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.

Talking robot news on ABC Radio National Drive

ABC logoRobot newsreading and journalism has very much become my thing — as evidenced by the fact that I spoke about it yet again on ABC Radio National Drive on 3 July.

Here’s the news stories that triggered presenter Waleed Aly’s interest:

American news agency Associated Press has joined the ranks of the LA Times and Forbes magazine by adding robots to its workforce.

AP says it will use robots to write its corporate earnings reports, giving finance reporters time to concentrate on more in-depth stories.

The news comes just a week after Japan unveiled its robot newsreader, the ‘Kodomoroid’.

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The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

“Corrupted Nerds” on the future of media

Corrupted Nerds 11 cover image: click for podcast pageIt was my very great pleasure to meet Bob Garfield the other day — former advertising man, veteran journalist and media commentator, and co-presenter on NPR’s On the Media and Slate’s Lexicon Valley.

We managed to find time for a coffee and a conversation, and the result forms the latest Corrupted Nerds podcast.

“For 300-plus years, it was great for the audience, they got free and subsidised content. It was great for advertisers ’cos they got audience. And it was great for media, ’cos they got filthy stinking rich,” Garfield said. But now, things are bleak. “Unless you are in gambling, search or porn, there’s just no money to be made.”

Garfield explains why, basically, we’re all fucked.

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Talking Facebook app privacy on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide

FIVEaa logo“Facebook Messenger app has permission to spy on your phone,” screeched a headline on 9 News today. “The new Facebook Messenger app has permission to take pictures and videos without your confirmation and to call numbers without intervention, causing unexpected charges.”

This story caught the attention of 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide afternoon presenter Will Goodings. As you’ll hear, I talked him out of some of the scarier ideas, but did mention the issues of granularity in smartphone app permissions that I’ve written about before.

Here’s the full interview, plus a little end note about what we might do with Adelaide’s Festival Plaza. I present a modest proposal, as does a listener.

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.