LastFM sold to CBS for £140m

As reported here by the BBC.

An inevitable move I guess – LastFM has clearly been courted by numerous media companies for some time. There have been the odd cries of "sell out" from some LastFM users – but most seem to be giving this a cautious welcome – on the basis that CBS merely provide added resources rather than meddling with a very successful formula.

Others have asked whether £140m is a little on the low side, considering LastFM’s 15 million user base (works out around just over £9 per user). Let’s hope LastFM can continue to keep up the good work so far.

Oh, and spot the deliberate error in the Beeb story – namely, "And last year, search engine Google paid $165bn (£82bn) for video site YouTube."

Er, I don’t think so.


Strumpette’s $1000 caption competition: the winner is…!

As Strumpette says, we Brits seem to be demonstrating what wildly creative PR types we are (or just naturally good at doing captions).

Full story here. As I told Strumpette, the easiest $1,000 I ever earned.


The Economist: thumbs down for the new audio edition?

The Economist has just launched a a full audio edition  of the weekly mag. Clearly a lot of resource is going into this. On first inspection, the entire content of the print mag is being repurposed for audio – seems to involve an army of voice actors reading out, word for word, every article.

However, there are a number of issues here. First, you have to go to a specific web page to download (no iTunes podcast integration).  You can choose to download the whole mag (100MB – blimey) – or you can download individual sections. But each story is saved as an individual MP3 file – and unless you have some idea in advance (ie by reading the mag first), you don’t really have a clue about the content of each story (Retailing, for example, covers a rather wide range of possibilities).

Also, the reading of a single one page story lasts about 6.5 minutes – I’m sure the time-pressed senior execs who make up the magazine’s readership could read the printed version a lot quicker. And given that much of the material is focussed on figures, audio doesn’t seem the best medium to convey this – how do you create an audio version of a trends graphs, for example.

To listen to the content for the entire mag would come in at around 4.5 hours – I hardly think anyone, let alone a FTSE 100 CEO, has the time to spend listening to the Economist – especially when you can get the info you require much more quickly by simply reading the magazine.

Would have thought they might reconsider a re-think of their appoach – surely a 10 – 15 minute bespoke digest of the week’s main stories would be far more useful (and cost effective) solution.

PS The feedback survey is also quite frustrating – where you can provide additional comments, you are restricted to about 8 words – only right at the end can you provide in substantive feedback – I wonder how may people will bother to persevere to the end?

Thank You For Smoking

Thank You For Smoking is one of the funniest films I’ve seen for a long while – with added bonus of the main character being a PR guy. As the IMDB puts it: " A satirical comedy that follows the machinations of Big Tobacco’s chief
spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying
to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son."

The dialogue is priceless – check out some of these gems:

Kid #3:
My Mommy says smoking kills.

Nick Naylor:
Oh, is your Mommy a doctor?

Kid #3:

Nick Naylor:
A scientific researcher of some kind?

Kid #3:

Nick Naylor:
Well then she’s hardly a credible expert, is she?

Nick Naylor:
My point is that you have to think for yourself. If your parents told
you that chocolate was dangerous would you take their word for it?
[Children say no]

Nick Naylor:
Exactly! So perhaps instead of acting like sheep when it comes to cigarettes you should find out for yourself.

Joey Naylor:
Why did you tell that reporter all your secrets?

Nick Naylor:
You’re too young to understand.

Joey Naylor:
Mom says it’s because you have dependency issues and it was all just a
matter of time before you threw it all away on some tramp.

Nick Naylor:
Well, that’s one theory.

Are We Sharing Too Much Information via Social Media? | PBS

MediaShift . Our Voyeuristic World::Are We Sharing Too Much Information via Social Media? | PBS.

Good piece from Jennifer Woodard Maderazo – especially this comment:

Would clients be less likely to hire me because they know, through my
blogging, what my political views are? Would a suitor have second
thoughts if they found out, via LastFM ,
that my musical tastes mirror a late night Time-Life infomercial? Would
a potential employer not call back because — perhaps worse of all —
they see that I spend way too much time online, constantly updating the
world about the banal details of my life?

My LastFM stations are often used as the background music in the office ie I’m not actually at my desk listening to what is being selected – so my apparent musical taste may not reflect what I really do like – or listen to.

BCS Story Competition – reference to “brutal” Smith

TWL recently kicked off a little round robin to pull together a joint entry for the British Computer Society short story competition – only needs a few more words to get it finished. I make a cameo appearance – I should point that this is a work of fiction – and references to my alleged brutal interview technique have no bearing in reality (at least I hope they don’t).

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