Hello strangers!  Or Hello familiar people that we talk to a lot in the real world but who also happen to read our blog occasionally.

Are you well?  We’re very sorry that DERTy Talk has been absent for so long.  We’re almost entirely sure you hadn’t noticed our absence, but nevertheless we. are. back.  Sort of.

There’s been a lot on of late.  Presidential visits, a footballer on the front pages, ash clouds.  Aside to all this real news, May may well go down in memory as the month we’d care to forget, which is why we didn’t bother recording it on DERTy Talk.  Adding insult to injury Mother Nature doesn’t seem to have got the memo about Bank Holidays being sunny this time round.  Tis a pity.

Anywayz.  Next week is JUNE and we will resume the ordinary, regular service of DERTy Talk.  For now we just wanted to share some actual talking from some splendid people who participated in our #SocialEnt event yesterday.  Thanks again to Gail, Jon, Matthew, Simon and Emma for taking part and for leading what was a very lively and informative discussion.  It was the highlight of the week, it’s true.

Enjoy their wisdom shared in the videos below.  Should you have missed all our other content from the event you can find it here.

This morning Edelman’s DERT team announced the results of their fifth annual survey on Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment. Gail Becker, President of Edelman’s Western U.S. Region presented the results and hosted the event along with Jon Hargreaves Managing Director of Edelman Technology in Europe and a panel of experts including; Matthew Hawn, Vice president Last.fm, Emma Barnett, Digital Media Editor, The Daily Telegraph and Simon Nelson, the Digital Business and Strategy advisor and former controller of multiplatform commissioning at the BBC.

We will be sharing the full slideshow on here later today and posting up video snippets of the event for now here are the highlights and some of our thoughts, let us know what you think.

The key stats from the survey:

· 4% of U.K. consumers feel positive about the move to a paywalled service

· 45% of people in the U.K. and 57% in the U.S. believe social networking sites are a form of entertainment

· Personal enjoyment and visual/sound quality continue to top the list of purchase drivers with “being one of the first to have new entertainment” dropping significantly (to 14%, down from 40% in the U.K. and to 17%, down from 41% in the U.S.).

· More than half (52%) of all respondents would like to use a computer to access further entertainment content, and 30% would like to be able to access that content on their mobile phone

· 49% of people in the U.K. and 52% in the U.S. believe they are spending more than a year ago with their mobile phones to access their entertainment, while 59% (U.K.) and 53% (U.S.) spent more time with their laptop

As the study revealed last year, the internet remained the second most frequently turned to form of entertainment for the second year in a row. While television remained the most frequent form of entertainment both in the U.K. and the U.S. (49% and 47% respectively), dropping 8 and 11 percent respectively since 2010.

The Internet as connective tissue

Most sources of entertainment are less used, this just means that people are spreading their consumption wider. It seems that to succeed in the era of social entertainment, entertainment companies must invest in multiple channels of distribution to enable consumers to access their content wherever and whenever. Five years ago the entertainment industry viewed the internet as a threat, but now it’s an opportunity for those same companies to monetise internet content through simple revenue models indeed the internet can be the connective tissue bringing content together.

Overwhelmingly, consumers (84% in the U.K.) feel negatively about the move from free to paid entertainment services. The survey also reveals that paywalls created by entertainment sources for previously free services are being met with feelings of frustration and distrust by users. Some cite the lack of improvement in quality of service, while others state they would suspect a profit motive driven by greed.

The study also delivers insights on how content providers can try to overcome feelings of distrust about paywalls by delivering value in other ways. 87% of U.K. respondents consider visual and sound quality important in making their entertainment purchasing decisions and nearly half (47% in the U.K.) consider the number of devices with which they can access the entertainment.

Data vis As information technology has grown, so has the impact of data on our lives. I’m calling this the new dicdataship. As data performs an increasingly important role in business, so too will it impact the work of the PR.

A few bits of data that have caught my eye in the last week or so:

  • The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story this week about the new industry that has emerged from the bulging data market (did I mention I’m in Sydney…). Data is valuable, so people are selling it. This is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a little bit unnerving. I’m sure most consumers would be upset to find out that their online habits are being tracked, and even more so that someone else is benefitting financially. Increasingly I’m sure we will be working with clients who either want to reassure customers that they are not selling their data, or indeed if they are selling it – that they are doing so responsibly. 
  • Wired is one of the historic champions of data, as is Guardian Technology whose Free Our Data campaign has been running for years. There is an awful lot of public data that isn’t public. Imagine what your commute would be like if TFL shared their data in real time, so you could avoid the trouble hotspots?
  • The Orange Group team at Edelman has spent the last few weeks working with Orange on the launch of their Orange Mobile Targeting Monitor and Exposure 2010 research. This tool will help advertisers better plan mobile marketing campaigns as the data gives real insight into current mobile behaviours. Check the microsite for more info.
  • We work with Last.fm who has a heritage in open APIs and data access. This awesome visualisation was recently developed to illustrate a listener’s daily musical habits.

So why have I suddenly got the data shakes? Well three fold:

  • The first two stories show that this is a pressing consumer issue. It may not be fully mainstream yet, but Joe Public will become increasingly concerned about what is done with his personal data. We have a responsibility to encourage the companies we work with to behave as transparently and responsibly as possible. 
  • The Orange Exposure research shows how advertisers and brands can use data to create more relevant conversations with consumers. As PRs we should also be looking at how data can inform the campaigns we build.
  • The Last.fm story shows how much fun can be had from data. Whether an infographic, a nifty visualisation, or a game. There’s a lot of potential both for creative, and informative builds.

If I look around at my PR peers, most of us come from an arts background. We studied literature, philosophy or history; we realised we were pretty good with words but journalists don’t get paid very well; we fell into PR. Erudite prose, charm and wit have got us thus far. I for one am rubbish with numbers. I suspect as our industry evolves alongside the rising dominance of data that it might be necessary for us to get a few more mathematicians in the room.

@LukeMackay