Media – The Differences Between Internet Media and the Radio

With so many different venues to derive news from today, most people limit their news consumption to only a few of those many. Integrated into a daily routine, most sources are fit to the type of schedule that allows. For example, those who sit down for morning breakfast often times find media companionship in a daily newspaper delievered to their front door. Others who sit in front of a computer for hours upon hours a day find their news goldmine in online news sources. I happen to be one of the latter.
With a students schedule, and a computer on hand for the majority of my day, online news is the easiest and most up-to-date source available to me. In between typing up papers, checking e-mail, or surfing the net trying to find the best deal on the latest digital technology, I click on my bookmark for BBC.com or CNN.om and get the latest dish on what’s going on nationally and internationally. Coverage on online sites is far more extensive than coverage found in newspapers or other print media. This is due to the infinite space available on the net as oppose to space restricted by printing costs and size limitation. Images, videos and even interactive presentations fill the screen with news in an entertaining light, not just words on a page. As such, this media source goes far beyond simply relaying information as it was recorded but educating the public through more than one medium at time.

Not only is online news more visually pleasing and comphrensive, but it is more readily accesible for people such as myself who are often on the go. Clicking in for a few minutes at a time allows one to scan the main stories and their synopsis, without having to sift through pages. It also provides updates on old stories and continuously brings forth new information almost to the minute. As oppose to newspapers or other printed sources, online media is always current and relevant, a primary reason why I choose it as a main source of news. Despite the fact that the internet is uniquely engaging, it lacks a particular appeal to multitaskers. Delving into internet news requires almost all, if not all, attention to be placed on the medium. This however, is not true for some news sources, namely radio.

Radio news channels provide a diverse amount of information that is easily digestable. Short and to the point, radio news broadcasts allow the listener to be updated on major news while going about their normal routine. The method does not interfer with what the listener may be do ing otherwise, but rather works as a supplement. As such, radio broadcasts carry only the most relevant and attention grabbing news. This, in essence, does not burden the listener but rather encourages them to tune in and share a sense of local or even global awareness.

Being a student, it’s not always possible to do one thing at a time but rather, it is almost a requirement to do many things at one time. As such, having a news radio update is immensly helpful as it does not require the listener to be directly engaged with the medium. With the push of a button and a little scanning I can leave the radio on and expect timely updates on important happenings locally and internationally while I type up a paper, wash the dishes or clean up. Simply having a medium that only requires one sense to be engaged allows for a lot of flexibilty but it often isn’t as informatlive and engaging as actually watching news unfold before you.

Televison news is by far the most engaging and entertaining medium that I use regularly. It allows for live feeds, exclusive footage and demanding interviews on the dot. With a variety of styles and colorful anchors, television news is not simply information, it is entertainment. News shows provide in depth stories with interviews and shocking footage that cannot be captured and devlivered with so much feeling and intracacy over any other medium. Images are powerful but video coverage brings news into a whole new light. With television we are able to see news unfold, not merely read or hear about it.

The entertaining and engaging nature of television news is what really draws me in. It captures the attention of the audience through a variety of images, still and moving, graphs, text and other vibrant methods of displaying information. I find it to be a medium which appeals to the masses. You don’t have to be at a particular reading level to understand it, or have acces to new technology; television media is available to all at a basic level. Many people form attachments to local stations, favor particular anchors and simply enjoy watching their presentation. Different styles and techniques allow for a diverse audience as different methods of presentation encourage awareness and action. Television news makes events real, not merely stories on a page.

Though all news mediums are beneficial in their own way, each one does have its strengths and weaknesses. Different mediums appeal to different individuals based on factors such as demographics, location, understanding and lifestlye. News sources, whatever they may be, have a great significance in society today. Coverage, in-depth or otherwise, allows an individual to be connected to their local community or even the global community. This sense of unity and belonging creates a mentality of responsibility. Speaking for myself, it creates a desire to give back, to make changes and to be part of history in the making as an informed and educated individual.

DST Investments: Earth to Russia or Earth to U-S?

I am not claiming to know any more than you about the Russian Internet-focused investment group, Digital Sky Technologies (DST).  Yet it doesn’t even take a curious reader to notice a headline or two about DST’s noteworthy stake of roughly 5% in Facebook, and its fresh investment in Zynga.

I discovered two things from my recent visit to DST’s website.  Having invested around $1 billion in digital over the past several years, the firm certainly qualifies as a big player in the investment space, although not one of the all-time biggest, when judging by investment size.  My second observation was that the DST guys have demonstrated a “classic” taste in investments by choosing proven, established, trademark kinds of companies.  In addition to Facebook, these investors have placed their money in ”@mail.ru,” Russia’s largest free email service; “Vkontakte.ru,” a simplistic knock-off of Facebook in terms of content, but just as popular as the real thing among Russian youth; Forticom, which owns “Odnoklassniki.ru,” among others (this social network is positioned with “Vkontakte” pretty much like MySpace is with Facebook).

The “Vkontakte” site, like a fake bag missing some defining trinkets, resembles more of a computer program than the virtual universe that Facebook managed to create.  The Russian site doesn’t have as many features as Facebook or any of the social applications we are constantly being bombarded with as users.  Perhaps it isn’t too unreasonable to claim that nothing meaningful has been gained from any of the 300,000 active social apps on Facebook.  Yet the presence of this staggering figure implies that users must be using the apps, either by choice or maybe even “by accident,” as dozens of app invitations tend to surface on people’s homepages, begging for a click.  Zynga, DST’s most recent investment, owns 5 out of the top 10 apps on the site, including FarmVille, which many network users publicly claim to have gotten sucked into.   So it follows that Zynga has been growing more and more interlinked with Facebook, probably inspiring DST through its association with Facebook to also invest.

At the same time, DST must have considered the recent favorable trends in the Applications sub-sector of digital media, which Zynga relates strongly to, especially when considering the company in the context of its connection with Facebook.  The Web and social applications category dominated in terms of category deal value in 2009 with $2.8 billion, as well as in terms of deal volume, which also increased by a substantial 63% over the prior year.  Consequentially, DST was likely to see this point in time as a good one to invest in a social media application- related company.

Thus, it seems evident that DST’s investment strategy is quite logical, and the widespread speculation about the firm being poised to become an even bigger player in the investment field in 2010 is not irrational.  DST Investments: Earth to U-S.

News Corp./Content Providers vs. Google, Round 394

Recently, Rupert Murdoch has public mused that News Corp. might start blocking its content from Google’s search results. As many of you already know, Google provides search results that link to content from News Corp. (and many, many, other providers), along with a brief summary of said content. Google gets ad revenue tied to these search results, and it keeps all of the money. However, Google contends that it drives significant traffic directly to the sites (on the order of 1 billion page views per month, according to Marissa Mayer), and it allows the content owners to then try to monetize this traffic in any way they deem feasible. Plus, content owners are free to block Google’s search engines from linking to their sites.

Everybody gains, right? Not so fast. The search results frequently contain enough content that viewers do not feel the need to click on the original news link. And, this system puts the control of the viewer in the hands of Google, not the news source, by disaggregating all of the news.

So what is the solution, if you are a content provider? You could do what News Corp. is contemplating, which is to pull your content. Would it really be worth it to News Corp to decrease its traffic in order to spite Google? Probably not, which is why nobody of note has done it yet. One solution that has been rumored is that News Corp. would partner with Bing, a Google competitor, in an exclusive arrangement: Bing gets increased traffic to its search engine, and News Corp. receives some compensation from Bing for this exclusive traffic. However, and this is a big however, many viewers would likely just continue to use Google and then go to non-News Corp websites for their information, except in cases where News Corp. has exclusive content. The only way that this would work is if all of the major news sites signed an exclusive arrangement with Bing (or whomever else). Then they would have a critical mass of content that drives users to a different search engine.

If push came to shove, would Google consider providing a split of some of its revenue to these providers to prevent them from joining the other side? Doubtful. My view is that there is so much news content out there, both from “professional” and “amateur (blogs, etc.)” sources that it would be very difficult to have a concerted effort large enough to make a dent to Google. Stay tuned…