Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Times Paywall

I've been exploring the preview of The Times paywall. A few things have stood out for me.

1. The Times are attempting a 'news plus' model - it isn't trying to sell articles you can get elsewhere for free, it is attempting to sell bespoke digital content

2. It is an extension of the Times membership card scheme and therefore giving readers a feeling of inclusion, and belonging

3. Interactivity will be king. Blogs, discussions, comments are in

4. The use of embedded videos and multimedia galleries will be frequent but will carry a much more artistic feel

5. The Times will attempt to carry the following for their star writers behind the paywall, such as Mike Atherton in sport

Overall, I would be willing to extend my membership when the final  paywall comes down if I can be sure I'm getting fresh, thought provoking content that will allow me to join discussion and debate.

My next question is how this could provide opportunity or threat for PRs? The first points I would make is that it can allow for truly exclusive opportunities.

For example, my brother is an artist and if he could secure an exclusive preview for his shows with The Times then the power of that would be in reaching a niche audience of bespoke minds. For businesses, the editorial team will surely be looking for interviews and opportunities with CEOs that can remain within the paywall and I imagine there will be many businesses happy to discuss this with them.

In terms of marketing creativity, the paywall may also offer a full marketing solution for businesses as the Times will be able to offer data on readers which can in its own way prove as equally as attractive of some of the information sold by social networking sites such as Facebook.

So, interesting times ahead. I'll be looking to refresh my views when the new paywall is up and running properly.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Millibands in Labour leadership battle

The Labour Leadership battle sees the candidates with a unique chance to build relationships with party members using the internet in a way never before possible. David and Ed Milliband are both Twitter users and must engage and invite debate with members in frsh and exciting ways - especially if they are to gain ground over the Union favourite, Ed Balls.

David has a new holding page for his campaign - and I imagine he will look to build in some web 2.0 technology in order to promote himself as 'accessible to the people'.

The coalition Government is going to remain top of the news agenda for a long time, so Labour candidates must take their time and use web engagement with Labour members and ordinary voters to build a campaign narrative.

If they are able to do this or not will determine whether or not the former Government can be an effective opposition.

I personally think Ed and David should team up for a 'dream ticket' with David at the head - but that might be some way down the line.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

When Cameron met Clegg

The UK now has the most uncertain political climate for decades, as the Conservatives and the Lib Dems continue discussions over a coalition that would see David Cameron enter Number 10 and oust the stubborn Gordon Brown from his role as PM.

Look out for the language coming from both parties, who need to show willing yet ensure party members do not feel their core values are compromised.

For Nick Clegg, he knows he must represent the Statesman, transcending his party's dismal election performance and cementing his place as King-maker supreme.

His statement yesterday was that of a mini manifesto, clearly showing the electorate that the Lib Dems are focused and can be trusted to deliver 'change':

"I'm very keen that the Liberal Democrats should play a constructive role at a time of great economic uncertainty to provide a good government that this country deserves.
"Throughout that we will continue to be guided by the big changes we want - tax reform, improving education for all children, sorting out the banks and building a new economy from the rubble of the old, and extensive fundamental political reform."
The Tories on the other hand must shake hands in public but be careful not to make any public promises to Clegg. This morning. Michael Gove talked about the 'spirit of cooperation' but fell short of promising Cabinet positions for Lib Dems.
It is crucial that Clegg doesn't over reach himself and demand stipulations that will be rejected - his position in the media is stronger than his political bargaining position, despite the Tory desire for a majority.
Cameron must ensure he comes across as a leader, the man who brings the situation to conclusion - not Nick Clegg. By showing strength Cameron can reassure the frail markets and Tory backers, nervous after a disaster of a campaign which failed to secure a majority against one of the most unpopular PMs in many years.
Over the next few days, every statement uttered by Cameron and Clegg will be laced with the language of negotiation, every word filled with subliminal messages to their own parties. 
Language will rarely have been so crucial to either man.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Swing to Tories

As I type there are reports of a 8-9% Tory swing in some key seats such as Kingswood and Basildon South.

This would give Cameron a majority, if replicated across the Country...

Let's see how this plays out.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

General Election Exit Poll Results

The one thing about this campaign that has stood out has been the unreliability of polls, especially the You Gov polls, yet the media have continued to push them in order to keep the election fire buring and satisfy the 24 hr coverage. Which is fair enough.

Exit polls are even more unreliable, however, and it will be interesting to see how honest voters are tomorrow after they cast their vote.

If this Populus poll is accurate then the exit polls may tell us that the Tories are on the brink of a majority:

For my money, the hung parliament is still the most likely outcome but I think that the Lib Dems will fail to make the impact many have predicted.

Bring on tomorrow.