Courting communications


This week I received two press releases from major companies, both, incidentally, beginning with A and holding the number one and two spots in broadcast editing. And both, in their different ways, were prime examples of how not to do it.
In the purple corner we have, and I quote “Avid today announced that it has been awarded a significant contract to supply production and distribution kit and expertise to the broadcast of a major sporting event in London next year. Over the next year, Avid Professional Services will collaborate with a third-party technology supplier to provide a core broadcast service and onsite support.”
There are a couple more paragraphs in this vein, but nothing of any substance. We are left to guess what that major sporting event in London could possibly be, and therefore who the third-party technology supplier could be.
This is not, of course, Avid’s fault. The Olympic movement and its obsession with ambush marketing (its name for any mention of the Olympics it does not get a cut for) has driven Avid to issue this meaningless press release, when we should all be gathering around to congratulate them on a good contract on a very prestigious project.
From the shiny silver corner came a perfectly adequate press release, announcing the launch of Final Cut Pro X, the latest version of the editing software. My beef comes not with the release itself but the follow-up call from Apple’s press office, about half an hour later.
“We’re having an event to launch Final Cut Pro X, and all journalists who attend will be given a code to download the software free,” the PR girl told me breathlessly. Which might have been tempting were it not for two facts.
First, one of the most important pieces of news about the new version is that it only costs £180, so by the time I had dragged myself round to Apple’s offices near Heathrow I would already be out of pocket. And second, that the press event was approximately 21 hours from the time of the call inviting me. Which is, for a busy freelance, a bit short notice.
I have written in these pages before that I am an enthusiastic user of Apple products and will no doubt, in the fullness of time, download a copy of Final Cut Studio for the little video projects I undertake. I might even comment favourably upon it in print. But, my dear friends at Apple, you really have to get over yourselves. We love you, but we are not going to drop everything at your behest.
Why am I writing about these two incidents? Because you may not realise how much the trade press depends upon the PR industry. For independent commentators like me a good PR person will keep me up to date with the latest news, tuned to my specific interests, and respond quickly if I have further questions. For the editor of a magazine like TV-Bay a good PR person will be invaluable, suggesting editorial offerings which are relevant to the readership, and ensuring they are delivered ahead of the publication deadline.
Unfortunately, there are good PR people and not so good PR people. And as delightful and helpful as the good ones are, the bad ones are a nightmare. So, you ask, what makes a bad PR person? The answer, when it comes down to it, is that bad PR people are too lazy to do the basic research.
Through March I get the calls asking “Are you going to the NAB show?”. Yes, I registered in December, which you would know if you bothered to look at the published list. Or the PR drone calls the week before the exhibition wanting to make an appointment to meet the MD of the client company and gets upset when I say my diary is full.
The calls around exhibition times are probably the worst disruption. But another grade one irritant is the PR company that has bought a mailing list from someone and has not bothered to clean it. You get news from them that might well be fascinating but is hardly relevant.
I, for example, receive something virtually every day from an American group called the National Association of Black Journalists. I will pause for a moment for you to check my picture at the top of the column. The invitation to join the association Women in Broadcast I filed in the same way.
Some releases are just way off mark. I regularly get invitations to the opening of apartment blocks in Dubai, for instance (without the accompanying complimentary first class air tickets). The most obscure I can recall revealed the latest scientific research that “baby corals dance their way home”. No, I had no idea that coral had a larval stage, or that in this stage they swam, or that marine biologists could get grants to create a “choice chamber” for coral to determine they guided each other through interpretive dance.
Good PR people: you know who you are. Carry on doing a grand job, and I’ll see you next at the IBC Beach.

Tags: iss055 | final cut pro x | fcpx | pr | public relations | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

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    Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

  • JVC at BVE 2013

    JVC at BVE 2013

  • DJI Innovations at BVE 2013

    DJI Innovations at BVE 2013

  • Azule Finance at BVE 2013

    Azule Finance at BVE 2013

  • Autocue at BVE 2013

    Autocue at BVE 2013

  • AJA at BVE 2013

    AJA at BVE 2013

  • Glensound at BVE North 2012

    Glensound at BVE North 2012

  • JVC at BVE North 2012

    JVC at BVE North 2012

  • Autocue at BVE North 2012

    Autocue at BVE North 2012

  • Miranda at NAB 2012

    Miranda at NAB 2012

  • Bexel at NAB 2012

    Bexel at NAB 2012

  • Marquis Broadcast at NAB 2012

    Marquis Broadcast at NAB 2012

  • Autodesk at NAB 2012

    Autodesk at NAB 2012

  • Broadpeak at NAB 2012

    Broadpeak at NAB 2012

  • Petrol at NAB 2012

    Petrol at NAB 2012

  • Autocue at NAB 2012

    Autocue at NAB 2012

  • Digital Nirvana at NAB 2012

    Digital Nirvana at NAB 2012

  • Marquis at BVE 2012

    Marquis at BVE 2012

  • Cooke Optics at BVE 2012

    Cooke Optics at BVE 2012

  • Chyron at BVE 2012

    Chyron at BVE 2012

  • Datavision at BVE 2012

    Datavision at BVE 2012

  • Ross Video at BVE 2012

    Ross Video at BVE 2012

  • Autocue at BVE 2012

    Autocue at BVE 2012

  • Autoscript at BVE 2012

    Autoscript at BVE 2012

  • TNP and DSMB at BVE North 2011

    TNP and DSMB at BVE North 2011

  • Ross Video at BVE North 2011

    Ross Video at BVE North 2011

  • HHB and Soundfield at BVE North 2011

    HHB and Soundfield at BVE North 2011

  • Autoscript at BVE North 2011

    Autoscript at BVE North 2011

  • Datavideo at IBC2011

    Datavideo at IBC2011

  • Sensio at IBC2011

    Sensio at IBC2011

  • Autoscript at IBC2011

    Autoscript at IBC2011

  • Petrol at IBC2011

    Petrol at IBC2011

  • Codex at IBC2011

    Codex at IBC2011

  • SGO at IBC2011

    SGO at IBC2011

  • TC Electronic at IBC2011

    TC Electronic at IBC2011

  • IPV at IBC2011

    IPV at IBC2011

  • AMD at IBC2011

    AMD at IBC2011

  • Autocue at IBC2011

    Autocue at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Live production with Newtek at BVE 2015

    Live production with Newtek at BVE 2015


Articles
Peli Air 1507 Review
Phil Vinter Originally named after a bird that carries its precious cargo through the skies, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before Peli released its Air range.
Tags: iss133 | peli | peli air 1507 | trekpak | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast
Nick Collier Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.
Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Taking on a self employed placement year
Joshua Round The idea of being self-employed or freelancing has always been somewhat terrifying for me. There is a level of uncertainty and responsibility that comes with the freedom of being self-employed, the likes of which makes me wonder why I chose to give it a go for my placement year as part of my university course - (BSc) Television and Broadcasting.
Tags: iss133 | placement year | university | student | education | portsmouth | Joshua Round
Contributing Author Joshua Round Click to read or download PDF