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Farnborough International Airshow 2014: Online Coverage Review July 22, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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Although 100,000 trade visitors attend the Farnborough International Airshow every 4 years, a majority of the Aerospace and Defense industry is forced to stay tuned to the show from afar. This review is intended to analyze the information available from the respective websites of the main industry news outlets. Specifically, I will discuss:

SHOW COVERAGE BY THE NUMBERS
Let’s start by looking at the amount of news shared online and how it was shared. You can read my other posts for Farnborough iPhone App Reviews, Twitter Statics, Aerospace companies use of Twitter, and Daily News Reviews. This post will focus instead on the overall coverage.

AIN AviationWeek FlightGlobal
Dailies Produced 4 4 4
(+3 online)
Articles 237 167 146
Blog Entries N/A 16 4
Photos 50 6 63
Videos 7 14 21
Tweets 180 46 73
Twitter Followers 12K 83K 53K
Twitter Klout 61 66 63

AVIATION INTERNATIONAL NEWS (AIN) COVERAGE
AIN made a strong case for the most complete airshow information online. For starters, their website was simple but functional. It had all the important functions: searching, sharing, tagging, headlining, and commenting. They published the majority of their daily articles online in addition to a complete “print online” version of the daily magazines. That was almost 100 more free articles than Flight Global and almost 200 more than Aviation Week. They had categorized photo albums as well as a number of strong videos with good content, editing and journalistic integrity (i.e. not sponsored).

WEBain_sm
Despite the best content, the execution of the coverage disappointed. The online app regressed compared to previous version, headline dumping (aka robo-tweet) continued to be the main activity on Twitter, and blogs remained nonexistent. In addition, a lack of attention to details made part of the website annoying: the overlay ad that didn’t close properly; some misfiled content such as the Farnborough videos not available in the multimedia section; the forgotten tab selection when using the back button; the lack of seamless navigation such as the inability to come back to the Farnborough coverage after navigating to some parts of the site. It left you with a “meh” feeling. It was like receiving a really badly gift wrapped present: if you manage to get past the ugly paper and the difficult knots, you will really enjoy the content. AIN should go back to its old app and hire a digital media manager for the website so it can leverage and organize the great content generated by its journalists and video editors.

AVIATION WEEK COVERAGE
Except for the disappointing “print online” version of its daily news, AviationWeek was firing on all cylinders at this show. The iphone app was good, the website was good, and the content was good and varied (including 14 videos). Several members of the AvWeek staff stepped up in front of the camera and produced good results. For example, I liked the exclusive video of the A350 demo flight from inside the cockpit. They also posted several blogs and a few photos (ATW had an additional 43 unlinked photos on its own site). Their Twitter presence was “human driven” with the Farnborough AvWeek team augmenting the official stream content counted above with 87 additional posts (almost half of them from social media director @avweekrupa, but why was ATW not posting in #FIA14?). This organized twitter strategy is why they have the most followers and the highest klout. And that is why they were the only specialized news organization making the top twitter influencers list for the show.

WEBaw_sm
My only (small) issue with Aviation Week continued to be with the available content. They made a good effort to force the integration of ATW and SpeedNews articles in the website, but though a inconvenient virtual “aggregated content”. About 100 articles from the Show News did not make it to the website. The content remained focused on the big companies (aka advertisers?). I wish I could see more integrated and free content including the use of infographics as well as more photos from ShowNews.

However, I have to name Aviation Week as Best Coverage for Farnborough 2014. They also definitely deserve the “Best Social Media” nod they received at the Aerospace Media Awards.

FLIGHT GLOBAL COVERAGE
In my coverage of the 2010 Edition of the show, Flight Global was definitely the leader. Four years later, I felt really disappointed by their performance.

WEBfg_sm
They seemed to have lost the drive and vision they possessed before and are rapidly falling behind the other organizations when it comes to online coverage. More specifically:

  • iFlight – this online newsletter had very little content and was mostly a gimmick. It was in conflict with the “print online” version of the daily news and its content was not re-purposed (e.g. why were the cutaways not also in the designated section of the site?)
  • Articles – Like Aviation week, Flight Global only posted a fraction of its articles in the free section. It was too bad because one of the thing FG did well was Infographics which the others didn’t do. They seemed confined to the iFlight and daily news. What made it a lot worse was that you could not comment or share the articles once you opened them.
  • Blogs – This was the old strength of FG but they were now nonexistent (only 4 produced). They were not even linked from the Farnborough page.
  • Photos and Videos – The photo section was never updated when pictures were added, so you only saw new pictures by swiping through the previewer. FG posted the most videos but they were mislabeled and not posted in chronological order. In addition, they were sponsored by Airbus so for example, none of the daily briefs mentioned ANY orders for Boeing aircraft.
  • Twitter – Most of the FG posts from the main publishing engine and from the staff were sent outside #FIA14 thus not visible for most of the show watchers. The rest of the posts seemed to be out of personal habit rather than driven from a strategic plan.

I think FG needs more leadership and discipline when it comes to online coverage. They must rethink their content like iFlight but should use more of their great infographics. They could also use better website technology and must think about their mobile presence (they no longer have an app for example).

CONCLUSIONS AND WISHES
Although Aviation Week has come a long way in 4 years and AINOnline continues with really good content, all three organizations must progress in reinventing themselves in the age of online coverage. As I explained in this post regarding the information available on twitter, the old way of reporting the news is no longer competitive. Large corporations produce their own news site for the show and traditional media produce specialized coverage of their own (WSJ produced a dedicated Farnborough section with 60 articles and 120 tweets to up to 4.7 Million accounts!). The industry audience is getting younger and is not gathering information in the same manner as before. Therefore, the industry news organizations must focus less on news reporting and more on “added-value” (e.g. mash-ups, analysis and opinions) and how to deliver it online to their (new) readers. If they do a good job at that, the sponsors will follow. If not, they will be replaced by new leaner providers.

What did you like/not like about the Farnborough online coverage. What should be done differently?



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Comments»

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