Innovation @ BBG » Affiliate Services http://www.innovation-series.com Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:47:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 VOA Indonesia trip: BBG Direct and Affiliates http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/11/05/voa-indonesia-trip-bbg-direct-and-affiliates/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=voa-indonesia-trip-bbg-direct-and-affiliates http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/11/05/voa-indonesia-trip-bbg-direct-and-affiliates/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:00:14 +0000 Xi Rotmil http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6324

During the conference in Indonesia, VOA’s booth placing participants in front of a poster of the Capitol to give a 60 second broadcast was very popular.

Recently, the amount of news & information programming from the BBG broadcast entities listened to or watched through our global affiliates exceeded the amount distributed directly to our audience for the first time. A recent trip to Indonesia highlights the diversity among BBG affiliates, including Suara Surabaya Media, Dreamers Network, Baranews and KPK.

Indonesia is a collection of 922 permanently inhabited islands spread over three time zones. The needs of Indonesian affiliates are as diverse as the islands themselves.  For instance, in the competitive, dense media environment of Java, affiliates are looking to enhance their existing content with interesting short audio and video specialty pieces. In less populated islands, media entities are interested in large chunks of content, even entire shows.

In May, Steve Fuchs, our UX Studio Manager, traveled to Indonesia to show affiliates the new BBG Direct content distribution website.  While in Indonesia, Fuchs attended the 20th Annual Conference of Independent Journalists.

About 40 organizations participated in the conference. Other networks were also there. Many them were our affiliates. There were workshops on content creation, movie making, and citizen journalism. The crowd was young and enthusiastic.

A breakout session on environmental studies taught with comics: kids made their own green themed comic stories with typing paper and number 2 pencils.

A snapshot of affiliates who aim to engage, inform, and inspire.

Dreamers Network, one of our affiliates,  does a great job of engaging its audience.  In three years, Dreamers Network founder Daniel Hartono has built a streaming only radio website focused on giving young people what they want, when they want it. The station is ranked number one in Korean-pop in Indonesia with Dreamers’ coverage of k-pop even being picked up by Yahoo.

Dreamers also has a very active social network. The office sits above its own branded cafe and listeners are invited to come and eat. Listeners also get to network with each other via radio (cos-play, zombie groups etc). Dreamers also has a glass studio facing the street so people nearby can see when guests do a broadcast. The station now has a dating site which allows members of the listening audience to see each other and chat online. Dreamers will also add there own job search where listeners will be allowed space to demo their skills. For instance, a barista can do a quick video of themselves making a cup of java, or an artist can show their work. Dreamers has allotted space for bloggers to do fan fiction and this has been picked up by a publishing firm and made into print books.

Dreamers uses VOA for breaking news (Korean Ferry, Chinese claims to the Spratly Islands, and missing Malaysian plane were popular topics) but also looks for entertainment, music and film content.

Suara Surabaya Media focuses on meeting their audience’s needs and being the most relevant station in the region. Listeners send the station pictures of fires, traffic accidents, and other local events. Suara then posts these pictures, along with advice on how to detour, or best cope with the conditions. They also makes sure the proper authorities are called. Suara has an FM radio station and runs the website suarasurabaya.net.  Suara Surabaya uses VOA content on business, entrepreneurs, green sites and urban farms. Inspirational news and features on Indonesians in America are also very popular.

As an anti-corruption group, KPK  is very interested in providing VOA news on corruption, economics, and environment to its audience. On the day Fuchs was visiting, the office was surrounded (peacefully) with protesters and local police. Besides exposing corruption, KPK is most interested in VOA providing inspiring content such as “positive role model coverage” of life in other countries.

Baranews  has  also launched a website promoting reform issues. Like KPK, Bara was interested in progressive political news, economics, technology and environmental reports and positive stories from around the world.

Bara will soon launch a live streaming TV app for smart phones in Indonesia, Singapore and Beijing. This is an on-demand and live streaming TV app with integrated social media components where people can chat and share while watching. Users will also be able to record and play later, as well as create their own channels.

Republika.co.id is the online version of the popular Muslim daily newspaper. They are an old line media firm (in 1992, they had a linotype machine in their lobby) with a large campus in the city. They have a strong interest in a mobile-first small bites approach to reaching new audiences and say they are most interested in reports on economics, science, technology, and the United States.

BBG Direct works to meet the needs of today’s affiliate.

BBG Direct is specially designed to reach the broadcast affiliates and digital partners of the BBG. You can download content, find satellite information, schedules and much more. Our suite of digital services includes free, fast, and reliable live streaming, a hosted, branded digital player optimized for mobile, and online support.

Overall the new BBG Direct site was well received in Indonesia. Despite regional and other differences, all affiliates said they hope VOA will continue to supply them with materials that can be used to engage, inform and inspire their audience.

 

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VOA West Africa Trip: What I Learned… #Africa2014 http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/03/24/voa-west-africa-trip-what-i-learned-africa2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=voa-west-africa-trip-what-i-learned-africa2014 http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/03/24/voa-west-africa-trip-what-i-learned-africa2014/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 19:12:07 +0000 Adam Martin http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=5982 I recently returned from 17 days of travel through sub-Saharan West Africa, experiencing the culture, meeting with VOA broadcast affiliates, becoming educated on the local digital media ecosystems and gaining a better understanding of how US International Media can prepare to meet the opportunities presented by this rapidly evolving region and serve our strategic mission.

During those 17 days across Senegal, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, I heard from a diverse collection of journalists, social entrepreneurs, students, cab drivers, broadcasters, technologists and Senegalese Wrestling fans (Laamb!) who shared what they say those opportunities are and also some of the challenges they face.

What I learned…

Media & Technology

  • Mobile communication dominates as a form of social interaction among young students and professionals in the region. Mobile messaging apps, chat services, SMS and IVR all inform the way people communicate, organize, learn, send and receive news & information.

  • The Social Web is the Web for many in this same demographic who regularly engage online. Facebook acts as a single destination for people where they can message with friends, share photos, find relevant information, socialize online and organize ‘in real life.’ Twitter, Instagram and multimedia mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber and 2Go are also growing as places where people engage with friends, family, media organizations, brands and public figures online.

  • But…radio continues to play a critical role in these communities with its ability to reach a large and diverse audience, engaging them on topics that are local, relevant and personal to their lives while bypassing challenges for Web access that range from low broadband penetration and cellular data accessibility to language proficiency and literacy.

  • Radio and the Social Web share many characteristics that make them complimentary and allow them to serve as critical sources for communications. Having an ‘authentic voice’ that reflects the local language and culture with the ability to respond to the audience in ‘real time’ is key to successfully engaging with and building a supportive, loyal following — on-air or online.

Adam Africa trip

Me (fourth from left) with the Radio Kledu FM Team in Bamako, Mali

  • The regional telcos (telecommunications companies) that control the ‘last-mile‘ flow of data, information and access to the global community have tremendous influence over the way people use their mobile devices to communicate. Working effectively with these power brokers will be necessary for near-term success in providing content to these communities while alternatives are developed to bring more competition and collaboration to the market.

  • Affordable access to cellular data and low broadband penetration continue to be two of the biggest obstacles to ‘internet everywhere’ across the Sahel. Closing the digital-divide in these countries will lead to opportunities for incredible growth in access to education, new business opportunities, health and social services and cultural exchanges.

Adam Africa radio

Radio Kledu FM and digital news teams preparing the afternoon rundown

Innovation

  • Digital Media Literacy within these regional audiences is growing exponentially. There is a critical need to bring more digital training to the journalists, technicians, marketers, programmers and management teams at USIM affiliates in order to meet the needs of an audience that is increasingly finding alternative programming online.

  • VOA Broadcast Affiliates across the region are increasing investments in their digital operations and in original programming. They say there is a demand for unique, local content that reflects their culture and is relevant to their changing lives. This means news that is timely, actionable and formatted for a mobile audience that is increasingly engaging first, through the social web before turning on the radio or television.

  • The potential for Nigeria as a center of economic growth and innovation on the continent appears almost limitless but it also faces many challenges. A renewed confidence in local and national political leaders, investment in its infrastructure, re-emphasizing education reform, and improving access to social services for all citizens were all said to be critical to Nigeria’s future success.

Adam Africa Photo Radio

A look inside a Ghanian broadcasting company

Culture

  • Mali has an amazing local music scene with modern r&b sounds rooted in the traditions of blues-men like Ali Farka Toure, but there’s also an underground hip hop community and a collection of club DJs and band leaders bringing Merengue, Salsa and Bachata to Malians.

  • Extreme sports that combine speed, action, music and local passions are growing rapidly in popularity in West Africa. If you want to learn first hand about youth culture in Dakar, go to a Laamb match where you’ll find them watching their favorite wrestlers get after it.

  • Money, Religion, Sports and Politics are the topics people I talked with spoke most passionately about ~ so not that different for a neighborhood guy from north Boston like me.

  • In Lagos there is an ‘energy’ that comes from the people and from the city itself…you can feel the City breathin’. The pace is frenetic but with a sense of urgency – the kind that drives change.

  • But the traffic…Lagos needs to fix its traffic situation.

  • If you’re near Osu in Accra, head toward the beach and ask for the spot where they serve the best ‘red red’ you’ve ever eaten…trust me.

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ODDI Demo Day Kicks Off the New Year http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/01/13/oddi-demo-day-kicks-off-the-new-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=oddi-demo-day-kicks-off-the-new-year http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/01/13/oddi-demo-day-kicks-off-the-new-year/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 18:41:16 +0000 Erica Malouf http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=5605 Friday marked the last demo day at ODDI in the current format. In the past, project owners (team leaders) have given demo day presentations in ODDI’s office with an occasional note from a team member. From here on out, the emphasis will be on having the team members take the lead in talking about their work, instead of the project owners.

In the past, stakeholders from within BBG have always been invited, but have rarely joined–it’s usually just ODDI staff who attend the Friday demos. Going forward, ODDI demo days will be centered around the stakeholder. Teams will schedule time with their various project stakeholders within BBG. The goal is to get internal customer feedback on a more regular basis as a part of our Agile, iterative approach.

ODDI scrum master Son Tran says that team-driven presentations provide team members with an opportunity to show that they are delivering on goals and owning the work they’ve done. He also notes it’s about the iterative process:  ”Closing the feedback loop and making it shorter is better for improving projects.”

What are we working on at ODDI?

For most teams, Sprint Zero was a time of research and planning, defining goals and determining KPIs. Adam Martin, our newly minted Director of Innovation, asked teams to come to the January 9 demo day “prepared to discuss their Charter as described in the Strategic White Paper, their shared vision in response to the Charter, the team’s goals, how they will measure their success against those goals, and their product(s) roadmap for Q2 of FY14 (and beyond if available).”

Now the teams are ready to see their brilliant ideas into fruition. And some teams are also managing ongoing projects like Relay, RIVR, the BBG-wide analytics roll out, and mobile app updates.

Here’s a look at what’s happening:

image mobileprez

Will Sullivan presents on the latest mobile app updates and the Symbian launch.

MOBILE TEAM

Project Owner: Will Sullivan

The Mobile Team is continuing develop, update and support the suite of umbrella news applications for all BBG entities, which supports more than 82 language services now, and has an install base of more than 400,000 users. We are launching new applications with Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Google Android and Apple IOS for both mobile and tablet form factors and just launched VOA’s Africa-focused Symbian application (the third largest mobile OS in the region, after Android and IOS, which we launched for VOA services last year). This quarter we will be updating the entire suite to a more magazine-style iPad design, building new Android home screen news widgets and moving the app analytics over to the shared Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst system. We’re also beginning work on an live audio streaming and on-demand podcast Android and IOS application for the Middle East Broadcast Network’s Radio Sawa that is visually-rich with a touch-centered interaction experience and deep user-generated and social sharing integration.

AFFILIATE DIGITAL SERVICES TEAM

Project Owner: Doug Zabransky

The Affiliate Digital Services (ADS) team represents a new chapter for USIM and affiliate relationships. Existing and new BBG Affiliates will be offered up to three tiers of digital service. Each tier represents levels of digital-hosted offerings including live streaming, adaptive html 5 digital players, and an internet broadcast station which will allow for content source switching between BBG live and on-demand content, as well as other affiliate content within the ADS community. All tiers include customer service and support.

Essentially, BBG hopes to build a robust network of affiliate partner on-line stations. Growing the BBG affiliate digital audience will grow BBG’s audience as well.

DATA-DRIVEN INSIGHTS TEAM

Project Owner: Rebecca Shakespeare

The insights team is focusing on setting up tools that collect and present objective information about digital performance to inform BBG leadership and editorial about what is actually happening with their digital products and content. The team is currently focusing on the rollout of the new web analytics tool which measures digital properties owned and hosted by the BBG. It is also contracting outside validation of the numbers that are collected and reported to ensure accuracy of the information presented. Beginning in February 2014, the team will start to focus on displaying weekly performance analytics from BBG’s range of digital reporting tools, side-by-side in a dashboard, to present a complete picture of digital performance.

 

Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 12.30.53 PM

Brian Williamson’s illustrations illuminate the Storytelling Team’s vision

STORYTELLING TEAM

Project Owners: Steve Fuchs, Randy Abramson

The storytelling team is determined to revitalize and update USIM storytelling around the globe. We are brainstorming innovative ways to tell stories that inform, engage and connect with audiences based on their needs and expectations. One of our main goals is to build community engagement with younger audiences by using a toolbox of highly relevant, visual, trans-media storytelling techniques. We plan to not only count standard metrics–such as time spent, return visits, videos watched, social engagement, and so forth–but we also aim to make a real-world impact that affects conversation and behavior. Randy will continue to work on Relay, and the entire team will work on projects like finding innovative ways to cover sports in developing countries, among others.

Other Teams & Projects

In addition to the teams that demo’d last Friday, ODDI also has several other teams that are kicking A and taking names.

The Research & Analysis (R&A) team functions as support for all other teams. R&A was recently pivotal in helping the Storytelling team and the Affiliate Digital Services team determine their next projects. During Sprint Zero, the R&A team dug deep to find data on countries around the world, interviewing internal experts and BBG’s Regional Marketing Officers, diving into BBG research reports and library databases, and translating that data into insights and strategic recommendations. The R&A team includes Son Tran, Ashley Wellman, Yousef Kokcha, Ahran Lee and myself (Erica Malouf).

image RIVR screen

Ongoing Project: Doug Zabransky will continue to lead the IVR project called RIVR. Look for a blog post update to come soon.

ODDI also has various teams working on ebooks, UX testing and more. Follow the action here on the blog, on Twitter (@BBGinnovate) and on our new website portal (http://oddi.bbg.gov/).

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