Monday, 4 October 2010

AIBs getting closer

It's been a manic few weeks and it looks as though the pressure is not going to ease over the coming weeks, either.

AIB is in the final stages of planning its sixth annual AIBs - the international media excellence awards - with our judges now looking through and listening to the short-listed entries.

We're gearing up for the awards evening, taking place in London on Tuesday 9 November at LSO St Luke's - a venue that's proved immensely popular with guests to the AIBs over the past two years. More information is online at

Meanwhile we've seen a sudden surge in orders for our international directory - the AIB Global Broadcasting Sourcebook. It's the only global directory that includes TV, radio, online, satellite, cable and IPTV that's updated every month. That must be why it's proving popular...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Temperatures hot up, as do competitions

Here in the UK we're basking in extremely warm temperatures...after a wash-out summer in 2009 (which the UK's Met Office had predicted would be a scorcher), 2010 looks set to have a hot, dry summer.

And as the temperature increases outside, it is getting warmer in the AIB office. The phones are ringing off the hook and the world's courier companies are busy delivering packages of Digibeta tapes and CDs - all entries to this year's AIBs, the international media excellence awards.

We have entries from every continent and more are on the way - and many broadcasters, production houses and tech companies have asked us for more time to get their entries to us. So, we've agreed to an extension to the closing date.

Instead of the original date of 2 July, we've extended the closing date to Friday 16 July at 1600 GMT. That's the final cut-off for entries to reach us - giving people another ten working days to get their material to us.

We're looking forward to a great competition this year, with a great panel of judges (who are looking forward to the judging process, they are telling me) and great support from the industry via sponsorship: Eurosport is the latest company to agree to sponsor the 2010 AIBs, alongside Bloomberg Television, Advanced Digital Broadcast and 1GOAL.

Make sure you get your entries in by 16 July.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Entries heading our way

Entries for the 2010 AIBs, the international media excellence awards, are arriving at AIB head office from all over the world.

It's great to see another immense range of programmes being submitted into the sixth annual AIBs from broadcasters everywhere in the world, from New Zealand to Qatar, Germany to the Netherlands, Chile to the USA.

At the same time, there are entries for the technology category arriving, highlighting some of the great technical solutions for the broadcasting industry.

So now is the time to get your entry into us before the competition closes on 2 July. Look at the entry booklet here:

And you can see a short video of the 2009 AIBs here:

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Green light for MIP

After a little bit of worry, I'm delighted to say that Reed MIDEM have now confirmed that the AIB's press registration has been cleared!

Thanks, Audrey, for sorting this out...

MIPTV...does it beckon for AIB?

In a couple of weeks time, the annual MIPTV programme market gets underway in Cannes. It's the gathering of the TV industry across Europe, and much of the rest of the world, too, where deals are done on content and discussions on the future of media are held.

I'm delighted to see that AIB's old friend Joanna Shields will be on stage with Elisabeth Murdoch, talking about the new company Shine has launched in the new media arena.

Joanna Shields has been a guest at the AIBs - the international media excellence awards - most recently last year where I interviewed her on stage (picture right).

Each year AIB reports from MIPTV for its members and the wider audience that AIB has in the media industry around the world. However, as in previous years, the organisers - Paris-based Reed Midem - seem to make it harder for me to register as a member of the press to enable us to cover their event for our global audience of more than 25,000 people. Send us by-lined articles, they say. Prove you do what you say, they ask.

All this for an organisation that's been reporting on global media since 1993, with a print publication - The Channel - that reaches more than 6,500 regular subscribers in TV, radio, online and mobile in over 150 countries worldwide.

Let's hope the registration comes through. I wonder if they treat everyone who wants to cover the event in the same way? It's rather discouraging and difficult to write positive, enthusiastic stories when one is treated like this...

Meanwhile, our colleagues at 1GOAL which AIB is supporting this year, has secured a stand at MIPTV which will enable it to build on the work we've been helping with - recruiting broadcasters to air material to build the world's largest campaign to support education for all. That's one positive story we can report.

So, with luck, AIB will see you in Cannes...over to you, Reed Midem.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Russia - media definitely interesting

My first visit to Russia has been an eye-opener. Despite the bitterly cold weather, my welcome by everyone involved in the Digital TV Russia conference, and people from the media here, has been overwhelmingly warm.

It seems to me that the Russian media industry has been sold some slightly dubious promises by firms in the West, who are keen to make cash in this new-ish media market, while not providing all the facts. I'm reporting to AIB members about this and providing some analysis in the next edition of our member-only market intelligence briefing.

Meanwhile, it's been a great few days here with lots to see and do, and much to learn about the media industry from insiders. Great contacts made on behalf of AIB members and I'm looking forward to my next visit - perhaps when the weather's warmer.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Moscow calling

I'm preparing to travel to Moscow - now on BMI rather than BA (and working out how to cope with a far lower baggage allowance!). I will be taking part in the Digital TV Russia symposium which AIB has agreed to support, as well as meeting a range of broadcasters and others involved in the media scene in Russia.

It's definitely a trip I'm looking forward to as I have not been to Moscow before. I will have to find some time to do the tourist stuff of Red Square and have a go on the metro.

You will be able to read my paper on the AIB website from 1200GMT on Monday 22 March.

I'm also going to be trying out new presentation software that I saw in action earlier this week at the Social TV Forum. Paul Bristow, VP Strategy at Swiss-based ADB, makes use of Prezi and I was very impressed. I'm experimenting with it at the moment and will be using it for real for the first time in Moscow on Monday. Wish me luck!

Monday, 15 March 2010

BA - just what do the initials stand for?

I'm a bit disgruntled. Having learnt that the flight I am due to travel to Moscow is one of the ones that is apparently not surviving the British Airways cabin crew strike, I rang BA to try and get on to an earlier flight that is still going.

I waited, listening to the same 20 bars of music and same announcements saying how wonderful BA is, for more than two and a half hours. And then...I was cut off. I should have known that would happen.

Now it's impossible to get through - the message "we're experiencing extremely high call volumes" is the only thing you can get at the moment.

At this rate, getting to Moscow could prove challenging. Is it time to switch allegiance from OneWorld to Star Alliance of SkyTeam?

Chairing and presenting, meeting and discussing

It's been a busy few weeks and it looks as though the coming weeks will be equally busy.

From visits to Barcelona and New Delhi comes lots of follow-up work to do and I'm slowly managing to catch up with everything. And now I'm heading off to chair the Social TV Forum in London on 16 March and then to Moscow - BA strikes permitting - to speak about digital TV around the world at the 3rd Digital TV Russia summit.

On top of all that, my colleagues and I are working hard on the preparations for this year's AIBs - the international media excellence awards - that we are launching in mid-April. This is the sixth year of the AIBs and I have a feeling that this year will be the best yet. We're making sure that more programme makers know about the awards than ever before and are looking forward to a bumper crop of entries.

And then there's all the research work we're doing for our market intelligence briefings that AIB members around the world receive.

It's probably a good thing that the sun is makes for a more inspirational working environment which leads to getting more things done!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

MWC - mobile first, content...well, not quite sure

The annual mobile-fest, Mobile World Congress, is underway in Barcelona where, on the third day, the sun has finally come out lifting the spirits of the several tens of thousands of visitors.

There´s a clear message emanating from here: mobile is the future. And that means the device in everyone´s pocket is definitely going to become even more important. However, there´s increasing pressure on mobile bandwidth as more smartphones come into use globally - here in Barcelona trying to browse the web or download a new app on my BlackBerry can take a very long time. I´m not convinced that users will stand for the sort of delays I have been experiencing.

So, while Google´s Eric Schmidt makes a definitive statement that for Google, it´s "mobile first", there is still an immense amount of work to be done to bring the mobile web to users globally. And as for quality content, there are ever more challenges for broadcasters. A different app is needed for every phone brand at the moment and while the intention to have a single app platform across all makes is a great idea, I wonder when it will become reality.

That means that few content owners are actively promoting their offers to mobile operators here, despite the fact that almost every mobile operator in the world attends this event. AIB member Deutsche Welle is here, on the NRW stand in hall 1, while France 24 is on Mobiclip in hall 2. Other content providers include Rotana, up in hall 7 (which is app world, so I´m not quite sure why they are there), and the BBC has a team of several/lots of people walking the stands...I´ve counted four or five people already from the BBC.

AIB will be analysing what we are learning here for our members in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

AIB up in lights at MWC - well, on flags, actually!

AIB gets great mentions at the entrance to hall 2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year.

Our award to France 24 in the 2009 AIBs is celebrated on around 48 banners lining the walkway into hall 2, encouraging visitors to go to the Mobiclip stand.

Thanks, Mobiclip - doubtless you will be supporting the 2010 AIBs...

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Is digital the way forward for trade magazines?

AIB has just published the first edition of 2010 of its international media magazine, The Channel.
We're committed to printing copies of the magazine for our subscribers around the world, as well as for distribution at media events we go to around the world.
However, we've been experimenting with digital, page-turning editions and have now employed a new set of software to enable us to publish all our publications online and to offer our 25,000-plus contacts around the world a copy of The Channel - and other AIB publications - on their PCs.
I don't believe that digital initiatives like this mean the end of printing presses or physical copies. Personally, I do prefer leafing through a printed magazine at my leisure (or at my desk) than reading on the screen. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned - but my 14 year-old son also likes picking up and reading printed editions of magazines...
What the new digital publishing means for AIB and its members is that more people have access to our work, and that more people are therefore reading about the activities of our members. We included links to two of our members in the e-mail promoting the magazine as we thought the stories about them were worth highlighting. They've received hundreds of click-throughs, demonstrating that people want the ability to get more context around a story. This is something that cross-media production can really offer to everyone - whether they are in the trade or consumer sectors - and it's something we're encouraging our members to do as well.
Gone are the days of single platform content - and AIB is pleased to have moved into this new multiplatform arena.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Happy New Year!

The start of 2010 has seen the AIB head office in rural Kent, south-east of London, surrounded by snow and ice as Britain is gripped by the coldest winter in more than a quarter of a century. The level of preparedness for bad weather in the UK has been abysmal, with train services slashed and a distinct lack of grit on the roads. Perhaps it's partly because the UK's Meteorological Office forecast a mild winter [it had earlier predicted a dry, hot summer - something that failed to be translated into reality]. Despite all the trials and tribulations of getting to work, AIB staff have ploughed through the snow and are busy working for our global membership.

At AIB, we're busy planning our activities for 2010. Mobile is something that continues to be important for us as we try to forge relationships between mobile companies and broadcasters. We'll be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month, facilitating meetings between broadcasters and mobile operators and manufacturers, ensuring AIB members' content is high on the agendas of mobile companies.

We're involved with a range of conferences this year, starting with RadioAsia in New Delhi towards the end of February, FICCI Frames in March, the FT Digital Media conference in London, and digital TV events in Moscow and Beijing. We'll be chairing events, starting conversations and reporting on developments in many different markets to AIB members.

It's going to be a busy year, with lots going on - including the sixth annual AIBs, our international media excellence awards, which we'll launch at MIP TV in Cannes in April. The Awards will be presented at our gala evening in London in November - you can get a flavour of last year's event with photos at Flickr.

So, back to work...