21 February 2012
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
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
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.
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
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.
, The Brits, The BRIT awards, Meltwater Buzz, Meltwater Group | Leave comment
10 February 2012
This is a first for us here, we have a guest blogger
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
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
Andrew Hughes, the commercial director of NLA made this
statement in a comment he wrote in response to a blog post on
"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
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
To view the videos from the Future of Content debate, you
can visit the Rule of
Meltwater, NLA, copyright, Rule of Three | 1 comment
Last week I attended the
Future of Content debate at the British Library, which
was hosted by my client Meltwater, in conjunction with
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
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
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.
, Meltwater | Leave comment
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