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The Tickle File
short takes on daily media news

From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File

Smiling faces and journalistic limits
evolving policy

Concerned that “posthumous glorification” accrues to dead terrorist attack perpetrators leading French daily Le Monde will no longer publishing their visual images. Television channel BFM TV and Catholic daily La Croix followed. National radio channel Europe 1 said terrorists full names will be truncated to a first name and initial.

“Since the emergence of Isis, Le Monde has continually evolved its policies,” explained editor-in-chief Jérôme Fenoglio in an editorial (July 27). “We decided, particularly, to stop publishing images, documents or propaganda materials of Isis. After the Nice attack, we are publishing no more images of terrorists, perpetrators of killings and massacres, to avoid potential posthumous glorification. Debates about our other policies are ongoing.” (See more about media in France here)

Indeed, journalistic debates about reporting practices identifying terrorists and criminals, visually or by name, have been around for decades. Tabloids - and many of their new media counterparts - find no editorial dilemma. Le Monde will not be publishing “the image of a young handsome person, smiling in a photo after he just killed someone.” said M.Fenoglio.

“The difficulty in this debate is that we have to guard against not informing people,” said BFM TV editorial director Herve Beroud to AFP (July 27). BFM TV and other French news media outlets were formally warned by media regulator CSA about “feeding the tensions in the population starting from an allegation which appeared inaccurate,” in coverage of the January 2015 hostage-murder rampage in Paris.

French journalists on the terrorist beat were less sanguine. “Conspiracy theories are already well underway,” said France 24s Waheed Nasr to Le Monde (July 27). “If you hide photos or identities of the bombers, another door is opened for them.”

Names are valuable real estate
acronyms and acrimony

The (dot) radio Top Level Domain (TLD) name administration has been awarded to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN). TLDs are internet pointers, used in Universal Resource Locators (URLs), directing the flow along the internet superhighway. ICANN authorized new TLDs - actually generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) - a few years ago, (dot) radio being one.

“The EBU has fought strongly to obtain administration rights for (dot) radio and we are very pleased that ICANN has approved our application to run this extraordinary CommunityTop Level Domain,” said EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre in a statement (See EBU presser here). Community TLDs are a special category determined by ICANN. Administering a gTLD is a lot like operating the drawbridge to a gated community, fees being involved.

The fight to administer (dot) radio raised several issues along the way. Another applicant, BRS Media, objected to EBU being named to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) as a conflict of interest. EBU is a trade association for European public broadcasters and many of its members are directed and funded by governments. EBU also acquires and administers sports and event rights for the benefit of member public broadcasters. It is also holder of the Eurovision Song Contest trademark.

BRS Media also complained that as administrator EBU would be empowered to restrict (dot) radio access. Amateur radio and commercial broadcasting organizations saw the same red-flag. A review of all this took two years and along the way EBU amended its application to be more inclusive. Sometime in the next few months EBU will establish a World Radio Advisory Board to manage (dot) radio “together with the representatives of the main radio organzations which supported the EBU application.”

More fallout in up-side-down ratings period
motion to strike

The statistical souls at French media measurement institute Médiamétrie dutifully released this past week April-June radio audience estimates for the Ile de France (IDF) - greater Paris - region. Correspondingly, results for RTL Group’s national dance music channel Fun Radio were expunged, as with the national results released a week earlier, as punishment for breaking rules about interfering with the survey method. As with the national April-June results, many French broadcasters learned about unexpected consequences.

If anything, IDF audience estimates for the period, compared with the national results, were magnified. Market leaders RTL and France Inter rose significantly, year on year; RTL (1st) to 14.6% market share from 12.4%, France Inter (2nd) to 13.2% from 8.7%. Both channels are heavily invested in news coverage and events during the period would have logically attracted listener interest. All-news France Info rose to 5.0% market share (5th) from 4.3%. Regional public channel FIP increased to 3.0% market share (9th) from 2.3%.

General entertainment channel Europe 1 (3rd) dropped to 8.3% market from 8.7% one year on. Unrelated, a new scandal erupted involving a Europe 1 show host. News and sports talk channel RMC was thrashed; 5.9% market share (4th) from 9.0% (2nd). (See France IDF radio audience trend chart here) Overall listening Monday through Friday fell to 74.1% of the population from 78.0%.

Eliminating interview data suspiciously crediting Fun Radio appears to have affected most the national music channels. NRJ (6th) was down to 3.9% market share from 5.2% year on year. Skyrock (7th) fell to 3.35 market share from 3.9%. RFM (10th) was down to 2.5% market share from 3.2%. Virgin Radio fell to 1.3% market share from 1.8%.

On the other end of the musical dimension classical music Radio Classique (8th) rose to 3.3% market share from 2.6%. Most local IDF stations were lower.

Previous weeks complete Tickle File

Summer 2016

In Write On

f/16 And Be There
lens Images are evermore important to the media sphere. About 100 million are posted to Instagram each day. The vast majority are personal, not newsworthy except for the volume. Across all platforms images are the big attention-getter, shaping news editors decisions proportionally. Images are emotion-laden, including, sometimes, compassion.

In The Numbers

Strategy To Fit The Mold
cookie cutter Broadcasters have different brand strategies, each suiting a particular customer. Audience reach is obvious but often just a means to an end. Complex strategies can be tricky, confusing the customer very risky. Atop everything shareholder’s needs and interests must be satisfied. The meetings can seem endless.

In The Numbers

Public Channels Still Leading, Still Slipping
hands on the wheel As audiences shift public broadcasters face a certain quandary. With money and wherewithal to adopt new technical platforms legacy brands can be victims on institutional inertia. New channels can be developed easily. Older ones, typically with huge structures, seem to run out of energy. Private sector broadcasters don’t have that problem.



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Friday July 29, 2016
EBU, gTLD, domain names, (dot) radio, radio in France, Mediametrie, radio audience, IDF, RTL, France Inter, RMC, Fun Radio, Radio Classique

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