Apparently, 1 in every 100 UK searches is now Sky Sports related. Yes, it is the start of the football season, and so one can no doubt understand the increase in surfing/searching activity post- World Cup, but how does this relate to the increase in female surfing habits? Or the recent news stories about BT Vision?

Let’s start with female activity online. The recently released Ofcom report shows that whilst we all now spend half our waking day consuming media, men now only spend an hour more online than women, which shows a substantial change to a few years ago when the computer and ‘all things geek’ were most definitely in the male demesne.

Could it be that there are now more females interested in sport? In which case, where is the corresponding trend in advertising etc targeting this nascent audience? After all, looking at the football this weekend and during the World Cup, there are definitely more women on the terraces….

However, there can be no doubt that BT’s recent offering of a Sky Sports package as part of its Vision bundle and the kerfuffle over under-pricing must have had some effect on the number of searches being made on Sky Sports. In fact, potentially so much so that Sky have put up a comparison chart on their site showing their offerings vs their major competitors, including BT.

There may be those in the PR industry who are gleeful that press releases about such comparison charts or the price furore, clearly show that old school PR still works (as opposed to online PR), especially if you push your message out across traditional media such as the daily papers, and then hit Twitter, Facebook etc as consumers discuss their choices. Seemingly freely, but those in the know would feel that this is good ole PR manipulation in the 21st century world at its best.

The truth is that without a few good press releases and high-priced TV ads in the first place, the majority of consumers would have been unaware of the deals on the table. The searches are a result of traditional media (e.g. the Murdoch Press) and the incumbent endeavouring to expand its telecom horizons into the online, on demand world, using  the Internet for maximum effect.

A cynic would say this is a carefully orchestrated campaign that has undoubtedly signed up new Sky Sports subscribers, whoever their chosen provider, by getting good old column inches.

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology