Search and Media

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Job Opportunity with Your Daily Weather?

Marketing Vox reports that S.F. Chronicle launched a 30 minute TV program called Chronicle Jobs TV at 5:30 AM monday-wednesday.

The mediadailynews source points to this step by the newspaper as a move to compete with online classifieds sites like craigslist. Since I am up at that hour anyway, will watch out for the UPN channel it airs on.

Interestingly, the last time i watched TV news channels display jobs classifieds [read out by a newsreader or otherwise] was in India sometime during the 80s [it involved a very serious host reading out the job availabilities, i believe region-wise first, then category-wise]. I dont watch much TV these days anyway, so am not sure how popular this initiative is amongst existing newspapers.

However, an interesting transition I've seen on TV in India [while on my recent trip there] was that NDTV [New Delhi Television Network] displays job descriptions, opportunities and availability in companies as a continous running banner at the bottom of the screen during certain news telecasts. I dont believe they actually tied up with any newspaper exclusively for this, preferring to directly contact companies for these listings.

Here is a wild thought--how about an S.F.Chronicle tie-up with the local news channel, lets run their classifieds for as long as the news is telecast? [I do note however, the intrusiveness of this way of broadcasting news. The Indian audience is probably a wee bit more tolerant towards oversized banners at bottom of the screen]

Setting my alarm for 5:30 AM,

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Growth of Indian Radio?

India's FM Radio should be getting a new lease of life with ADAE [Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises] bagging 26 licenses in all, including existing players. ADAE's investments in media and entertainment, touted to make Anil Ambani an entertainment czar, includes licensing fees for seven big cities including mumbai, bangalore, delhi and calcutta. The focus is rightly on the smaller towns [19 of them all to be precise]--especially in the state of Uttar Pradesh, a decidedly underserved market for FM radio atleast.IPTV and DTH [Direct-to-home, nicknamed Bluemagic] is on the works in the next few years for the ambitious project. [Sun Tv of chennai was another bidder for the FM radio licenses]

Radio in india had almost died a complete death in the 90's, expectedly so with the advent of cable and international channels on TV. FM's feeble attempts in the late 90s in metros met with some success, but not enough to push it into the big league. FM suffered from feeble penetration, especially rurally. Lack of diversified models of entertainment via radio, which was seen to quickly develop in other media, produced further challenges. However, advertisements, atleast in urban and metros, have seen a steady increase--a positive sign for new FM initiatives.

Tight-fisted government control, with overpriced licensing fees and authority over types of content, especially news and informational programs, is another disqualifyer for the medium. Regional control over the language and types of music being played [100% english music stations are not allowed by government regulations] imposes further restrictions on radio groups, consequently affecting the potential advertising opportunities as well.

My wishlist for FM in India?

1) Diversified Content: Sports, news, multiscope music should be part of the offerings by FM channels. Given the slowly rising popularity of satellite radio, such as Worldspace, FM should see in it a lesson of catering to defragmented audience as well.

2) deeper penetration into rural areas: Media houses that are expanding into FM space should see in it an opportunity for larger audience base. Government regulations over content will hopefully not pervade information analysis and education.

3) on the listener side, an increase in the technology to deliver uninterrupted listening experience. Handheld devices, mobile devices and highly-capable at cheaper prices. Especially for the at-home audience or the demographic of 18-26 year olds.

Tuned in,

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Privacy Paranoia Pervades

Its a preview of the 10 PM news on TV-- The newsreader announces Google's refusal to comply with the Bush Administration to turn in Search Data. "Watch how your privacy will be affected", she announces. Searchenginewatch blog has been covering the news all day long today here .
As Danny Sullivan notes, it has nothing to do with privacy. The administration requires one million web addresses and searches conducted for a week, possibly to capture searches that children can accidentally conduct and discover porn sites. While Danny points out its just as easy to conduct the searches rather than demand the data from search engines, Google remains the lone search engine that has refused to turn in the data.

Google has already battled privacy issues before [though this doesnt fall in that category]--with gmail. While the refusal to turn in data is part of a rigid Google policy, the same privacy paranoid brigade as described above had insisted user mails in gmail were being read [albeit by computers] to serve up ads. While the alarm died its natural death, gmail ads have become more and more relevant, as I've been noting in my inbox. Mails on dinner plans pop-up surprisingly ethnic cooking sites, while a chain of mails discussing insane real-estate prices in the bay area with my mom displayed extremely 'helpful' ads for developments in Bangalore, India [oh well! mom promises they are excellent properties]

Google will probably battle a number of privacy issues, especially overseas. But its probably equally important for the media to clarify the difference to the viewers, specifically between user-privacy and search engine data as well, without putting them all under one blanket of 'privacy issues'. I will be watching the news channels to see how and what they report.

T.V Remote on Fast-switch mode,

Update: The news did mention "YOUR privacy" as if the viewer should really worry about the Google-Feds news. While an analyst did point out "it didnt involve direct user data, but thats something they can possibly ask for later", the newsreaders didnt bother to correct themselves while they announced "how your searches will be evaluated by the feds" on the 10 pm news. oh well.

Update 2: Hilarious search

Update 3: John Battelle zones in on Google's fight

"Well, standing up to the DOJ and getting major praise for doing so is a very smart strategy, in my book. As much as I'd love to believe Google is fighting this for heroic reasons, I'd wager that the data has more to do with it."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Test blog

Testing new blog.