as Ten and SBS but with one extra little addition.

In my desperate search for news bulletins online I understandably started my quest with the following search term: "watch australian news bulletins online"

Channel Nine's website was first on Google and when I clicked the link I saw this message.

"Now you can watch the nightly Nine News bulletin online, just as you would on television."

Perfect! I thought. How easy was that!

Only to be confronted with this nasty little disclaimer a little later on.

"Note: Bulletins will only screen at 6pm and are not viewable at other times."

The fact they have set up a special section of their website purely for this 'service' absolutely astounds me and shows that more than  any other channel they've failed to understand not only the potential of the internet but the basic way it operates. 

One of the major reasons the internet is so popular is because it's always there. You don't log onto Facebook only to find it's not open for another half hour. Google.com.au doesn't keep regular business hours. 

Channel Nine's version of news online

If these stations are going to offer all other their programming online, there is absolutely NO REASON for the nightly news not to be included.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Why can't I just watch the news online?

Despite, what many people seem to think, I’m a pretty busy guy.  I study at uni full time, live away from home doing all my own cooking cleaning etc, hold down two jobs and play a whole lot of sport.

All this boring background info means I don’t get much spare time. And when I do, the chances of it being between six and 7:30PM on a weeknight (when the news is on) are remarkably slim.

Unfortunately, and surprisingly, given how far we’ve come recently with TV stations offering their content online*, this means I rarely get a chance to watch a nightly news bulletin.

I can come home at 10:30 and tune into any variety of shows from all the major free to air stations but I can’t watch the news.

When I asked Seven Brisbane’s Director of News, Rob Raschke why the station didn’t simply upload the whole bulletin to its PLUS7 service he admitted he was frustrated by the issue.

He said he had no idea why the bulletin wasn’t available online but suspected it might be due to a misguided belief it would erode viewership of the TV bulletin.

But as he readily admitted, no one is guying to watch the news on the computer when they can watch it on TV.

“We saw the same attitude when we tried to get the radio simulcast started,” he said.

He believes it’s only a matter of time before we see full news bulletins online and I certainly hope he’s right.

ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten and SBS all offer some sort of online 'Catch Up' service where users can watch the majority of their content weeks after it airs.

Next Week: A rundown of the current online TV news options