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Reuters CEO Tom Glocer “couldn’t be here today” but, as though accepting an Oscar, he did send a video message re-capping the news-and-information company’s 12 months since Glocer’s 2006 OPA appearance. Reuters last year opened a headline-grabbing virtual bureau inside Second Life and began partnering with bloggers.
“The past year for Reuters has been a year of experimenting with new models, platforms and audiences, both in the virtual world and in this one. I expect, for many of you, it’s been the same. It’s been a busy year but an exciting one at Reuters, and one in which we’ve learned a lot. Successful media companies will take steps to metaphorically break down the walls of content ownership – over the last 12 months, we’ve seen that happen.”
As well as the Second Life initiative, Reuters invested in the Global Voices international blog project at Harvard’s Berkman Center. It this month announced a MySpace clone for its financial news service.
“It’s a great news reporting opportunity – interesting stuff is happening inside Second Life that makes news in the reaL world – like when Martin Sorrell revised up his growth forecasts for WPP in an interview with us [in SL]. We’re able to extent our news brand to a new generation of consumers through a hads-up display which streams our real-world content in Second Life
We wanted to learn how information in the future might be presented in a more dynamic, 3D way – literally walk inside information; this could be especially important for our large financial services business.”
One can understand the necessity (even the business sense) in exposing more voices through blog partnerships, but time will tell whether the Second Life experiment is an evidential success. The Linden Lab world scored reams of mainstream publicity last fall, but questions over the true size of its user base persist and we will need to see whether it is a novelty that wears off or a real business opportunity for information providers.