The UK blogging renaissance is on its way

19 01 2009

Over the last six months or so much has been written about the apparent demise of blogging. The story runs that fewer people are blogging, blog networks are struggling to attract advertising and high profile bloggers have ditched the format and are using other social media tools such as Twitter.

The latest media company to put blogging under the microscope is NMA. A piece in this week’s issue written by Greg Brooks rehashes much of what has been written online, but then adds a uniquely British spin. So for example he asks Dela Quist from email company Alchemyworx who, surprise surprise, thinks that brands shouldn’t waste their time blogging but look for other formats – err that’ll be email I am guessing. Then Jamie Riddell of digital agency Cheeze adds that other platforms have replaced blogging. Bizarrely he cites Vimeo as an example, a video hosting site that very few Brits will ever have heard of let alone use.

The rest of the piece is, IMO, actually a really useful summary of the blogosphere and its conclusion that the blog market is evolving not dying is something I can concur with. Read the rest of this entry »

Bye Bye Wallstrip – where now for online video?

8 01 2009

It was a bit of a shock this week to discover that CBS has canned it pioneering online video show Wallstrip. In case you have never seen it Wallstrip was a fabulous weekly financial news show that tackled serious newsy topics but in a light-hearted and very engaging way. Both of its hosts Julie Alexandria and Lindsay Campbell were really quite superb and from a personal perspective it ranked alongside Viropop as my favourite weekly vidcast.

What’s even more shocking is that CBS is pulling the plug on a show that it actually paid a reputed $5 million for just over a year and a half ago. Bizarre.

CBS says it intends to take the spirit of the show and inject that into some of its other online video offerings. It has quite a sizable video portfolio now since spending a whopping $1.8 billion on buying Cnet last year.

The bad news for anyone in online video is that Wallstrip works in a high revenue ad sector – finance, 2 has a strong cult audience, 3, doesn’t seem especially expensive to produce. So if CBS can’t make the figures add up (and by all accounts Wallstrip was never profitable) then who can make online video work?

Well I still think indie producers are at an advantage here. CBS’s Wallstrip probably had some pretty hefty overheads – not the least of which was Ms Campbell’s salary. I am sure that if it was still in the indie sector chances are it would have been profitable, maybe not at the moment, but at some point in the not too distant future.

Nevertheless it seems tragic that what is arguably the flagship online vidcast (which had its million dollar price to prove it) is no more.

Exciting new video project – The Money Shot

2 12 2008

For a couple of months now I have been working on a series of projects with Simply Media. Simply are a leading British online video company. They have pretty much been producing web-based video for longer than anyone else and have an impressive list of partners (iVillage, Glam, The Indie, Boots, Borders) to prove it.

Anyhow here is a snippet of the first of those projects – The Money Shot. Its is basically a topical weekly show that delivers hard hitting financial news and advice, but comes with a side order of pop culture and humour. It is the UK’s first show of its type, delivering ‘serious’ finance news to a young, predominately male audience.

This is the pilot, but there is a second online already here. You can also watch the episode above in much better quality here.

If you like what you see and want to embed future episodes of The Money Shot on your site give me a shout at ashleynatlineonedotnet

Why Next New Networks needs to get blogging

16 06 2008

There’s one online media company that I know almost as well as Shiny Media, and that’s Next New Networks (NNN). My heart skips a beat each time I get a Google Alert with their name and I religiously devour each word written on the company blog.
This is largely because NNN has quite a lot in common with the company I am a shareholder in, namely Shiny Media. Both have trailblazed an online format that mixes copious amounts of video with traditional blogging that I believe to be the template for the future of many media companies.
The interesting part is that while Shiny has taken a million or so quid in funding, NNN has been invested to the tune of almost $30 million. Even more interesting because Shiny has so far attracted a very impressive range of advertisers including Nokia, Marks and Spencer, Vodafone, Sony, Dyson, LG and many others, while NNN’s blogs and videos seem largely bereft of any advertisers.
Nevertheless this week’s announcement that NNN’s CEO Herb Scannell was stepping down, or rather moving sideways to become chair of the company, came as a bit of surprise. Scannell is of course a huge player in the TV industry with a CV that includes stints at Nickelodeon and MTV. Yet given the tone of the post on the NNN blog it is pretty clear that the company is about to undergo a fairly seismic change of direction.
Read the rest of this entry »