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What Does David Westin’s ABC Departure indicate for TV’s Future

September 8, 2010 Comments off

In light of my recent repost on Google TV vs. Apple TV vs Microsoft…we now have an upset in the ranks of TV execs.  All of this activity makes one wonder just what the heck is going on behind the “Wizard’s Curtain?”  And, what is this about “term limits,” that sounds sooo, well a little too governmentalish or political in tone some how?  Again no answers here nor resources like I normally post. As, I am just amazed at the changes taking place and wondering how we as PR professionals can find anything solid to crasp a hold of to hand on while this all takes place.

What David Westin’s ABC Departure says about the Future of TV News

By Gail Shister on Sep 07, 2010 10:45 PM

Heyward.jpgIn the wake of David Westin‘s announcement this week that he’s stepping down after 13 years as president of ABC News, networks should initiate informal five-year term limits on news division chiefs.

So says Andrew Heyward, (right) president of CBS News from 1996 to 2005.

“If the media continues to evolve and change at anything like the pace it has, you need a regular infusion of new ideas and new leadership,” says Heyward, a media consultant whose clients have included NBC News.

“These are very demanding jobs,” he says. “They’ve become incredibly complex in the last 10 years. The pressures have been building since the ’80s. They aren’t the statesmanlike positions they were when network news was invented.”

In Heyward’s view, the perfect candidate for ABC “would balance reverence for what is … valuable about network news with a willingness to consider pretty radical change. That’s more likely to happen with somebody who hasn’t been there for a decade or so.”

By Heyward’s yardstick, NBC’s Steve Capus and CBS’s Sean McManus would both be lame ducks. And the late, great Roone Arledge, who ruled ABC from 1977 to ’98, would have exploded the metric.

Lone exception to Heyward’s rule: Fox News top gun Roger Ailes, whom he says will remain in office “for at least 100 years.” (FYI: Heyward says he has never consulted for Fox.)

While some experts say Westin’s departure signals Disney intention to get out of the network-TV business, others insist it’s too early to tell.

“It’s not necessarily a sea change, but the world of mass-media journalism is changing so rapidly, people [including the media] are desperate to explain what the changes mean,” says network-news analyst Andrew Tyndall.

Thus far, according to Tyndall, “This is a trend piece masquerading as a news story.”


While Heyward says he takes Westin at his word that the decision was his own, Tyndall speculates he was asked to resign. “If he wanted to leave as a point of principle, he would have done it before he cut 25 percent of the staff [in February], not after,” says Tyndall.

Marc Berman, senior analyst for Mediaweek, sees no mystery in the tea leaves. Westin’s move “doesn’t signal anything except it was time for a change. Disney has so much at stake in the TV business, I don’t think they want to just pick up and walk away.”

For ABC News to survive, it has two options, Tyndall says — Make even further cuts or, as rumored, merge with Bloomberg in order to gain a desperately-needed cable presence.

AndyLack.jpgTyndall would like to see the two join forces, with Andy Lack, (left) CEO of Bloomberg’s Multimedia Group and former NBC News boss, running the new enterprise.

Heyward disagrees on both counts. ABC-Bloomberg “doesn’t seem as logical as other alliances that have been speculated. Bloomberg seems to have a strong financial focus.” As for Lack, “I’d be surprised if he were terribly intrigued by this.”

Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television, says “media marriages” — whether ABC-Bloomberg or CBS-CNN — are inevitable because of economic pressures. News divisions no longer have the luxury of being loss leaders.

Meanwhile, the concept of “radical change” is intriguing to Heyward, and could manifest itself in numerous ways.

One possible scenario: A network could drop its evening newscast, abdicating day-to-day news coverage to the digital world. With a smaller — and less well-paid — staff, the news division would focus on producing specialized, magazine-style, original content, to be syndicated across a broad range of platforms.

What about stars? “TV without personalities doesn’t make a ton of sense,” Heyward acknowledges. “Then it’s just video.”

“The few unique characters that really give you a distinctive brand will still command a premium, but you’re not going to have newscast producers” making huge salaries anymore.

Competition: GoogleTV? vs. Apple TV? vs. Microsoft?

September 8, 2010 2 comments

Google to start TV service in U.S. this autumn? What are your thoughts? Please read the follwong this article out of Germany. I would be interested in what your thoughts are in the PR/social industry? This is not the Amazon.com of the Internet is it? Kmart, move on over? Where Google trys to be all thing to all people and offer everything but the kitchen sink. 
So in summary Google is competing for market share against Apple and Micro-soft simultaniously?  All these players want a piece of what??? Ultimately?
And, how do we the people can keep up? How do I do my media planning now with the blurring of all these channels and markets.  How do we track PR campaign results from this?
Again, I would love to hear some feedback, as I have not clue on these upcoming media and Internet related changes.

BERLIN (Reuters) – Google Inc will launch its service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room.

CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of program makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers.

“We will work with content providers, but it is very unlikely that we will get into actual content production,” Schmidt told journalists after a keynote speech to the IFA consumer electronics trade fair in Berlin.

Sony said last week it had agreed to have Google TV on its television sets, and Samsung has said it was looking into using the service.

The announcement comes less than a week after rival Apple unveiled its latest Apple TV product and will intensify a battle for consumers’ attention and potentially for the $180 billion (117 billion pounds) global TV advertising market.

Schmidt also said Google would announce partnerships later this year with makers of tablet computers that would use Google’s Chrome operating system, due to be launched soon, rather than its Android phone software, which has been used for mobile devices until now.

The Mountain View, California-based company plans to make Chrome, which competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, the centre of an operating system that would offer an alternative to Microsoft Windows.

The world’s No.1 search engine is hunting for new revenue opportunities as growth in its core Internet business slows and as new technologies such as smartphones and social networking services transform the way consumers access the Web.

Schmidt declined to comment on Google’s plans for a social network of its own, and while he said there were plans to expand in music, he would not elaborate.

Reuters reported last week that Google was in talks with music labels for a music download store and a digital song locker.

Asked about criticism over Google’s Street View in Germany, Schmidt said he had anticipated it and that he had talks with some members of the German government during his stay in Berlin.

“What’s unusual is that we’ve given you (the Germans) the possibility to opt out before (the launch); we have never done that anywhere else.”

Google’s Street View cars are well known for crisscrossing the globe and taking panoramic pictures of the city streets, which the company displays in its online Maps product.

Critics say the tool invites abuse. They argue thieves can search for targets, security firms could use the data for sales pitches, job seekers might find their homes scrutinised by employers, and banks could inspect the homes of loan applicants.

Google ran into trouble in Germany in May after authorities found out that Street View vehicles were collecting private data sent over unencrypted WiFi networks.

“I was very angry about that,” Schmidt said, adding that once it was discovered, Google put an end to it.

Video SEO Tips: Strategically Boost Your Search Engine Ranking

January 11, 2010 17 comments

Even with my recent posts on the social media landscape, said landscape continues to morph at warp speed, and we are seeing more and more videos everywhere; on business sites, corporate news pages, personal websites, video hosting sites, mobile devices, social networks, blogs, cell phones, email and postings to video portals, and posting for clients.  The Government even has its very own video channel on YouTube.   

I had to post a video very recently and immediately realized there needed to be a strategy for this MarCom element as well to maximize my external outreach efforts.  So, I went on a little “virtual research trip.” 

According to eMarketer, 63% of Americans currently watch online video, up from 32% in 2007. I am sure this number is much is higher now.  Three years hence, is a life time in the social media world.

My focus is always to look at how the changing landscape can benefit communication and marketing professionals with new media strategies and tools.  To do more with less and to do it cost effectively. Therefore, I am constantly scanning the social media landscape. 

Because many users do not have unlimited web space, either as a paid service, or through an ISP offering, video hosting services are becoming increasingly popular, especially with the explosion in popularity of blogs, forums, and other social media interactive pages.

When posting a video from a business,  public relations, marketing and communication perspective it is imperative to understand how to leverage your social presence through online videos by applying Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) strategies. 

 You do not want to be the needle in the hay stack that nobody ever finds. You want your target audiences to find you!  With the rise of  our current “Moblution” and Internet hosted Video services, your goal is to ultimately rise to the very top in the top search engines and their respective ranking results.  Clearly, Google is giving preferential treatment to multimedia content in search results, and this is an important factor to know!  I can’t quantify this just yet, but it’s a personal haunch, which I will try to validate with a little more research (so stay tuned & I will update this blog).  But it is my personal opinion that online video is the fastest way to achieve top organic search listings.

Secondly, YouTube alone has more than 52,436,820 unique visitors a day and ranked as the third top Internet site in the US.          But it is also important to know that there are more than 30 other video notable video hosting sites.  And there are indeed many more!

I guestimate that what you/we/I want to accomplish is channel saturation and depth of penetration through syndication across as many video hosting sites as possible.  So, the question begs, how does one syndicate their videos out across various video sharing websites? And, how does one carry out VSEO? 

The end goal is to have your video “optimized” to appear highly ranked in Google’s search results.  Video Syndication Brings Higher Rankings and More Targeted Traffic. Therefore, the idea is to syndicate your video by sending it out across multiple video sharing websites simultaneously to obtain maximum exposure  using specific strategic key words for search term results.   Below are a few useful tips. There may be more, but this will get you started an out of the hay stack, so to speak.

Strategic VSEO Tips:     

  • Place online video presentations on public sites and intranet portals
  • Remotely update videos on video portal websites
  • Enable viral video sharing
  • Integrate comment & rating capabilities
  • Allow for approval-based or automatic requests for video distribution
  • Capture statistics on syndication, viewership, Search Engine Ranking, redistribution performance

 VSEO TIPS:  

  1. Create Relevant, Unique, Informative Videos that speak to your target audiences 
  2. Consider Your Video thumbnails – A video thumbnail is what users see first when they make their decision as to whether or not to view your video or another. Video search engines and video sharing websites use different methods to grab and show the thumbnail for your video. Some engines use the first frame of the video while others, like YouTube, will often take the thumbnail from the exact middle of your video.
  3. Make Your Videos Less Than 5 min. Long – One of the worst things that you can do is to create a long-form video as most users watch videos 3 minutes or less. If you do have a video that is longer than 5 minutes in length, try to break it up into smaller videos and make sure to tag those accordingly.
  4. Sitemaps – For video that is hosted on your own website use of a video site map on your site will help to filter page rank as well as direct search engines where to index your content. Use relevant keywords within the anchor text of all links to the videos that are featured in your video sitemap.
  5. Surrounding HTML -In order to get your video to rank well, you clearly will need to provide the search engines with text based content that is relevant for them to index and rank you for. Ssurround your video content with relevant content (on-page) as well as related links.  Add a text transcript or external captions as text that you publish on the page with the video.
  6. Descriptive Meta Data – Use relevant keywords in your meta data to optimize your video.   Include a keyword rich description of the video within the meta descriptions.
  7. Title - Make sure that you use the relevant keywords in your title as this is likely the first thing that the search engines will use to identify your video. Also try using a catchy or unique title that will not only give attention to your video but convey your theme, product, or brand.
  8. Tags – tag your videos with key phrases that are reflective of the content.
  9. Keyword “video” - Eric Papczun pointed out at the Search Engine Strategies conference in NY this past April, that a lot of people add the word “video” to their search query keyword phrase. As a result, make sure that you add the word “video” to your title, description, meta data, etc.
  10. Optimize your video for Important Key Phrases – You might want to optimize your video for terms users are likely to be searching for. Tag your video with these terms, consider naming the file name of the video with these terms in mind.
  11. Optimize URLs - In the same way that you do this for other web pages, you will want to optimize your URLs so that they to contain information about the video. Also, make sure you only have one video per URL.
  12. Branding – Many of us have found that video marketing is a great tool to help generate brand awareness with your potential customers. Use a watermark throughout your video to help incorporate your brand.  This will help to drive users back to your main site if the video is hosted elsewhere.
  13. Inbound Linking – Link to videos using important keywords in anchor text.
  14. Upload to Video Sharing. Simultaniously upload to video portals (tubemogul & here as a paid service called Hey!Spread) and provide links back to related content and other videos on your Internet site. Here is a list of ways to get your Videos On Video Search & Sharing Sites
  • Miro – Miro converts any media RSS feed into a channel.
  • Video Upload Pro – Software to submit your videos to multiple video sites including Atom Films, Blip.tv, BoFunk, Bolt, ClipShack, EvideoShare, Flurl, Google Video, Guba, Jumpcut, Live Video, Myspace Video, PutFile, Veoh, Vimeo, Yahoo Video, Youtube, and more.
  • HeySpread – Free online tool to send videos to multiple sites
  • TubeMogul  TubeMogul is the hands down the best free tool to submit videos to multiple video sharing sites in one go. Currently supporting Metacafe, MySpace, Yahoo, Revver, AOL Video, DailyMotion, Blip, and BrightCove, TubeMogul does a great job at syndicating your videos out to these video sharing sites with full support for Titles, Tags, and Descriptions and provides analytics for you to track your video views across all of these websites. I highly recommend this free tool.   More about TubeMogel: TubeMogul’s free beta service has been live since November of 2006, and in January 2008, TubeMogul announced the launch of its Premium Products, which include a host of new professional features.  Through its acquisition of Illumenix in October 2008, TubeMogul is also able to offer rich engagement and performance metrics to video sharing sites, content creators and advertisers.  Brett Wilson, Co-founder and CEO, Brett leads the strategic direction for TubeMogul. He spent the first three years of his career as a consultant for Accenture. Next, he founded and led YouCanSave.com, a profitable e-commerce company that obtained over $69 million in revenue and was successfully acquired.

16. Allow Embed Code – Definitely enable sharing and allow users to embed your video code into their own blogs and websites. This will help to create backlinks to your video which can help increase the video search optimization as well as make your video go viral.

17. Encourage Ratings and Reviews - When you encourage users to rate your video, search engines will pay attention to videos that have higher ratings. In addition, videos which get high ratings from users tend to be the same videos that users often mark as favorites and share with other users.

18.  Submit each video sharing site destination URL to Onlywire for social bookmarking

19. Check for your video across listings within specific video search engines and video search sites.

20. Syndicate – Submit your video RSS or MRSS.  Here is a list of where to submit to Video RSS and MRSS Feeds

OTHER NOTES:

The Future: Mobile Video Hosting

A more recent application of the video hosting services is in the mobile web 2.0 arena, where video and other mobile content can be delivered to, and easily accessed by mobile devices. While Internet based video-hosting services such as YouTube ( and many others) have developed means by which video can be watched on mobile devices, mobile-oriented video hosting services is an evolving component of the new Mobilution to come, in rapid succession. So, if I had a crystal ball, I would suggest learning all I could about VSEO strategies inside and out, and then strategize how your futre video productions/hosting and distribution will fit into Mobile Video for Mobile Devices (MVMD) will be developed, deployed and optimized for VSEO…because…..

the future is not for the Internet viewership but with Mobile Devices, where we will be decoupled from the desktop.  A mobile live streaming software called Qik allows the users to upload videos from their cell phones to the internet. Currently videos are stored online and can be shared to various social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and others.  Videos will be stored on the servers and can be watched from both the mobile devices and the website.

I suggest that the future is in the mobile device.  Start strategizing now and begin formating your videos to meet those screen/size/distribution requirements. 

Also, a final note, please dont forget to continuoulsy build upon some of what I have previously posted in my other blog topics. For example, create a Bit.ly link of your video and submit it through Ping.fm and track it through both Bit.ly and strategically distribute through the Twitter Universe as well. Then send your bit.ly linked video through Mobile Marketing Services for distribution via cell phones.

Stay Tuned, as I will next talk about strategically Revamping Your Business Internet Press Rooms and Press Releases!  All the previous posts build upon the Changing Media Landscape, Social Media Landscape and Ultimately Web 2.0 enabling and maximizing your communication and marketing efforts into a creshendo of internal and external reciprocity with continuous communcations, or Now PR.

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