Thursday, September 15, 2005

CMP goes to Vlogging with The News Show

Recently, TechWeb reported on a study from Outsell, Inc that claims that blogs and free content are hurting B2B publishers, because readers are going elsewhere. The interesting thing about the article is that CMP, the publisher of TechWeb, are B2B publishers.

Kevin Dugan, Strategic Public Relations, had another take on the report: that it was hogwash. Dugan then points out how publications can marry blogs - keeping that revenue stream - with traditional publishing.

Well, CMP has already done that (maybe to protect some advertising dollars) by launching The News Show, which is being hosted by John Soat, a 15-year veteran of InformationWeek (look halfway down for his bio).


I spoke with Soat, to find out more about The News Show, as well as the opportunities for PR professionals and firms.
While we have a dedicated URL for The News Show, it is also being hosted on the homepage for TechWeb, InformationWeek and other CMP properties. The News Show is a way for us to get a vlog product out there, to get video on the Internet for CMP, but we wanted to do something original and unique, to have a streaming news show that is daily and topical. There are other news sites that do offer streaming video, but we feel that The News Show is different enough and more of a news angle that will appeal to the audience that already comes to TechWeb and the CMP properties for news.

Right now, we are getting our bearings on what we have right now, and how to continue to improve it for our readers and our audience. We are hoping there is a sweet spot: news summaries, news analysis, and more. We want this to be the beginning of a multi-product vlog rollout, to have different vlogs on various CMP properties that work for each audience.

And, yes, The News Show will be original content versus just reading stories from CMP TechWeb and our print publications. Yes, we are going in that direction.

The fact is that while technology news is a large and vibrant source, it is a subset of the larger news model. What are we going to do that is original? Part of it is the vlog, with sit-down interviews of the news makers in the industry.

One big differentiation is that unlike other vlogs out there, The News Show is being done by experienced technology journalist professionals, who are able to get to the meat of the subject in a different way. I, myself, have more than 20 years of technology reporting experience, and the other CMP vlog reporters bring the same depth to The News Show. And, that does show when you watch the vlogs.

Right now, there are 20 correspondents who are equiped with Webcams to generate video content, who are encouraged to do it at conferences, or just on the street interviews. We are using Webcams and video cameras to get footage, and are editing the videos to get a polished product out to the audience. Plus, we can do a piece in a relatively short time, as it is needed with vlogs.

As for pitching from PR firms and in-house PR people? Yes, we are taking pitches for the show. This opportunity and new job has given me a new working relationship with PR people, a different one than I have in the past 20 years.

What we are doing is so new, that I am working with PR people to put things together: I come up with ideas to generate video for the show, and work with PR people to be able to shoot interviews or have them set-up the interviews. This isn't B-roll or stock video footage, but we set-up a Webcam with the CEO and the CTO of a company we want to interview. We work with the PR person to set-up a camera and help film, while I interview the executive over the phone, and then I get sent the video. It's a new relationship, where we come up with new ideas.

The News Show is a new step for us. We want this to be an interactive media, to interact with the audience in a direct way. We want the audience to send us email, to send in video segments that they have produced. We are strong believers in the citizen journalism movement, and are hoping that the audience does participate in The News Show beyond just watching the clips.

Plus, starting today to get more people involved, we are giving away Webcams for people that come up with the best ideas for video segments.
To me, The News Show is a way for a B2B publisher like CMP to fire back at the bloggers - they are offering a daily, morning vlog to its audience that brings original, newsworthy content. It's like the grown-up, tech/geek version of Rocketboom, but with real news.

I just hope we never see Soat lip-synch as Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes.

Now, while this might not be a traditional vlog yet, look for CMP and Soat to add a key ingredient for it to have more vlogging cred: commenting. The News Show already does have an RSS feed for the video content, is working on getting a blog set-up for the site, and is looking at having a comments section added to each show.

But, the thing I want to highlight is that - like traditional publications and Websites from CMP - The News Show is open to pitches. This is something that PR needs to think about for the very near future (like right now): pitching Podcasts and Vlogs. Here is one vlog - The News Show - that is open to pitches, and is open to working with PR people.

That's a good thing for our industry ... damn, should have pitched him some stuff while I was interviewing him.

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