Appropriate Channels

Just a scant few days old, and Suw Charman's Strange Attractor blog already has a near-exclusive on news from The Guardian about the upcoming launch of a new games-focused blog.

As Suw points out, The Guardian is one of the very few UK publications to have a clue about the growing influence of the blogosphere (although the UK edition of PR Week also recently demonstrated that they're beginning to stir and detect the faint scent of arabica).

It's appropriate, then, that they chose to leak this news into the blogosphere. After all - it's a story about a blog, of appeal to the blog trend watchers (most of whom are, of course, bloggers). So why not let a well-known blogger launch the news first? Makes sense.

There's a mildly interesting little PR conundrum in this though. Think about it: here we have one of "the big media" launching a sector-specific blog, with a mission to cover "every game genre and every major gaming platform, including PCs, consoles, the net and mobile phones".

The real audience they want to reach with this news, of course, will not likely be reading Suw's new blog. Blog pundits and new media trend followers are not going to help them attract the video game fanatics they really want to reach (sorry Suw - I just don't see too many 14 year old boys in your target demographic :-).

But where do 14 year old video game junkies (or fans of any age, for that matter) get their news and reviews?

Well, apart from word-of-mouth, most of their news probably comes from online games sites (including the game authors' own sites) and chat rooms, plus the traditional glossy print magazines.

The problem: none of these existing sites or magazines would be interested in talking about the Grauniad's new blog, as it's setting up to compete with them for the exact same audience.

So if you're The Guardian, and you want to get the news out about your brand new games blog, who you gonna call?

It's loosely analogous to GM launching a blog focused on the machinations of the auto trade. How do they get the news out? Call Car & Driver magazine?

This is an interesting little conceit, and not worth spending a lot of time pondering, but as the lines continue to blur between readers and writers, publishers and consumers, reporters and PR people, big media and small -- it's one small example of the kind of quandary we're likely to see a lot of in the months ahead.