Archive for the Management Category

Mobile Strategy is Social Strategy

Posted in Internet, Management, new media on October 22, 2010 by James Rowe

The case I present to broadcasters developing mobile strategy is without taking account for social media planning is incomplete.  A ReadWrite Mobile post, sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent, explores the developer ecosystem for mobile apps which covers software.  Technology is key, however, it should be considered last in strategy development.  First think about the consumer, the audience, the user.

The Pew Research Center publishes the electronic paper “Rise of the Apps Culture.”   The study postulates eight out of ten Americans use cellular telephones and that has aided development of the “apps culture.”

“Among the most popular are apps that provide some form of entertainment (games, music, food, travel and sports) as well as those that help people find information they need and accomplish tasks (maps and navigation, weather, news, banking).”

Pew Research cites year old data based on The Nielsen Company’s Apps Playbook but the Nielsen blog linked here has more recent stats.  Data for mobile apps and usage evolves daily.  Likewise, use of social media grows every day.  Urgency to get social and mobile is constant.

Developers are doing some really creative work with apps.  New programs for social networks and other media are developed at a rapid rate.  It’s a race to meet consumers on their turf.

I spent last Tuesday evening at Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab learning about Knight Foundation’s News Challenge Contest.  The competition kicking off in days is titled “Knight News Challenge ’11: Mobile, Authenticity, Sustainability and Community.”  The challenge is built around developing content for mobile and social or community.  Knight funding realizes mobile strategy is social media planning.

Edison Research conducted a recent study calculating one hundred percent growth in daily usage of social media in just the last year.  Edison’s report on frequent social networkers points to a transformation in lifestyle for many Americans.

I tried to provide enough sources of data to support my assertion mobile planning is social media strategy.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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SBE – Interactive Radio

Posted in Engineering, Events, Internet, Management, Operations, Solutions on October 15, 2010 by James Rowe

It’s fall and it’s time for the national meeting of The Society of Broadcast Engineers.  The 2010 SBE National Meeting is in Madison, Wisconsin this year and in a location where you can really focus on interesting subjects on the SBE agenda.  They’re gathering at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton on October 26th.  The meeting is in an area with some good restaurants and easy access to the highway for adventurous souls who will need to experience the capitol city.  I am quite familiar with Madison and the Marriott West.

SBE is calling this year’s meeting the “Broadcasters Clinic.”  I’m particularly interested in the very first session October 26th, Tuesday, 9:15 AM CDT, on Push Radio.

“PUSH Radio is a term that we’ve coin[ed] to describe[s] the advances in technology that we have experienced over the past several years and how they push the boundaries of the traditional time based studio to transmitter radio content delivery concept and permit a more flexible, free form methodology for content delivery – it could be used to empower listener interactivity, link to web content, decentralize the studio and put more employees out in the street interacting with the listeners, among other things.”

They’re discussing administration and the audience, not to mention interactivity and getting out among listeners.  I think it’s a really good way to begin the national meeting.

Register for the meeting at the SBE website. Rooms at the Marriott may be taken by now but there are other hotels nearby and IMHO you will need a car to get about the area and the city.

While I’m expressing my delight with the SBE let me mention their Broadcaster’s Clinic page is social.  There are Facebook and Twitter buttons at the bottom of the page with the call to “Get Social with the WBA,” the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Spread the word. Get social. Get interactive.

Let me add if you’re planning to attend the first meeting of the SBE 2010 convention you will be interested in the new service launched by Rowe and Company.  This link will take you to the website with information on curaYtor Production.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


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News 3.0

Posted in Internet, Journalism, Management, new media, television on September 15, 2010 by James Rowe

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press releases a 145-page study every news director in the United States of America must read. The director of the Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Tom Rosenstiel, suggests we call the findings “News 3.0.” The Pew report is titled “Americans Spending More Time Following the News.” Download it and set aside a lot of time for an education on news consumption habits gleaned from telephone interviews with more than three thousand Americans in June of this year.

There are more ways available for people to get news and the report indicates because of the plethora of sources more Americans follow the news. Television still leads in consumption and radio and newspapers are ahead of Internet news sources according to research. However, Rosenstiel’s commentary, in the report’s conclusion, argues “the best way to understand what is occurring today with the way people interact with the news and technology is to think of it as the end of our digital childhood.”

In a report from Pew Internet & American Life Project in the first quarter of this year on “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer” researchers write “the Internet and mobile technologies are at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing.”

The March, 2010 report sampled less than 23-hundred American adults to determine a “revolutionary shift” in how news is consumed has taken place over the last five years. The research claims social networks have an increasing role in how Americans receive news information. Online news consumption falls behind newspapers (third in the contest for consumption). The earlier study indicates three fourths of Americans gathering news online do so through email or social network posts.

What does it all mean? Back to the interpretation from Rosenstiel – Pew studies present “signs of a new phase, perhaps even a new era, in the acquisition and consumption of news.”

Heads up news executives, it’s time to pay attention to the work of the Pew Center and download and study their voluminous reports.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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Will A Third Way for Broadband in the United States Work?

Posted in Internet, Management, NAB, new media, television on June 4, 2010 by James Rowe

The United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman believes he has a compromise to the broadband debate.  Julius Genachowski’s strategy to deliver high speed Internet connections to all U.S. citizens takes a new direction.  The kink in the chairman’s proposal is the question of how much authority the FCC has over Internet Service Providers.  Broadcasters are watching closely from the sideline his plan to divide the broadcast television spectrum.

PC Magazine uses the chairman’s own words, “third way,” to headline the FCC’s new plan  Genachowski proposes to redefine the Internet as a telecommunications service.  Doing so gives the federal commission authority to regulate ISPs.  The chairman’s sticky wicket is Net neutrality.  He’s  straddling the divide between consumers and providers, both Internet and television.

The Appellate Court ruling in April of this year bridled the agency’s reach for the National Broadband PlanPC Magazine explains Genachowski’s setback as “reclassifying only the transmission component of the broadband access service as a telecommunications service.”  It’s sort of partial enforcement of telecommunications rules when it comes to broadband.

The Chairman issued a statement saying “the FCC should adopt a restrained approach to broadband communications, one carefully balanced to unleash investment and innovation while also protecting and empowering consumers.”  Where will the balancing act land the broadband initiative?

The commission’s next open meeting is June 17, 2010.  Here’s a paragraph from the news release on the June meeting’s agenda:

“Framework for Broadband Internet Service NOI: A Notice of Inquiry to begin an open, public process to consider possible legal frameworks for broadband Internet services in order to promote innovation and investment, protect and empower consumers, and bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans.” 

The National Association of Broadcasters’ position “is working to promote spectrum policies that do not restrict consumer access to the full potential of digital television (DTV), including high definition (HD) and multicast programming and mobile DTV.”

There is a lot of fence straddling going on with a nationwide broadband plan.  What do you think?  Do you plan to file a comment with the FCC?

Broadcast Newsroom Computing next considers investigative journalism and new technology.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Economic Upswing People Recession

Posted in Economy, Management on May 2, 2010 by James Rowe

In a recent interview Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council for the Obama administration, said the United States is in a “statistical recovery” and “human recession.” The characterization is more revealing than the usual balderdash from egg heads like Summers.

Latest estimates for television advertising growth anticipate an increase of 7.5 percent pushing ad revenues to $17-billion this year according to Media Daily News. The website points to a BIA/Kelsey report the growth will come from an improving economy and political advertising from mid-term elections.

Financial reports from media groups are interesting. Fisher Communications reveals earnings up 31 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Entravision cites five percent growth for the same period. Meredith Corporation shows 20 percent. However, the Associated Press failed to show a profit last year.

The pundits forecast an upturn in the life blood of media. Media Daily publishes a report indicating a modest boom in advertising buys.

“By contrast, both pricing and total upfront ad spending are expected to be on the upswing this year.”

The Obama administration credits their economic stimulus plan with lifting the nation out of recession. Jobless claims are declining which leads us to believe there is an increase in employment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employers laid off fewer workers in the past month resulting in a decline in unemployment claims. The language used to report circumstances of people who buy products media advertises is ambiguous at least. So let’s set it straight. Fewer people are losing jobs however jobs growth to provide currency needed to fuel a true recovery is skimpy if at all.

The best interpretation of employment or the economic situation of Americans media depend on is offered by Mint, in my opinion. Examine the website’s blog post “Who is Feeling The Pains of Unemployment and Why.” Hence my opinion of Summers’ economic assessment of improving stats and continued human misery. Let’s be hopeful of recovery but let’s also be realistic. Is there a recovery without one for humans?

Next Broadcast Newsroom Computing introduces another blogger keeping an eye on media technology.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


Managing the Inevitable

Posted in Economy, Management, Revenue on April 19, 2010 by James Rowe

Change is the only constant in my humble opinion. Managing evolution is a life requirement. Broadcast newsrooms are affected by an ecosystem in flux. The greenbay pressgazette website attempts to explain developments in a recent report.

The Wisconsin website took a parochial view of changes in television advertising. The pressgazette reporting underscores the requirement for local content production. Media executives are learning again the old adage of everything is local. The post suggests the recession and new media competition drives recent change.

Economics and competition fuel lowering of costs and a push for new technology. Steve Myer, president of the Karma Group in Green Bay, Wisconsin is quoted in the pressgazette.

"There are a lot of companies out there that are wasting their money on television advertising simply because they are buying it the way they did 10 years ago.”

Time for decision makers to take control and steer change facing business growth. We will learn new techniques as models are developed and we’ll learn some of the basic tenants long forgotten in public service still apply to new media and media fragmentation. Many of the challenges reported in recent research are issues I remember from decades ago working with small media outlets competing against much larger operations.

I believe efforts my colleagues and I made in the old days to promote public service were integral to understanding how our audience lived, spent their money, and consumed media. Today there is an abundance of media available and bountiful platforms for consumption. The consumer is more discerning and less accepting of traditional overtures dictating ways they receive messages.

Technology is as much an engine of change as the economy and competition. Better management of new technology is without question one of the most important steps in taking control of the inevitable constant of change.

Next Broadcast Newsroom Computing reports on all the chatter surrounding mobile DTV.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Local News Lives

Posted in Economy, Journalism, Management on April 11, 2010 by James Rowe

Local news was always alive just ignored. Somehow a cat in a tree one thousand miles away seemed of more interest to local audiences than a lead poisoning threat in a regional apartment complex. A recent headline in Broadcasting and Cable proclaims “Local News Escapes the Ax.”

The recession brought grave concern about the viability of local news coverage. Television news departments are still laying off staff. Network news departments continue to lay off journalists as well. News budgets are flat. However, there are reports of hope this mid-term election year in the United States will contribute to the revival of local news coverage.

The conflict and controversy of politicians throwing mud at each other in political advertisements and in news sound bites is expected to revive an industry? Wow, how unimaginative. No wonder audiences find a cat in the tree more interesting.

The prediction a year ago local news was headed the way of newspapers is proven wrong by time. However to the contrary, a year ago Fox and NBC began pool coverage of local news rolling out Local News Services in some major American markets. The tried and proven pooling of resources grew in popularity as other news departments either joined local news services or purchased media they produce.

This year, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting joins the local news return. CPB last month began a local news initiative. The Corporation provides funds for Local Journalism Centers with public television and radio stations. Patricia Harrison, CEO and President of CPB gave a lengthy explanation for their inspiration of LJCs.

"Working together with stations across a region, along with emerging new digital journalism organizations, they can make a significant contribution to news gathering and distribution, which is critical to the information health of these communities."

The continuing recession and new media disruption of traditional news coverage brings new thinking to news planning. There has always been a need to know about regional issues and events.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing considers change management next.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC