Teaching Examples

Aussie daily rocks with slideshows
June 26, 2007, 1:17 pm
Filed under: news, newspapers, photojournalism, slideshows

Andrew Meares, chief photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald, reports that slideshows have become very popular with online site visitors — more so than video.

Total Soundslides pageviews to date are 1,214,918 (since October 2006). Our video team pop the champagne with 5000+ views, our top text stories of the week rate 80,000+.

The biggest hitters:

Pasha Bulker (129,646): Photos of the huge bulk ship aground on a Newcastle city beach (June 2007) — includes photos sent in by readers.

Golden Globes fashion (108,720) SMH fashion writer picks apart what beautiful celebrities wore to the Golden Globes. Well done — I can imagine that lots of people e-mailed this link to friends.

Danish baby princess (70,168): Handout photos from the Danish palace of the new baby princess (“Australian mum,” Meares noted). This is really interesting (I mean, the fact that it was so popular) — there’s no audio, just baby pics — and of course, a nice shot of Mum.

Hunter floods (54,063): Flooding in the Hunter region, narrated by a reporter on the ground.

* Adaminaby (46,428): Drought causes Adaminaby’s old town ruins to emerge from Lake Jindabyne. This one is a very good piece of visual news reporting.

“We have also sent Soundslides via sat phone from the middle of the ocean during a yacht race, and we are doing weekly shows with our foreign correspondents like this one,” Meares wrote in e-mail. The latter, from Lebanon, combines photos from various wire services with the voice of the Australian reporter in-country.

Thanks, Andrew! I really appreciated the chance to see how a photo department embraced multimedia in such a short time span.

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7 Comments so far
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Has Andrew figured out how to count page views for each photo viewed, or are these traffic numbers for the entire slideshow (one page view per total slideshow).

If he’s done the former, I’d like to know how. If it’s the latter, I’m deeply, deeply impressed.

Comment by Andy Perdue

You can do a pageview per image using this snippet:
ss_listen = new Object();
ss_listen.onImageChanged = function(image) {
//call a page view

You must be using the component that SS offers.
Check out: http://www2.soundslides.com/wiki/doku.php

Comment by Nathan Clendenin

The numbers above are for the entire slideshow and I must pay respect to our multimedia editor Kimberley Porteous. Thanks for pageview per image info – that will be very useful! There has actually been some resistance to soundslides for the fact we record just a single click. Not any more. Thank you Joe Weiss & Nathan & of course Mindy.

Comment by andrew

I think TIME SPENT is a far more meaningful metric than these schemes to artificially multiply page views. The average time a reader spends on your Web site — your whole site — is less than one minute. (This is for all sites, not only news sites.) So how cool is it if you can get people to stay for two and a half minutes?

Rather than generating FAKE page views, I think newspapers should encourage the IT folks to honestly track time spent per visit — and then promote those metrics.

Just my two cents, of course. But I do feel a bit testy when I hear news people cooking up ways to inflate page views. It’s dishonest!

Comment by Mindy McAdams

Very interesting numbers, Andrew.

Having worked for your competitor, NEWS.com.au, with their first audio slideshows and later on their own advanced multimedia player, I’m quite surprised that you don’t count every image as a page view…

It might be interesting to hear that up here in Norway we are considering a new metric along the lines of “interactive content view” , which will be used for content presented via Flash or Ajax. This way we won’t mess with page views as a traditional core metric.

Comment by Eirik


I understand your concern; I also do not necessarily agree that trying to count how many photos are viewed is in any way dishonest.

While time spent on a Web site is an important metric – and Soundslide presentations do greatly lengthen that stay – publishers and advertisers want to know about page views. That’s how they measure success.

The photographers at our midsized daily watch the traffic, and when they work on a slideshow presentation for hours and end up with just a few hundred page views for their efforts, that is discouraging. I point out to them the average time a user spends on the page watching the show and also tell them they should multiply the page views by the number of photos in the slideshow to get a true sense of the traffic.

Yet they look at the numbers for the slideshow vs. the page views for a traditional click-and-watch HTML photo gallery and wince.

We are not talking about artificial inflation. We are talking about accurately portraying the actual views our photos are getting in terms our publishers, advertisers and users can understand.

So, we use both forms of photo presentations. Yes, we are working to do a better job of presenting the slideshows to increase traffic and get our visitors used to seeing them – and we’re making headway in those areas.

But to compare the page views of a slideshow vs. a traditional HTML-based photo gallery is disheartening when that is the metric most important for monetizing our Web sites.

Comment by Andy Perdue

I do understand that the current metric used to measure audience traffic or usage is the pageview. I’m just saying what many others have been saying — especially in the past few months, as Ajax techniques become more common (and also kill pageviews). That is, the current way we measure is not the best way.

Say I go to site “A” and view eight pages, but I never stay on one page longer than 2 seconds (because I don’t see anything that interests me). I go to site “B” and view only two pages, but I spend 8 minutes on each page.

The current system says site “A” is better, more trafficked.

I say that’s just stupid, because on site “A,” I consumed no content or advertising.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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