Month: September 2006

  • The blog conference

    IrishElection has announced it’s plans to hold Ireland’s first Blog Conference next month, all in association with Mick Fealty, Damien Mulley and Suzy Byrne.

    Here in Ireland the discussion over the potential blogging has in political terms has been going on for some time. Next year sees Ireland’s first General Election where bloggers exists in any serious capacity and quantity; already the blog has created interesting discussion and highlighted different schools of thought although it remains to be seen if bloggers here will really make a difference.

    This conference will be the first real get-together that is dedicated to political bloggers in Ireland, a section that takes up a pretty substantial portion of the community. Of course it’s not just political bloggers that are welcome; press, politicians, readers and complete novices are invited to discuss blogging, the political issues that matter to them and the media they can use to highlight and resolve said issues.

    With the latest Dáil term on its way and the general acceptance that this will signify the starting pistol in the electoral marathon, this is no better time for Irish bloggers to sit down together and discuss the potential they have to do something, no matter how small, to change the way people vote and politicians act.

    I don’t know about you, but it’s not something I plan on missing.
    Read more at Slugger, TCAL, 

  • Daily Ireland is no more

    Slugger is reporting that Daily Ireland, the all-Ireland (but Ulster-focused) daily newspaper has folded.

    The collapse comes as little surprise in reality; the NI newspaper market is already quite well served and a new newspaper that fails to target a unique niche was always going to be in difficulty. Outside of Ulster the newspaper tended to read as an ex-pat publication; something to keep travelling NI citizens up to date in their hometown. As it is both the Newsletter and the Irish News serve their communities quite well and the Sinn Fein connection didn’t help DI to endear itself to many people either; I’d imagine many people saw it as only slightly more credible than An Phoblacht, however fair that may be.
    I wonder if Máirtín will keep blogging…

    Update: RTÉ are confirming the story; 15 jobs to go with the last issue being published on Friday. Ó Muilleoir said the company had ‘run out of cash and run out of road’.

  • That was the week that blogged (28th August – 3rd September)

    Welcome to this week’s That was the week that blogged. It’s been a sport-heavy couple of days lately with GAA action-aplenty and Saturday’s Soccer to contend with too. Unfortunately the reaction of Kilkenny (and Cork) fans wasn’t quick enough to make the cut this week and it seems that all the soccer fans were far too depressed to write too much too, but maybe next week.
    If you have a blog post you want to suggest, or a comment you’d like to make feel free in the comment box below; or you can email at the address on the Contact page.



  • TV3 should learn from the mistakes of their old masters

    As of Thursday Ireland’s biggest commercial broadcaster has come under new ownership as both Canadian media group CanWest and struggling UK company ITV plc make their exit from the Irish market. The bid by Doughty Hanson valued the station at €265m with the private equity firm rumoured to be working on behalf of another company. However while TV3 itself is now profitable and its recent movement into the advertising sector certain to compliment that any new owner will face some tough decisions on the stations direction in the coming months and years; ones that could be the difference between boom and bust at TV3 HQ.

    2006 is an interesting time for Irish TV; digital TV, home of multi-channel programming is now more popular than ever and the national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) trial, which will eventually replace the existing four-channel analogue broadcast is also underway; as well as this new media such as the internet is beginning to take viewers eyes away from their TV in favour of their PC. Besides increased levels of competition the station must also contend with the licence renewal process in 2008, at which point their current broadcast remit ends. Potentially more damaging however is that the content provision agreement with ITV, which gives TV3 it’s most popular programming, will run out in the same year.

    In this changing media landscape in which tried and tested tactics are beginning to suffer TV3 would do well to learn for the mistakes of its past masters at ITV plc. For decades the ITV network was the most powerful voice in the commercial TV sector in Britain; offering viewers a wealth of compelling and entertaining programming and advertisers an endless supply of potential customers. The explosion of multi-channel TV in the 1990’s as well as the growth in other media in recent years has changed that however with the company now struggling to maintain its position as a major player in the UK TV market.

    TV3 is now in a similar situation to the one ITV found itself in during the 1990’s. In the same way that ITV lost its lions-share of the UK commercial market due to the rise of new British channels, TV3 can now no longer claim to be Ireland’s only commercial TV station. While cable take-up in Ireland is far higher than it has ever been across the water the only additional channels previously available were imported broadcasters like the BBC and Channel 4.  Since 2004 however three new Irish-based commercial players have come onto the scene, each one targeting a different niche in the market. Once DTT is fully functional TV3 is unlikely to be the only commercial broadcaster on the Irish terrestrial platform too.

    In reaction to its competition problem, ITV, which earned a strong reputation from modern classics such as Spitting Image, The Prisoner and Cracker, moved into new programming like reality TV where production costs were low and revenue streams from phone-voting and competitions were high. More recently ITV launched ‘Play’, a digital-only channel that broadcasts interactive quiz shows featuring premium phone numbers and easy questions. As a result of its content shift ITV lost its name as a home of quality production and in the process lost its bankable identity. In more recent times it has seen its profit margin shrink and its market share drop to 16.3%, the lowest in the company’s history. Only now, with boss Charles Allen on his way out is drama becoming the stations focus again.

    New Irish broadcasters like Channel 6, alongside the increased popularity of UTV in the Republic of Ireland are likely to be the greatest threat to TV3’s revenues in the near future and it would be foolish to assume other Irish commercial channels will not appear on the market in the next year or two also. Imported programming, regardless of its origin is becoming easier to see before the ‘official’ Irish broadcast on channels like RTÉ and TV3. It may be from foreign channels available on Sky and NTL/Chorus and it could even be online; iTunes in the USA currently offers legal downloads of hit shows from NBC, Disney, Fox and MTV and a similar service being made available in Ireland is only a matter of time.

    The only way TV3 can secure its viewer-ship is if it takes its weight of the crutch of imported television and makes a serious move towards real home-grown drama, documentaries and comedy; something that it shows no sign of doing judging by its Autumn schedule. Phone-in competitions, imports and reality TV may seem like the most lucrative option for a quick buck but they only offer short-term viability and more importantly they are easily replicated by rival broadcasters. Unique and original programming is the only way for TV3 to ensure it has an upper hand on its rivals and while it has next to no long-term track record with home-produced content outside of sports and news it still has the advantage of a strong profit margin and decent facilities; something the likes of Channel 6 cannot yet boast and both of which may come under threat if the lazy option is taken as multi-channel Ireland becomes the norm.

  • MCD surprised at a litigious retort

    Today’s Sunday Times features an interesting article on a civil servant who is taking MCD to the Equality Tribunal for the ill treatment he received at last year’s REM concert as a result of his medical condition.

    MCD, currently attempting to fight the corner of the little man via a lawsuit against Ireland’s premier discussion site, told Mark Tighe of their surprise at this turn of events;

     MCD was surprised the case had been put in the hands of lawyers, Ridley said, as the company believed the matter had been handled satisfactorily and “all proper procedures had been followed”.

    I know exactly where MCD are coming from; I’m seeing an increasingly worrying situation where people and companies are thrown a court summons despite them doing everything in their power to appease the aggressive accuser. I’m just glad that our responsible big-business’ here in Ireland aren’t stooping to that level too.

    What does this Shane fella want anyway? Everyone knows that tickets to the most dreary band of 2000-2004 (beaten by Keane last year) completely makes up for the embarassment suffered when security guards accuse you of being a junkie/drug-dealer on account of your vital medication. I mean it was Shane’s fault anyway; he should have known better and had his doctor with him at the concert to avoid this messy situation, or better still stayed at home like sick people are supposed to do.