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Sky swallowing CN?

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Sky swallowing CN?

04 May 2011 18:16

So it appears Sky are "working with" cyclingnews now. I find this interesting - what exactly are the terms of this collaboration, and how does this affect cyclingnew's independent, unbiased high-quality journalism?

We already know Sky has taken over all of British cycling. One of their major backers is also involved in setting up a new ranking system ... I wonder who will top that one at the end of the season.

But they are still not satiated and now they're going after the written media as well. I must say it is a little worrying to me ... I could see a little conflict of interests coming up. We all know cyclingnews is heavily anglo-centric but I think this is it for critical articles concerning Team Sky or any of their riders. How long until Sky-critical forum users are banned under mysterious circumstances and we'll see ***edited by mod*** every time someone dares to speak of "Wigans"?

Oh and mark my words, soon cycling will only be available on PayTV ... courtesy of - wait for it - @TeamSky.





(PS: That last one was just for fun :))
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User avatar Christian
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04 May 2011 22:05

All im going to say is it is a monstrosity. Its like they put the sky site, and cycling news in a blender, pushed the button and hoped for the best.

Seriously ugly.

Only good bit is they are using a similar image scroller to which I implemented on tsf about a week or so ago.
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04 May 2011 22:37

Bill Mitchael the founder of CN would not like that he hated the UCI and and anything to do with these big business that is why he started CN back in the 1990's
brianf7
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04 May 2011 23:11

Seriously? There's no conflict of interest between CN's editorial voice and the channel Sky has set up.

It's similar to the Colnago and SRAM channels that ran in 2010, and we didn't see an increase of product from those two companies on the site thereafter. The editorial team carried on writing about the products and bikes they wanted to and the angles and stories that they thought you, the readers, would like. etc etc and it was independent to any coverage that went on the channels. So the same will happen with races , riders, teams, ...

Like RadioShack, who sponsored some of our race coverage last year, Sky has no input into what I or the rest of the editorial team want to cover on CN, and to be honest, I don't even think that's what they're looking for. So if I want to talk to rider X or rider Y I still have to go through the same channels as before and if one of their rider wins or loses they get treated like everyone else.

Now if you don't mind I've got to finish my feature on Dave Brailsford's top ten Sky riders of 2011.

Dan
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User avatar Daniel Benson
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05 May 2011 01:27

Christian wrote:So it appears Sky are "working with" cyclingnews now. I find this interesting - what exactly are the terms of this collaboration, and how does this affect cyclingnew's independent, unbiased high-quality journalism?

We already know Sky has taken over all of British cycling. One of their major backers is also involved in setting up a new ranking system ... I wonder who will top that one at the end of the season.


What about Endura Racing? They are really up and coming.

Would you have been less concerned if it was Leo(re)tard-Trek who sponsored that section?
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05 May 2011 07:21

The day I'm forced to wear a scarf to work....
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05 May 2011 08:35

Maybe the tone of my opening post was a bit missleading. I did not start this thread to bash the "evil empire" Sky but I see how it could come across like that.

I am only worried about cyclingnews turning into a propaganda outlet for a cycling team - any cycling team. Hence my personal preferences and fashion sponsorship of LEOPARD TREK are irrelevant.

But I'm willing to play along - let's continue with the LEOPARD TREK example. One could argue that any cycling site or media is always in some ways a propaganda outlet for any team, especially when they have a publicity strategy like LEOPARD TREK. However personally I never felt a lack of objectivity and critical content regarding the team, and rightfully so - there was a lot of controversy surrounding its beginnings and its publicity marathon was rightfully subject to ridicule.

My question however is - will we find the same level of objectivity regarding Team Sky now? I am told by the tone of @dnlbenson's response that my concerns are ridiculous - but are they? If not lack in objectivity ("Sky has no input ...") I could see a considerable increase in features about Team Sky - after all, cyclingnews must want to promote this channel. Daniel Benson says that is not what Sky are looking for - then what are they looking for? ("What are the terms of this collaboration?")

I do not think the SRAM channel is a fitting example, maybe Colnago a bit more since they also sponsor a cycling team. But essentially those are to promote specific profucts and not a certain team.

I was not aware that RadioShack sponsored some of cyclingews' coverage last year, that is also interesting. What were the terms of this agreement? Why did the sponsorship stop? I do understand this information might be confidential.

But in terms of a cycling website actively working with a cycling team, is it fair to say this channel is a first?
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05 May 2011 09:54

If i remember correctly all the "tour de france" stage previews were sponsered by the lovely people at radioshack.
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05 May 2011 10:47

That's correct. They sponsored our stage previews, maps and I think our main Tour de France page. Did that affect our Tour coverage? No at all! We still sat around a tape recorder while we heard Armstrong quotes played by the team PR. No preferential treatment was given or asked for.

Christian, have a closer look at the channel. The stories are about Sky promoting their partners and sponsors. For example a story about elite bottle cages, which sits perfectly within that remit, won't apply to CN and therefore won't appear on this site.

And again, you raise the question over whether Sky has it's claws into CN's ability to report the news fairly. This isn't the case and never will be. I mean the Sky channel, from what I understand, wasn't an overnight project and we've reported on the team throughout all the planning without any interference - that will continue. So for example, we had winners and losers features throughout the spring. Sometimes the team were winners, sometimes they weren't. Any editorial decisions that went into those stories was without interference.

Another example, their Giro line-up - we were the only site, as far as I know, to call up the team and get a comment about Possoni riding.

Finally, I'm not at liberty or in a position to hand over details of contracts between us and Future's clients. That sort of thing is confidential.

Cheers

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05 May 2011 11:06

Thanks for the info Mr. Benson, that's really all I wanted even if the tone of the OP suggested otherwise.

You have explained Sky's interest in the channel, but what were cyclingnews' motivations in joining the project?
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05 May 2011 13:01

Christian wrote:Thanks for the info Mr. Benson, that's really all I wanted even if the tone of the OP suggested otherwise.

You have explained Sky's interest in the channel, but what were cyclingnews' motivations in joining the project?


Do you r€a££y need to a$k that qu€$tion??
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05 May 2011 15:38

Hi there,

I’m Commercial Director of cyclingnews.com and have been working really closely with Team Sky on the project. The intention of the Tech Channel is pretty clear. It’s a way to take the team’s fans – and potential new fans – behind the scenes and into the world of the technology, the backroom staff and gear that an outfit like Team Sky use. Of course there’s a commercial angle – each of the team’s partners (Shimano, Pinarello, KASK etc.) are businesses that use alignment with Pro teams to get the word out about their products. They’ve got a right to to activate those associations and add depth and stories to them. That’s all they are doing. If you have a look through and keep an eye on stories coming up – you’ll see some brilliant exclusive behind the scenes pieces that would never be seen otherwise. I know the guys at Sky well and believe me its not their intention to take over the world! They are impressive, well informed and well intentioned people who have seen the mass of untold stories that are out there ... And are now telling them.

Why use cyclingnews.com? Well, you guys are massively informed, there’s lots of you and they value your place as top notch cycling fans. They also know that there’s no pulling the wool over your eyes so genuinely valuable content is what you’ll see on the Team Sky Tech Channel.

On a separate note, we’ll be announcing a few other partnerships this year (just like years gone by), notably with IG Markets and Skoda. These companies - and others - see a value in association with cyclingnews.com content and our audience. None of it though, will impinge on the editorial integrity and fantastic content that Dan and his team create. We and our partners would be daft to do so. Everything we do is intended to add value to you guys.
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05 May 2011 15:52

Media outlets and corparations getting into bed are nothing new. The history of media is a history of commercial and political partisanship.

That said, as brianf7 notes, it does betray the spirit of Bill Mitchell's original CN. Good examples of popular, independent news sources are always attractive to big business takeover.

Daniel, you really can't compare Colnago to Team Sky: you don't need to blow smoke up Ernesto's ass to make people believe he makes good bikes. Team Sky on the other hand...

Commercial proprieties already impugn free speech on the forums. The rational is 'this is a privately-owned forum; play by our rules or don't play at all.'

And like all good, profitable corporations, Future Publishing seduce some people into working for free under the guise they're part of a 'community.'
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05 May 2011 20:48

Stingray34 wrote:Media outlets and corparations getting into bed are nothing new. The history of media is a history of commercial and political partisanship.

That said, as brianf7 notes, it does betray the spirit of Bill Mitchell's original CN. Good examples of popular, independent news sources are always attractive to big business takeover.

Daniel, you really can't compare Colnago to Team Sky: you don't need to blow smoke up Ernesto's ass to make people believe he makes good bikes. Team Sky on the other hand...

Commercial proprieties already impugn free speech on the forums. The rational is 'this is a privately-owned forum; play by our rules or don't play at all.'

And like all good, profitable corporations, Future Publishing seduce some people into working for free under the guise they're part of a 'community.'


I would hope forum member TeamSkyFans pays for the .com skimword he advertises in his signature line every post. Thousands of posts. That IS the CN Policy at least.

I'm sure the ad rates are reasonable and negotiable, so TeamSkyFans probably isn't paying too much. But free? I doubt it....
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05 May 2011 22:49

Polish wrote:I would hope forum member TeamSkyFans pays for the .com skimword he advertises in his signature line every post. Thousands of posts. That IS the CN Policy at least.

I'm sure the ad rates are reasonable and negotiable, so TeamSkyFans probably isn't paying too much. But free? I doubt it....


and if asked to change my signature I will change my signature.

I will happily give cyclingnews 50% of any revenue i get from visitors directly visiting the site from cyclingnews. I will leave you to work out what 50% of zero is. ;)
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06 May 2011 02:37

Christian wrote:So it appears Sky are "working with" cyclingnews now. I find this interesting - what exactly are the terms of this collaboration, and how does this affect cyclingnew's independent, unbiased high-quality journalism?

We already know Sky has taken over all of British cycling. One of their major backers is also involved in setting up a new ranking system ... I wonder who will top that one at the end of the season.

But they are still not satiated and now they're going after the written media as well. I must say it is a little worrying to me ... I could see a little conflict of interests coming up. We all know cyclingnews is heavily anglo-centric but I think this is it for critical articles concerning Team Sky or any of their riders. How long until Sky-critical forum users are banned under mysterious circumstances and we'll see ***edited by mod*** every time someone dares to speak of "Wigans"?

Oh and mark my words, soon cycling will only be available on PayTV ... courtesy of - wait for it - @TeamSky.





(PS: That last one was just for fun :))


Even if CN were to be governed by sky I can't see how that would make this site any worse than it currently is.
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06 May 2011 15:02

I'd just like to point out, in case I was misinterpreted, that I wasn't referring to TeamSkyFans when I mentioned the bit about getting people to work for free.

I hadn't considered Dim at all when I made that comment, who, I'd like to add, I find to be one of the best contributors to the forums. Dim is clearly a genuine, honest and very likable guy.

I was refering exclusively to CN and some people they take advantage of to work for free. These people do a pretty difficult and thankless job and I think their goodwill and passion for the sport is exploited. I'll let you work out who I mean by that.
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06 May 2011 15:29

Stingray34 wrote:I'd just like to point out, in case I was misinterpreted, that I wasn't referring to TeamSkyFans when I mentioned the bit about getting people to work for free.


it was just Polish being Polish
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06 May 2011 16:16

Christian wrote:Thanks for the info Mr. Benson, that's really all I wanted even if the tone of the OP suggested otherwise.

You have explained Sky's interest in the channel, but what were cyclingnews' motivations in joining the project?


C'mon now... Cyclingnews' motivations are to stay in business. Sky's extra content helps them do that. The sponsored content is clearly separated and runs like an advertisement. Which it is... There's nothing wrong with that.

I agree with some of the comments about pay for play content, but I don't think much of the concern applies to cyclingnews. Mainly because they are consistently running good doping coverage and host The Clinic. Those factors alone are enough to raise the ire of some cycling businesses who advertise.
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06 May 2011 18:21

slongstaff wrote:we’ll be announcing a few other partnerships this year (just like years gone by), notably with IG Markets


Boy these guys are putting some serious money into cycling.

So far they are sponsoring a team and a jersey in Tour of Britain as well as setting up a new ranking system while working with cyclingnews.
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