I’m making a presentation to business people in Belfast at the end of November and just working on the speech now.
This is very much a work in progress (some of the sentences barely count as sentences – some of the thoughts … aren’t).
Comments welcome: I’ll credit you in the speech if you do.
Five Things in Six Minutes
It was more than ten years ago science fiction writer William Gibson said "The future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed." Even in the last 18 months that notion has changed.
I’d say "The future is continuing to arrive, it’s being distributed but most of us haven’t read the User Manuel yet.
I have six minutes and in that time I want to tell you five things.
• The Future is Here
• We’re All in the Media Now
• Content Drives Media
• Content is (almost) always driven by Stories
• The Key to Storytelling – KISS
We’re All In The Media Now
Do you remember how it was?
It’s the 1 November 1982 – Northern Ireland – the day before Channel 4 opened
We have three TV Channels; BBC’s 1 and 2 and UTV plus min the right place RTE1 and 2 TV
There are 4 Radio National radio stations – BBC’s 1, 2, 3 and 4
And there is Radio Ulster. Downtown and BBC Radio Foyle. and the two RTE stations
Oh and Radio Luxembourg was there too. But that was – more or less – the Electronic media market 25 years ago.
Today there are now more than 530 channels on the Sky platform.
There are now 5 terrestrial channels.
In addition to the radio stations from 25 years ago – we have the Cool/DTR split, City Beat, U105 the several "Q" stations on the north west and even two other TV stations – Northern Visions in Belfast and Channel 9 in Derry.
There are three national commercial stations … there’s more, but that will do. I’m not even thinking about the Digital Radio channels available here.
SO that’s it – the electronic media landscape.
25 years ago it was impossible – without Government legislation – to start a new and legal TV or Radio Station. Even 10 years ago it would have been difficult and expensive.
Today it is very different.
We could all go off today and set up a new TV channel – we’d need some investment and a few easy to get licences. But we could set up a TV channel by the end of the month.
We could – if someone was to take a run into town and buy a few pieces of kit – set up a radio station — oh, if we worked through lunch – by 1.30 today.
When media took the step from Analogue to Digital the hurdles that were access to the means of production and the means of distribution disappeared. And the costs ranged from cheap to free.
Until recently, for example, one of the most expensive parts of a web site was the cost of hosting Streaming Video. That is now free through well known sites like You Tube, but also specialist sites like Blip.tv. All you need to do is post your video onto one of these sites. The system automatically converts it to Flash – and you can link that into your site or your Blog.
Most of us have the kit to record a video at home and the program to edit it on our PC – or we can down load one free.
Microsoft are currently testing a site that provides Personalized business domain name , Professional, hosted Web site Easy-to-use design tools, 5 business e-mail accounts,Web site traffic reports All Free – not a company known for such largesse. http://officelive.microsoft.com/ Office Live is available only in the US now – but you can register interest from the UK.
But put in it’s simplest terms, anyone with a mobile phone made in the last 18 months (or even earlier) has access to the internet and is in the media.
Of course there is an impact on quality, range, purpose. Hardly minor things. And assurance that media professionals are still needed for a while anyway.
The big difference is that I am not talking about Mass media – but a new concept – Targeted Media.
Content Drives Media
There’s not much point of a TV station without programmes, or a radio station without music or presenters or conversation or stuff that will attract people to listen.
But here we get to the intimate relationship – the whole reason for media – the relationship between the medium and the consumer – and that relationship is bridged by the content.
Now – there is nothing new about interactive media. The first letter of complaint – or praise – but I bet it was a complaint – that arrived at the first BBC Director General’s desk which caused a change in the programme content was interactive.
We’ve just got more sophisticated and as consumers we have learned to expect more.
We are also better equipped to originate our own content, place it on our own platforms and engage with our own new audience.
The role of the audience is changing and the definition of the audience is changing to. The audience is now the customer, the client. New and emerging media is about Conversations.
Content is (almost) always driven by Stories.
There’s a young (arn’t they always) man in the US called Robert Scoble.
He helped run Microsoft’s Channel 9 Web site. He began his blog in 2000 – eventually reaching more than 3.5 million readers every year. Scoblie’s blog has earned acclaim in Fortune magazine and The Economist. He now works for Podtech
He co-authord Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers,
By "Naked" he means communications that are not filtered through his employer’s marketing or public relations department—a key part of its appeal. he argues that every business can benefit from smart "naked" blogging. "If you ignore the blogosphere… you won’t know what people are saying about you. You can’t learn from them, and they won’t come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation."
The very freedom that allows you to use emerging media to talk about your business, gives others the opportunity to do the same – not always complimentary.
NIR has a great website with lots of (usually) up to date information about services – but nowhere for customers to raise concerns or have conversations about the service that they pay for.
There are plenty of others with either a theme or postings.
Dell computers have come under a lot of comment – negative – from message boards and blog posts. Both employees and customers use (probably) the most famous site I Hate Dell.
Naturally BBC Sucks. Although we are now blogging furiously having come to the project a little late – and it does work.
Blogs are only one way to grow a relationship with your clients. And there is one simple key to success – honesty.
The Key to Storytelling – KISS
Don’t get caught up in all the jargon – http, RSS, AJAX, Flash, MP3, MP4
There is only one thing to remember – K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
How do you do that? Use new media as an opportunity for a conversation not a conversion. The Mass Media does it’s thing, but focused targeted media has a role, too.
Keep the conversation unfiltered by marketing and PR
And should your audience take you off the linear path you had planned – go with them.
It’s storytelling. And storytelling is only just compelling content since we sat in our caves and talked about what was over the horizon