The Dim-Post

November 20, 2015

Greive on Scout

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:40 am

This post is mostly just here to send you over to Duncan Greive’s piece on Scout, the new and seemingly doomed MediaWorks gossip website run by former New Zealand Herald gossip columnist Rachael Glucina, which I basically just love (the Greive story, not the gossip site).

One of the bombshells is that Scout’s traffic is abysmally low. Like, lower than this blog. Which is amazing because it gets a promotion at the beginning of 3News every night, something MediaWorks would charge a commercial customer millions of dollars for.

It’s pretty obvious why TV advertising doesn’t drive traffic to a web site though. How do you click through to Scout from the TV? The way to boost web traffic is to get links, mostly through social media platforms like Facebook, and the way to do that is to get stories, which Scout didn’t really do.

That in itself is interesting. Contra what Greive and Russell Brown say in the article, Glucina did continue to get front page leads for the Herald, both leading up to and after the election. Her ability to do this vanished when she left the Herald though, which points to the very transactional nature of her scoops. People like the Prime Minister’s office gave her stories because she could get them on the Herald’s front page, and as soon as she couldn’t she was dead to them.

30 Comments »

  1. It was interesting to read Weldon’s statement about Rachel Glucina having “the networks, the contacts and the strategic nous to create a brand”.

    “People like the Prime Minister’s office gave her stories because she could get them on the Herald’s front page, and as soon as she couldn’t she was dead to them.”

    This sounds very similar to Paul Holmes’s situation after he resigned from TVNZ and shifted to Prime. All of his contacts and sources immediately dried up, and those people’s loyalty to him suddenly didn’t exist any more, because what they really wanted was exposure to TVNZ’s existing high ratings.

    Comment by izogi — November 20, 2015 @ 9:05 am

  2. “the way to boost web traffic is to” not suck?

    Really it looks like Mark Weldon got it arse about face thinking that you can just magic up a brand and have a successful product follow on, rather than the other way around.

    Maybe also being mistaken into thinking that normal people are interested in the same vacuous gossip that the Auckland glitterati are.

    Comment by rickrowling — November 20, 2015 @ 9:19 am

  3. Great piece by Duncan.

    What really comes through is how much these self-styled “go-getters” like Glucina and Weldon are actually talentless bludgers, living off handouts. Just not the ones their pals in government like to target.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — November 20, 2015 @ 9:33 am

  4. Weldon sounds like he’s going a genuinely terrible job. I hope he doesn’t wipe out an entire media company, but that’s how it’s looking.

    Glucina? She seemed like a pretty good gossip columnist when she was at the Herald. That’s something I have no respect for, but it’s a job and she did it. Reading Greive’s piece you get the feeling she got lost in this fantasy that she was about to become a powerful media mogul, and so she started to behave like one.

    Comment by danylmc — November 20, 2015 @ 9:41 am

  5. Haven’t enjoyed a blog post so much since – oh, since the Ng post on Rachinger/Slater. There must be a German word for a double dose of Schadenfreude. Make it a hat trick Danyl!

    Comment by Roy — November 20, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  6. I suspect it means that the average Kiwi, thank god, couldn’t care less about that dreadful part of US culture: celebrity and gossip. At least I’m free to dream.

    Comment by Mark Hubbard (@MarkHubbard33) — November 20, 2015 @ 10:09 am

  7. “the way to boost web traffic is to” not suck?

    Maybe … but we have a piece of evidence that appears to to falsify that hypothesis:

    One of the bombshells is that Scout’s traffic is abysmally low. Like, lower than this blog.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 20, 2015 @ 10:23 am

  8. I suspect it means that the average Kiwi, thank god, couldn’t care less about that dreadful part of US culture: celebrity and gossip. At least I’m free to dream.

    Maybe … or, maybe, the wonderful thing about the interweb is that you can go direct to TMZ or The MailOnline. And there appeared to be a distinct absence of “news” about NZ “celebrity and gossip” on Scout.

    If there was a website that could get stories about Jermaine Clements eating lunch, then we’d all be there with bells on!

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 20, 2015 @ 10:27 am

  9. Scout never lived up to the promise of its first amazing launch story about Mike Hoskins cleaning his car.

    That story was so much nothing that it ended up having everything, and if they’d kept going, Scout could have really had something.

    Comment by Thomas Beagle (@thomasbeagle) — November 20, 2015 @ 10:58 am

  10. What really comes through is how much these self-styled “go-getters” like Glucina and Weldon are actually talentless bludgers, living off handouts.

    Concur, sammy 3.0
    Weldon has made a career out of shameless self promotion and not much else. The guy’s such a smug fuck. He makes my balls hurt every time I see his weasely mug.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 20, 2015 @ 10:59 am

  11. must pull myself out of schadenfreude stupor – depressing news from RNZ source – ‘proposal’ to gut ‘nights’ of local content/interviews and have Brian Crump (only wears his heart in his pocket) as continuity between BBC/overseas content – Hirschfeld (head of content) must find monies for savior of public radio JC’s drivetime multi media (someone that good must be on as many platforms as is financially possible) – aucklanders don’t listen to nighttime radio – too many good restaurants – goodbye public RADIO

    Comment by rodaigh — November 20, 2015 @ 11:11 am

  12. If you’ve ever been part of a “shit it seemed like a great idea at the time” venture, this is an all too familiar tale from any start up.

    Comment by Tinakori — November 20, 2015 @ 11:56 am

  13. “Weldon has made a career out of shameless self promotion and not much else”. Sounds like our PM

    Comment by max — November 20, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  14. The thing is, the standalone gossip site had had it’s day by 2005, let alone 2015. Maybe a 48 year old, completely conventional, right wing white cracker with no experience in the media isn’t the right guy to trust to conceive and create a hip, modern lifestyle site that’ll appeal to a target demographic three decades younger than him? Just putting it out there…

    These days (as in, since at least ten years ago) you have a lifestyle site that includes sponsored light-ent stories and lifestyle driven tittle-tattle. By photographing and flattering that sub-section of society that’ll turn up to the opening of an envelope you get hooks into fashion, Auckland society and an audience of seen and be seen wannabe types. Eventually, they turn on each other and then… You have gossip content! But beware – the new gossip meta is the Tay Tay school of mutual big upping and morality tales of when celebrity goes bad, not trying to re-create Felicity Ferret and character assassinating people because you don’t like them and/or their politics.

    Scout is a site that was poorly conceived by a middle aged businessman who knows nothing about the modern online media, and made worse by his putting in charge of that site a puffed up and talentless member of Auckland’s idiocy central, AKA the Judith Collins National party clique.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 20, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

  15. On scout — was amazed by how low their twitter following is, about 200. Less than me who joined this year and tweets mainly about phylogenetics…

    and re 11.: I really hope this is not true. Nights is great!

    Comment by Danx — November 20, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

  16. What moron came up with the name ‘Scout’? I mean, why would anyone (outside of the scouting movement) want to get caught googling that?

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 20, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

  17. Are people at large finally starting to see through the dross? How much has Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics helped in that respect?

    Regarding Radio NZ, when there’s a demand for a product but the supplier of the product won’t meet it, it’s basically a case of artificial scarcity as a monopoly or a cartel would practice it. And it’s not exaggerating to describe the Key Govt as the political equivalent of a monopoly or cartel.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — November 20, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

  18. Lee Clark: Maybe ‘Spout’ was already taken?

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — November 20, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

  19. heh, they should have considered ‘durdy politics’ perhaps…

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 20, 2015 @ 5:11 pm

  20. Radaigh, I sincerely hope RNZ aren’t gutting Nights. I understand RNZ are having ti scrimp and save as a result of the ongoing funding freeze (thanks National!); however, as you point out, it’s also about opening resources for the marvellously Saint John Campbell to recreate his telly gig.

    Comment by Alex — November 20, 2015 @ 7:09 pm

  21. This seems to indicate a full scale rebellion…

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/74258430/staff-at-mediaworks-urged-to-boycott-chief-executives-central-otago-wine

    The last line in that story is pretty funny. “…One source described the leak of personal details as “sickening”…”

    Ummm, Mark Weldon, the guy who hired Rachel Glucina? Sauce for the goose, Mr. Weldon, sauce for the goose.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 20, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

  22. Were you a Bond villain in a previous life Sanctuary?

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 20, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

  23. Ahhh…cross promotion. Jonno and Ben get it, as does any news show airing around the Nation. But Hosking is the star of a rival network. And Max Key is …what was Ozzie’s son’s name?…that of political gossip…None of that is cross promotion, more like looking out for yourself. And then the Bosses wine! Geez, some great gossip there…if only there was a site for it. The best gossip is unfortunately her own story- PM hair-pulling, journo poses as PR consultant and the rest…power and pratfalls…getting a few gossip clicks…Still hopefully as above Kiwis just don’t want that kind of crap. Hopefully.

    Comment by sheesh — November 20, 2015 @ 11:37 pm

  24. Glucina must be one of the more spectacular public examples of ‘failing upwards’ in NZ recently.

    This kind of incompetence is the reason why Facebook and technology-focused publishers like BuzzFeed are so far ahead. It’s 2015, and the era of media being run by authoritarian managers who strip away decision making autonomy and pressure and bully subordinates is over. In the global market for attention, these half-wits are competing against high performing teams based around cross-collaboration between editors, researchers, data scientists, designers and tech folks. It seems like they’re still operating with a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality, with no understanding of analytics or digital product design at the executive level. Similar investments would likely have been a slow burning failure, irrespective of Glucina’s involvement.

    Glucina clearly had no actual coherent vision for the product beyond vacuous spin, and should have turned the project over to the talented people working below her who could have done a far better job and taken creative ownership over the publication.

    Comment by Mark Rickerby (@maetl) — November 21, 2015 @ 3:13 am

  25. Its all just boring. Even the internet. Had to force myself to write this comment.

    Comment by Redbaiter — November 22, 2015 @ 10:59 am

  26. @ Redbaiter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M7ibPk37_U

    Comment by Grant — November 22, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

  27. @Grant. Poor Henri. The unrelenting onslaught of Critical Theory and cultural Marxism of the last sixty years has rotted his brain.

    Comment by McNulty — November 23, 2015 @ 11:37 am

  28. @ Mcnulty. I thought it was just bad turkey and giblets?

    Comment by Grant — November 23, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  29. Went and had a look at Scout. Are they even trying anymore? It has less content than some blogs. I watched a video involving them putting mask euro on two of the staff members to music. I have noticed that they are blitzing advertising on the media works channels at the moment.

    Comment by Matthew W — November 23, 2015 @ 8:05 pm

  30. Mediaworks extends Weldon’s contract. http://thespinoff.co.nz/24-11-2015/media-mediaworks-board-rewards-mark-weldon-with-contract-extension-after-horror-year/

    A company that leaks like a sieve has serious problems…

    Comment by MeToo — November 24, 2015 @ 4:31 pm


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