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 »





Anorak Publishing launches

20 11 2008

Hi all

Here’s the official word on a new start up I have put together will Paul Sorene of Anorak. There’ll be a bit more background on it tomorrow (Friday).

Top British website Anorak.co.uk re-launches, while founder announces arrival of new online publishing company

• Top UK media/politics site gets re-design
• Site owner Paul Sorene announces Anorak Publishing with three new sites in the pipeline
• Ex Shiny Media CEO, Ashley Norris, takes role as Chief Executive

Anorak, one of the UK’s longest running news and media websites, has unveiled its new re-design. The site’s owner, Paul Sorene, has also announced the formation of a new online content company – Anorak Publishing.
The brainchild of freelance journalist Sorene, anorak.co.uk has been delivering an irreverent slant on the media and politics for the best part of a decade. The re-designed website maintains Anorak’s stated mission of keeping tabs on the tabloids, but also includes revamped sections on media, strange but true, celebrity, sport and tech.
The site, which currently attracts 300,000 unique readers each month, now also boasts a crack team of freelance writers including award-winning journalist Paul Berger, Private Eye’s Ed Barrett, the voice of US satire ‘Iowahawk’ and Ollie Irish ex Editor of Stuff Magazine.
‘Anorak is one of the leading UK websites that focuses on media and politics,” says founder/editor Sorene. ‘It was very interesting how sites like Salon, Drudge and Instapundit played such an important role during the US election. Anorak is the nearest thing the UK has to those sites and with the financial markets in meltdown, an election less than a year and half away and the media in turmoil we certainly have plenty to write about.’
Sorene also announced the arrival of Anorak Publishing, which will develop a series of websites aimed at British men. ‘The new titles will keep the same anarchic spirit and high editorial values of Anorak but will focus on niches like music and sport,’ he says.
The first title to emerge from the stable is PopJunkietv.com an irreverent music website which Paul has worked on with ex Shiny Media CEO Ashley Norris.
‘PopJunkie started life as a weekly vidcast,’ explains Norris, ‘but it was always intended to develop into a fully fledged site. The site’s writers, Victoria Shortt, of award winning UK music blog Victoria’s Jukebox fame, and Sean Hannam, deliver taut irreverent and engaging copy covering old music, new bands and upcoming music technology.
Norris, who will work with Sorene on Anorak Publishing as CEO, says he has always wanted to work with the Anorak founder. ‘I think the site is on its own in British media. No other independent website covers its core topics of media, politics and celebrity in quite the same way. Paul has a unique voice.’
‘I feel confident that with anorak.co.uk as the flagship title and with the new launches that are in the pipeline Anorak Publishing can be a major player in British online media,’ says Norris.

Paul Sorene and Ashley Norris are available for quotes, interviews, Lattes etc. Please email shinyashley@googlemail.com





The Guardian ditches old school blogging…

9 09 2008

Yep the redesign of its blogs, which is completed this evening, signals the end of the organisation using an old school blogging approach .

Firstly the paper is leaving Movable Type, which is the pro blogging software favoured by among others Huffington Post, and is now working with a new format R2.

Perhaps more importantly from a reader’s perspective, the re-designed blogs now only offer a very short intro, or to use the old media word standfirst, on the home page. To read the story users have to click through to the page.

The reason The Guardian has done this is that being less generous means more click throughs, more page views per users and subsequently more ad impressions served.

However one of the beauties of blogs is that a user can read a great deal of content without leaving the home page. In my book sites that don’t give the reader at least a third of the story are, gasp, websites rather than blogs.

Of course the Guar’s blogs will keep all the trappings associated with the format, namely opinion focussed articles, links to other stories etc, but are they blogs now? What are blogs anyhow? It’ll be interesting to see how readers respond.





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 »