For centuries we’ve told stories. Now the technology of the web has become everyday, we’re telling them in hundreds of different ways while digital media companies like Yahoo!7 spread the word.
Kath Hamilton has always had a fascination with stories. She started telling those stories through film and eventually also became fascinated with the best ways to tell them using cutting edge ideas and technology.
Her quest to find the best ways to tell the stories of events, people and innovations has led her to the job of Operations Director at Yahoo!7. Now she plays an integral part of telling those stories online.
“The same thing has always held true about storytelling,” Kath told Australian Women Online. “You have to think about the audience as the end goal. The net is very enabling of any kind of storytelling because everyone can tell their stories.”
Kath has been with Yahoo!7 since 2006 and is responsible for leading the strategy, business development and audience engagement for the group’s lifestyle, entertainment, travel, news, sport and finance properties. She’s also responsible for extending Channel 7 and Pacific Magazine’s audience experience across multiple platforms while maximising content value.
The operations director has more than 15 years experience in the Australian media across print, journalism, TV and film production, advertising and digital media. Her previous roles include network director for News Interactive and launch product manager for Telstra’s Bigpond.
It’s fascinating to think that in less than two decades the net has become so much a part of our day. It’s part of Kath’s job to keep on top of how people are accessing it and what they want to see and read.
“Things have changed quickly – young people are using their phones as recording devices and telling their stories,” she said. “They’re doing it everyday without thinking they are telling a story.”
“There are many voices on any idea that have different perspectives and the value of media is to curate as many voices as we can. Otherwise we become paralysed by too many voices. We’re curating diverse points of view on a particular topic and that’s valuable.”
Like most people, Kath is hooked up to the world wide web of information and breaking news via any one of half a dozen gadgets. There’s news, views and music off a computer or television before work, something handheld to keep you plugged in or reading during the commute and whatever you use in the office, before reversing the order of use on the way home.
“At the same time I think we have continuous partial attention – which makes us focus a little bit on a lot of things at the same time. That makes it challenging for any media organisation to get the attention of the public, to have them sit up and take notice as more young people than ever before will have grown up with that media meshing.”
Equally Kath says it’s exciting to see how grandparents and older people have quickly adopted new technology. She says the use of facilities like video conferencing or messenger are driven by a need to connect and communicate. For example, if your grandchildren don’t live close by, how else can you see and speak to them?
“These people have a motivation and that’s what we try and focus on. What is the consumer proposition? Why would they want to use it? We sometimes come up with fantastic ideas but as a society it’s quite different to how we consume material.”
“I have siblings in their early 20s and I’m constantly amazed at the unique behaviours they use to get the information they need. We go into people’s homes and look at their digital and media consumption and how they use it. It surprises us when we find people who don’t know what a home page is or have only one email address per family.”
Kath says Yahoo!7 spend a lot of time speaking to their audience to make sure they offer a balance of experiences across the company’s platforms.