BBG is working on streamlining syndication strategies to deliver the news to where users are most likely to be. Championing this endeavor is Addie Nascimento, Syndication Product Lead. She agreed to give me a sneak preview of what she’ll be working on this quarter and the following quarter.
1. Google Currents
Google Currents is self-described as delivering “beautiful magazine-like editions to your tablet and smartphone for high speed and offline reading.” According to Nascimento, the first edition of BBG’s Google Currents app entered a test phase as recently as last week and will go live to the public on October 31st. The app is RSS-based and will be available for each individual language service. Users will receive syndicated content sent directly to their smartphones or tablets. This method of entering the Android market—which has topped 675,000 apps and 1.3 million activations per day on Android—is strategic considering that future Android devices will come with the Google Currents app pre-installed. (However, the Google Currents app is also available for download on iOS.) “It continues to move us in the direction of finding BBG content everywhere you—the user—are,” sums up Nascimento, “If you have the Google currents app, we’ll be there.”
Originally, SoundCloud was meant to be help musicians create and upload new music to grab the attention of local producers and broadcasters, but the program has evolved into a powerful tool for syndication. Now SoundCloud is seen as a way to get all types of broadcasts out—ranging from special reporting on the sounds from ongoing protests to the sounds of major cultural events. “If Facebook and YouTube had a baby, it would be SoundCloud,” laughs Nascimento. However, technically, according to SoundCloud, it is described as a way to “capture a voice, moment or music in seconds or upload audio you’ve already created.” SoundCloud is soon to be one of the BBG’s tools for sharing audio broadcasts on Facebook. “One of the biggest advantages for SoundCloud is that they’re one of the few companies that works within the Facebook interface to deliver audio content,” explains Nascimento, “and they also have a built-in user base.”
Using tools like SoundCloud is a simple way to deliver files by allowing editors to leverage current podcast feeds or record and upload new files. “Files will be put into the interface, the interface will be hooked up into the respective Facebook accounts, and that content will be delivered directly through Facebook,” further details Nascimento. In addition, since SoundCloud has a desktop client component, current SoundCloud users will still be able to access BBG broadcasts there.
Nascimento recommends that SoundCloud would be ideal for the BBG language services that do a lot of radio programming, who have a strong audience on Facebook, and whose editors prefer to have a centralized way of sharing broadcast audio via social media. Particularly, this would be ideal for any language service where shortwave radio may no longer be possible for one reason or another, so primary deliver of content is via the Internet where bandwidth is suitable. “As bandwidth increases, our delivery can get better and people will look for content more and more.”
Creating business partnerships with large search engines is a surefire way to get content out to the audience it’s intended for. The purpose in doing this, Nascimento explains, is to have an agreement with major search engines and/or companies so that “they know who we are, we are getting our content to themand registered with them in the most optimal way possible.” These types of agreements create formal relationships that can be extremely beneficial to BBG so that the tech team is aware of what products or changes are coming and so that all major search engines have the most up to date site indexes, metadata, and domain redirect information.
4. Graphics Redesign
According to TechSpot, “Apple’s desktop iTunes application has been revamped with mobile-like changes, including an edge-to-edge interface that seamlessly links the store, books, music and videos into one uniform appearance.” So it only makes sense that Apple is changing its graphics requirements for all those who own iTunes store content. “This redesign is about: 1) adapting content to apple’s current standards, 2) establishing strong branding, clear themes, and professional appearance and 3) preparing us for future expansion,” explains Nascimento. While old graphics only needed to be approximately 300×300 pixels, they will need to be 1400×1400 pixels to be up to par, user friendly, and professional.
Particularly, Nascimento is looking forward to getting MBN and Marti on board to set up a permanent iTunes store. “By the end of the year, my goal is to get everyone on board,” says Nascimento, referring to her hope that all five entities reach out to set up their own iTunes pages (including new graphics). Because, of course, if you’re going to syndicate great content—the graphics need to be compelling as well.
For more info:
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(Thank you to Addie Nascimento for her contributions to this post. To contact her: addien at bbg dot gov [or] @addien)
(The foregoing commentary does not constitute endorsement by the US Government, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, VOA, MBN, OCB, RFA, or RFE/RL of the information products or services discussed.)