BBC Football video content finds the back of the net as SkySports.com is shown the red card

Every morning the first thing I do when I wake up is open my laptop and go straight to the BBC Football website. There I can get all the news of the day and the latest gossip and transfer rumours in the world of football. Now I am a massive football fan, I watch games from all over Europe and not just the big three leagues either. However my main obsession is with the English Premier League and for this in my opinion the coverage on BBC Sport is second to none. It may not have as many new articles every day and updated as regularly as Skysports.com but the quality is far superior.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in a comparison between the two websites’ video content. You would think with the massive money Sky pays to have the rights to Premier League football that their video content would be second to none but this isn’t the case.

Firstly with a much simpler, less cluttered and user friendly website, the videos on BBC Sport, all separately listed immediately grab your attention and you click on them. However with Sky Sports, all the video is in one window that shows you a freeze frame of one video for a few seconds before rolling to the next one. This means you have to wait to see screen shots of all the latest videos until you see one that interests you.

In the top right hand corner we can see the small video window where each video appears one by one.

Whereas on the BBC Football website videos are separated so you can see them all at once

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days people don’t want to waste time sifting through everything available to get the content they want. They want to be able to overview it all and pick out their favourites.

Another bone of contention for me with Skysports.com is the bloody adverts on every single video! These are not just short 20-30 second adverts but usually a minute and twenty seconds long. That’s just plain ridiculous! I realize they must make money through advertising but must they really put an advert of over a minute on every video? I mean who even watches these adverts? If I click on a video and it has an advert before it I will usually just click away immediately. I will only stick with it if it’s a video I really want to see but then I will just mute the computer and look at another page until it’s finished. For me this is something Skysports.com really need to sort out, whether it’s feasible to move them elsewhere or cut them to less than twenty seconds I don’t know, but I do know that nobody clicks on a video to watch an advert.

What makes the BBC football video content so good is that it offers different types of video. For example the vast majority of video content on Skysports.com is mainly interviews with players and managers, and their press conferences.  However on BBC they are more imaginative and offer a much wider variety of content.

Firstly what I really enjoy is Football Focus extra bits that lead up to the main programme on the weekend that often go behind the scenes at a football club and have expert opinion from their pundits. Moreover they try things out of the ordinary such as having David Cameron, Idris Elba and Kobe Bryant amongst others predicting the results of the weekend’s fixtures. (If you follow these links, you can see their predictions for yourself.)

I don’t think Sky Sports would ever have the cojones to try something like this. They are too comfortable in their middle of the road ways to try anything requiring a bit of imagination. The best you’ll get from them is Jamie Redknapp in a nice suit telling us how good his cousin Frank Lampard is!

Now don’t get me wrong, Sky Sports offers brilliant football coverage on TELEVISION. But they still have a lot to learn when it comes to online video, and they could do worse than taking a few tips from the Beeb.

UPDATE – After writing this blog and trying to embed my favourite BBC football videos on here, I found that the BBC won’t let you do that. Looks like their not so great after all! I was only able to embed the video above as it was on YouTube. It does illustrate my point quite well though; the BBC doing something different by taking us behind the scenes of one of Germany’s lesser well known clubs, Hoffenheim. However Skysports.com do let you embed their videos, it’s just a shame nobody would want to!

Yianni Meleagros

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Citizen journalism: the need for curation and the success story of storyful

By H.W.

The first three months of 2011 haven’t exactly been quiet for global news organisations. The protests that began in Tunisia have spread all across the Arab world to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and even Syria, a place where any kind of anti-government action would have been unthinkable even a month ago. Add to this the biggest earthquake since records began in Japan, and the subsequent Tsunami which has so far claimed the lives of 11,000 people (and counting), and you have one of the most extraordinary annual quarters in the history of modern news.

It’s not only the fact that these stories are so huge, but that they are also incredibly fast-moving. As well as a lot of “business” for news organisations, this unique combination of global events has also provided opportunities for new outfits to take advantage of the current hunger for news.

Step forward Storyful, a web curation site which has this as its mission statement:

“Storyful’s golden rule is there is ALWAYS someone closer to the story. And in the last few months, we’ve worked with people at the heart of the action, capturing turning points in history in words, pictures and video.

Sometimes our sources are local journalists, amateur photographers, or filmmakers. But often the people with the best view of the action are citizens in the right place at the right time.

We believe that there’s a good chance that person is you.”

 

The storyful homepage, where you can click through to all of the day's biggest stories.

One of the most striking things about the way that events in Japan and the Middle East have played out in the media has been the prevalence of “citizen journalism” in so much of the coverage. More people than ever have the equipment (all you need is a decent camera phone) and the connectivity (a 3G phone) to record and share the events that are happening around them.

But, however good the videos and other content which citizen journalists are uploading to the net is, none of it really has an impact unless people get to watch it. That’s where Storyful comes in. Because they are not a traditional news organisation, they are able to focus 100 % on finding, and then curating the best stuff that has been posted online. And it’s not just about getting one viral video hit, and then putting their feet up for the day. Storyful tries to keep up with the story, and to gather the most important content on one news story all in one place. And that’s where it finds its niche. It is the fastest news organisation I have come across in terms of CURATING content that is already out there.

For example, if I’m following the events unfolding in Syria, I could do one of three things:

1) go to the website of a traditional news organisation, like the BBC . This would be the slowest, but most trustworthy way of getting the information I was looking for.

2) Go on twitter, and find results for Syria in realtime. If I wanted to find videos about Syria fastest, then this would be the best option. But the wealth of information and links on twitter can be overwhelming.

3) Go to Storyful and see what their latest content is. For me, this a great halfway house for people who want stories quicker than traditional news organisations can deliver them (because of the fact that they have more stringent verification procedures) and who also want someone else to do the hard work of finding the most recent popular virals on a particular subject.

I would seriously recommend going to Storyful and checking it out. It’s the best site I’ve found for keeping up with events in the Middle East, and it’s great at organising stories into different categories (e.g. Libya, Syria, Japan, Royal Wedding). The interface is really clean and simple, which makes it easy to take in the information.

If you’re not satisfied by reading their curated stories, you can also make your own. Go over to the Storyful community page, and you can start your own story, complete with tweets, youtube embeds and your own text.


Andrew Lansley – It’s a RAP!

I was astonished the other day to walk past my dad’s study and hear some hardcore rap beats pumping out of there. Now my dad is quite big on his music but I have never heard him listening to rap before. So I went inside to investigate and found him watching Loughborough rapper MC NxtGen’s video slating Andrew Lansley and his NHS reforms.

Now as a surgeon working in the NHS, it is a subject that is very important to my father but I still didn’t expect him to be watching a video such as this and enjoying it. I mean he could understand the quick flow of MC NxtGen and was left in stitches by his clever word play and well produced video.

MC NxtGen (real name Sean Donelly) has found himself a viral YouTube and Twitter celebrity after posting his video just over a week ago. Since then it has amassed over 150,000 views and seen Sean whose day job is as a binman featured in the Guardian and the BBC News website.

The song has it all, brilliant lyrics over a sample from one of my favourite songs, The House of the Rising Sun and a well shot, funny video. The rap features some great lines including, “The NHS is not for sale, you grey-haired manky codger!” with the hook repeating over again, “ Andrew Lansley, GREEDY, Andrew Lansley, TOSSER!” However what makes this rap so good is that NxtGen has done his research and knows his stuff.

Now as the state of the NHS is something that interests me, I have done a lot of research into it before for a documentary I made, but I found the way that NxtGen explained it in three minutes, was better than any politician or even NHS staff member managed in more than thirty when I spoke to them.

Take these lines for example, “So the budget of the PCTs, he wants to hand to the GPs / Oh please. Dumb geeks are gonna buy from any willing provider, / Get care from private companies.”

“These plans have been slammed by patient organizations/ Charities, unions, nursing and medical institutions/ The Royal College of GP’s even joined the attack/ Looked closely at the proposals/ and said they were crap.”

MC NxtGen

NxtGen has tapped into a deep well of feeling amongst the British people of uncertainty and wariness of these reforms. The idea for the rap actually came about because he has family and friends who hope to work in the NHS but are worried by the cuts. So in his own way NxtGen decided to do something about it, and to speak out and judging by the rapidly increasing number of viewers every day to his video, the comments left and his growing Facebook and Twitter pages it seems a lot of people agree with him.

Even Andrew Lansley himself couldn’t help but admire the 22 year old whilst still trying to defend his policies. The Health Secretary said, “We will never privatize the NHS but I’m impressed that he’s managed to get lyrics about GP commissioning into a rap.”

For me this video goes to show that video journalism can come in many different forms, our hands are not just tied by a strict news package type formula. MC NxtGen gives us his take on the story in an informative and entertaining way through the power of music accompanied with a video that would not look out of place on MTV.

In the rap world, when one rapper releases a song ‘dissing’ another then the other rapper usually releases his own diss record in response and the ensuing ‘beef’ can engulf the entire music industry – think Biggie and Tupac. So we all wait anxiously for MC Lansley’s musical retort.

Andrew Lansley being told somebody has beef with him

I think we may be waiting a while.

You can view MC NxtGen’s Facebook page here, and follow him on Twitter here. He is hoping for the Andrew Lansley Rap to be released on iTunes in the coming days.

Yianni Meleagros


Should Newspapers be cutting back on their online video content?

According to a study of 100 US newspapers undertaken by the Associated Press, a large number of them are cutting back on video and video journalists. As the current financial climate continues to bite hard at newspapers, it is often the video that is first to go.

Kevin Roach, Director of US Broadcast News at AP led and the study and found that financial reasons were often the main factor in the decision to cutback but he wouldn’t disclose the specific findings of the study.

He is of the opinion that newspapers should stick with their online video content as he believes it provides an important part of editorial output. He also thinks that there are new opportunities emerging for these newspapers in how people consume their content, e.g. through social media and new devices such as tablets.

He suggests papers must publish breaking news of local interest quickly in order for their videos to be effective. With the change to the web that social media has brought, getting news up quickly is essential.

Below is Beet TV’s interview with Kevin Roach.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/goRrgqDXZwI%5D

However as others have been cutting back, the Miami Herald has been reaping the rewards of increased investment in its video content. Last year, MiamiHerald.com saw about a 25 percent growth in video traffic, making it the second biggest traffic driver behind articles.

They found over a period of study of six years that the most popular videos were sports and breaking news. These were already strong points at the Herald but with further investment and improvement they were able to build up a loyal audience.

The Herald uploads on average 60 to 80 videos a month and has partnered with Miami TV stations including WSFL-TV and CBS 4 in Miami to try to extend its reach. They share content with WSFL and cross promote content with CBS 4 which helps to increase the site’s traffic. The Herald also posts many of its videos to YouTube where they can get thousands more hits than on MiamiHerald.com and thus further increase it’s reach.

So if more newspapers could follow the Herald’s example of investing more in video then perhaps they too would experience similar success and not have to cut back on a vital component of news.

Below is a video from the Miami Herald, which I believe illustrates well what they are trying to provide: breaking news of local interest. It also shows the advantage of using video over simply just print, seeing pictures of the dogs elicits more emotion in us and gets us to engage more fully with the story than just an article could.

Miami Dade Animal Services Centre

Yianni Meleagros


“All we hear is VIDEO GaGa”: The integral role of ONLINE VIDEO in projecting Lady Gaga into SUPERSTARDOM!

Has VIDEO murdered music? Maybe it was just a bad romance…

When Lady Gaga bust onto our radiowaves in 2008 with Just Dance, she had everyone from teenage girls in miniskirts to grandfathers in brogues tip-tapping away on the dance-floor. But when we were blessed with the ability to put that name to a face at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 2010, the world paused for a moment in bewildered unison asking, “WHY>?>?!! WHY THE MEAT DRESS, GAGA???”

Courtesy of REX images

Even now, half a year on –we still talk about Gaga’s radical dress sense as if it were some sort of Divinity, in place of what she should actually be celebrated for – her music. But what effect Gaga raises from her image is completely obliterated when compared to the effect caused by her music videos.

Miss Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s (GaGa) ‘Bad Romance’ currently stands as the World’s second most watched video EVER (Not even most watched music video, but VIDEO) on youtube.com.

Yup – Her lycra-coated body has paraded across the world’s eyes a staggering 362 MILLION TIMES!  (And counting!) This means that on average, ‘Bad Romance’ has been watched by ONE in TWENTY people on the PLANET! Or in other terms, her video has been watched once over by the total population of South America! If we play the video back to back 360 million times, and my calculations serve me correctly, it would take 30.5m hours, that’s 3500 YEARS to watch!  How scary is that?

It’s ironic to think you’d be hard-pressed to find 1 in 20 people who even like Lady Gaga and that everyone you speak to about ‘Bad Romance’ seems to think Gaga’s music is, well, just plain BAD.

And yet, we just can’t get enough: In February of this year, she won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video with her psychedelic video.  Back in 2009 Lady G was nominated for a total of nine awards at the VMAs wherein she won the award for Best New Artist for her single “Paparazzi” (Which has been viewed a mere 55 million times on youtube) and won 2 awards for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction.

At the 2010 VMAs – “she gone cleared up good”! With ‘Bad Romance’ she won Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, AND Best Editing! Not to mention Best Collaboration for her video with Beyonce – ‘Telephone’. In response to her success, Gaga is quoted as saying “I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet”. Well they sure do now, honey! Thank you youtube! Michael Jackson’s legendary music video, ‘Thriller ’, seems like an amateur 8mm home video in comparison to her worldwide SUPER HD BLOCKBUSTER.

                 – “fashion roadkill, that’s okay” – GaGa.

Type the letter ‘L’ into youtube and Lady gaga will come up as two suggestions in a row. Type in ‘Lady’ in google.com, and she comes up as all suggestions every time. Three years ago, Lady Gaga was still Stefanie, and now thanks to ONE ONLINE VIDEO, she is a household name who has made an unprecedented mark in music history.

All this from a woman who is “just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time”.  Right then.

by NICK KWEK


Asking the experts about online video journalism, Vol II !

First I was lucky enough to speak to Guardian Commentator Tom Rogan and now I found out all about the online video plans at Austrian’s newspaper Oesterreich.

Jennifer Fellner is an editor for online content and social media at oe24.at (Oesterreich’s online paper), one of Austria’s biggest daily newspapers and online papers. I wanted to know what oe24.at are doing to expand their online video content.

oe24.at’s video portal is extremely big compared to other news websites in Austria. The videos are, either, bought from news agencies, such as Reuters or AP, produced by their video editors, or bought from citizen journalists. Their video coverage in Japan and the Fukushima crisis originated from citizen journalists for example. According to Jennifer, all of their natural disaster coverage and major accidents and other time sensitive stories, are written with the help of videos from their readers. “We could not do what we do without our readers”.

On a regular day oe24.at will upload 20 – 25 videos to keep readers coming back. Jennifer says updating information is key for viewer hits. In the past weeks, with Japan, Libya, and Bahrain these numbers sometimes doubled. “You can’t put an exact number on our videos”.

I want to know what kind of hits their videos get by their viewers and she tells me it always depends on the story. Successful stories get as many as 25,000 hit whereas low video numbers get only around 3,000 hits.

The most important aspect to their online video success is the time that the videos are uploaded. All videos, at least concerning the biggest news stories, have to be up by noon every day. This is because their biggest traffic on the website is between 12 – 14 pm. “Our users watch the videos in their lunch break and always have to be able to find the newest versions”.

A lot is planned for the next couple of months at oe24.at. The most prominent editors at the news giant will soon get their own channels, and here they will talk about the interviews they did and analyse the main news story of the week (like a Vlog). At first these channels will only be in politics, society and life-style and sport but eventually every category will have a video editor with their own channel.

I read a lot of German news and always check oe24.at for their video content. If you understand German you should definitely check them out. It will be interesting to see what kind of videos their editors will upload once they have set up their own channels and what the traffic numbers say then.

 

 

Jil D.

 


Are Radiohead changing the face of online music journalism, or will crowdsourced music videos never replace professional filming?

In 2010 Radiohead released a video online of a concert they played in the Czech republic. It was their first concert video since 1995, but this wasn’t what made the video so special.

This concert video was entirely shot by fans equipped with nothing more than camera phones.

After seeing clips of their shows uploaded to video sharing websites like Youtube the band were so impressed that they worked with the fans to edit together a complete concert video and provide a professional quality soundtrack to accompany the footage – all free of charge.

See the finished product below:

But does this kind of crowdsourced music video have the potential to change the way concerts are reported online?

I spoke to James Doherty, a freelance producer who has worked for a number of London-based radio stations and currently works for the BBC’s online wing.

By Alan O’Doherty