Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So …. did one of my entries get edited?

I have to admit that yes, I recently took the unprecedented step of editing one of my blogs after it had been posted, but I think it was with good reason.

In my usual style, I tend to flavour my posts with a little bit of humour (some might say a very little bit) and added a post in which opened with some frivolous rants provided in a very light-hearted context. Reading the full blog, it would have been clear what my intended message was, however it seemed that one journalist in particular decided to paraphrase these frivolous comments and use them, out of context, as the basis for an article.

Despite a couple of phone calls and an email chain asking that the context and intent my blog be preserved, the article was printed this week, suggesting that I was “attacking” free to air TV stations.

I was not.

The intention of my blog was to communicate my support for the strategies of some of the visionary activities we are seeing in the market - including from free to air stations extending their reach via complementary delivery channels - which I am pleased to say, we are working very closely to support. Unfortunately, this message was not preserved and so I took the liberty of taking my humourous entrée out. Hopefully the blog as it stands now leaves no doubt.

If my opinions were taken out of context, I apologise.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Yuletide is rising ....

A quick note in what is already a crazy week (there are ALWAYS last minute things that our clients need done before Christmas) to reflect on the year.

In a "very unusual year full of very unusual things" we have seen some pretty significant, structural changes in the digital services and associated markets. It was the year that the online marketing budgets got serious (well, a little serious anyways - we still have a way to go). It was the year that the majority got connected and the connections got quicker. More people are using digital channels to become informed, to be entertained, to communicate, to consume, to connect and the range, depth and quality of services we offer is rising to meet these ever increasing demands.

This was the year of YouTube, MySpace and YourThis and OurThat - but importantly it was the year that the consumers got involved - and the Web 2.0 movement was born. (I am working on Web 4.0 - just you wait until you see that!!).

On a personal front, it was the year I got to see first hand the evolution of a good company into a GREAT company. I have watched some amazing, intelligent and motivated professionals create some outstanding and ingenious things for our clients. These are truly EXTRAORDINARY people. (and no - I won't limit this sort of praise to the company newsletter - I am loud and I am proud when it comes to my colleagues!).

Finally, it was a year in which I saw our investors and supporters get rewarded for their belief in what we have done and their faith that we can deliver what we we are setting out to do. Thank you.

Most of all ... it was the year in which we set out to change the world..... and dammit!! we are doing it!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Old habits die hard...

I have to admit that I am a little surprised that the traditional media has fallen into their usual "summer schedule" for 2006/07, raking very hard at the bottom of the content barrel for muck to fill the timeslots until "ratings season" starts again in the new year. To some extent these "old habits" are a function of the way the industry used to work - things were measured during the ratings periods and the content offerings were scheduled accordingly... and I guess that "Liposuction Live 2002 - Where Are They Now" and re-runs of re-runs 0f re-runs are going too keep the viewers committed to good old free to air TV for what, 13 or 14 weeks.....

There has to be some risk to this strategy, since we are now in a time and a market where consumers have a wider range of choices. Sure there is some great sport on the box this summer, but the filler around it is not providing too many "must watch" moments from what I can see. To my mind, this is going to provide consumers with a good chance to try some new sources of entertainment and I expect that the rich media content websites live Heavy.com, YouTube and MySpace can expect to see some extra traffic over the coming couple of months.

I don't necessarily think that this will mean that consumers will leave TV in droves, but rather that there will be a bigger chunk of the viewing audience who come out of this summer period with a different set of expectations about how they obtain and consume their entertainment. Over the last year consumers have shown us that they want greater choice and flexibility in the way they get their entertainment and digital channels are increasingly an integral part of that.

In my opinion the smart operators are already acknowledging this and are implementing strategies to take advantage of the best that digital channels have to offer. Well constructed websites and mobile content provide great ways to engage consumers outside of the timeslots in which this content is broadcast. We are already seeing the internet being used to engage consumers in the lead up to, and alongside FTA TV content, as well as providing a way to maintain engagement after a show has been broadcast. I very strongly believe that the quality of the content will be what allows it to draw and retain an audience and integrating digital channels to the broadcast schedule will allow broadcasters to leverage this quality to a greater extent and for longer periods of time. In my opinion, it is important to create distinct engagement around the content as well as the broadcaster to ensure that consumers engage in the way which best suits them.

So what of this summer and summers coming? I think that the future will show us that customers want content which entertains them when they want to consume it. I may have missed an episode of a show and want to catch up on a story, be involved in the development of the next installment of the series, or be entertained by supporting content and services between seasons. For me, now is the time to acknowledge that consumers connect as much with the content as they do with the organisation who delivers it, and to implement strategies accordingly.

The great and exciting thing is that all of this is happening at a time when the technology, the channels and the understanding of the business have evolved sufficiently to help to realise the potential of digital channels. We have reached an exciting time in the evolution of entertainment and the industry it supports and are witnessing the consequences of the work we have done as we set about changing the world.