August round-up of media stories

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Here are a few stories I’ve been sitting on for a while:

  1. Mountains Out Of Molehills | Information Is Beautiful
  2. Newspaper ABCs. This is an interesting story. Although newspaper circulation figures have been steadily falling anyway, a lot of figures have been artificially inflated by means of the inclusion of “bulks”: giveaway copies you might find on planes, in car showrooms, and elsewhere. A lot of newspapers are stopping the practice, while others have been negotiating with the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) over, ahem, exaggerated figures. Peter Preston: Fleet Street loses out in complex numbers game

    The Mail has bailed for a better figure by adding 24,000 or so “bulk” (giveaway free copies), while the Indy has accentuated its plight by knocking 9,000 off its bulk mountain. And this is only the beginning of a complex saga as the Guardian and Observer, shedding over 20,000 bulks between them in July, declare that henceforth they will renounce bulks entirely.

    Both papers are acting forthwith. This means July’s already diminished 9,000 and 12,000 copies respectively, given away free to punters on airlines, trains and the like, will no longer form part of overall claimed sales when August’s results arrive. No padding left. If the Telegraph did likewise, its UK sale would be 669,000, a full 93,000 gone in a trice, and the Times would dip below 500,000.

  3. ITV is still the best place for mass-market advertising: Response: ITV is still the UK’s top peak-time channel

    ITV1 is the home of the top five new dramas on any channel in 2009, including Whitechapel, Above Suspicion and Unforgiven; in comedy, ITV1 again tops the charts with Harry Hill’s Bafta award-winning TV Burp and the critically acclaimed and hugely successful Benidorm; and we are rightly proud of our record-breaking entertainment hits, whether it’s Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, or Dancing on Ice, I'm A Celebrity … and Hell’s Kitchen.

  4. Microsoft successfully launches on-demand TV: Microsoft’s MSN Video Player nears 170,000 show views in first 11 days
  5. A university study of mobile data reveals interesting patterns of behaviour. Also, that people (as they ever did) mis-report their activities, depending on their attitudes towards them: Mobile data show friend networks
  6. Here’s one for debate: an opinion piece at newsless.org on what’s “missing” from the news. A bit US-centric, but could be relevant: The 3 key parts of news stories you usually don’t get at Newsless.org
  7. A documentary film about advertising: Art & Copy Film.
  8. It’s a fact that more equal societies are happier societies. Our very unequal society is a recipe for widespread misery – at both ends of the economic scale. Human beings are social animals and we are most fulfilled when we collaborate and share. Here’s a heartening series of articles on the GOOD blog about why we like to share:
    We Like to Share
  9. Finally, I hope it hasn’t escaped your notice that the Murdoch news empire has plans to charge for online content. Some of you know my opinion about online newspapers (I think they should keep 90% of their content for the print edition, and radically reduce the amount they publish online). What do you think about free newspapers? I never pick one up when I’m in London, and it all seems like a colossal waste of paper to me. Now the Murdochs have decided to close their London free sheet. It makes sense. If you’re going to stop giving away your content online, why continue to give it away in print? Down the drain: Why Murdoch closed the London Paper

    Given the advertising downturn, most analysts expect the London Paper’s losses over the past 12 months to have worsened. Douglas McCabe, a media analyst with Enders Media in London, says: “Murdoch is saying ‘enough is enough’. He’s saying newsrooms have value and by giving away free content you devalue them. It would be somewhat ambiguous to start charging for online news and still give away news in a free paper.”

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