Interview/Audio: Chris Ahearn & The Reuters View of Digital World

ahearn1.jpg[Rafat Ali] This might be the biggest irony if it actually happens: I believe the news agencies like Reuters and AP have a better chance of capitalizing on the rapidly changing news world, than the newspaper and traditional TV news players. Why? Well, it is about packaging and delivering to various platforms, along with the immediacy, and who better to do it than wire agencies?

() I talked to Chris Ahearn, the president of Reuters Media, who just closed a deal with one of the biggest media companies in India to launch a co-owned TV channel, the first such Reuters effort in the world.

We talked about, what else, digital media and its importance to Reuters. Excerpts follow. The full audio of the paidContent interview with Chris Ahearn is (MP3 file, 27 mins, 4.44 MB) here.

»  How syndication business is changing and the decision to concentrate on

Quote: “Perhaps we’re trying to have the best of both worlds…for people who want our full content, well give it selectively, but increasingly I believe in the world of linked consumer experience, where consumers are promiscuous and consuming in a variety of different environments.[hence our RSS feeds]”

»  Getting aggregated within Google News and others; the business models.

Quote: “The Google News model is, frankly, like EPG for the Net…it is a redirect model. To me it is much more based on aggregated RSS world, as opposed to published world. Yahoo News has a mixture of both. We have a great relationship with Google. Obviously, when the time comes when it starts putting ads around the news environment, a lot of publishers will scratch their heads and say that this is a little bit different.”

» as a destination brand and the philosophy.

Quote: “We see an audience which is still underserved…I think we have a long way to go in terms of how we design, how we present a stronger editorial voice about what is happening, and giving contrasting view points on different events, and how we bring in all the different agency partners and drive traffic to them.”

»  Bring in bloggers and citizen media into the Reuters ecosystem.

Quote: “I’m not a believer in the ‘Voice of God’ concept. we’re in about 150 countries, and if you think about who works for us and stringers — they’re not a bunch of fat white guys sitting in an office in New York. They’re in the community.”

Being blogger friendly: We don’t have a monopoly on good intelligence … or what the facts are. There’s a difference between what we’ll put out under Reuters brand versus what we might encourage in an ecosystem around us. I’m looking at various different ways to commingle blogs’ voices and environments around new events. … I do think people don’t just want to know what we have to say.”

»  Video and video search.

Quote: “Video search, video blogging and video contributions will be different ways in which people understand a story.”

“We made the first step of putting out raw video content, and we’ve had strong pickup on that. So we’ve given it a better skin now and worked closely with TheFeedRoom so that we can scale. Now we’re beginning to put our shorter programming bits online.”

» The IPTV scenario and Reuters’ role.

Quote: We’re in discussions with a variety of playersâ