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 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, 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 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 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

Could the BBC open up the iPlayer to social media/indie video?

7 11 2008

erikhuggers460There’s a very interesting interview with Eric Hugger, the Beeb’s digital tsar over at The Guardian. It is very pleasing to hear that he hasn’t entirely forsaken his web background and talking about making the iPlayer available internationally and even embracing social media.

‘He said the iPlayer should be opened up internationally, that needs to introduce more social media and that the corporation is working to develop industry standards so that content can be developed more easily for a range of different devices.’

So what does introducing more social media mean? Quite probably a few more blogs and wikis on the BBC homepages. However it did get me thinking as to quite how the BBC could atone for its previously very sniffy attitude towards social media (ie independent) content.

Imagine how cool it would be for the iPlayer to also offer access to vidcasts like Viropop, Megawhat, ChannelFlip and (cough) PopJunkieTV. It would give the Beeb an opportunity to bring new British web based content providers to a much larger audience. Maybe shows which started in bedrooms in north London could even up as BBC comissioned programmes. The start ups would love the wider distribution for their shows too.

Not only would it deliver the iPlayer loads of extra content, but it would also take away a USP of sites like Joost, BT Vision etc and strengthen the iPlayer’s position from whatever Kangaroo and Hulu offer when they launch in the UK next year.

Ok, so there may be some issues around BBC brand values and advertising strategies to be overcome, but the move would send a clear signal to the many critics who think the BBC is stifling new media innovation in the UK that the corporation is opening up to social media.

The really exciting part could be when the iPlayer emerges as software for the main home TV screen. How cool would be to have access to independent vidcasts on what will almost certainly become the de facto Internet TV standard in the UK?

Well just a thought.