Monthly Archives: January 2009

Un-wired for sound

mobile tvThis week’s Digital Britain interim report outlined the commitment to digital access to everyone, quality content available to all and a digitally literate population. Great news for UK consumers. For me though the most interesting reading in the report was the Government’s recognition that there are a number of ways to deliver digital access, wired, or indeed wireless.

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Digital Britain…kindly brought to you by advertising

Communications and Technology Minister, Stephen Carter, today finally published his eagerly awaited Digital Britain interim report. The ‘talk’ and speculation in the run-up to publication had been about the BBC and public service broadcasting/publishing and ‘broadband for all’.Would the Government suggest a collaboration between the commercial BBC Worldwide and cash-strapped Channel 4? (it does but doesn’t rule out other options) and will there be high-level commitments for broadband access? (there are).Despite criticism from opposition political parties that the2Mbs universal broadband commitment is weak, it is a significantmove. It is also welcome that the report suggests unleashing mobile operators from spectrum licence agreements encouraging them to do their bit in delivering this commitment. This could enable us to access content and services wherever, however and whenever. The Government hasn’t ruled out giving public money to help this universal broadband commitment either. The final report is due in the summer, but this interim document states the importance of online advertising to the UK digital economy:“Britain has the highest proportion of internet advertising than any developed economy”. However it does seem to questionits value to the digital economy and funding creative content. Among the 22 recommendationswithin the 86-page interim report is an action to “examine measures needed to address the challenges for digital content, including opportunities for providing further support to foster UK creative ambition and alternative funding mechanisms to advertising revenues”.Online will soon be the largest advertising medium in the UK. It pays for free content and services: from search engines to social networks. It’s no surprise that the Government believes that a “successful Britain is a digital Britain”, playing a vital role in dragging the economy out of recession. However, given this and our world-beating position in online advertising, it seems slightly bizarre that it remains to be convinced as to whether advertising is the right model for the digital age. Nevertheless, the point of an interim report is for discussion and debate. Clearly there’s plenty of this to do.

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What’s in a name? Absolutely everything if today’s Rajars are anything to go by

Absolute Radio’sprogramme and operations director Clive Dickens will be testinghis international diplomacy skills today, as he tries to explain away listening drops of more than a fifthto his newbosses in India.

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Editor’s blog: Sky’s no limit

I can’t say I’m surprised that Sky has released some more impressive results – or that it’s willing to take 1,000 folk from the dole queue. It’s a gritty outfit (they say ‘challenger’, i say ‘slightly chippy’) that run rings round the flat-footed broadcasting oppo.

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Online video advertising is on the precipice

Last year the IAB established a Video Council, consisting of publishers, agencies and providers, chaired by Rob Black at UTarget.Fox. This group is working full steam ahead to produce a new online video resource and printed publication to educate marketers on the best ways to use advertising in and around online video content. This resource will include an update to our guideline standard released last year. With over 35 senior representatives from different companies taking part, it’s involving a lot of coordination but is very quickly bearing fruit.

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How long can Google beat the crunch?

Google’s Q4 revenues are up 18% but Microsoft’s online operating losses have doubled. What’s going on? According to Google, their modest success is all down to folk who are still ploughing modest advertising spend into search. Then there’s the fact that they’ve super-turbo-charged the engine itself with over 300 enhancements.However, only last week it was reported that search marketing budgets in the States have fallen 8% year-on-year in Q4 2008 (Revolution). So, the big question – is Google’s crunch trouncing success sustainable? And, if so, for how long? Of course, the real question is how useful either of the businesses’ quarterly reports/forecasts are in predicting their future. Given the new rules of the market, can anyone really predict who the winners or losers will be?

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The real lessons of Obama

For months now, the marketing press has been over-run with articles by industry experts telling us what brands can learn from how Barack Obama embraced digital media to help win the US election race. At conferences too, speakers have been queuing up to tell us how Obama’s team used Facebook, MySpace and Twitter for instance in a way that brands would do well to try and emulate.

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Editor’s blog: The Paris Hilton stimulus plan

‘If you feel down and you put on a tiara or a cute sparkly headband, it like totally brightens up your day,’ noted the heiress. How true. You really are a philosopher, Paris. The new Alain de Botton. Trouble is, I left my headband behind today and tiaras are just soooo 2007.

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Is the unveiling of Top Gear’s Stig the lamest scoop of the decade?

Pssst, have you heard the latest? No, not about Barack Obama becoming the new president of the United States, nor December’s sharp fall in inflation.

No, today’s ‘big news’ comes courtesy of the Daily Mail, where a dogged investigative hack has unmasked the identity of Top Gear’s tame racing driving, known only as the Stig.

He’s the guy in the white helmet and jump suit who, among other things, helps ‘stars in a reasonably priced car’ speed round Top Gear’s race track.The man in the gloves is apparently a James Bond stunt man and has previously driven in Formula Three, Le Mans, GT and NASCAR, as also reported in yesterday’s Telegraph Who is the Stig? The answer – Telegraph

While having no qualms in naming the Beeb’s driving stooge, both the Telegraph and Associated’s mid market paper opted to protect the identity of the tenacious reporters behind the scoops. Perhaps, say those over at Aunty, this is because for lovers of the car series, the Stig’s unmasking is akin to finding out there is no Father Christmas?Maybe, or perhaps it’s because the Stig’s identity has been one the worst kept secrets for years…

The Bristol Evening Post made it clear they knew who the Stig was two weeks ago, but decided not to out him.Similarly, the News of the World ran a story at the start of the month about who he was, where he lives and his marital status, but again chose not to name him.

This week’s Daily Star Sunday went a step further and named him, although the article has been removed online. In fact, the Stig’s cover, if it is the man revealed today, was first blown more than two years ago by the News of the World among others (also removed online), although no one really took any notice.

Following Richard Hammond’s crash in September 2006, a Health & Safety Executive report recorded the driver in question had been at the scene as a “high performance driver and consultant”.

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It’s Obama Day – let’s give some money to the Labour Party!

OK so there’s a credit crunch on. And yes the Labour Party is skint. So it’s time for the fundraising department to get creative. But really, there is a limit isn’t there?

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