Media Week recently asked four key media players (as in key people, not software) whether they agreed with reports that many publishers are now upscaling men’s mags to attract a more affluent reader and advertiser.
Three said ‘No’, while one said ‘Yes’. I’m still undecided. ‘Yes’, because more lower end readers are getting their fix online (hence the popularity of Dennis’ Monkeymag and IPC’s Nuts.co.uk and NME.com). But then I also say ‘No’ because there’ll always be an audience for men’s mags in the lower end. They perhaps just need to make them less embarrassing to read in public. The Sun, which is still going strong, is a perfect example.
So, if by upscale, we mean put less pics of bikni clad women on the cover a la GQ and Esquire, then I say ‘Yes – kinda’. I blogged about men’s mags upscaling a while back (and probably contradict myself).
Still on the topic of lads mags, great article by the Mirror’s Brian Reade today which pointed out the irony in Michael Gove MP blaming lads mags like Nuts, Zoo and Loaded for objectifying women. Brian wondered why Gove missed The Sun off the list, given that Page 3 was also a big offender. Surely nothing to do with Gove being a columnist for the Times, The Sun’s sister paper?
This debate has rumbled on for years, but the Guardian’s Mark Sweney reported only last week that MPs are asking web companies to do more in vetting content on their sites. It’s not new – remember when the time when ISPs got sued failing to take down libellous websites quick enough?
The problem? Well, when you’re YouTube and you get millions of submissions and updates each day, who checks what, when and how? But things might get tricky if sites don’t get proactive and self-regulate or sign up to an informal code of practice.
Can technology help filter out user generated content? It depends from CMS to CMS and I bet that some post moderated sites search for abusive language via the front end search box. But even if it’s true that some of the big UGC sites have search technology that uses an algorithm to hunt down copyrighted music or TV content, how difficult would it be to get these sites to share this technology. Video search technology is big business and anything that can dynamically identify video patterns / human actions / faces is going to be worth zillions, not least to the authorities and security agencies. Imagine the potential of a video search tool that could recognise and flag up drunken fights or car thieves on a city’s 2,000+ CCTV cameras, effectively doing away with the labourious effort of a human trying to watch them all at once. An extreme example but you get my point.
Watch Paris Hilton talk about US energy policy. No, really. I spotted this via BitchBuzz, which is today due to launch a new take on websites aimed at women. Best of luck with the launch BitchBuzz. i think I know who runs this, but I’m not sure they want that to be public domain. Anyone shed any light?
NME.com doing well in the fiercely competitive music sector
No real surprise for IPC Media given that the lads mags demographic is made up of heavy internet users. But the growth stats are impressive – Nuts.co.uk gained 121 per cent more users year on year, while Loaded grew by 51 per cent. NME.com continues to gain strength on the web with 107 per cent year on year user growth. The growth has been attributed to the integration of video and social networking features.
Comet’s released its beta e-commerce site. Why is it this interesting? Well, they appear to be doing a bit of a ‘Which?’ magazine and become a content producer in their own right. A large part of the site is dedicated to a ‘Knowledge centre’ of articles which looks like an attempt to help their core audience navigate their way around increasingly hi-tech (and increasingly confusing) consumer goods.
You’ll be pleased to hear they’ve resisted the urge to include a carousel of washing machine products on their homepage. Well, nearly. Alas, there are still no prominent Amazon-like ‘warts and all’ product reviews, which would have been brave but brilliant. Instead they’ve teamed up with independent reviews site reevoo, which I can only guess they’ve done to avoid any flack from its suppliers. But how will this work exactly? Will Comet select which reviews to show from this third-party site? How would customers react if not all positive AND negative reviews were shown?