How the US watches TV differently from the UK

A BBC / ICM poll showed yesterday that online video was eroding television’s market share. The research found that nearly half (43%) of the 2,000-odd people questioned who watched video online admitted they watched less TV as a result. You can almost hear the broadcasting behemoths quaking in their boots.

Or can you? Further research from US network, CBS, seems to show the opposite. Ian Delaney spotted it and quotes from the channel’s press release:

"CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” has added 200,000 (+5%) new viewers while “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” is up 100,000 viewers (+7%) since the YouTube postings started."

This is really interesting stuff and gives us a glimpse of the difference between broadcaster attitudes in the States and the UK.

CBS in the States is actively using YouTube as a marketing tool to (in their words) ‘seed’ TV shows with a potential online audience.

This is something I’m not aware the BBC is doing. I posted earlier in the year about coming across snippets of the BBC’s (then) new Armando Iannucci show, Time Trumpet, on YouTube. But these weren’t uploaded as official BBC material and frankly were a bit too short/cut up to be worthwhile to anyone not familiar with Iannucci’s material.

Maybe the BBC will use the findings to inform its online marketing but even if so, whoever picked the headline stat for the news story went with the scary "Oh my God! No-one’s going to watch TV anymore!" which certainly won’t be the case as Simon Wakeman makes clear in a comment on Ian Delaney’s blog:

"A few years down the track the distinction between broadcast TV and online video will be less anyway, as more content is consumed online on demand, whether it’s shared video or video from “traditional” broadcasters."

It goes to show that a lot of UK media companies still aren’t understanding the full benefits or impact of online consumption.

As a footnote, the CIPR’s newly released consultation Code of Conduct has a reminder for PR practitioners that they have a duty to obey copyright laws when dealing in social media. That’s fair enough I suppose. Everyone has an obligation to obey the laws of the land.

But what about when practitioners’ clients are faced with the dilemma of allowing people to share content which will breach copyright laws but potentially increase the client’s audience or market-share?

Interesting and confusing times.

Press Gazette RIP

Word reaches me via Guy Clapperton that the inevitable has finally happened.

The UK’s trade mag for journalists, Press Gazette, has closed after 41 years.

The title’s recent fortune’s could be seen by some as a portent for the media industry across the land.

A once strong and outspoken magazine run by journalists for journalists is then bought and run by a PR cause celeb who then decides it’s not worth the money so chucks it on the heap. After 41 years of reporting about reporting the Press Gazette bows out by annoucning its closure on its website.

CIPR unveils Social Media Code of Conduct

The UK’s CIPR has unveiled its social media code of conduct through President, Tony Bradley’s, blog PR Voice. You can the view the document here.

I haven’t been through it yet but I hope what the CIPR has laid down is not overly prescriptive for what is a rapidly developing part of the communications industry.

I do sometimes wonder whether top-down rules are the right answer for a medium that by its very nature is self-policing…

The other thing I wonder is: who has helped the CIPR devise the Code? None of the bloggers I have spoken to recently have had a hand in it… as far as I am aware. Anyone?

More to come undoubtedly!

Social Law – the future of legislation?

Among all the posts last week about the Universal lawsuit  against MySpace, Ian Delaney’s fits in nicely with a very interesting conversation I had yesterday with blogger and solicitor, Justin Patten.

Justin blogs at Human Law and called to chat about social media, business and the law. One point that really got me thinking was the way the current law functions on the internet and the impact social media is having on the way laws are enforced.

I mean, we all pretty much know that the best to deal with a potentially confrontational situation in the blogosphere isn’t to slap a big ol’ lawsuit on the other party. Engage with them; reason with them; try to find a mutually agreeable solution where both parties are winners in the eyes of the online community.

This is why it is called social media.

Ian Delaney’s post is relevant because he highlights the actions taken by socially savvy MySpace to attempt to resolve key issues, such as copyright infringement, before the music and video giants get pissed off.

Meanwhile the traditional media behemoths such as Universal - which argubly does’t get social media - go straight for the legal jugular.

To bring this back to the conversation I had with Justin, I suggested that in the same way society is being re-shaped by the internet, so too will laws and legislation have to change.

I explained that in my eyes the best way lawyers could take on the blogosphere would be to move towards a mediation model over a confrontation model. This struck a chord with Justin – at least I think it did. I’d had a lot of coffee.

Rather than issuing cease and desist orders willy-nilly perhaps lawyers should embark on a process of mediation to try to resolve the problem without recoursing to dead-end legal action.

It makes sense. The media is becoming socialised. Business is becoming socialised (see social search). Politics and public policy making is starting to become socialised. So is it not right that our legal systems – which help shape and frame how the above function – should also become socialised?

Or is it just me?

Downing Street website goes live with two web 2.0 firsts

Two firsts for web 2.0 politics have been unveiled at the Prime Minister’s Number 10 website.

First of all a system to allow the electorate to directly petition the Prime Minister has been launched. This is possibly the first time anyone has had the opportunity to directly petition the PM without shouting or throwing flour.

I posted about it last night over at my political blog and was perhaps a little sceptical. Other PR bloggers have picked up the story too.

The second first is that the people behind the petition and its open source software, mySociety, state that they hope the petition will be the first time a beta version of government software has gone live.

Tom Steinberg at mySociety writes:

"The site is being launched in beta, and will change over time. This might seem too commonplace to note for many of you, but it reflects a willingness to see a public IT service evolve in response to users, not simply fulfil a contract agreed in advance. mySociety exists partly to spread good practice in the public sector, and we think this is a nice example of that in action."

This is perhaps a more significant development than the online petition – at least to me. It’ll be interesting to see how the civil service and government suppliers respond to the new economics of web 2.0 and the idea of a perpetual beta!

By the way, if anyone is unfamiliar with mySociety I would urge you to check out their website – they’re responsible for some great work.

*UPDATED* Me, me, me…

I thought I would just indulge in a bit of me time – it’s my blog after all.

I’m off to London on 1 December to play a small but important part in a conference on word-of-mouth marketing.

It’s the idea of my boss, Andy Green, and is organised by the outfit behind the Delivering the New PR series of events, Don’t Panic.

Andy’s idea for the conference is to explore who is taking greatest ownership of w-o-m marketing. Is it the marketing people or the PR people?

It’s an interesting question, and one explored recently in detail by Andy Sernovitz (via Mike Manuel).

I’ll be doing my bit about blogging…. haven’t thought too hard about it yet but will probably cover making your blog content sticky and SEO/SMO.

A week or two after that I’m off to Paris for Les Blogs 3. I’m looking forward to that as last year Simonsays… didn’t even exist when the bloggerati were convening.

Stuart Bruce can’t make it sadly, but me and my other boss, Ian Green (no relation), can. If anyone fancies meeting up for a chat about social media, blogging etc drop me a line. I’m dead keen on discussing the future for tagging, non-linear search and networks over a pastis or two….

*UPDATE* Still on the subject of me…. turns out I’m only a blummin C-List blogger! Oh the sheer, unadulterated joy.

Borkowski: experts in word-of-mouth?

I’m down to speak at a conference on Word-of-Mouth marketing next month (more later). On the bill is Mark Borkowski of Borkowski fame.

Now Mark’s agency seems to be generating it’s own w-o-m in the blogosphere at the moment.

PR Week reported (sub required) about a film clip of Mark’s firm who are moving offices which was uploaded and widely viewed on YouTube.

But then Stephen Davies noticed something fishy. …The World’s Leading… picked it up too as did Drew B. Drew in particular gives the firm a stern critique!

In Borkowski’s defence I think he said that no-one at the firm uploaded it… but it’s certainly a lesson in generatoing w-o-m

Whatever 3.0

Both my boss Ian Green and Ian Delaney highlighted a recent article from the New York Times about the emergence of what is being termed web 3.0 which on the fact of it seems to be a reference to the W3C vision of the semantic web.

I don’t think I fully understand the semantic web but from what I can glean from others’ posts the idea is that we are building a way for computers/technology to talk to one another in the same language to help us humans do stuff with the web.

Now that’s an interesting one isn’t it…?

The over-whelming benefit of social media for me is that it enhances communication by involving a strong human – ie. social – element.

Fair enough the semantic web (as far as I can make out) is of more excitment to programmers and developers than mere users, but as an non-techie end-user I worry slightly that this is all missing the point.

The idea of non-linear (‘intelligent’) search – discussed the other month herehere and here - is potentially revolutionising the way we provide, organise, find and use content online through tags and social bookmarking.

What really excites me about this is the way the web is becoming more efficient and useful not just through advances in technology, but through advances which allow more human interaction, not less.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that no matter how clever the artificial intelligence is, the fact remains that it is still artificial and not genuine.

Or am I being too “the machines are taking over” paranoid?

UPDATE: Bob Boydston adds an insightful comment to Ian Delaney’s original post.

Could Press Gazette survive online?

Guy Clapperton blogs about the imminent(?) demise of Press Gazette.

Given the amount of time PROs and journos spend in front of a computer could the magazine work as a purely online publication?

Antony Mayfield posted a while back about the magazine’s strong online offering… could this be the solution?

I hope so because Press Gazette was always a good read when I found a newsagents stocking it, plus it had excellent content from its news feeds.

PR students well prepared for a social media world without realising it

Leeds Met university lecturer Richard Bailey’s blogging sweatshop tactics seem to be paying dividends for his PR students.

Alumnus Alex Pullin posted the other day about a couple of new PR bloggers from her alma mater (I’ll stop the latin refs now).

I’ve already plugged Kate Kilday but Alex also welcomes Paddy Doyle to the blogosphere.

A quick read of the comments section throws up some other student bloggers: Lydia Cambata and Sam Harris.

Add to this list Leeds Met CIPR student rep and blogger Chloe Chaplin and that’s quite a community of five promising student bloggers.

More importantly is the fact that they seem to congrege around Alex’s blog which make it look like Alex is a bit of a student blogger maven.

This raises another interesting issue about networking. I doubt (and apologies if I’m wrong) many of the student bloggers already know about connectors and mavens.

Back to the Richard’s blogging workshop mentioned at the top of this post. At the event Richard and I had a discussion about networking and students.

Understanding networking (both off and online) and how to use your networking skills effectively is probably not something taught on higher education curricula.

I for one definately think it should be. But with the popularity of social networking tools like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, networking is probably already second nature to most students even if they don;t know about it.

UPDATE: Richard Bailey has posted about netwokring here and here.