Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CNN Relaunch Focusses on Presenters

New campaign in Europe and Africa to remind viewers that CNN has intelligent presenters. Interesting to see where their posters are being put up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Guy Listens to BBC World Service

This clip has been up on YouTube for a while, but perhaps because of the tagging I didn't find it immediately. Are they having a go at BBC World Service as relayed through some NPR stations?

Friday, November 25, 2011

TEDxAmsterdam is World Class this Year

I've been critical of recent TEDx events in the Netherlands - there are too many that are simply disguised business pitches or the content is just poorly produced and prepared.

But there are exceptions, and TEDxAmsterdam today has been really world class. It was also noticeable that the best presentations actually came from locals or people who have lived here for some time. They were able to connect culturally with the audience. They really took a risk by having a really long TEDx - more than 13 hours in total and over 20 speakers. Having helped to coach the TEDXAward winner Metfarm in telling a clearer story, I was curious whether the audience would stay for the last session after such a mentally intensive day. I shouldn't have worried. The theatre was packed and gave the Metfarm founder John Apesos not only a standing ovation, but practical offers offers of support in the coming 12 months. Complete coverage on the site.

Apple's Black Friday

Rather surprised that Apple hasn't got its act together in time to open its new Apple store in Amsterdam by the day after Thanksgiving. The black hoarding just opposite Leidseplein has been up there for months. The bargains this time were only on-line.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Media Network vintage shows - new season

Found another box of reel to reel tapes in the attic, this one dating from December 1992 when colleague Eric Beauchemin was just back from a visit to Zagreb in Croatia. The radio in that part of the Balkans played a crucial role in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. And CNN takes night-sensitive cameras to Somalia to watch the landings of US troops for an operation in the Horn Of Africa. How little has changed. Radio Czechoslovakia International was to be dissolved with the split of the country into Czech Republic and Slovakia and Radio Norway International ponders the future of its foreign service. Enjoy. More coming later in the week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

VOA Mug still going strong

It would seem that President Obama has asked US government departments to cut down on the swag that they dish out to promote themselves (t-shirts, baseball caps, and the like). I see that Politico has been hunting for items like the one above, which I found in a cupboard in my kitchen. Has done pretty well bearing in mind its 15 years old. Other mugs in my collection have lasted longer than the company they were promoting...Netscape, ORF Austria, BBC 648 kHz. So what are we supposed to miss while worrying about over promotion of coffee mugs?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Now this is the way to teach.....

Amazed at the great video that Red Giant commissioned. What better way to show the effects that to string them all into a great short film. Great effects on a tiny budget.

Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course -

Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course -

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Dutch Creative Media Tour visits Salford but will they listen?

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is heading a two-day trade delegation to the UK at the moment. On Monday he dismissed recent comments in the Dutch press that the Netherlands is becoming very focussed on itself. The NRC Newspaper recently carried comments from several ambassadors in the Hague who drew similar conclusions.

"I think you are far too busy with yourselves," Germany’s ambassador Heinz-Peter Behr said, but adding  that Dutch eurosceptism could lead to an improvement in the way Europe functions.

"The Dutch may go abroad on holiday but the country itself is increasingly becoming closed to the rest of the world,’ said British ambassador to the Netherlands, Paul Arkwright. ‘And that can hurt its international reputation".

At a speech in Birmingham on Monday, Rutte pointed out that 70% of the Netherlands' wealth is earned from export services. The Dutch embassy in London chimed in with the statement that economic ties between the two countries are strong; annual Dutch exports to the UK amounts to €30bn, while the Dutch invest €94bn in the UK every year. The UK itself invests €60bn in the Netherlands annually. As such, the Netherlands and the UK are each other's second largest investors. Big numbers, although they can't have much to do with trade between the two countries in the creative sectors.

Comparison Complete

I've been watching the revitalisation and growth of the creative industries in London and Manchester, comparing it with Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Hilversum. The results compiled for clients of the Critical Distance Knowledge network make for fascinating reading. Both countries are banging gongs about their successes in an sector which is actually poorly defined and varies widely per country.

In the case of the Netherlands, the successes are mainly in architectural design and fashion, for the Netherlands TV business is going through very tough times. Dutch TV company Endemol, for instance, currently has debts of EUR 2.8 billion and is trying to secure a debt-for-equity swap with a buyer that would reduce the debt to around EUR500 million.

At the moment, Hilversum as a city seems to be going through a kind of creative collapse, as a result of a combination of draconian cuts to public service broadcasting combined with demands to consolidate the vast over complicated infrastructure. Part of the challenge is that the city itself hasn't set very high ambitions for itself. Many commercial production companies have already seen the writing on the wall and headed off for Amsterdam or further afield.

On Tuesday, Rutte will pay a brief visit to a joint Dutch-UK symposium taking place at the Lowry centre in Salford (above), just opposite the new BBC production complex. It's also home to several tech start-up groups that I have been tracking as well as commercial production in studios next door to the BBC.

I am very curious to know what the Dutch PM, and members of the delegation will take back with them. The Dutch are good at hosting media related conferences (IBC is the largest broadcast exhibition on the continent) but whereas the facilities are top-notch, the UK is 2-3 years ahead in thinking up and creating cross-media productions. The Dutch seem to be good in designing entertainment shows, but the UK scores much better in world class documentaries, transmedia and factual storytelling.

The embassies in both countries seem to put a lot of faith into the so called Apeldoorn dialogue, a closed meeting of young business leaders from both countries which alternates between the UK and the Netherlands. The next British-Dutch Dialogue Conference will be in Manchester next March. It will focus on the untapped potential of higher education institutions as incubators for future innovation and economic growth.

I personally trust both countries will publicize the outcome of these public-financed discussions, because just making a YouTube video about the event does very little to explain the significance of the dialogue to the rest of us. The video had 196 views when I last checked, which makes it a rather expensive way of sharing an idea. 

I also hope that Rutte and his delegation will take away ideas about how public broadcasting can become more accountable to the public, along the lines of the BBC Trust. For, judging by the Dutch government's actions to, in effect, reduce the number of Dutch public TV channels from 4 to 3 and muffling all foreign broadcasting efforts to a whisper, the UK can probably share more business ideas with the Netherlands, than the other way round.

As others have said, The Netherlands rapidly needs to open out to the world again. The news this morning that the 3rd quarter figures for the Dutch economy performed much worse than expected, shrinking by 0.3 %, should remove any shadow of a doubt that things need to be rethought. If not, the economy won't just be even worse next year, it could move into terminal decline. As a colleague in India said last month. The Media industry is like the sun. It's rising in the East and setting in the West.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Business News Radio

Been looking at the future of business news channels like BNR, since their programme shake up a few months back. Think they make great radio, but only so-so website.

RTV North Holland

Old slogan, but still works. RTV Holland, world famous in North Holland. For anyone who is curious....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanks for saying hello

Still amazed that nostalgia around radio programmes made in the 60', 70'. and 80's can still bring over 300 people to a hotel in Amsterdam each year to reminisce. It's the annual RadioDay. Today, Andy Sennitt and I had to honour to kick off the proceedings by sharing some thoughts about the Radio Netherlands Media Network programme and what we thought it had contributed to broadcasting history for the 20 years that it was on the "wireless". We concluded that the reasons for its success was that the programme understood and involved the audience in era when there was no Skype, no (fast) Internet, and a phonecall to another country cost Euros 3.50 a minute.  Great to see many friends of the show in Amsterdam, including Mike Barraclough, Ad Roland, Hans Hogendoorn, Dick Clees, Herbert Visser and Risto Vähäkainu. 

Monday, November 07, 2011

BBC World Service Auctioned Off

Could that be a Coles 4038 ribbon microphone I see before me? It's one of hundreds of bits of stuff up for sale as the BBC World Services auctions off its old studio equipment before it moves into Broadcasting House on Regent Street in March of next year. Not sure how old it is...I don't think wartime broadcasters used it. But maybe Dave Lee Travis or Noel Edmonds with a Jolly Good Show. Or perhaps Paddy Feeny, Colin Hamilton or John Tidmarsh?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Delft Creating History - This is the official site of the city of Delft for residents, tourists and business.

Delft gets a 6 out of 10 from me for the way it promotes itself abroad. Rather bland promo film could fit just about any European medium sized town. Reminds me of the factory videos that people made in the 1980's. Smooth disinterested voice and God-awful music. YouTube stats say everything.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Life's Too Short Promo

More and more targeted videos coming out of the UK for television programmes. First Amazon, now the Guardian. Clever.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street - Video

Misleading title for what is really a cool video...but hey, it gets the traffic. These still cameras are making terrific video. Still think Canon needs to work on the sound.

Productivity Future Vision (2011) - YouTube

Productivity Future Vision (2011) - YouTube: ""
some interesting ideas here but the stereotypical people make me wonder about the agency that made this. Black guys are always porters, the rich are always white. The Asians are non-descript smartly dressed.
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Big Innovation Centre | Events | Growing the Future: Universities Leading, Changing and Creating the Regional Economy

Big Innovation Centre | Events | Growing the Future: Universities Leading, Changing and Creating the Regional Economy:

Get the impression the UK Universities are light years ahead of their Dutch counterparts in promoting what they do abroad - and contributing to the educational industry. Big changes needed in the Netherlands if they want to become the Cultural Capital of Europe by 2020.

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Midnight Sun, Iceland - storyful

More examples of brilliance with relatively cheap equipment

MediaCorp : Digital Audio Broadcasting service to stop transmission

MediaCorp : Digital Audio Broadcasting service to stop transmission:

Singapore never had a content strategy for DAB - simply a distribution plan. And with FM coverage on the island being excellent, average listeners didn't hear the difference. I wonder why they pull it now though. Timing is either too early (for new hybrid services) or much too late.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Great colours today

Posted by Picasa don't have to go far to see some spectacular colours at the moment. Just open the window and look outside. Enjoying it while I can