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Jul 4, 2009

The Year The Newspaper Died. What's next? Blogs?

from Silicon Alley Insider by

As you may have noticed, newspapers have had a rough 2009. But you may not quite appreciate the magnitude of the collapse.

So far this year:

Jul 1, 2009

BET Awards Ratings Soar Thanks to Michael Jackson, Twitter

Net Used Social-Media Tool to Announce New Acts, Encourage Fan Feedback

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Broadcast networks may have gotten a boost from Michael Jackson tributes over the weekend, but the biggest beneficiary was Sunday night's BET Awards. The Viacom cable network's annual ceremony was the year's highest-rated cable telecast, with 10.65 million viewers watching live-plus-same day, thanks to its last-minute tribute to the late singer and more than a little help from a partnership with Twitter.

Jamie Foxx honors Michael Jackson on Sunday night's BET Awards.
Jamie Foxx honors Michael Jackson on Sunday night's BET Awards.
Photo Credit: BET

On Thursday afternoon, just hours before Mr. Jackson would be pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center, Scott Mills, chief operating officer, was touting the network's rapidly growing presence on Twitter, which had doubled to more than 20,000 by June 25 from just more than 10,000 followers on June 22. The @betawards Twitter account was used to announce new artists just moments after they had been booked to perform at the show. Viewer feedback and comments were collected for a "Wall of Tweets" that appeared on the network's website and will also appear on-air during the show's repeat airings on June 30, July 2 and July 6.

Mr. Mills said last Thursday of Twitter, "Unlike mobile or online voting, it's the immediacy that gives it extraordinary resonance. So many of the artists and celebrities that are part of the show are either participating or attendees and have giant followings online, so this is exactly the kind of thing their followers would like to be aware of. We want to leverage that opportunity to make the people who aren't in the venue but watching the show at home feel a part, too, by encouraging those constituencies to tweet while they're enjoying the show."

By Sunday night, the followers numbered 40,000-plus, with BET Awards-related terms accounting for all 10 Twitter trending topics at one point during the show's three-and-a-half-hour telecast. Traffic to BET.com also saw a 100% increase over last year's BET Awards coverage, and broke the site's records for best two-day total for unique users for the June 28 and June 29.

Although the Twitter partnership wasn't a revenue-sharing effort, Chloe Sladden, Twitter's director-media partnerships, said, "We're in an experimental phase -- we're focused on learning and developing creative audience-building approached with our broadcast collaborators."

The Jackson effect
Although the BET Awards regularly ranks as the network's highest-rated telecast each year, BET Networks CEO Debra Lee readily acknowledged the role Mr. Jackson's tribute played in helping this year's show go above and beyond all previous ceremonies.

"The number of viewers who tuned in to see the BET Awards '09 is a testament to Michael Jackson's far-reaching and long-lasting influence and legacy," Ms. Lee said in a statement. "We're thankful to everyone who played a role in the show, both onstage and behind the camera, and it meant so much to all of us to be there for our audience at this emotional time."

The show's sponsors also got a big boost from the larger-than-anticipated audience. Kmart sponsored its first award, the "Best Collegiate Athlete Award" on behalf of the Protégé Apparel athletic line sold exclusively at its stores, during the "106 & Park" pre-show, which attracted a network-best 3.1 million total viewers. Ford also used the pre-show to promote its 2010 Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKS, the full-size luxury vehicles that served as hosts throughout the red-carpet coverage. Procter & Gamble sponsored the "My Black Is Beautiful Post-Show," which garnered a record-setting 5.2 million viewers, plugging its Queen Collection brand, endorsed by Queen Latifah.

Louis Carr, BETN's president of broadcast media sales, called the BET Awards the "black Super Bowl." "When you look at the numbers this show garners, the type of demand for tickets, the stars we have and the red carpet of any sort of tent-pole award show on television, it clearly comes off as the biggest family event for our audience," he said.

Jun 30, 2009

Fox Sports To Twitter During Baseball's All-Star Game

Ken Rosenthal of Fox SportsGet ready for sportscasters to increasingly tweet from the booth as they call games. Fox Sports is offering a sample of what's likely to come when a roving reporter will use Twitter during the broadcast of baseball's All-Star Game next month.

Ken Rosenthal, who provides reports from the stands and elsewhere, will answer viewer-submitted questions between his on-camera appearances during the game July 14. He will also use Twitter as a venue to offer thoughts and opinions during the coverage.

Many believe the promise of Twitter is interactivity with those -- be they celebrities or simply people at work -- who were previously unavailable.

Fox Sports president Ed Goren called Twitter "a communications phenomenon that continues to grow. Our hope is that those who follow us on Twitter" will have a deeper connection with the broadcast.

Rosenthal, who is also becoming an on-air personality for the MLB Network, may be offering a template for sportscasters going forward: reporting on-air, as well as via Internet sites Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

"I'm sure time will permit me only a few on-air opportunities during the [All-Star Game], so this gives me a forum to answer as many questions from fans as possible and report more of what I learn and observe," Rosenthal said.

Jun 28, 2009

Has Twitter Displaced Search, Portals, and News? The New Portal to News?

Michael Jackson, Twitter and TMZ

Following the tragic death of Michael Jackson last night, UK Internet visits to his homepage increased 17 fold. Yesterdaywww.michaeljackson.com was the 9th most visited Music website in the UK, and the highest ranked artist homepage.

TMZ, the website that originally broke the story, picked up 1 in every 1,100 UK Internet visits yesterday, making it the 73rd most visited website overall. Given that the site usually ranks somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 in the UK, this was a 20-fold increase in visits.

Of course, the subject is dominating conversations on Twitter and – as the chart below illustrates – the micro-blogging service had its busiest every day in the UK yesterday. That the spike wasn’t quite as huge as may be expected is probably due to the fact that news broke so late UK time. Given the time difference, my guess is that my US colleagues will have some more representative stats that show the true impact later today.

Twittering the Iran Election

Following the elections that took place in Iran on June 12, Twitter has become one of the most popular mediums for distributing information about the protests. Daily visits to Twitter.com (excludes mobile & desktop applications) increased 13% on June 12th as compared to the previous Friday and traffic jumped 23% Wednesday, June 17th from news and photos of the massive rallies taking place in Iran.

twitter DMS.png

Among all of the search terms driving traffic to Twitter.com in the US, ‘iran election’ ranked #13 out of 4,303 last week. Conversely, Twitter.comreceived the highest share of clicks from queries for ‘iran election’, one of the most common hashtags for the coverage, even ranking aboveGoogle News.

iran election small.png

In addition to Twitter, YouTube has also become another outlet for news as video coverage of the protest activities have been uploaded. The popularity of both Twitter and YouTube showcase the ability to disseminate information when many major news outlets are unable.

Downstream Iran small.png

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