Posts by Alastair Thompson

  • Hard News: NZME and you, in reply to Sacha,

    Google Doubleclick for Publishers aka DFP is a Google Product which is wonderful and provided for free to publishers - and one which saved us a lot of money when it was made free. Google provides a heap of wonderful free tools notably Analytics which Scoop and countless other news organisations use.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you, in reply to BenWilson,

    While I think a per GB communications tax is a poor way to fund NZ culture I do think that some form of Government action is required if NZ culture is to survive in a digital age. Some kind of per household connection tax - ala the broadcasting license fee - is definitely a proven and tested way to address this issue.

    Arguably since the broadcasting licence fee was was abolished in the 1990s we have gone backwards a long way.

    Dismissing other people's solutions is easy.

    Proposing workable ways to address this issue is what is need.

    Neo-liberal economic views on the dead weight of taxation are highly debateable and expressions like...

    "Jesus, could communication be one thing that doesn’t have the government’s finger right up it?"

    ... are not really helpful to a serious deliberation about the subject. Nobody wants the Government communications propaganda to replace independent news production - however in the absence of some positive government intervention this is precisely where we are currently headed. And we will all lose as a result. Economically and culturally.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you, in reply to Vivid,

    We respectfully disagree :)

    Our view is that a Press Release is a special kind of publication from a copyright perspective. It is effectively a communication issued under a commercial reuse is allowed basis, with derivative works being granted their own exclusive copyright. We regard our copies as derivative works as we curate them, tag them and add typographic layout.

    But even if we do not have an exclusive copyright to our version of a press release (which we believe we do), then we unquestionably have copyright to our "collection" of press releases as well as to our "typographical" arrangement of the press releases. And for our content licensing approach to work from a legal perspective these are all we need.


    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you, in reply to Vivid,

    Wouldn’t “new approach to licensing content” be a better descriptor as large part of your content is copyrighted to the organisations that wrote the press releases.

    We are licensing our copyright to the content. Which is news content. So I think both descriptors work. More importantly though the approach to news copyright which Scoop has adopted is not limited to use with Press Releases. It can in theory be adopted by all news content publishers and in doing so could potentially provide a significant source of revenue for our major news companies.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Why not let the paper debut these then migrate them to the web…

    Why the rush?

    The parasite isn’t supposed to kill the host…

    Yip. The managers of our current media companies are daft.

    Which is far from surprising as the media owners are vacuous money managers (Oaktree capital which owns Mediaworks is a so-called Vulture Fund) who think that news is a form of complicated content widget which can be commoditised scaled and exploited for gross profit margin.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I’d happily subscribe to a genuine NZ news service that used my subscription to pay journalists. But are there enough people like me to make it work? And would I actually get the news I need rather than just the news I want?

    That's pretty much what the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism is intended to do. We hope to be able to source the other costs in the supply chain out of advertising contra and sponsorship. Once it gets to scale our ethical paywall - which is effectively charging the businesses, political and civil society orgs that use us to both send and receive competitive information - will cover basic infrastructural publishing costs, and we will then be able to invest any donations (hopefully tax-deductable) in journalism which we will have no need to be proprietorial about from an advertising perspective because advertising will be a secondary not primary income source.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you,

    There has been a bunch of discussion in this thread about the role of advertising in all of this, as a cause and as a solution to the problem.

    The advertising markets are not well understood by the public nor by the media - and this is pretty clear in reading through the discussion.

    Truth is its the simple physics of the thing that is killing an advertising funded news industry. Three centuries of marketing funded news are coming to an end.

    People spend 14 hours on average online. Mostly watching video. Roughly half of that time is spent on Facebook which is the biggest online video broadcaster by a country mile. Google and Facebook as a result are now earning more than half of all digital marketing revenue. The amount of time in agregate spent looking at "news" online is relatively small and "public interest news" i.e. serious news about serious shit is close to zero.

    Which is not to say that all is lost.

    I have written about these issues all year and in April at the height of #savecampbelllive proposed a campaign for advertiser responsibility.

    If Govt mandated that its agencies spent part of its advertising dollars in NZ News publishing environments that would make a huge difference. If corporates followed suit ditto. And both Government and Business need journalism... to protect themselves from each other.

    And there is also Scoop's new approach to news copyright. which is gaining traction fast.

    Finally, hating on the news companies is not the solution. Part of the reason that they are making the daft decisions that they are is that they are unable to face the truth and acknowledge that the click-bait - online on air everywhere - a consolidated marketing suite tracking customers through the day - models are not working and that at the moment they are walking towards a fire basically hoping that by the time it gets hot they will magically develop some way to repel the flames.

    I talked at length about the challenges facing news companies back in January here - describing both the media's unwillingness to report on its own struggles + the cycle of value destruction which is inherent in a flight towards click-bait predicated on the idea that giving the advertisers what they think they want is the solution.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you,

    Fantastic report Russell - and thankyou for referencing that piece which I agonised a lot about publishing and which caused considerable consternation at both the major newspaper publishers.

    The fact is the NZ news industry is facing an existential crisis. Decisions are being made which cannot be undone which are dismantling much of what remains of the "Fourth Estate" that part of the media which holds the powerful to account on behalf of the citizenry.

    There is an urgent need for political and institutional consideration to be given to the question:

    What effect will the loss of an effective news industry in NZ have on business, democracy, the rule of law and Government accountability. Once gone it will be much harder to bring it back to life.

    And that is why at we have launched which Russell has generously agreed to advertise on this site.


    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Are we seeing the end of MSM,…,

    On the local front, eyes have turned to a collaboration between enterprise incubator Enspiral and Scoop – which Scoop founder Alastair Thompson has already written extensively about – as a hope for something that could be truly innovative.

    Fascination post Kirk.

    Kickstarting a serious debate started about the State of NZ News Media - and the role fo the news media in society was why we did this in January. It seems to be working which is good :)

    Meanwhile keep an eye on Scoop for a development in the Scoop Operation Chrysalis story this week.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The problem is Serco, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Yes you did.... it amazed me that SERCO's CEO
    was so candid about that. How this government can possibly be thinking of doing more business with these guys completely astounds me. And yet that's what he claims to be here to talk about. Great Scoop on The Nation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

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