Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Broadcasters and news

A note regarding news journals for the web (im German) made me think what such a news offering might look like, and what additional value an Internet news journal might have.

What are news journals anyway? It's (current) news enhanced by more in-depth coverage of selected topics and a fixed ordering from politics to weather, taking about half an hour. The anchorman's task is to integrate the individual news contributions, pre-produced clips and, every now and then, interview someone (most likely via videoconference).

First idea would be to offer the fragments of a newscast, augmented with background material (e. g. as previously broadcasted, or offered by selected partners). This could be categorized to be accessed (i. e. read or viewed) on demand. If individual contributions are timestamped and provided with metadata, it would not only be possible to search by category, time period and keywords, but also to automatically order the contributions as they are being made available.

For registered users, a profile can be created, either according to explicit preferences, by tracking what contributions were accessed, or both, so an individual news selection could be offered. An additional service could be the integration of videocast snippets according to one's profile and for a time period of, say, up to a week, and up to a selected maximum length (e. g. 5 to 30 minutes) as an individualized media stream. And, of course, with comments from registered readers, additional information, including links to weblogs or other selected sources, can be made available. In order to increase quality, a weekly contest where readers may win subscriptions to premium content or other prizes would be an attractive option.

I do by no means claim that these ideas are anything really new. However, as it seems, the Web will blur the difference between periodically published news as in newspapers, broadcasting and Web 2.0 content creation. Of course, many more ideas are possible, but at the end, we will also need to answer the question of how much this will cost (especially for public broadcasters) and what business model will drive these ideas.