It’s time to turn around the Revenue Ship, and fast

I knew the first three months of 2015 had been bad for business — or at least my little patch of business — but I hadn’t realised it was this bad. Turns out it was my second-worst quarter in more than four years! Drastic action and ruthless decisions are required.

Yes, this is another of my occasional thinking-aloud reflections on my personal circumstances. If you don’t like this sort of thing, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

Still with me? Lovely.

Yesterday I updated my “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I’ve created for each media outlet, regardless of relative complexity or what income was generated. It serves as a handy proxy for revenue — because certain revenue figures are confidential.

Media objects produced monthly, 2011-2015: click to embiggen

It’s a depressing image. At best, Q1 of 2015 was no worse than Q1 of the previous year, but overall it’s still a picture of decline. Literally depressing, in fact, because I’ve left in a couple of health-related markers that I was using to analyse something else.

Back at the end of 2012, I’d tried to inject a little more strategy into the way I ran the business side of making media. This and other charts were some of the tools I created, last updated in February 2014. It’s fair to say that I haven’t really developed any kind of strategy out of the information in those charts, and this new chart illustrates the results from doing that nothing. Go me.

This chart doesn’t reflect certain positives, however. There’s now crowdsourced funding for The 9pm Edict podcast. I also do some minor work for the University of Technology Sydney, and I consult on some other media projects too. There’s also fragmentary revenue from the legacy clients of my IT business.

But I do need to raise my income levels back to something more like they were a few years ago. The next step is to do something about it. And that has been the nature of my ponderings across this Easter long weekend.

Kicking off a better year for my media work, probably

I’m claiming that January presented clear signs that I’m reversing the decline of revenue that I’d been suffering, thanks to depression and arsehattery — something that I’ve become very aware of in recent months.

If you don’t like these personal reflections that I write from time to time, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

I started this planning process at the end of 2012, because I’d noticed that until then I hadn’t actually been planning my media work, let alone taking the next step of having some kind of strategy.

I’d just plodded along doing much the same thing every week. If an income stream died, I did no real work to replace it. When new work was offered, I generally took it on unless the idea was clearly daft.

You can see what happened in my newly-updated “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I did for each masthead, regardless of complexity or income.

Chart of media objects produced by Stilgherrian since 2011

Continue reading “Kicking off a better year for my media work, probably”

Doing the business on Stilgherrian’s journalism

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s become clear to me that many aspects of my life should be reassessed for next year. One of the more important is my work — that is, what I do for who, how often and for how much.

Last night I made a couple of pictures to help me understand the issues I’ll need to think about. This first one shows the relative importance of each masthead, at least in revenue terms, based on the gross income they generated in 2012. I’m surprised.

Stilgherrian's income from journalism in 2012 by masthead: see story for the numbers

I knew ZDNet was my biggest earner. What I didn’t realise was that my written stories for them, either ad hoc commissions or as conference coverage, when combined with the weekly Patch Monday podcast, represent roughly five times the revenue of the second-place holder, CSO Online.

Continue reading “Doing the business on Stilgherrian’s journalism”

Look, about this Internet filter thing… part 1

Crikey logoI’ve been very busy this week following Tuesday’s announcement that mandatory ISP-level Internet “filtering” will go ahead, writing stories for Crikey and ABC Online.

Two stories for Crikey:

  • Conroy’s internet filter: so what? Senator Conroy’s claim that “ISP-level filtering of a defined list of URLs can be delivered with 100% accuracy” is perhaps true in a narrow technical sense, but it misrepresents the Enex TestLab report. And it ignores Enex’s finding that “a technically competent user could, if they wished, circumvent the filtering technology.”
  • Internet filtering: first step on the path to Burma? Not just my fear, but that of retired High Court Justice Michael Kirby. I also point out how the existing censorship system has extended the definition of Refused Classification — that is, banned material — three times in the last decade, often without public consultation. Such scope creep is a worry.

ABC logo

And my first outing for ABC’s The Drum — well, for Unleashed, there’s still some unresolved branding issues — is Evidence-based policy? Not on this filter! I argue that the mandatory filtering program isn’t about “protecting the children” at all.

A sample:

If the plan were really about protecting the children, and if it were really evidence-based, the government would have first have figured out what risks children actually face — online and everywhere else. They’d then figure out the best methods of countering those risks. Then they’d figure out the most cost-effective ways of implementing those solutions.

If we did that, we’d probably find that the risks are the very same ones that child protection experts keep banging on about. Bullying by their peers. Abuse from within their own homes and families. Poverty and its associated health risks. Obesity.

But this is politics, not child protection.

This policy is probably about a Senate preferences deal between Labor and Family First. It’s certainly about the political demands of a small but vocal and well-connected minority of conservative Christian voters and the devilishly evil internet.

The political solution has already been chosen: compulsory censorship by an automatic filter. The political goal is to sell that policy to the voters.

The comments threads on all articles is revealing fascinating stuff. Please read. And comment.

That’s all link to my recent stuff. In part 2 I’ll link to some of the other clever writing on this issue.

Talking Australia’s new Internet censorship policy on 6PR

6PR 882 News TalkYes, Australia will have a mandatory ISP-level Internet censorship system. It was announced earlier today by Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy when he released the final report of the recent filtering trials.

According to the ABC News report, legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material hosted in other countries which has been refused classification. That’s actualy not quite correct. It will block material which, in the opinion of an ACMA staff member, would potentially be refused classification if it were actually submitted to the Classification Board.

Provided, that is, that a concerned citizen went to the trouble of complaining about the material in the first place.

I’m still ploughing through the final report from Enex Testlab for a couple media articles I need to write tonight.

Meanwhile, have a listen to this 10-minute interview I did earlier today with Jason Jordan on Radio 6PR Perth.

Play

[The radio interview is Copyright © 2009 Radio 6PR Perth Pty Ltd, but since they don’t archive these interviews it’s fair enough putting it here provided you just listen to it and I link back to 6PR and encourage you to listen. If you’re in Perth. Or if you want to stream it.]