Archive for tag: Meltwater

21 February 2012

Buzzing about The BRITS...

It's that time of the year again where we sit in awe of all the beautiful celebrities as they make their way down the red carpet wearing the dresses we'll never have; it's the month of guilty pleasures, it's award season.

In the space of two weeks, the biggest award ceremonies on earth happen; The Grammys, The BRIT Awards (ok, that one's maybe not the biggest on earth, but definitely in the UK) and The Oscars. The Grammys have been and gone and the Oscars are happening at the end of the week, which leaves us with The BRITS taking place tonight. I particularly enjoy The BRIT Awards because the UK has some incredible talent and the winners are voted for by the public, not a set of judges.


There has been a huge amount of hype on Twitter and other social media platforms on who should win a BRIT Award, so it was only right to use our client's social media monitoring tool, Meltwater Buzz, to look at which artists dominated online conversations and generated the most "buzz".

We looked at the following four categories to analyse online conversations across Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums and other social media sites to see how much talk each artist had created since the nominees were announced at the beginning of January; Best British Group, British Breakthrough Artist, British Female Solo Artist and British Male Solo Artist.

In relation to Best British Group, Coldplay was a clear winner generating 43% of the online buzz in relation to the BRIT Awards, unlike Chase & Status who only accumulated 7%. I quite like Chase & Status and was surprised at the lack of chatter around them, what with them being a band with a considerable fan base. It just goes to show that with awards like this, where it's up to the public to decide the winners, your vote really does count.

Online conversations on the Best British Breakthrough Act showed no clear favourite; Jessie J, The Vaccines and Anna Calvi were all being talked about a lot in relation to winning the BRIT award, with Jessie J just ahead of The Vaccines with 29%. Jessie J again generated a lot of online buzz for the Best British Female Solo Artist nomination, dominating conversations with 35% of the buzz.

Surprisingly Adele, with her recent success in winning six Grammy Awards, generated the least amount of online buzz with only 6% of the public talking about her. Is this due to it being no surprise that she's been nominated or is it just that her talent speaks for itself?

What has surprised me is the lack of buzz around Emeli Sandé... As the winner of the Critics Choice Award and with her album release this week, I thought she would generate a lot more talk being such a fresh talent.

Emeli Sande

Ed Sheeran is shown to be dominating the online buzz in relation to the Best British Male Solo Artist category, with 35%, followed by James Blake with 29%. Who is James Blake? I'm clearly out of touch.

Although social media gives us insight into the buzz that is generated around each artist, it cannot determine the winner. What it does do is generate a storm of speculation on who will be favourite to win tonight.

Watch this space.


Brits infographic


10 February 2012

The future of content and link sharing … is in the hands of the UK Court of Appeal

This is a first for us here, we have a guest blogger on Blogtopus.

Writer and social media consultant Carla Del Vecchio, of Rule of Three, has written a really interesting and insightful piece about the copyright issues thrown up by the ongoing legal arguments surrounding our client Meltwater and the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA). After seeing her article earlier this week, we asked if we could reproduce it here and we were delighted when she said yes.

June 15 2011, marks the start of the UK Court of Appeal for the NLA vs Meltwater holdings case. I've blogged about this case previously,  because it concerns me that a commercial entity such as the NLA-whilst attempting to enforce the monetization of its content-can end up introducing laws that affect all of us in the digital age.

I do not deny that the issue is complicated. The print newspaper industry is no longer robust. As more people seek to gather their news from literally any place other than an inky page, online news sources, seeking to fulfill this new need, have in effect cannibalised their own traditional heritage; so it's not in the least bit surprising that firewalls have been erected to protect revenues and entities such as the NLA have sprung up into existence. But … just to clarify, this case originated because the NLA (founded by a group of newspaper owners) created their own "licenses" for users who in effect potentially make money from their sources. That includes PR agencies and newspaper aggregators or monitoring companies, such as Meltwater … and apparently their clients.

The license is effectively a tax for usage.

And as further clarification, Meltwater, to my knowledge, did not dispute paying for the license, but did vehemently dispute "on principle" that its end users- its clients, should pay the license also.

Andrew Hughes, the commercial director of NLA made this statement in a comment he wrote in response to a blog post on the issue:

"NLA and publishers are very happy for users of Facebook and for other social media apps to post as many links as they like as often as they like, without charge of licence. NLA is only seeking to licence PAID FOR services, not Google, Facebook, and other web tools."

All very well and good … but by the very definition you raise a huge question about what is a "PAID FOR service", because at a very literal level in the case of monitoring agencies they provide the service, so I can only assume you expressly mean: anyone who profits from, in some way using, the content in question.

Now I'm no expert on law or copyright but I am an everyday link-sharer. And from my Twitter business account I post links with, let's face it, the express purpose of sharing information in order to build upon my professional reputation as a freelance writer, which I hope leads me to more work.

Could this be construed as using links to make money?

What about Meltwater's not-for-profit clients, will they be charged? Or Joe-down-the-wordpress-road who has monetized his blog with some advertising … when he shares links to draw attention to his blog, will he be in breach?

Where will it end?

How the UK Court of Appeal handles this case will set a precedent for the future of content and hyper-link sharing. And once set, a precedent cannot be undone.

From all I have read everyone seems to agree on one fact, that there are a lot of grey-areas that this case has brought to light; particularly with a set of laws that are yet to effectively deal with a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

As a writer I firmly believe in the protection of rights with regards to copyright issues and hope that news sources find business models that benefit all concerned, but my thoughts today are resting with a more seamier truth … that is, how the NLA's attempt at double-dipping could potentially end up having serious ramifications for every day link-sharers, like you and me, all over the world.

To view the videos from the Future of Content debate, you can visit the Rule of Three blog.


10 February 2012

The Future of Content

Last week I attended the Future of Content debate at the British Library, which was hosted by my client Meltwater, in conjunction with the PRCA.

I think it's important to stress they are a client, so that anyone reading this will be able to apply their own critical faculties and decide for themselves the extent to which my opinions may be coloured by commercial considerations.

One of the opening statements in the keynote speech from Richard Sambrook, the Chief Content Officer of Edelman, was that he dislikes the word content. This was definitely a good starting point, despite the unavoidable irony, as he went on to explore the notion of what content is - stories, by and large, in a variety of formats - and explained the word content, in his opinion, carries too much implied commoditisation.

I have a lot of sympathy with that point of view.  Content… it's only a couple of rungs up the semantic ladder from stuff, if you ask me.  And as someone who used to earn his way in the world as a writer and journalist, and for whom the written word is still an important part of everyday working life, the further my outpourings are from words such as stuff (and even content) the better.

But the issue of commoditisation is at the heart of the debate on the future of not only content but the publishing sector at large.  How do commercial organisations make money in a sustainable manner from the content their publications create?

The game has changed.  Revenue from cover prices and display advertising has declined markedly with the shift to an increasingly online world.

Much of the debate at the British Library surrounded the ongoing disagreements between Meltwater and the Newspaper Licensing Agency which is a body owned by some of the UK's largest newspaper publishers to administer licensing agreements and collect fees for accessing and copying newspaper articles.  The matter has been before the High Court, is due to be heard in the Court of Appeal later this month, and is scheduled review by the UK Copyright Tribunal too.

Despite how polarised these two organisations' points of view there is a not insignificant point of convergence; everyone benefits from a vibrant, sustainable and commercially viable free press.  Ensuring publishers are able to profit from the content they publish is at the heart of this.

Whether you consider yourself to be on the side of licensing, paywalls, freemium models - or any one of the many other approaches publishers are considering - it is hard, especially if you work in the same industry as me, to disagree that somehow these important issues need to be resolved in a way that does not undermine the interests of any of the parties concerned.

It would also be hard to argue that the publishing industry has changed beyond all recognition in the wake of the mass adoption of digital content consumption.  That change, it has been argued, is no less significant than the invention of the printing press itself.

Change is inevitable in business.  Less so where human nature is concerned.  The future of content will be one that has to revolve around the desires of readers to have that content delivered to them in a way that suits their needs and gives them value.  Without that value, convincing anyone to pay will be an increasingly uphill struggle.