Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

Archive for the ‘itv’ Category

ITV hits corner flag while aiming for web 2.0 goal

Posted by Graham Hayday on September 13, 2007

“We can’t afford things not to be taken up en masse so we launch safe new features. We have a very practical approach to innovation. I wouldn’t say we’re not innovative, but that we’re only innovative in areas that we know will work.”

So said Jon Clark, the head of the ITV-owned Friends Reunited. And it’s an odd thing to say.

“We’re only innovative in areas that we know will work…”

That doesn’t sound all that innovative to me. Whatever happened to suck it and see?

I doubt Mark Zuckenberg thought along those lines when he launched Facebook. I doubt he knew it would work. It was simply an experiment conducted by a budding entrepreneur with no one to answer to other than himself. Success came by accident.

I heard Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, give the keynote address at an AOP event last year. She said that only one in 10 of the online experiments her company conducts pays off.

That’s a luxury the Guardian can afford, thanks to its ownership structure. No shareholders you see. And it works – the Telegraph’s beginning to catch up, but the Guardian leads the pack in the online newspaper space.

So is ITV prevented from experimenting in new media because it’s a listed company? Could be. The same could be said of Emap, which has pretty much missed the web 2.0 boat.

Then again Rupert Murdoch’s publicly listed media empire has done a better job of riding the zeitgeist, even if that has been achieved largely by acquisition (it bought MySpace in 2005). So maybe it’s just that ITV doesn’t ‘get’ this stuff. And looking at FriendsReunited these days, it’s clear that it doesn’t.

You want me to pay nearly £8 to get in touch with my old friends? No thanks. I’m off to Facebook.

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