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Monday, April 03, 2006

Rupert Murdoch shows me the way forward..

As some occasional readers of this blog would know, I'm a fan of short videos to go with my written stories for magazines.

I see this as the inevitable convergence of technologies and a way to keep print relevant while value adding. Conversely, web traffic and content can drive print sales.

The Bulletin in February 2006 (I picked it up at work- hence the "delay") had an interview between Rupert Murdock and Newsweek's Johnnie L Roberts
Roberts: The age of video downloads seems to have arrived with surprising abruptness. Were you and fellow media moguls caught flat footed?
MURDOCH: Most newspaper companies still have their heads in the sand, but other media companies are aggressive. And there are completely new start-up companies. There is a great pace of development, which is very exciting. At News Corp., we have been developing online extensions of traditional media for the last few years. What's happened now? We're seeing the spread of broadband. In the world today, only 190 million homes can receive broadband. That's going to go up in the next 10 to 20 years to at least 3 billion homes. We're just now at the very beginning of the shift to new media.

I think this shows some insight (as you would bloody hope!) into where the future lies: "extension of traditional media" At the moment this is clearly offering multimedia content that partners existing traditional content. In the context of what I want to do with my "career": offer compelling multimedia content for editors. This means developing systems and methods that provide the content as easily as sitting down at a typewriter 20 years ago. Or at least as close to!

Methodologies (What I already do:)
  • Using video camera (hand held) with microphone to record interviews with the subject. This can then be cut for the video or transcribed for the written interview. I've cut down on the crap that doesn't get used and have a shot list in my head.
  • Taking my own pictures. I'm no pro, but the pics I take require not pro skillz man! They are fillers (break out pics) and stills for the video (helps for cut-aways and to reduce bandwidth use
  • Finding two angles. The text component is a more traditional straight story, where the video is a "me me me" angle. I think about both angles while I am in the middle of the story.
One step beyond:
Obviously I am a subscriber to the gonzo school of journalism. Live the story, be a part of it- for the video part of it anyway. This may seem like an egotistical way to do a story- but I think that misses the point. The video components are especially about, for and by an ordinary bloke/rider. Positioning self in the story gives the watcher the chance to be in the same spot- in the story. And this makes it all the more compelling. It also prevents "doubling up", where once you've seen the video, you don't have to read the mag. This would not only undermine the process, it would also take away the value adding nature of the partner video!

Soon, I will offer RSS feeds for my videos. This will only really help the "cult of Tom" as the RSS will only send out my work- no matter what the magazine. This may be a problem for editors, but frankly it's their problem. If I produce compelling content, then put me on a retainer and stop me diverting content to competitors (It would have to be a lotta $$'s!).

The bit where I tell the editors how to go about their business, while admitting I may be wrong or too early.


The following things are the bare minimum for survival and growth:
  • Acknowledge the need to build online loyalty to your brand and that you will be able to lever this loyalty and SELL UNITS!
  • Do more than pay lip service"We have a website fer chrissakes"- "...not updated for 6 months!" This means logging in everyday, running a mag blog: "we're off on a bike test tomorrow to Easter Creek! Will be out in May's edition" , reply to postings on your (compulsory) forum and updating little bits of content. Share the load about, but make sure there is a daily update at worst!
  • Be open to new media streams. The number of times I've heard editors and production staff say "ohhh that's in the too hard basket". It's not. It's simple, you just have to wade in and have a go.
  • Release your video content as a DVD with your annual/end of year bumper mag.

I'm happy to be a little bit wrong or a lot wrong on this, but I'd be loathe to bet against me. If you work for a magazine that has a focus that includes technology (like cutting edge bikes) and then eschew technology (via a crap/non existent/ never updated website)- what's the plan, man?
till later,

Tom

UPDATE:
Here's an example of the above in action
The Article pages: [1] [2] [3]
The Video
posted by thr at 3:40 pm

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