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Pool Water Maintenance Demystified

  • Pool pH & Pool Alkalinity The pH and Alkalinity levels of swimming pool water affect many areas of the swimming pool and must be kept at the correct levels if you expect to successfully maintain your swimming pool. The Alkalinity of pool water acts as a buffer for the pH, and helps prevent the pool pH level from fluctuating. The Alkalinity should be maintained at 80 – 120 ppm. The pH is the measure of the acidity of the swimming pool water, and the pH level should be maintained at 7.2 – 7.6 ppm. The pH of pool water is somewhat sensitive, but easily controlled if the Alkalinity is kept in range. All basic pool test kits should read the pH and Alkalinity level of pool water, and these levels are easily adjusted with common water balancing pool chemicals. If the pool pH level is not kept in range pool water may irritate the skin and eyes of swimmers, corrode the pool surface and inside of the pool equipment and make it very hard to maintain the chlorine level of the swimming pool.
  • Pool Chlorine Stabilizer The chemical name of pool “Stabilizer” is Cyanuric Acid and it is referred to by either title. The Stabilizer level of swimming pool water must be maintained at 30-50 ppm. The Stabilizer level is important, but is typically only tested at the beginning of the swimming season when a pool is opened. The Stabilizer in swimming pool water partially surrounds the chlorine on a molecular level, to protect the chlorine and prevent the chlorine from being quickly burned off and used up by the sun. The symptoms of having too much Stabilizer or too little stabilizer in your pool water are very similar, and if you experience problems maintaining a chlorine level when all other chemical levels are properly balanced the stabilizer level should be tested. If the Stabilizer level tests lower than 30 ppm it will be difficult to maintain a chlorine level, because any chlorine added to your swimming pool will quickly evaporate and burn off in direct sunlight. If the Stabilizer level tests above 50 ppm it will also be difficult to maintain a chlorine level. Rather than partially surrounding the chlorine in your pool water to protect the chlorine, too much stabilizer will completely surround the chlorine making it inactive. In this state the chlorine is unable to combine with bacteria and harmful contaminants to sanitize your swimming pool. Stabilizer can be added to a swimming pool if necessary to raise the level, however once Stabilizer is present in pool water it cannot be easily removed. To reduce the amount of Stabilizer in a swimming pool the water must be diluted by partially draining the pool and re-filling with fresh water. 25% of the pool water should be drained and replaced with fresh water. The pool should be circulated for 12-24 hours, and the Stabilizer level should be tested again. This process should be repeated until the Stabilizer level is within range. The chlorine tablets and granular chlorine used to sanitize a swimming pool on a daily basis is a pre-stabilized form of chlorine. This means that the chlorine contains a small amount of stabilizer, and as chlorine is added to the pool a very small amount of Stabilizer is also added to help maintain the level. This small amount of Stabilizer constantly added with pool chlorine does not cause a problem in outdoor swimming pools because water is splashed out or evaporates, and gets replaced with fresh water to dilute the Stabilizer. This pre-stabilized form of chlorine cannot be used in indoor swimming pools, because much less water evaporation occurs and the stabilizer level will slowly buildup. Indoor swimming pool owners need to use an un-stabilized form of chlorine.
  • Calcium Hardness The calcium hardness of swimming pool water refers to the amount of the mineral calcium present in the pool water. The calcium hardness should be maintained at 80-150 ppm in a pool with a vinyl liner, or 150-200 ppm in a concrete or plaster finish pool. Low levels of calcium hardness can lead to corrosive water conditions, which may damage the pool surface, pool equipment and pool plumbing. If the water in a plaster or masonry finish pool becomes corrosive, the water will absorb calcium from the pool walls and floor by eating away at the pool surface until the hardness level nears 150 ppm. The calcium hardness level can be easily raised using a Calcium Hardness Increaser available from most pool supply dealers. High levels of calcium hardness may lead to cloudy pool water and “scaling”. Scaling is most visible around the water line of a swimming pool as a white chalky deposit, but also forms inside pool equipment and pool plumbing. A pool Calcium Hardness Reducer chemical is available from most pool supply companies to lower the hardness to the desired range for your pool. You may also partially drain and refill a swimming pool with fresh water, which has a lower concentration of Calcium. Calcium is present in the water used to fill the pool and in the pool chemicals used to treat the water. The pool chemical that adds the most calcium to pool water is standard chlorine pool shock. If you find that your calcium hardness level is too high, read the label of the pool shock you’ve been using and you will likely find that the active ingredient is calcium hypochlorite. Each time this pool shock is added to the pool water, calcium is added to the water. To prevent this problem begin using Chlorine-Free Pool Shock on a regular basis, instead of standard chlorine pool shock (Calcium Hypochlorite). The active ingredient in chlorine-free pool shock is Potassium Monopersulfate, which does the same job of oxidizing bacteria and harmful organics but does not contain any calcium. If you choose to switch to chlorine-free shock you should always still keep the standard chlorine pool shock on hand, because it is the only pool chemical capable of killing algae.

There are many known factors that can contribute to cloudy pool water in swimming pools and spas. Some of these factors are linked to our environment; which includes the wind, the rain and the surrounding vegetation. These are known to cause cloudiness in our pools and spas. The cloudiness in your pools or spas is the result of the presence of small suspended particles, that are too minuscule to be filtered. In fact they are also too small to be removed by oxidation as well. So how do we combat this unsightly pool problem?

Unless our water facility is indoors, we cannot do much about the environment; however there are five key contributors to the milky or cloudy look of our pool or spa water. In order for us to carry out proper pool care of our swimming pools and spas, we have to first understand how these five key elements contribute to the cloudy pool water that we are experiencing.

Five key Elements for Cloudy pool Water and Their Cures

Like I mentioned earlier, there are five key factors that are responsible for water in your swimming pool being cloudy. Often times when we are confronted with a cloudy pool or spa, confusion begins to set in. However, once we understand the cause, the confusion begins to lessen. So lets look at the most common causes of cloudy water in swimming pools. So far we understand that cloudiness in caused by small, fine suspended particles in the water. This problem is caused by:

Poor pool filtration and circulation – Your pool or spa water will become cloudy if your pool filters are functioning poorly. A poorly functioning pool filter system results in restricted water flow. The restriction in flow could be caused by a malfunctioning pool pump or lack of back washing (filter cleaning). Whenever you have a poorly maintained pool filtration/circulation system, you will always be battling pool water turbidity issues.

Poor pool water balance – whenever your pool water balance is out of whack, there is a possibility suspension of calcium carbonate particles will result. To avoid or correct this problem, you must balance your pool water. You have to test your and balance your pool chemicals. This will send the calcium carbonate back into solution. Once this accomplished, your pool cloudy issues will also clear up.

Pool algae growth – The growth formation of pool algae, that has not yet full bloomed, will definitely caused your swimming pool or spa to be hazy, dull or cloudy looking. You can easily distinguished this caused of cloudiness from the others; because your pool bottom and wall surfaces will feel slippery.And your pool water will also look tint green. To correct this swimming pool water problem, will require you to carry out a chlorine shock treatment of your pool. You must achieve a PPM (parts per million) level of 30 to rid your water facility of this problem.

Heavy bather/swimmers loads – If you get a heavy influx of bathers or swimmers in your swimming pools and spas, you will have pool water problems. Heavy bather loads means an overload of human organics; which cause serious water turbidity problems. To effectively prevent water turbidity issues of this kind, is to regularly shock treat your pool or spa. This will clear up your pool/spa and raise you pool chlorine above its normal levels. This is mostly done during the summer time in anticipation of heavy bather loads.

Small suspended particles – Small or fine suspended particles that can come from the environment, can be in your pool water. Because these particles are so small, your pool filters are unable to remove them. In other words, they are unfilterable. The suspended particles will pass right through any sand filters without being caught; thus, eventually leading to cloudy pool water. To effectively get rid of these small suspended particles, you will need to use a water clarifier. The water clarifier will cause the fine particles to coagulate; thus, making them to clump together and become a size that is now filterable.

The secret to having beautiful pool water, reducing chemicals and preventing pool problems

Proper swimming pool maintenance can prevent common problems such as green pool water, cloudy water, pool staining, itchy eyes, pungent chlorine smell and the spread of various waterborne diseases. We all want beautiful, clean, clear enjoyable pool water that is soft to the skin and easy on the eyes, hair and swimwear.

Everyone wants a beautiful pool with as little effort as possible! With the use of the Crystalline Pool System maintaining a beautiful, sparkling clear pool with soft enjoyable water with no chlorine smell is a breeze. Your swimming pool water treatment consists of a little bit of chlorine and a weekly application of Crystalline and that is typically it!

Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips
Owning a swimming pool is a privilege but to enjoy a nice beautiful pool with minimum hassles and expense requires some basic responsibilities.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you let your pool water get out of balance and your pool water becomes green or cloudy/murky, burns your skin or smells strongly it may costs you a lot more to get it back to a sparkling clear, beautiful state than if you never let it get away from you in the first place! Pool maintenance is essential and cannot be neglected, especially during the swimming season. Fallen leaves and other organic matter in the pool eventually decompose and attract bacteria. Pool maintenance should be carried out throughout the year, irrespective of the pool type, with un-screened pools needing the most attention. Below is a schedule, that if followed should help maintain beautiful, soft, clear pool water year round.

Daily
Check Skimmer Basket: The skimmer basket must be checked and cleared of debris, so as to ensure fresh and circulating pool water. Debris such as leaves, insects, bird droppings and other substances must be cleared from the surface of the pool by using a leaf net or leaf bagger. Leaves and other debris at the bottom of the pool must also be cleared by using a leaf net or bagger.

Weekly
PH Level: Maintaining the right water balance is very important. The pH level is the measure of acidity or alkalinity, and should to be tested weekly. The pH level in the pool water must be slightly alkaline, that is a pH of around 7.2-7.6 must be maintained. It is at this pH level that chlorine is most effective. Moreover, this level is similar to the pH of our skin. It can be controlled by adding either an acid or an alkali such as baking soda. Incorrect pH levels can lead to damage of pool surface and pool equipment!

Chlorine Level: Sanitizing pools is equivalent to sterilizing the pool, whereby bacterial and algal forms can be destroyed. Inadequately sanitized pools can become breeding grounds for bacteria. The range of ‘free’ chlorine that has to be maintained in the pool is usually 1.0-3.0 ppm. With the use of the Crystalline Pool System you can maintain your chlorine at the 1 ppm range with good results. Since chlorine is a known carcinogen and it’s fumes have been shown to be bad for asthma sufferers the fact that Crystalline allows you to reduce your chlorine levels about 70% is a very good thing!

Algaecide: To control the algal contaminants, the pool must typically be given a dose of algaecide once a week. Fortunately with the use of Crystalline you should not have a need for an algaecide unless you have the uncommon yellow mustard algae.

Clarifier: The annoying cloudy water problem can be resolved by adding a dose of clarifier to the pool water. Clarifying agents make the tiny particles stick to each other, to form larger particles. These larger particles then either settle to the bottom of the pool to be vacuumed up or are trapped by the filter. The good news is that clarifiers are not needed when using Crystalline since it contains a flocculent!

Monthly
Calcium Level: Water that is too low in calcium becomes corrosive, while water high in calcium results in scale formation. This is why checking the calcium hardness is very important. This test has to be conducted at local pool store, as the standard testing kit does not test for calcium hardness. A sample of the pool water needs to be taken to your local pool store and tested.

Alkalinity: Correct total alkalinity will prevent sudden changes in the pH levels of the pool water. 80-120 ppm is the proper range for total alkalinity; the level can be adjusted by the addition of baking soda.

Overall by using Crystalline your pool water will be more stable and Calcium and Alkalinity levels will fluctuate less and your total chemical use will be lower.

Mid-Season
Swimming pool filters are prone to accumulate oil and grease, and have to be cleaned by using a ‘filter cleanser degrease r’. How often this is required is a direct result of bathing load and how diligent bathers are about showering off before going into the pool, especially if they have been using tanning oils/lotions. Usually most cartridge filters are only good for one cleaning and then will need to be replaced with a new filter.

As Needed
Shock Treatment: Shock treatments are important to destroy combined chlorine compounds (free chlorine is the active chlorine and is required, not combined or total). Shock treatment packages are sold locally, use according to the instructions on the package, shock during the evenings or when no one will be using the pool for several hours. This raises the level of free chlorine in the pool and also destroys germs and bacteria. With the proper use of Crystalline you will almost never need to shock your pool as the water will remain very clean and clear. You will save time, effort and money plus your pool will never look or feel better!

Metal Out Addition: Often tiny metal particles are found on the pool surface and can cause staining. They are very small and bypass the filter; they can be removed by adding a weekly dose of ‘Metal Out’ to the pool water. You should not need this product on a regular basis though and if you do, have the pool inspected by a professional to determine what the problem is.

So the question is, who in the world wants swimming pool algae, a green swimming pool or cloudy swimming pool water? No one should and it is completely unnecessary! With the proper knowledge and just a little effort, proper maintenance of your pool water can help prevent all the above problems. The best single product to make it easy to have a beautiful pool, with soft enjoyable water with a minimum of effort is the Crystalline Pool System!

Cloudy pool water is caused by many factors. These factors may be chemical (water balance, pH, improper methods), mechanical (pool filter system) or environmental (source water, excessive rain, heavy use). Often times, pool owners attempt to treat the symptoms but not the cause of the cloudy water, so we have to look at all of the things that may contribute to the problem. Let’s look at the causes of cloudy swimming pool water, then we can look at treatments and cures.

Before we dive in let’s first put cloudy water to the test. Cloudy pool water is in the eyes of the beholder. Cloudy can mean: Dull – the pool water just doesn’t sparkle. Hazy – it just isn’t as clear as it normally is. Cloudy – you can make out the bottom of the pool if you look hard. Opaque – the term says it all!

Chemical Reasons

Many pool owners quickly blame “bad chemicals” so let’s start there. Here are some of the factors and their contribution to the cloudy water problem. Water chemistry can contribute to cloudy or hazy water – if the pH is HIGH (over 7.8) and or the Total Alkalinity (TA) is HIGH (over 200 ppm) and or the Calcium Hardness (CH) is HIGH (over 400 ppm). With pH & TA being high the water will become dull or flat and the chlorine reacts more slowly loses its ability to kill and control bacteria and algae. Now you have early algae growth – another cause of cloudy pool water. High CH doesn’t become a problem until the water warms up to over 85 degrees F; then you have a “cloudy” condition that won’t go away. Maintain good pool water balance with these parameters: pH – 7.2 – 7.6 (all pools); Total Alkalinity – 80 – 120 ppm (concrete) or 120 – 150 ppm (vinyl liner); Calcium Hardness 200 – 300 ppm (concrete) or 175 – 250 ppm (vinyl).

Other chemical or chemistry based reasons for cloudy pool water would be lack of regular shocking, periodic chemical cleaning of the filter, poorly maintained sanitizer levels, lack of a chemical maintenance routine. Regular weekly or biweekly shocking of the pool aids in oxidizing un-filterable swimmer waste such as body oils, lotions, urine, hair gel, perspiration, etc. We find that the single biggest mistake customers make in their normal care is not shocking the pool often enough or insufficiently (not using the proper amount of pool shock). Proper shocking also helps to “rejuvenate” the chlorine level and knock out early algae growth. Whenever you have a pool party with lots of expected bathers, consider shocking the pool the day before (helps build up the chlorine level providing a buffer for an eventual chlorine demand) as well as immediately following the party (shocks & oxidizes everything that was brought into the pool during the party — if your guests weren’t using the bathroom, the beer & soda had to go somewhere). Using a calcium hypochlorite shock such as BioGuard Burn Out Extreme is preferred since the product will get in, do its work, then get out. Potassium monopersulfate shocks like Oxysheen work well to help break up chloramines (combined chlorines), but shouldn’t be used exclusively.

Mechanical Reasons

If the chemistry is good and the pool is being properly shocked and algaecide added every 1 to 2 weeks, then it is necessary to look at the mechanical reasons. The mechanical components contributing to cloudy pool water would be improper filter size (too small), improper pump and motor size (too small or too large a horsepower pump), insufficient filtering time, poor circulation, improper maintenance (vacuuming & brushing). I can recount story after story when I’ve walked into a customer’s backyard to help them troubleshoot a problem pool only to find the filter shut off or improperly connected. When simple corrections are made, the pool water is clear in as little as 24 hours. Let’s examine some basics.

Your swimming pool’s filtering system should be operating a minimum of 8 to 10 hours per day, every day from opening to closing. If the pool water becomes cloudy or other problems become evident, then constant running of the filter until the problem is solved is required. If the filter was properly sized (even slightly bigger is better) then 8 to 10 hours daily is good. On the other hand, too large of a pump may be “harmful” to the filtration. If the horsepower is too great, you may be blowing dirt and everything else you want filtered right through the filter (especially sand filters). When it comes to 2 speed pumps, make sure the “high” speed run time is set for a minimum of 6 hours daily PLUS and additional 12 to 18 hours at “low” speed).

Consider using an automatic pool cleaner. You’ll end up with better circulation, cleaner pool surfaces and less work.

The other mechanical reasons are also important. Regular vacuuming and brushing help with the overall circulation by moving water around. Keep directional “eyeballs” pointed DOWN to force filtered water down to the bottom of the pool and therefore aid in water movement by breaking up dead spots. Too frequent backwashing of the filter doesn’t give the filter media enough time to do its best cleaning — a dirty filter filters a finer particle. One final mechanical reason for cloudy pool water, lack of use. Actively used pools are always better circulated and filtered. So even if the water is cloudy (as long as the water is in good chemical balance), use the pool!

Environmental Reasons

Remember that whatever is out in the world, will eventually get in the pool and detract from water clarity. Pollen, dust, dirt, leaves, make-up water, bird droppings (forgot about those, right?), rain, local construction sites, etc. can all affect your swimming pool. Each of these culprits needs to treated differently. Pollen, dust and other fine particulate can be treated using a water clarifier like BioGuard Polysheen Blue. Flocculants work well in severe situations by settling the particles to pool bottom and vacuuming it all out on Waste. Use a skimmer sock inside of the skimmer to remove fine pollen or dust that may be too fine for your sand filter.

Leaves, swimmers, makeup water, droppings will create a chlorine demand. Shocking the pool is necessary. Make-up water can change the water chemistry affecting the pH, TA and CH not to mention the possible addition of heavy metals, all of which can cause or add to water cloudiness.

Final Notes

As you can see there’s no 1 or 2 reasons for cloudy pool water. It’s usually a combination of factors. Some of them not even coming from the pool itself. The best solution to cloudy pool water is prevention utilizing a good, regular chemical and cleaning maintenance program. About 30 to 60 minutes per week is all that it takes. If or when your pool water turns cloudy, don’t start adding clarifiers or flocs. Get down to the real cause. Look at all of the contributing factors.

Pool water maintenance is a very important part of home improvement due to the fact that swimming pool water usually contains different types of microbes, including bacteria as well as algae. These microbes can actually cause health problems that could end up causing health problems such as ear, nose as well as throat infections. Therefore, you should check the water pH level as well as the chlorine level regularly as part of your pool water maintenance routine to avoid possible health problems.

Sources of contamination
The following are some of the different sources of the common types of bacteria and microbes that may be found in your pool:

• People who swim in the swimming pool – this is normally the major source of bacteria.

• Dead wildlife – for instance, frogs or insects or lizards may sometimes drown in the pool.

• Animals, for example, dogs – some pets usually like to paddle especially on hot days in the pool.

• Debris surrounding the property, which may include leaves, grass, trees as well as dust and dirt.

Pool water maintenance
The four major keys that can assist you to achieve pool water maintenance while maintaining high water include the following:

1. Filtration
You should pump the water in the pool through a good filter to remove debris and particles. The size of your pool as well as the horsepower and flow volume of the pool pump determine the time needed to run the filter. However, approximately 35% of the water may not get filtered.

2. Chlorination
Chlorine is actually a chemical that sterilizes the water and helps to get rid of debris. You should use a chlorine stabilizer to extend the chlorine’s half-life. In general, the longer the filtration cycle, generally the less chlorine is needed. Likewise, the more chlorine used, the shorter filtration cycle is required. Chlorine requirement is usually based on a variety of factors, such as the pump as well as filter system, water level, amount of debris, water temperature and also the actual number of people who use the pool.

3. pH Level
The pH level usually indicates how alkaline or acidic the water is at any particular time. A pH level normally of 7.0 actually means that water is neutral; below 7 usually indicates the water is acidic while above 7 usually means the water is alkaline. You should maintain the pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 pH. If the pH is above 8, any person who swims in that pool is usually at risk of suffering from skin rashes. Also, a pH below 7.1 may sting the eyes of swimmers.

4. Calcium Hardness
This basically refers to the quantity of mineral calcium actually dissolved in water. A low calcium level normally worsen pool surfaces, whereas a high calcium level may leave a white ‘scum’ on surfaces as well as equipment.

General pool water maintenance
The following are general ways of achieving pool water maintenance in your pool:

• Check your pH as well as chlorine levels daily preferably,
the day before people go swimming to ensure the quality is safe.

• In extremely hot weather, you should check the pH and chlorine at least once per day.

• Brush and vacuum your pool.

• Regularly check the pump, skimmer boxes and other pool equipment. Repair or actually replace pool parts as necessary.

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Swimming pools offer a great way to beat the scorching sun. Owning a swimming pool in your backyard is indeed a privilege that most people yearn for. However, this privilege translates to responsibility. Apart from swimming in your pool, you need to pay close attention to pool water maintenance to ensure the pool remains in good condition for a long time.

Swimming pools are often exposed to different weather elements such as rain, debris and snow among others. Fallen leaves and other organic waste tend to collect on the surface. Such waste materials decompose, attract bacteria and trigger the spread of various waterborne diseases, such as dysentery, typhoid, and cholera just to name a few. This is where pool water maintenance comes in handy. Here are some tips on pool water maintenance.

Pool Water Maintenance
Chlorine Level: Generally, chlorination is performed as pool water maintenance to sanitize the water in the pool. When you add certain chemicals, like calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite, to the pool water it will be sterilized. Chlorination destroys bacterial and algae formation. The amount of free chlorine that should be maintained in the pool water is about 1.0-3.0ppm. Bromine is another chemical that can be used to sanitize the pool.

Water pH: The pH level should be checked at least twice each week. pH level refers to the alkalinity or acidity measure and the pH level of pool water should be about 7.2-7.6 because chlorine is more efficient at this level. Highly alkaline water leads to water clouding, whereas highly acidic water can corrode the pool metal equipment. You can also add muriatic acid to increase the acidity of the water. On the same note, soda ash or baking soda can also be added to increase alkalinity. The addition of alkali or acid is based on whether the pool is too acidic or alkaline in nature.

Check Skimmer Basket: The skimmer basket should be checked and any debris removed twice every week. A surface skimmer or leaf net may be used in removing unwanted materials, such as insects, bird droppings and leaves from the pool surface. When it comes to removing debris from the pool floor, you can use a leaf bagger. Powdered or liquid tile cleaning agents can be used to clear scum rings and lines from the pool tiles.

Shock Treatment: Shock treatment is necessary because pool requires free chlorine rather than combined chlorine. This treatment breaks up combined chlorine compounds to increase the free chlorine level in the pool. In addition, it eliminates the germs, thereby leaving your spool sparkling and attractive. The shock treatment should be performed as part of a pool water maintenance about once a week.

Using Algaecide and Clarifier: Algaecide and clarifier should be added to the pool once a week. An algaecide eliminates the algae without causing any damage to the pool tiles, while the clarifier handles cloudy water.

Brushing and Vacuuming: You can use a pool brush to remove dirt that has accumulated on the bottom and sides of the pool. Brush the pool thoroughly before vacuuming the pool.

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If a new swimming pool is in the works for your property, why not take it to the limits and design a custom pool water fountain? This is an excellent way to bring your landscape to life and create a special space for entertaining, romantic evenings, or just a lot more fun with the family.

When you add a water fountain into your custom pool, you get all of the following:

 

  • Water Movement
  • Creative Shape
  • Beautiful Color
  • Enticing Sound

 

You can take a pool that looks rather average or dull and turn it into an exciting, enticing place where everyone wants to be.

If you do a lot of entertaining on your property or are putting in a custom pool so you can hold more parties in the future, you should consider a lighted pool water fountain. This will give an attention-grabbing centerpiece to your night-time parties and will set the mood for romantic encounters when you really want to please someone special.

Light up the fountain. Let the pool water start to ripple peacefully. Turn on some soft music. Dip your feet in the water and take that special someone in your arms with a glass of crisp wine on hand. Who needs a romantic vacation when you have paradise in your backyard?

Alternatively, you can substitute the soft music for something energetic and the special someone with a group of your best friends or colleagues you really want to impress. The lighted fountain can entertain and impress just about anyone!

You can always change the light patterns and color of light used in your pool. This allows you to adjust according to who your company is and what ambience you want to establish for the event. The light will flicker over the rippling water, creating just the right mood.

If you’re thinking that this all sounds wonderful but you’re sure it is out of your price range, don’t be so quick to assume. There are some very affordable pool water fountains on the market. You just have to know what size pool you will be putting in, how it will be shaped, and where you might install the water fountain.

If you are working with a tight budget or have an above ground pool, you will likely want to stick with a floating pool fountain. These are the most affordable pool water fountains sold and they will work with virtually any type of pool. All the fittings you need to attach to the return of your pool will be provided with the fountain.

If you are more worried about the amount of space your fountain consumes than price, a wall pool fountain could be the solution. They are very easy to install and the power cords go behind the fall so they are not visible to your guests. This is the most compact option since it isn’t actually inside the pool.

Many wall fountains are lightweight and easy to take down if you move, which is something to consider if you aren’t settled in a forever home just yet.

If you want to permanently install a pool fountain for the purpose of increasing the value of your home or you are definitely sure that you won’t want to move your pool water fountain in the future, you can use a freestanding water fountain. This type of pool fountain goes into the pool and will either show its electrical cords or will hide them to the point you can’t easily access the power supply. It is best to hide the cords, but keep in mind this will make it very difficult to move the fountain in the future.

Some types of freestanding pool water fountains include:

 

  • Pedestal Water Fountains
  • Tabletop Water Fountains
  • Large Center Pool Fountains

 

You also have the option of adding a water fountain into a garden that is near your swimming pool or perhaps adding a fountain to a hot tub. In these cases you will need a much smaller pool water fountain.

Whatever type of pool water fountain you decide on, make sure that it fits in with the design of your pool. Keep in mind that extra features like lighting will increase the cost of the fountain. In many cases you can lower expenses by installing accent lights on your property around the pool rather than going with the lighted fountain.

Water Features

On their own with just you swimming in them, a pool can be a very quiet place, and whilst this can be relaxing in itself, the sound of running water can be even more relaxing. Indeed the sound of running water is known to relax the mind and hence the body. The use of indoor water features in Japan is a good example of this.

So why not add a water feature to your pool? You could add a waterfall with water cascading into your swimming pool. This is a great feature to have as you can stand underneath it and let the water falling down pummel your shoulder muscles to relax them.

Or you could add a solution like that found in modern spa hotel swimming pools, and that is the addition of various types of in-pool, and outside of the pool water jets. If you go to a hotel spa you will now very often find various (often odd looking) stainless water jets that you can switch on whilst sitting at the edge of the pool.

These numerous jets do anything from pummeling your back and shoulders with water, through to blasting water up at your feet whilst you are seated poolside.

Installing such water features in your swimming pool does not cost as much money as you would think. However if you like the idea of adding such a feature just bear in mind that whilst they maybe added later, they will cost far less if you install them at the time of building your swimming pool.

Heating Options:

Well with swimming pools dropping down in price many of us can now afford to buy one, particularly with large oval above ground pools offering the same benefits of an in ground pool but at a fraction of the price.

However all pools even in very hot climates normally need some form of heating, and heating a pool obviously costs money. Sure you can buy solar collectors but unless you live in a climate with around ten hours really good strong sunshine each day, then they are unlikely to heat the pool to the temperature you want without an additional heat source.

The bulk of swimming pools are heated by mains gas powered boilers, or by boilers using external LPG gas tanks.

Using LPG just for your swimming pool boiler is actually a great idea as it enables you to be able to tell exactly how much gas you are using, and hence how much money your pool is costing to heat. Where as when you use a mains gas boiler to heat your pool and your house, then you have little or no idea how much of your actual gas bill is going on heating your pool.

Another option is to use an in-ground heat converter – this is whereby a borehole is dug several feet (Around thirty) into the ground and a water pipe placed in the hole. This is then used to heat the pools water with the natural heat from the Earth itself. These systems have come down in price in recent years and should not be overlooked as an option to heat your swimming pool.

 

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Spanish Documentaries Online: Top 5

Want to shoot a high-impact personal documentary? While there is no rule book to documentary film making, there is others’ experiences that may help guide you. In this article, I am going to give you some tips on how to make a successful personal documentary. Some suggestions here relate to the project generally, and some relate specifically to filming interviews and shooting on location.

What is a personal documentary?

A “personal documentary” is a branch of documentary film making that focuses on one particular human subject, or sometimes a couple or a family. Commissioned by the subject in question or a family member, it is a bespoke (custom made) video biography which takes advantage of the immediacy and emotion of film to tell personal and family history stories that would otherwise be told in print.

Being “commissioned” doesn’t mean that the personal documentary is pure flattery or devoid of difficult issues. On the contrary, to be successful the personal documentary must contain objectivity and some real dark to balance the light. In my experience, subjects themselves have no interest in saccharine stories. But where mistakes were made, or wrong directions taken, a personal documentary will give the subject the opportunity for explanation, context and – desirably – understanding. Ultimately, though, editorial control rests with the party commissioning (paying for) the personal documentary.

Tip 1: Keep your subject front and center

There are a lot of twists and turns to a life, and many rabbit holes that a well-meaning personal documentarian could disappear down. But resist diversions, unless they bear on the subject’s progression.

When asking questions, try to relate events to motivations and feelings. Subjects are typically very good at giving the “who what and when”. The personal documentarian has to work to get at the “why”, and the “why nots”.

In telling stories involving former generations, try to connect the story to, or tell the story from the perspective of, someone still living. The thrilling exposition of even the most fascinating of historical detail (e.g. “Grandfather George Unwin once killed a tiger in Bengal”) means little unless it is connected to someone or something tangible for the audience (e.g. “Old George Unwin was an adventurer, like his grandson Frank, both of whom joined the military by the time they were 18…”)

Tip 2: Go beyond the surface

In a personal documentary, most of your information will come from the subject and their friends, colleagues and families. But you should dig a little deeper whenever possible, and don’t ignore the documents.

For instance, I always do a little genealogical research on my subjects whether they ask for it or not. It’s common to find mistakes in the family’s collective memory, and it sometimes happens that odd and surprising revelations come to light (like underage marriages, name changes and significant understating of ages).

A successful personal documentary

A successful personal documentary will have feeling, humor and layers. It will cover the main “stations of the cross” in the person’s life without seeking to be comprehensive (an impossible task in any medium, at any time). It will also take a view.

Depending on the time available, you can do historical research into the city or the state or the events recounted or the time period involved. Newspaper searches can turn up interesting material (you may need to join a library to get access to the best data bases). And some film makers even conduct Freedom of Information Act searches to bolster their research.

Tip 3: Be patient

Barry Hampe in “Making Documentary Films and Reality Videos” says much of documentary film interviewing consists of running endless tape through the camera waiting and hoping the subject will say something interesting.

That’s a little harsh. But it speaks to the truth of good fact gathering: you can seldom force the pace. By and large, with careful, patient and open-ended questing you have to let the story come to you.

Tip 4: Shooting the interview

Chances are you will be filming both in interview set ups as well as on location.

When interviewing a subject, ask the prepared questions but also ask questions (and shoot footage) that might tell us something about the person e.g. their job, hobbies, the location itself, etc. Also, capture a range of shots of the subject during the interview – from wide shots (of the subject with the interviewer and even lights etc), to close ups (say, waist and above) to extreme close ups (face only). Avoid moving the camera while the subject is speaking.

Try to record (full) names, ages/birth dates (if they’re going to be relevant), place names etc either in writing and/or have the subject say their name and spell it on tape. Of all the mistakes you make in a personal documentary, getting names wrong or misspelt seems to draw the most attention.

Having shot a scene, think about whether there are any worthwhile close-ups to get at the end: e.g. hands, feet, objects. Consider POVs (point of view shots) – where you walk around behind the subject and film things (often an object or an activity) from their point of view.

Tip 5: Shooting on location

On location in a personal documentary, you may be following the subject around while they go about some activity, or shooting places of personal significance or places from the person’s past.

For each location, try to capture a 5 to 10 second “establishing shot” – i.e. a long shot showing the whole building/village/room/whatever. This helps to orientate the viewer and provides you with some shot variety. Avoid moving the camera during the establishing shot, save for a smooth and slow pan or zoom.

Keep an eye out for signage and writing of any kind which are usually worth a shot – place names, warnings, graffiti, ads…

And unless you are shooting a fishing show or a music video, avoid fast pans and fast zooms. Generally, it’s best to frame the shot carefully first, steady the camera, then let the action happen in front of the lens – without any noticeable panning or zooming.

Bonus tip: Find a rhythm

When it comes time to edit your personal documentary, try to find a rhythm to the edit.

Just like a poem will often have a rhyming scheme, a personal documentary can also often have a pattern (e.g. chapter 1- interview clip, image and voice over, interview clip, location shot and interview audio, interview clip, interview clip then repeat for chapter 2). Having established the material you wish to use and a satisfying pattern, be sure to break the pattern from time to time.

A successful personal documentary

A successful personal documentary will have feeling, humor and layers. It will cover the main “stations of the cross” in the person’s life without seeking to be comprehensive (an impossible task in any medium, at any time). It will also take a view.

Take a view? Chances are, if you are making a personal documentary focusing on a life or a family, you have come to know your subject well. A personal documentary is not a polemic, but you are allowed an opinion. You may express that through the facts of the life you choose to cover, through the title of the documentary or the title of chapters (if you create named chapters – it’s certainly an option), or even – if you are very careful – through narration.

Some documentary makers are leery of narration, preferring to let the story unfold without “a voice of God” telling us what to think. But used carefully, voice-over can save time.

 

Creating a documentary budget is great way to think through every aspect of your film. Even though you may be eager to get started shooting your documentary right away, creating a budget can often be an enlightening experience, revealing factors that may otherwise slip under the radar. A budget forces you to think through every detail and can save you the agony of an unexpected surprise down the road.

In addition to being a great tool for the filmmaker, a documentary budget is essential if you hope to raise money for your film. A budget is usually a must-have item along with your documentary proposal when pitching your documentary idea to potential funders or supporters. A documentary budget provides an important snapshot of how you plan to shoot your film, the locations where filming will take place, how many people are involved in the project, what kind of equipment you’re using and your distribution plan among other things.

Whereas your documentary proposal describes the story and vision for how your documentary will look on screen, the budget is your nuts and bolts plan behind the scenes.

Here are the three primary steps in creating a documentary budget:

 

    1. Research – This is THE most important aspect of creating your budget. Without research, you have a blank slate. This is where you need to make phone calls, search the internet and ask for advice. You’ll need to decide such things as what kind of insurance (if any) you need, how much a van rental will cost in the city you’ll be shooting, how much your cameraman charges for three days of work, what’s the cost of renting a lighting kit, what does the animation guy charge, will you need to pay copyright fees for stock footage, etc.

 

    1. Build Your Budget – It’s highly recommended that you use a spreadsheet program such as Excel or get your hands on a documentary budgeting template. You can certainly jot down your budget items using a plain text document, but this is not a professional (or efficient) way to do a budget. Having a spreadsheet with formulas allows you to make changes to individual items and it automatically updates the totals for the whole budget. As you conduct your research, begin inputting the various budget items including crew salaries, production equipment rental, stock footage fees, administrative costs, etc. Input everything you can think of!

 

  1. Refine Your Budget – Once you’ve created your budget, you will surely be shocked by the final total cost. At this point, you will need to refine your budget to come up with a realistic final cost. Ask yourself the amount of money you realistically believe you can raise for your project? If you think you can raise $10,000 and your budget came out to $250,000, then you will need to make some hard decisions. Is there anything in your budget that is not an absolutely necessity? Or is there a way to get some items donated?

 

Creating your documentary budget is not a one-time event. The budget will need to be constantly updated and modified as you go.

One item you’ll want to include in your budget is a contingency (usually 8-10% of your total budget). This is especially helpful if you’re new to budgeting. A contingency provides a buffer in case items in your budget end up costing more than you expected.

In summary, if you are pitching your documentary idea to potential funders and trying to raise money for your film, you will more than likely need a detailed budget. It’s absolutely critical that you create a budget that is as realistic and accurate as possible. Since many of your funders will be business-minded individuals, they will know if you fudged on your numbers. So do your research and put together the best possible budget that you can. As the filmmaker, you are probably eager to start shooting and making your film, but taking the time to think through every detail of your budget will pay off in the end.

 

“In feature films director is God; in documentary films God is the director”.

An art form which has over a hundred years depicted the serendipitous romanticism, surrealism and activism of the journey of life. Extreme naturalism is the key; transcending the quandaries of human existence, documentary films go beyond the archetypal perception, unraveling the psychedelic mysteries of life, always giving a “voice to the voiceless”.

The art of documentary film-making traces its roots to pre-1900s when the French coined the term to depict any non-fictional film with an informational purpose. Often referred to as “actuality films”, these would include very short stretches of filming often a minute or less in length. There was no form of conceptualization of a real-life event or depiction of consciousness in these creations, primarily due to the technological limitations of the days. Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatwadekar (Save Dada) who in 1899 shot a wrestling match was probably the earliest traces of “topical” films in the Indian film industry. He is also accredited to have made the first Indian newsreel in 1901 filming the public reception of Raghjunath P. Paranjpye who had won a special distinction in Maths at Cambridge. Chitrapat Kaysa Taya Kartat (How films are made) (1917) directed by Dadasaheb Phalke, the “Father of Indian fiction film”, is another significant milestone in the genre of Indian “actuality” films.

The Czech filmmaker and theoretician Vit Janecek was one of the first few individuals who improvised the term “documentary film” to replace a “documental film”, to dramatize the camera shot on the spot, to depict discursive interests of a cultural-social domain. The first few such attempts were by the Lumiere Brothers which showed short clippings of a train entering a station, factory workers leaving a plant, etc. Romanticism found its way into the first official documentary film, Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922), a contemporary look at the life of Canadian Inuit Eskimos living in the Arctic. However, the term “documentary” was first used in a review of Flaherty’s (also referred to as the “Father of the Documentary Film”) Moana in 1926. Over the years with the availability of cheaper 16mm film stock and the rising political movements in Russia and UK, documentary films gradually became an avenue to reach out to the masses. Films were projected on to factory walls and screens set up in church halls trying to raise awareness about unemployment, poverty and fascism. Thus we see the birth of the “alternative newsreels” in the 1930s, a generation of left-wing film makers motivated to guide the people from apathy to activism. The genre of “newsreels” was also sometimes staged, re-enacting some of the actual events which occurred. Dziga Vertov’s Kino-Pravda (literally translated as “film truth”) newsreel series depicted the everyday lives of bourgeois, trying to send a deeper message through a metaphorical montage of real-life recordings – often even using hidden cameras. This creation inspired the birth of cinema verite as another form of documentary, which utilized Vertov’s technique of juxtaposing scenes and non-intrusive filming techniques. This form of documentary film stressed on retaining the pristine form and authenticity of naturalism. John Grierson was the first documentary film maker and critic who coined the term “documentary” in writing a review for Flaherty’s Moana. He also extended the idea portrayed by Vertov, defining the art form as a “creative treatment of actuality”. This decade also saw the birth of documentary film-making in India with the creative acumen of Dr. P.V. Pathy, K.S. Hirlekar and D.G. Tendulkar.

Later into the 1930s and 1940s, documentary films became more propagandistic in nature stressing the marginalized and laboring majority of the Years of Depression and War Years. This form of media took up an activist role in its efforts to comprehend the reality and an ethical responsibility. Triumph of the Will (1934) was a masterpiece from Leni Riefenstahl, very much controversial and propagandistic in its horrifying depiction of the Nazi Part Congress rally in Nuremberg. In spite of the controversy surrounding the creation, in the realm of cinematography, this creation has earned laurels beyond par from critiques. The year 1940 is a significant milestone in Indian Documentary film making, wherein the British Government created the Film Advisory Board (FAB) to provide the infrastructure to boost the war propaganda effort. In 1943, the Information Films of India (IFI) and the Indian News Parade (INP) were formed to expand and consolidate film production and distribution units. Between 1940 and 1946, the FAB and the IFI produced more than 170 films apart from the INP newsreels. Unfortunately in the year 1946, government grants to these institutions were drastically reduced and there was no official film unit to record Nehru’s ‘tryst with destiny’ speech on the auspicious first Indian Independence Day. The efforts were revived in 1948, through the formation of Films Division, the official vehicle of the Government of India to promote production and distribution of information films and newsreels. The Documentaries were to be released under the banner of ‘Documentary Films of India.’

The 1960s and 70s perceived a theme of protest against neocolonialism. La Hora de los homos (1968), The Hour of the Furnaces, directed by Octavio Getino and Fernando E. Solanos, is a four-hour long manifesto inciting a sense of revolution against imperialism and the disasters it brought in Argentina. In addition to portrayal of social and political issues, biographical, rock concert/music-related and nature-related documentaries were also finding their way into the mainstream during these years. Filmic stylization and informational reportage in documentary films has reached newer echelons of success with the advent of hi-tech digital photographic equipments. Director/Cinematographer Ron Ficke’s, Baraka (1992), depicts the “the essence of life”, transcending the limits of nature and time. Without a single word narrated in the film, it is often referred to as have delivered a “message without words” with its scintillating visuals accompanied with pristine musical scores.

Documentary film-making started off for informational purposes but graduated over the years through to reflect the persuasive creative ambition of the film-makers. Along with the aesthetic hues of romanticism and surrealism, the films have become more diaristic, self-reflective and experimental. The infant “actuality” art form of the yesteryears soon became the energetic activist threatening to topple the hegemonic powers of oppression. The film genre has extended much beyond the etymological sense of the term and had been visualized as doing so in a more than seventy-year old futuristic article by one of its founding auteurs and theoreticians, John Grierson as “Documentary is a clumsy description, but let it stand”.

 

One good way to improve your Spanish listening skills is to watch documentaries in Spanish on the internet. There are a good range of Spanish documentaries available online on sites such as RTVE and YouTube to name two of the more famous. Some of these documentaries were made in Spain or Latin America originally but some are translations from English and other languages. I have made my recommendations for a top 5 Spanish documentaries or documentary series for you to watch below, however, in reality, what best suits you will largely depend on personal taste and Spanish ability. This therefore is just a general guide to watching Spanish documentaries and the themes are quite diverse – my aim is really just to give you an idea of what sort of material is available so you can find the documentaries that interest you.

1 – Documentos TV

My first recommended documentary series is available for free from RTVE.es (the home of the Spanish national television and radio) – follow the links from the RTVE homepage (search on Google.es) to “RTVE a la Carta” and then the “Documentales” section. Documentos TV is one of the top 5 series at the top of the page – if you follow the link there is a large archive of documentaries all lasting around one hour. Most people will be able to find at least one or two to interest them but watching all will expand your vocabulary on a range of themes – for example the most recent at the time of writing this article are about themes as diverse and the hunt for the last Nazi and poker fever. This is the signature documentary series for RTVE and the episodes are clearly presented and provide deep and thought provoking insights.

2 – Imprescindibles
This is another of the documentary series available if you follow the same route as above to the RTVE documentales page. Imprescindibles is another documentary series but this time tends to focus on hour long episodes about important figures in Spanish culture. If you don’t recognise the names these documentaries might not interest you but I found most episodes very interesting.

3 – Espanol en el Mundo

Again follow the RTVE.es link to RTVE a la Carta and this time select programas. Espanol en el Mundo isn’t a documentary as such but a series following Spanish people in cities around the world – the episodes last just under an hour and each one follows four or five Spanish natives in their daily routines in their new cities having migrated abroad. The series is really interesting, more socially based and hence informal and I found also a bit more happy than most other documentaries.

4 – Documania TV

Again no individual documentary but this Spanish website (search on Google.es) offers a huge range of Spanish documentaries. The topics range from history and science to geography and religion – as a result there is something for everyone. I would especially recommend the National Geographic documentaries available.

5 – Bear Grylls and Louis Theroux

These are two of my favourite documentary series in the UK and luckily they are translated or at least subtitled in Spanish. Bear is available on YouTube if you search “A prueba de Todo”. The Louis Theroux series is difficult to find in complete but there are clips and episodes if you search on Google.es.

 

While fiction has long been the mainstay of cinematic entertainment since the beginning of the movie industry, the ground-breaking 1922 documentary file Nanook of the North gave filmmakers a taste of their audience’s desire to view something that would give them an insight into parts of their world that they would otherwise not know about. Despite the fact that it took a while for filmmakers to really catch the documentary “bug”, recent documentaries such as An Inconvenient TruthInside Job and Fahrenheit 9/11 only reinforce the desire for filmmakers to make movies that not only entertain but also enlighten. Here’s my list of documentaries – in no particular order – that should be on any documentary aficionado’s “must see” list:

Sigur Ros: Heima (2007)

Music lovers especially will appreciate this documentary that focuses on the last few concerts of Icelandic band Sigur Ros’ World Tour. Even those people not familiar with their music will be able to appreciate the marvellous & atmospheric cinematography that depicts Iceland beautifully.

The Fog Of War (2003)

This Oscar-winning documentary focuses on the life and public service of former United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and also provides an insight into the security & international relations of the United States during the Second World War, the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam war, as well as an overview of what lessons McNamara gleaned from these pivotal moments in his life.

The Power Of Nightmares (2004)

This three-part TV documentary series created for the BBC depicts two strains of political thought whose clash resulted into today’s War On Terror: Middle Eastern Islamism and Western Neo-Conservatism. Although the documentary series admits that these two distinct political ideologies are direct polar opposites of each other, the series argues that they depend on each other for their continuing popularity and existence. While not exactly a documentaries in the strictest sense of the word, these three films are noteworthy in how the creator Adam Curtis uses the visual medium to hold the viewer’s attention.

Quants: The Alchemists Of Wall Street (2010)

An exceptionally well-made Dutch documentary showing how mathematical wizardry and the rise of the mathematician became a major factor in the explosive growth of wealth in the financial industry and how this massive growth led to the all-encompassing greed that eventually brought the world economy to the brink of disaster.

Friends of Kim (2006)

An off-beat, humorous and touching independent documentary showing how a group of die-hard anti-capitalists travel to North Korea to support the country’s “Worker’s Paradise” and how they slowly realise that their vision of North Korea as a socialist stronghold was naive and simplistic.

Here Comes The Sun (2008)

An interesting look into the future of solar energy with a particular emphasis on the development of the German renewable energy industry. While the documentary itself can be accused of being slightly over-optimistic regarding the ability of renewable energy to solve humanity’s ever-increasing energy needs, it is quite inspirational in the sense that it is a clear indication of how much easier it has become for countries to overcome political hurdles and to harness this seemingly unlimited source of power.

The Story Of The Weeping Camel (2003)

A German docudrama about a family of Mongolian shepherds in the Gobi desert trying to save the life of a rare white camel calf after it was rejected by its mother. Heartwarming with a happy ending.

Collision (2009)

A documentary film focusing on the ongoing debate between atheist Christopher Hitchens and Presbyterian pastor Douglas Wilson and which provides an overview of several days worth of debates following the release of their book “Is Christianity Good for the World?”. While Hitchens may have seemed an indomitable debating opponent by most, Douglas Wilson is one of the first “believers” who did not shy away from putting up an intellectual fight.

Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail (2009)

A documentary that highlights the sometimes strident and disturbing conservative reactions to Barack Obama’s victory of the 2008 presidential election and which premiered on HBO on President’s Day 2009. I sometimes struggled to understand the doomsday scenarios the Republican supporters conjured up once they realised that their candidate had lost the presidential race. The vitriolic rhetoric only seemed to get worse as the documentary went on.

Our Labor of Love (2010)

Heartwarming documentary focusing on the animals of Out Of Africa wildlife park (Camp Verde, Arizona) and their caretakers. Although this documentary is obviously promotional in its intent, I included it in this list because it does its job so well. Besides, there are few things finer than watching tigers playfully leap into water with wild abandon over and over again.

 

Settlement video documentaries are sophisticated video presentations produced specifically for pre-trial mediation and settlement. The sole purpose of these settlement documentary videos is to convince the opposing parties it is in their best interest to pay maximum compensation now rather than risk a jury trial later.

A well-crafted settlement video incorporates the key factors of a case and visually weaves them into a cohesive television-style documentary presentation. The effect is profound as it not only provides a humanizing portrait of the plaintiff; it individualizes the case and forces the opposing parties to take notice. In addition, the settlement documentary can be an effective tool used to present critical evidence and prove damages, thereby justifying the demand letter and increasing the value of the case. Professionally produced legal video documentaries are powerful forms of communication that have an impact on the viewer like no other medium can.

Day-in-the-Live Videos vs. Settlement Documentaries

Day-in-the-life videos are primarily utilized in personal injury cases to document, without prejudice, the plaintiff’s daily activities and the impact the injury in question has had on their lives. Typically, day-in-the-life videos are presented in trial for jurors to witness the plaintiff’s condition as they go about their day. The content of these videos are subjected to rules of evidence codes (see Day-in-the-Life Admissibility) and are in stark contrast to what settlement documentaries can cover.

Unlike day-in-the-life videos, settlement documentaries include many more aspects of a case and they are not limited by admissibility rules. Therefore, they can broadly and dramatically represent the issues of liability – duty, breach, causation; the extent of harm; loss; economic and non-economic damages. Of course, the degree to which a settlement documentary focuses on these issues is determined on a case-by-case basis. All-in-all, a settlement video can succinctly establish for the viewer, in the simplest terms; the who, what, when, where, how and why – all in about 15-20 compelling minutes.

Every case has a story

What was the plaintiff’s life like before the incident? Who is liable? What are the damages and why should the opposing party pay compensation? These and other questions can be addressed with on-camera interviews of expert witnesses, key family members and deposition testimony of the key players. The interviews may be intertwined with before-and-after photos, demonstrative recreations, police reports, medical imagery, day-in-the-life footage and other visuals. Professional narration is included throughout the video to guide the viewer through the sequence of events. A professional settlement video will deliver the case theme and events as if the matter is being presented as a television documentary such as Dateline or 20/20.

The television-style documentary has the ability to unveil a captivating depth about the plaintiff and the circumstances surrounding the case; much more so than the written word can convey. There is no doubt, presenting the case information in this documentary format makes for a convincing and powerful presentation.

Damages

The most important issue to be addressed in the settlement video is damages. The documentary must clearly demonstrate for the claims administrator and opposing counsel how the plaintiff’s life has been altered, what the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries are, as well as current and future needs.

While presenting damages, it is imperative to highlight the likeability and sympathy as it relates to the plaintiff and their condition. Post-injury portrayals in the form of day-in-the-life videos can be incorporated into the settlement documentary in such a way that the opposing parties are forced to fully realize the pain and suffering the plaintiff is experiencing. Interviews with key family members and life care planners also assist in individualizing the case by associating it with a name and a face; not just a case number with a value assessment. This portrayal of the plaintiff can be the emotional catalyst the case needs to persuade the opposing side to settle. However, when demonstrating the plaintiff’s suffering, the documentary must remain authentic; staying true and accurate to the facts and circumstances.

Gilding the Lily and Other Extremes

Gross or even subtle exaggerations may cause opposing counsel to dismiss the video presentation as deceptive and not take the demand seriously. Overstating or over dramatizing events can reflect poorly on the entire video presentation and cast suspicions about the validity of the case.

On the other side of the pendulum, presentations that lack compassion or understate the emotional impact of the case; may disserve the plaintiff as much as gilding the lily. Broadcast journalists and deposition videographers hawk their wares for producing legal videos, but they often lack the narrative skills and patience of a long-form filmmaker. A newscast-style video presentation may not garner the sympathy or compassion the plaintiff deserves and therefore will not illicit a compulsion to settle the case.

A properly constructed settlement video will balance the factual and emotional facets of the case. The documentary will faithfully portray the extent of the damages without heroics and hold true the emotional expressions of the participants. It will not stage or exaggerate events for the sake of dramatics. Remember, the sole purpose of the settlement documentary is to persuade the opposing parties it is in their best interest to settle the case instead of proceeding to a jury trial. Dabbling in deception may reduce that probability.

Bolster the Case

A cohesive, logical and persuasive settlement video presentation can educate the opposing party of the merits of a case. It also can demonstrate the credibility, preparedness and commitment of plaintiff’s counsel. Settlement videos may be presented as the plaintiff’s opening statement, or it may be submitted to the mediator and opposing counsel several weeks in advance so that they may adequately prepare for settlement. No matter how it is used, settlement documentaries are a highly effective tool. Seeing is believing.

 

Documentary films, as the name implies, are films produced with the intention of being an audio-visual documentation of a concept or event.

A documentary film is intended to be much more like a piece of journalism than a piece of entertainment or expressive art. There is typically a voice-over narrative going on throughout a documentary film with the narrator describing what’s being seen in a businesslike way without any dramatic reading.

Documentary films are often made to more deeply explore a current events or history subject that has remained shrouded in mystery, been controversial, or in the opinion of the film maker misunderstood or underexposed. Documentaries have also been made simply to record an event of personal interest to the film maker.

Biographies, sports and music events, a compilation film of collected footage from government sources, and so on and so forth all may be subjects for a documentary film. Documentary film makers are typically the writers, directors, and producers. Often they may act as cameramen as well.

Documentary films are most often made for TV but in more recent times there have been more of them made as direct-to-video, made-for-video, straight-to-video, or straight-to-DVD formats in which they were never first played on TV or in the theaters but were simply distributed for home-viewing.

Some major motion pictures when released in DVD format also come with bonus DVDs that act as documentary films of the making of the movie. Documentaries also often feature re-enactments of events that could not or were not originally documented on film such as historical events from the year 1776. There have also been “mockumentaries” made, in which a piece of comedy fiction is made but is done up in the same dry and straightforward format of an actual documentary. “This Is Spinal Tap” and “The Gods Must Be Crazy” are two of the most successful mockumentaries ever made.

To put together a quality documentary film, the filmmaker first begins by doing research, even if he knows the subject matter well already. The Main point of a documentary film is to relay facts and information from all angles.

 

What is a documentary film? Well, essentially it is a film that is supposed to document reality. There is a wide variety of documentary films. There are hundreds of historical documentaries, and there have been some very popular political documentaries as of late. Although in my personal opinion you will find many of the late political documentaries have a bias agenda.

For example, Al Gore released an extremely popular documentary called “An Inconvenient Truth” which was about global warming. While many still say that global warming is not absolute truth and that we are merely in a cycle of a small change in the worlds climate, this documentary states it as thought it is a fact rather than a theory. It provides only the evidence that supports the theory. While the documentary is rather interesting, it obviously has a very bias agenda.

Other popular political documentaries are Michael Moore’s films, “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Sicko”. Fahrenheit 9/11 was probably one of the most controversial films of the last decade. It contains outlandish comments about the Bush administration and even referring to the media as “cheerleaders” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Many people supported it, but those that disliked it found it necessary to make a rebuttal documentary of their own entitled “FahrenHYPE 9/11”. The documentary is devoted to try to prove many statements that were made in the Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary as false.

Sicko made its own wave of controversy. It made comments about how poor the American government’s healthcare system really was. I do not believe it made as much of an impact simply because most people are aware that our quality of healthcare is much better than most other countries, it is just the cost that is killing everyone. Michael Moore takes it to another level stating that even some third world countries have better healthcare. I think most everyone knows this is simply untrue. You can simply take a look at the rampant diseases in those areas to determine the truth on the matter.

 

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being submerged by global warming, but they still exist half a century later.

You might have heard about those metered strikes that never happen. Or the fact that some islands in the world can only exist for a decade or so before being submerged by global warming, but they still exist half a century later. While global warming may be a threat, are we getting fake survival warnings to prepare ourselves when there is still time? All major issues concerning individual nations like the 2016 Presidential election in US and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom or those issues that are of concern to the whole world like the issue of global warming and climate change are threatened by fake news which can lead to catastrophic results. While the subject of fake news has gained a wider audience following the 2016 US election, fake news has still had a worrisome impact on us. Fake news is not a recent phenomenon and has existed for a long time but its impact has become more widespread with the spread of the internet and social media. The fake news phenomenon has been aided by the rapid expansion of the digital medium and its capacity to deliver any message across the globe at lightening fast speed. It leads to a situation where such fake news can’t be checked, verified or challenged before it is made available worldwide. Scientists grapple with fake news. Scientists studying climate change are grappling with this phenomenon of fake news which is able to sow the seeds of confusion in the minds of both the general public whose support is necessary to implement changes to save the environment as well as the decision makers who have the responsibility of making decisions which even if painful are necessary to stop further environmental damage. In such a scenario it is necessary that scientists step up their efforts for wider dissemination of correct and factual data so that people become more science literate and can appreciate facts as they are and are not swayed by misinformation campaigns and deliberately leaked fake news. World bodies like the United Nations believes that the 2030 sustainable development goals can be met only if scientific literature and discoveries get a wider audience. The misinformation campaigns and deliberately leaked fake news and controversies have led to a situation where polls both in the US and UK show that even though a large majority of scientists agree to the fact that climate change phenomenon of the modern era is largely fueled by human activities, the general populace is not aware of such unanimity on the issue while many believe that it is still an unsettled issue. Such a large scale denial of climate change and its causes is a direct result of the failure of the scientific community to effectively challenge fake news about the issue. A change of habits is needed. In their quest of wider dissemination of correct and factual data, scientists must change their long ingrained habit of sharing information among the scientific community as their prime objective and instead must develop the habit of sharing their information not only with the scientific community but with the general public also. In their pursuit of disseminating scientific information scientists must use the help of latest technological tools so that they are able to develop effective means of two-way communication with the general public. The new interdisciplinary field of translational ecology can help scientists work towards changing environmental research into public policy. Turning the current scenario into one where society understands and appreciates their point of view and is able to ascertain and understand the facts about climate change is essential if environmental issues are to receive widespread support across the world. One of the ways by which we can support the growth of scientific temper is to know what fake news is and trying to stop it from spreading. What is fake news? Ever since ancient times, rulers have indulged in slanting and planting news to serve their interests. But giving a slant to a news to suit one’s beliefs or ideology cannot be called fake news. Fake news can be described as a completely fabricated story without any basis that has been floated by vested interests to serve their own purpose. We are also to blame! Today with the advent of the internet everyone from an individual to media to government have a share in the spread of fake news even though their motives to do so may vary from increasing political clout, to achieving financial goals or any personal agenda. But how to know whether the news is genuine or fake? In sifting for fake news, look at the origins of the news. If it is carried by a legitimate source of news chances are that it will not be fake but if it has originated from sources you have not heard of or are known to be of dubious nature then you must take such news with a pinch of salt and verify it from a known authentic source before you start believing it. The most obvious solution for checking the spread of fake news is human intervention. Technology by itself cannot sift and segregate fake news. Realizing this dimension Facebook has started such a practice and has enlisted International Fact Checking Network to look into that news that users have flagged as deliberate fakes. Stopping the spread of fake news, you yourself must start to take responsibility of what you share. Do not share anything on the social media without going into the detail of the story or the photograph. Check the source of the story or the photo you wish to circulate and only if they come from some reputable sources should you share them. Also start the practice of pointing any fake news to its sender. Maybe they do not know the true facts and forwarded it thinking it to be true and you could help them stop the spread of such news. Only such collective actions by the scientific community and the general public will help us in tackling environmental issues like climate change. Plan, prepare, protect, get through, hold on, hold out, make it, and keep body, soul and family together. You need a plan to prepare and to protect yourself and your family. Survival is our Strategy!”  
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unemployment, industrial productions, consumer confidence surveys, business sentiment surveys

Experienced traders recognize the effects of global changes on Foreign Exchange (Forex/FX) markets, stock markets and futures markets. Factors such as interest rate decisions, inflation, retail sales, unemployment, industrial productions, consumer confidence surveys, business sentiment surveys, trade balance and manufacturing surveys affect currency movement. While traders could monitor this information manually using traditional news sources, profiting from automated or algorithmic trading utilizing low latency news feeds is an often more predictable and effective trading method that can increase profitability while reducing risk. The faster a trader can receive economic news, analyze the data, make decisions, apply risk management models and execute trades, the more profitable they can become. Automated traders are generally more successful than manual traders because the automation will use a tested rules-based trading strategy that employs money management and risk management techniques. The strategy will process trends, analyze data and execute trades faster than a human with no emotion. In order to take advantage of the low latency news feeds it is essential to have the right low latency news feed provider, have a proper trading strategy and the correct network infrastructure to ensure the fastest possible latency to the news source in order to beat the competition on order entries and fills or execution. How Do Low Latency News Feeds Work? Low latency news feeds provide key economic data to sophisticated market participants for whom speed is a top priority. While the rest of the world receives economic news through aggregated news feeds, bureau services or mass media such as news web sites, radio or television low latency news traders count on lightning fast delivery of key economic releases. These include jobs figures, inflation data, and manufacturing indexes, directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Commerce Department, and the Treasury Press Room in a machine-readable feed that is optimized for algorithmic traders. One method of controlling the release of news is an embargo. After the embargo is lifted for news event, reporters enter the release data into electronic format which is immediately distributed in a proprietary binary format. The data is sent over private networks to several distribution points near various large cities around the world. In order to receive the news data as quickly as possible, it is essential that a trader use a valid low latency news provider that has invested heavily in technology infrastructure. Embargoed data is requested by a source not to be published before a certain date and time or unless certain conditions have been met. The media is given advanced notice in order to prepare for the release. News agencies also have reporters in sealed Government press rooms during a defined lock-up period. Lock-up data periods simply regulate the release of all news data so that every news outlet releases it simultaneously. This can be done in two ways: “Finger push” and “Switch Release” are used to regulate the release. News feeds feature economic and corporate news that influence trading activity worldwide. Economic indicators are used to facilitate trading decisions. The news is fed into an algorithm that parses, consolidates, analyzes and makes trading recommendations based upon the news. The algorithms can filter the news, produce indicators and help traders make split-second decisions to avoid substantial losses. Automated software trading programs enable faster trading decisions. Decisions made in microseconds may equate to a significant edge in the market. News is a good indicator of the volatility of a market and if you trade the news, opportunities will present themselves. Traders tend to overreact when a news report is released, and under-react when there is very little news. Machine readable news provides historical data through archives that enable traders to back test price movements against specific economic indicators. Each country releases important economic news during certain times of the day. Advanced traders analyze and execute trades almost instantaneously when the announcement is made. Instantaneous analysis is made possible through automated trading with low latency news feed. Automated trading can play a part of a trader’s risk management and loss avoidance strategy. With automated trading, historical back tests and algorithms are utilized to select optimal entry and exit points. Traders must know when the data will be released to know when to monitor the market. For instance, important economic data in the United States is released between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM EST. Canada releases information between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Since currencies span the globe, traders may always find a market that is open and ready for trading. A SAMPLE of Major Economic Indicators Consumer Price Index Employment Cost Index Employment Situation Producer Price Index Productivity and Costs Real Earnings U.S. Import and Export Prices Employment & Unemployment Where Do You Put Your Servers? Important Geographic Locations for algorithmic trading Strategies The majority of investors that trade the news seek to have their algorithmic trading platforms hosted as close as possible to news source and the execution venue as possible. General distribution locations for low latency news feed providers include globally: New York, Washington DC, Chicago and London. The ideal locations to place your servers are in well-connected datacenters that allow you to directly connect your network or servers to the actually news feed source and execution venue. There must be a balance of distance and latency between both. You need to be close enough to the news in order to act upon the releases however, close enough to the broker or exchange to get your order in ahead of the masses looking for the best fill. Low Latency News Feed Providers Thomson Reuters uses proprietary, state of the art technology to produce a low latency news feed. The news feed is designed specifically for applications and is machine readable. Streaming XML broadcast is used to produce full text and metadata to ensure that investors never miss an event. Another Thomson Reuters news feed features macro-economic events, natural disasters and violence in the country. An analysis of the news is released. When the category reaches a threshold, the investor’s trading and risk management system is notified to trigger an entry or exit point from the market. Thomson Reuters has a unique edge on global news compared to other providers being one of the most respected business news agencies in the world if not the most respected outside of the United States. They have the advantage of including global Reuters News to their feed in addition to third-party newswires and Economic data for both the United States and Europe. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers report is also another major news event and releases data twice monthly. Thomson Reuters has exclusive media rights to The University of Michigan data. Other low latency news providers include: Need to Know News, Dow Jones News and Rapidata which we will discuss further when they make information regarding their services more available. Examples of News Affecting the Markets A news feed may indicate a change in the unemployment rate. For the sake of the scenario, unemployment rates will show a positive change. Historical analysis may show that the change is not due to seasonal effects. News feeds show that buyer confidence is increasing due the decrease in unemployment rates. Reports provide a strong indication that the unemployment rate will remain low. With this information, analysis may indicate that traders should short the USD. The algorithm may determine that the USD/JPY pair would yield the most profits. An automatic trade would be executed when the target is reached, and the trade will be on auto-pilot until completion. The dollar could continue to fall despite reports of unemployment improvement provided from the news feed. Investors must keep in mind that multiple factors affect the movement of the United States Dollar. The unemployment rate may drop, but the overall economy may not improve. If larger investors do not change their perception of the dollar, then the dollar may continue to fall. The big players will typically make their decisions prior to most of the retail or smaller traders. Big player decisions may affect the market in an unexpected way. If the decision is made on only information from the unemployment, the assumption will be incorrect. Non-directional bias assumes that any major news about a country will create a trading opportunity. Directional-bias trading accounts for all possible economic indicators including responses from major market players. Trading The News – The Bottom Line News moves the markets and if you trade the news, you can capitalize. There are very few of us that can argue against that fact. There is no doubt that the trader receiving news data ahead of the curve has the edge on getting a solid short-term trade on momentum trade in various markets whether FX, Equities or Futures. The cost of low latency infrastructure has dropped over the past few years making it possible to subscribe to a low latency news feed and receive the data from the source giving a tremendous edge over traders watching television, the Internet, radio or standard news feeds. In a market driven by large banks and hedge funds, low latency news feeds certainly give the big company edge to even individual traders. News programmes have suddenly become hot property and are vying for attention with other popular programmes telecast in different channels. All major television broadcasters are including at least one news channel to their bouquet. The biggest headache for launching a satellite channel is programme software for round the clock. In this juncture, newsgathering is a major task for the 24-hour news channels. To cater this task, the emerging electronic channels have always made an attempt to cover all the incidents irrespective of position, location and time. These channels not only revolutionized the concept of news on Indian television but also changed the news formats. Before 1990s, Doordarshan had monopolized newscast on Indian television and also turned the news programs into a dowdy exercise. Now the private channels made the news an essential commodity like food, cloth and shelter. The strong point of all today’s news bulletins is their topicality, objectivity, glossy editing and high-quality visuals. News has traveled a long way from the DD era. From Local events to International events, breaking news to news analysis, television soap to page3 news, every happening comes under purview of news. In this article, we have covered some significant changes in news broadcasting in India before and after the Gulf War. Indian Television – Flash Back Television in India is undergoing significant changes in the current liberalized environment. To understand these changes, one needs to have some brief idea of the road covered by the television channels so far. The journey started as an experimental basis with a financial grant from UNESCO in 15th September 1959. The makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi was chosen for location of the experiment. The experiment started with one-hour program, broadcast twice a week, on community health, citizen rights, education and traffic sense etc. As far as news is concerned, it was launched exactly six years after the inception of television broadcasting. Daily one-hour program with a news bulletin was served to the Indian viewers. But one major drawback of television was that you could not enjoy the original colour of the objects because of black and white transmission. First multi-color programme was the Prime Minister’s address to the nation from Red Fort in Delhi on India’s 35th Independence Day. In the same day, DD National channel was launched. The aim of launching the National channel is nurturing national integration, and inculcating a sense of pride in Indians. Indian viewers also enjoyed the colored version of the Asian Games hosted by New Delhi in their drawing room. The coverage of major events and different occasions lend a big hand behind the infiltration of television signals to the nook and corners of the subcontinent. Indian Government had taken all possible steps to expand the television broadcasting demographically and geographically. In 1983 television signals were available to just 28% of the population, this had doubled by the end of 1985 and by 1990 over 90% of the population had access to television signals. In 1984, DD Metro channel was added to provide an exclusive entertainment for the urban viewers. In the beginning, this channel was confined to metropolitan cities. As a public broadcaster, Doordarshan presented the news in naturalized manner. All controversial issues were pushed under the carpet. The ruling government had a strong hold on the television broadcasting. Doordarshan news bulletins were unable to provide the international news to the national viewers. Objectivity had been the first casualty as news was invariably slanted to suit the party in power. The news was liberated from the confines of the DD newsroom and gained in objectivity and credibility when New Delhi Television (NDTV) produced ‘The World This Week’ in 1988. Everyone was waiting for the Friday night to watch ‘The World This Week’. This was the only India-based programme, which looked out at the rest of the world. The World This Week was the best current affairs programme on the international scenario and carried good stuff of news, which the regular DD news was failed to carry out. This program is ranked as one of the country’s finest and most popular television shows. In 1989, NDTV produces India’s first live televised coverage of the country’s general elections. The critical and commercial success of the coverage sets a new standard for Indian television. After the Gulf War the media panorama has changed forever. Golf War – The Catalyst Post-1990 satellite television in India has become transnational in nature. It coincided with the entry of multinational companies in the Indian markets under the Government policy of privatization. International satellite television was introduced in India by CNN through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. In August 1991, Richard Li launched Star Plus, the first satellite channel beamed the signal to Indian subcontinent. Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV appeared in October 1992. It is India’s first privately owned Hindi channel to cater the interest of Indian viewers. This ignition followed by Sony and a little later by domestic channels such as Eenadu, Asianet and Sun TV. Entertainment programs had begun to occupy center stage in the organization’s programming strategies and advertising had come to be main source of funding. Doordarshan’s earlier mandate to aid in the process of social and economic development had clearly been diluted. Doordarshan had faced a stiff competition in news and public affairs programming with international channels like BBC and CNN. Doordarshan planned to sell some slots for news programme under sponsored category. In February 1995, NDTV becomes the country’s first private producer of the national news ‘News Tonight’, which aired on the country’s government-owned Doordarshan set a new landmark for Indian television because of its on-the-spot reporting with pertinent visuals. In the same year, TV Today Network occupied a 20 minutes slot in DD Metro channel and aired a Hindi and current affairs programme ‘Aaj Tak’. This programme became popular for its comprehensive coverage and unique style presentation by Late S. P. Singh. Still we remembered the sign-up message “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak, Intizar. Kijiye Kal Tak”. Large number of viewers across India had been watching Aaj Tak as a daily habit because of its innovative style of news presentation. Besides that Nalini Singh’s five-minute fast paced, condensed daily news capsule Ankhon Dekhi, TV Today Network’s Business Aaj Tak and Newstrack was aired on the Metro channel of Doordarshan. This is the period when satellite channels concentrated on entertainment programmes for their respective channels. Doordarshan was still ruled the most wanted area ‘news’. Major Players Doordarshan’s monopoly was broken in 1992, when private television channels infiltrated into the Indian boundaries and entertain the viewers as much as possible. In the beginning of 1990s, the private channels offered only entertainment programmes. The entertainment programs include family drama, comedy serials, children programmes, cartoons, movies, talk shows, recipe shows, musical concerts, non-fiction programmes etc. Private entertainment channels added some infortainment programmes to their Fixed Point Charts (FPC). Keeping the demand of infotainment programmes in mind, the media houses started to produce news magazines, entertainment magazines and news programmes for different channels. India’s premier business and consumer news broadcaster and a leading media content provider, Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18) started India’s first ever entertainment magazine ‘The India Show’ on Star Plus in 1993. This emerging media powerhouse provided prime time television content to almost all leading satellite channels in India including BBC, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee, MTV and Discovery. After The India Show, TV18 produced a weekly business news program India Business Report for BBC World. Indian viewers had very limited options (like public service broadcaster Doordarshan, BBC and CNN) for watching the television news. For televised news, the viewers had to watch Dordarshan and some international news channels like BBC or CNN. In this race to provide more news, more information, Zee Television jumped into the battlefield by launching the news channel Zee News in 1995. This News and current affairs channel revolutionized the way news was delivered to the viewers. Since its inception Zee News has endeavoured to be the fastest to provide news, working towards a single goal of Sabse Pahle (Always First). The other round-the-clock news channel, the Murdoch-owned Star TV beamed its exclusively 24-hour news channels, Star News in 1998. Star made a contract of five year with Prannoy Roy-owned NDTV (New Delhi Television Company) to provide news content for this news channel. The untiring exhaustive coverage of the Kargil war between India and Pakistan gained more publicity and attracted more viewers towards the electronic channel. This televised conflict also sets a news benchmark for wartime journalism. During the Kargil war, common citizens witnessed how their brave Jawans fought despite in hostile conditions and watched the war front live by the exclusively news channels, Star-TV and Zee-News. The live coverage of the battlefield helped to create a euphoria of patriotism among the Indian masses, which later facilitated into collecting huge funds for the welfare of the families of Kargil martyrs. Every news programme draws the attention of large number of viewers but Kargil war attracts private broadcasters to invest more money in the broadcasting business by launching a news channel. In November 1999, TV18 entered into a 49:51 joint venture with CNBC Asia to launch CNBC India. TV18 is the sole program provider to CNBC India, and produces 12 hours of local content per day on this 24-hour satellite channel. After the huge success of news programme ‘Aaj Tak’, TV Today group launched a 24-hour Hindi news channel with the same name ‘Aaj Tak’, in December 2000, which covers India with insight, courage and plenty of local flavour. Within 11 months of its launch, Aaj Tak emerged as India’s number one news channel and was awarded Best News Channel award from Indian Television Academy Awards. Some mega events apart from regular interesting items (such as Kandhahar hijack, September 11 attacks, Afghanistan war, attack on Parliament, Iraq war, Godhra carnage and riots) have driven up the viewership. As time passed, NDTV’s five years contract with Star group for outsourcing of news and related programming expired on March 2003. With the expiry NDTV forayed into broadcasting business by simultaneously launching two 24-hour news channels; NDTV 24X7 – English news channel and NDTV India – Hindi news channel, which targets the Indian diaspora across the world. News crazy Indians received more news at faster speed from different channels. Any unusual happening can be caught by the television camera anywhere form Rastrapati Bhawan to bedroom. The power of TV journalism was become more visible by the major sting operations like Operation West End and Shakti Kapoor Case. This style of investigative journalism has brought about a change in the way we look at news, amidst new notions of editorial freedom. The world’s largest family ‘Sahara India Parivar’ launched a 24-hour national Hindi news channel, Sahara Samay, in March 28, 2003. It is the first ever city-centric satellite news channels covering 31 cities in India with their own city news bulletins. Keeping the demand of news in mind, the Union cabinet approved the proposal to convert the DD Metro to DD news in a meeting held on 3 October 2003. Consequent to these decisions, DD-News channel was launched on 3 November 2003. You might have noticed that the news channels are language specific. But DD’s news channel contains the round the clock news bulletins in Hindi/ English are also telecast twice a day on the National Network of DD National. ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ fame Rajat Sharma, Sohaib Ilyasi, the man behind the highly successful ‘India’s Most Wanted’ and Taun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka roped together and launched a free-to-air Hindi news and current affairs channel India TV on May 20, 2004. Indian viewers had more expectations from this channel. The much-awaited news channel hopes to set itself apart from the existing ones by setting new benchmarks of responsible journalism. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Rajat Sharma, chairman, India TV, said, “We aim to change the way broadcast news reporting is being conducted in the country. India TV will set new benchmarks by maintaining international standards of responsible and credible news reporting. We will stay away from graphic depictions of violence and sensationalism of news. We will uphold the viewer’s right to correct information and their right to truth and verity. India TV is not just a news channel, it is a movement.” NDTV as a pioneer in Indian television news, set to create a fresh revolution in high-quality business news with the launch of NDTV Profit. NDTV launched this 24-hour business channel on January 17th, 2005. There is no saturation point in launching of news channel, just booming like sky as the limit. Entertainment channel to infotainment channel, infotainment channel to news channel, news channels to business channel and Business channel to lots more. Now the satellite channels become more topicality with international standard. When we are talking about topicality, CNBC TV18, the only business channel, continues to be the medium of choice for India’s decision makers, affluent audiences across the country since 1999. It has set the pace for the growth in number of television channels by launching a 24-hour consumer channel in Hindi called ‘ Awaaz’. This news channel focusses on empowering consumers on decision-making related to investment, saving and spending. All the programmes are catering to consumers across different walks of life, which included personal finance; variety of markets including commodity, stocks, savings etc.; small businesses; education & career guidance; and verticals like health, shopping etc. Another news channel was finally launched into the already cluttered news space in Indian television. Jagran TV Pvt Limited’s news channel, Channel 7 up-linked to the air on 27 March 2005. The channel has been set up to cater to the vast Hindi-speaking audiences, already being targeted by a slew of news channels. Channel 7 developed every programme with a bid to cater to all types of audiences and not just pre-dominantly male audiences who get attracted towards news channels. Regional Leaders To cater the interest among the Indians, Doordarshan televises programmes in Hindi and associate Official languages. It has launched a number of Regional Language Satellite Channels (DD – 4 to DD – 11 and DD – 13) and telecast programmes in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Kashmiri, Oriya and Tamil. The Regional channels relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programmes in the Regional Language in prime time and non-prime time available only through cable operators. The Doordarshan regional satellite channels telecast major news programme with some entertainment programmes. If you think about the private regional channels, they have followed the path of the Big brother (i.e Doordarshan). They are neither completely entertainment channel nor exclusively news channel. They are following the middle path and claiming themselves an infotainment channels. The private channels televise through the state dominant languages. Rising advertising revenues and increasing numbers of viewers have provided the impetus for many big players to enter into the business. Some regional media leaders like ETV, Sun TV, Asianet have a strong grip over the regional market. Some major players tried their luck in different states. Zee television has three regional channels; Zee Marathi, Zee Punjabi and Zee Bangla. Star Network entered into Tamilnadu by launching Star Vijay, one of the most popular entertainment channels in India broadcasting in Tamil. Besides that ETV Network is a part of the well-established Ramoji Group, has created 12 dedicated infotainment regional channels. ETV network is the source of rich entertainment of eight different languages. Those are: Telugu, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada, Oriya, Gujarati, Urdu; and Hindi to viewers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Every ETV Network channel focuses exclusively on its audience’s unique cultural identity, its aspirations and its distinct socio-political character. Let us think about the south Indian language Telugu, there are around twelve satellite channels are roaming around the sky with different taste and different flavour. These channels include three news channels, one song-based channels and rest are infotainment channels. When we confine ourselves into news, three channels (ETV2, TV 9 and Teja News) exclusively devoted to news programmes. Sahara India Pariwar is proud to have five news channels as the bouquet of Sahara Samay. These channels are: Sahara Samay NCR, Sahara Samay Mumbai, Sahara Samay Bihar & Jharkhand, Sahara Samay Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, and Sahara Samay Uttar Pradesh & Uttranchal. Sahara Samay has already managed to gain a loyal audience in India through a bouquet of National & Regional News Channels since its launch. These channels are youthful and vibrant channels targeting students and women, besides that hardcore news stuff. The regional news channels covers the entire spectrum of genre with specific programs on lifestyle, fashion, food, shopping, health and fitness, sports, education, career and city issues, besides giving user-friendly information on traffic updates, city events, train and air timings, etc. Now national news channels cannot confine its boundary to national level. They cannot ignore the regional news because of the stiff competition form the regional cannels. Regional news channels are entering into the competition with a strong will power and also with an aim to portrait regional issues in national and international level. Conclusion Now the television industry becomes more specific. In this competitive market, channels are targeting specific viewers. News channels attract more viewers beyond their target by producing interactive and interesting programmes. Every channel needs to do an extensive research on different concepts and different themes to attract more viewers and in the same time more advertisers. After all, advertisements are the bread and butter for the channels. With increased consumer preference for news programmes, television news channels have grown faster than other niche channels. News channels are booming just like sky as the limit. Those days are not far away, when we will get satellite news channel for every major city in India. Staying in abroad, we can update ourselves about all the happening of our hometown. Now news is not restricted to political happenings. It will be extended its limit to every unwanted and hided corners of the society. At last we can reach in the conclusion that anything, which is strange or disgusting, is news. There are no rigid rules, which defines news.  
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This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies? This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary. The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-
  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates
What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies? Negotiated Fares The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required. In-depth information about the travel industry Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable. Changes in Itinerary When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges. Viable emergency contacts It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company. What you need to consider as corporate travel increases? Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling. Adopting a travel policy The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package. Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation. Traveler’s security should be a major concern Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.). Mobility and automation To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go. Corporate Travel Trends in 2016 Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus. Rising prices The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services. Duty of care Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed. Focusing on MICE Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it. Investing in technology A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing. Business travel analysis after Brexit Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level. Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers. As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years. Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line. Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively. Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies. Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.” If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.” As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ. The Great Leveler Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent. The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers. “When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp. Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.” The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction. No More Tickets Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing. In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction. Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government. The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget. “Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.” With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program. Out There Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts. A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges. For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually. Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly. The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen. As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts. Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier. What’s the Price? Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.” Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.” Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.” As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference. US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years. Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line. Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively. Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies. Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.” If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.” As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ. The Great Leveler Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent. The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers. “When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp. Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.” The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction. No More Tickets Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing. In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction. Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government. The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget. “Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.” With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program. Out There Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts. A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges. For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually. Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly. The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen. As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts. Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier. What’s the Price? Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.” Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”  
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In the early 1990s, websites

Evolution of Web Design In the early 1990s, websites were text-based. The use of images and graphics were not yet main stream at the time. The first web design was made of a single column and text-based pages in Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). Website pages were a collection of text documents connected to each other by internal links. Through research and development, significant advancements were made. The first website was published in 1991 by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He is also the current director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) founded in 1994, which oversees the web development and its standards. In the mid 1990s, table-based websites were introduced. Now web designers were able to organize their web pages within cells of a table. It became possible to create multiple column websites, which in return allowed better web content organization and navigation layout. Table-based websites also enabled customization of each element within the table. Web designers could now insert background images within cells of a table; however, good design principles were not really important. Website designers and clients were interested by the hottest, latest and most advanced web design technology available. As things started to evolve, frames, animated texts and visual hit counters became part of web design. Frames were used to clearly separate the body of a website from the sidebar navigation. Animated texts and GIF images were used to capture the website user’s attention, while visual hit counters became a good way to measure the popularity of a webpage. In 1994, Macromedia introduced Flash, which is essentially a software used to produce Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to create animations and stream videos. In the late 1990s, Flash became more popular. Most websites became a combination of table-based design and flash elements, with flash animations including the company’s logo, a flash-based navigation and flash-based image galleries. The major Web Design innovation of the late 1990s was the introduction of Personal Home Page (PHP) which according to Wikipedia, is a server-side scripting language designed for web development. PHP gained a lot of popularity because it is free and compatible with leading operating systems and web servers which make it deployment easy across different platforms. The 21st century brought a lot of innovation to web design with the introduction of CSS. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to format an HTML webpage. Now web designers could separate the content of a page (HTML) from its styling or design (layout, colors, fonts, etc.). In the early 2000s, Microsoft Internet Explorer became the first web browser to fully support the CSS structure. In stride, the concept of intelligent web was introduced with the advent of JavaScript. Now designers could animate content without flash and perform a complex computation of data. The use of drop-down menus and forms also became very popular. These forms allowed internet users to generate content online, create personal profiles and upload pictures. In the mid 2000s, the semantic web was born. This movement primary allows machines and computers to understand website pages as well as human do. This was made possible by inserting computer readable Meta tags about pages and their relation to one another through technologies such as XML, TURTLE and N-TRIPLES. One of the first tasks, when you want to put together a great website for your business is to find a good web designer. Thanks to the internet, we now have the ability to communicate easily and work with people from all over the world. It’s tempting to outsource work to freelancers and companies who advertise their services on the internet because it’s often cheaper than hiring a local professional or company. If you take that route to find your web designer, you’re likely to regret that decision sooner or later. Here are seven reasons why a local web designer is your best option. 1: You Don’t Want Communication Problems And Timezone Issues There are some things that are still best done face-to-face. It makes a big difference when you can sit with your web designer and explain your requirements. It also makes it easier to review the work at various stages and make corrections, something which you’re unlikely to do if you have a remote web designer. You can use video chat or teleconferencing to do periodic reviews, but these methods have their own limitations. If your web designer is in another timezone, you have bigger communication hurdles. You will find that it takes longer to get replies to your emails and there will be other inevitable delays. These can be quite frustrating when you want to communicate new requirements or changes. With a local web designer, you will also avoid possible language barriers or cultural differences. 2: A Web Designer Who Understands Your Business Has An Advantage Local people will be able to come to your office and see how your business works. They will be able to better understand the objectives of your web presence and will be able to use that knowledge to your advantage when they actually do the work. They will also be able to give you new ideas and suggest improvements, rather than just creating a design that fits your specifications. 3: Local Knowledge Is A Great Asset For A Local Business If your business caters only to your locality, city or state, local designers will be able to understand the local aspects of your business and its target market better. For example, people familiar with your area and community will be able to understand better when you’re targeting a sub market that is specific to your area. This sub market could be, say, people in a specific income bracket or living in a certain locality. 4: Local Website Designers Have Their Local Reputations At Stake When the customer is in the same area, designers have more to lose if they provide poor service. Designers are conscious of the need to maintain a good reputation in the market, be it online or offline. In fact, word-of-mouth reputation is usually more important when they have to deal with other local businesses. You can also ask your designer for local references with whom you can actually cross check the quality of service. 5: You Can Expect Better Technical Support And Training Everyone needs technical support. Sometimes technical problems may be caused due to design issues. You may also need training for using your content management system or your web hosting control panel. You’re likely to get better support and interactive training if you hire local designers. 6: Local Web Design Companies Or Professionals Are Less Likely To Disappear The worst part of outsourcing is that it’s difficult to ensure continuity. This is especially true when you’re dealing with individuals and small companies. You may find that your web designer or company is no longer available when you want some changes or more work done, say, one year down the line. When you’re dealing with well-established local companies, you’re less likely to face such a problem. 7: Commitment Is Harder To Gauge When You Work With A Non-local Designer Local companies and web designers are more likely to be committed to help you achieve what you want to achieve with your website. Two reasons which we discussed before are in part responsible for this. One is the better understanding they have about your goals and requirements. The other is the need of the designers to maintain their local reputation. Although it may seem easy to hire a web designer from a far-off location, it can prove more difficult and costly in the long run. Web designing is an ongoing process even though the bulk of the work is done in the initial months. 1. Crawl the web Your search for the perfect web designer starts with familiarizing yourself with the excess of beautifully designed and well maintained websites that are out there in the World Wide Web. Create a list of the features you liked across all the websites you have visited and arrive at a final wish-list of 8-10 features you would like your website to have. It could be aesthetics, page-load speed, ease of navigation, stickiness (addictiveness), relevance of content, level of engagement, or any number of other features. You should also visit potential designers’ websites. A well-designed and informative website of the web designer projects professionalism. It indicates business confidence and application of expertise. Now you should have 2 lists, one for web designers and one for your desired features. 2. Talk purpose and branding The first thing you should do with each of your short-listed designers is to broach the topic of branding and the role of your website in creating the online brand presence you had envisioned. Your website is the face of your brand on the internet! The design of your website must coincide with your overall brand image and sales goals. Website design differs depending on its purpose. If you are a building consultant, you may only want to list information about you, your services and a contact form for service. If you are a home builder, you most likely will need a gallery to showcase your display homes and jobs completed. If you are a building supplier, then you may need a shopping cart feature. Evaluating the purpose of your website will help determine the features you must have and those you can live without ensuring the best return on investment (ROI). 3. Talk Search Engine Optimization (SEO) You should seek out web designers who are familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Of course, it helps if the web designer is an SEO expert themselves. You should always keep in mind that you are building a site to sell a product or a service. There is no point of having the most fascinating site when it doesn’t serve its purpose. Think of SEO as this example: ‘When you first publish a website, it is similar to putting up your sign beside a busy highway. When you first put up the sign it is only 1meter square, and in a field 1000 meters from the highway. It is there, but hardly anyone reads it. As you develop your site, the sign moves closer to the highway and gets bigger. To increase the sign’s size and decrease the distance from the highway you must get your site listed in the major search engines’ Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to all the things you can do to improve your website’s visibility in the search engines’ rankings. Search engine optimization techniques focus on increasing the ‘organic’, or natural, traffic that you receive based on your ranking within the search engines. 4. Find out who does the content writing This is where most website owners go wrong. Website content is generally thought of as commoditized pieces of text that are needed to fill web pages. Your content is what engages the visitor and is uniquely positioned to convert prospects to customers. Some web designers have access to professional content writers to write an optimized content talking directly to your customers. Alternatively, you can provide the content to your web designer 5. Read the inclusions and know what you are getting for your money Like many builders who have a list of inclusions for each home design, most web designers have 3 or 5 packages with a list of inclusions. It’s very important to know exactly what you are getting for your money. Watch out for designers who ONLY charge by the ‘page or by a certain page length.’ Or even worse have a very cheap package with a high monthly maintenance fee. This could end up costing you much more money. 6. Find out details of ownership and hosting Enquire about the ownership of the web site and the domain name. Make sure you are given full ownership of the website and access details so you have control of your website for future updates should you choose to do so without having to pay the original designer. This will ensure you can still use your website domain name in the future, even if you decide to deal with another web designer. Many web designers and development firms also provide website hosting services. This is not only convenient for you in terms of any website’s updates and speed of portability, but can also work in your favor commercially. Ask your vendor for a competitive quote for a bundled service that includes website design, development and hosting. 7. Ask for wireframes Before you jump headlong into awarding the contract to your web designer of choice, ask for wireframes. These are schematics of how your web pages will look like and the functionality embedded. It is the norm for designers to provide wireframes for the home page and another page, or to show you a sample version of the sequence of actions from one page to another. This will reveal the thought process of the designer as they go about conceptualizing the design for your website.  
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different social platforms.

Everywhere you look people are online looking at their phones and interacting with different social platforms.

If you haven’t noticed we are surrounded by influencer marketing on all four sides.

We inhale and exhale influencer marketing constantly every day and still many of us are not fully aware of what it really is.

While the world is modernizing and the people’s voice growing, we have broken through into a new era of digital marketing, a more natural type of marketing done through influencers.

Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be third parties.

It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

“Marketing with influencers is turning influencers into advocates of the firm.”

Before we go into any details about this type of marketing, one should clearly know what it is.

What is influencer marketing?
This kind of marketing focuses on an individual, rather than large groups of consumers to advertising the brand’s message.

The individual here is referred as the ‘influencer’ who is hired to get out the word for your brand.

In this game of influencer marketing, these influencers may be the potential buyers themselves.

They usually play the roles of content writers, journalists, bloggers, CEO’s, creative people, advertisers or advisers.

They are connected to other people around them and are looked to for advice and opinions and are regarded as influential.

Content marketing and social media marketing are regarded as the two major forms of influencer marketing.

How does influence marketing work?
Nowadays, users give more reaction to ratings on social media or opinions of a person rather than believing in advertisements.

This is made the basis of influencer marketing where an influencer will write about the products in their personal and social channels.

People tend to believe what the influencers have to say about something, over the media.

Many marketing companies don’t even have influence marketing on their radar as it such a unique method of the product. In many cases, it’s out of their control as more of an individual voice takes hold rather than the standard static corporate ad.

Digital ads are not given the same interactive and emotional response by the consumer.

The feedback and ratings on social media about a particular brand or product also adds greatly to the product or brand being showcased and is the new product placement platform.

Why is influencer marketing now bigger than digital advertising? & How did that happen?

Trust and honesty is a very important factor in marketing.

We all know which media we trust and distrust and in most cases just simply by the subject header.

Traditional media is scrambled with misinformation and the general consumer would rather interact with their products or services of interest on a social level.

Consumers do not buy goods or services unless they are completely assured that the product or service is perfect for their needs in every way.

It is believed that if you influence the mind, you have the world in your hands and that’s what influencers are doing.

Influencers have built up relations in order to gain trust to become, influencers. Much commitment and nurturing have gone into building those connections.

When it comes to building up relations and creating a positive message around a specific brand that is where influencer marketing has a higher standard compared to digital advertisements.

Let’s throw light upon, Influencer marketing as ‘THE NEXT BIG THING.’

 

  • As seen on: “Social Media”.

 

As the world has shifted to social media, consumers look upon at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions.

Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, they now look at each other and at their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms.

The rise of the social media influencer has created a world of possibilities;

 

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5 Ways to Make Blog Commenting Worth Your While

More and more people are creating their own blogs but not many are aware of how to maximize them. One effective method on how to increase exposure to your blog is to visit other blogs and leave your imprint on them. How do you do this? By blog commenting, leaving a well thought of comment in the blogs that you visit. Blog commenting though is also an art. You do not just leave “any” comment, like “Great post!” “Good thoughts.” Bloggers consider generic comments as spam. So, how should you comment? Here are some tips on blog commenting that you should learn: 1. Read the post carefully, before you comment. Your comment will reflect whether you read every word of the post. Sometimes the content of the written post is the opposite of the title. Never comment just by reading the title. You are a spammer if your comment is not in any way related to the article. 2. Take the trouble to know whose blog you are commenting. When you address bloggers by their names, they will surely remember you, and would allow your comments to come in. This is true with moderated blogs and blogs are most of the time moderated. 3. Remember that the blogger is not asking for a critique. If a blogger wanted his work critiqued, then he would have posted it in another venue, i.e. the writing critics circle. A blogger’s usual purpose is only to express himself, so he does not need a grammar police to lecture him on the proper usage of “their” and “there.” Concentrate on the topic presented. Comment not to criticize but to emphasize or delineate. 4. Comment to add more information. Make your commenting a significant process. Do not just say something, “to say something.” Your comment should have substance. What is the topic all about? Can you contribute additional information? If you can, do not do it condescendingly. 5. Leave a well thought of comment. The blogger will surely click on your link to know more about the commenter/commentator who wrote a well thought of comment. Your comment must be about the topic at hand and be substantial. What is the author focusing on? Did the message go through? If it did, do not forget to say so. Do you disagree with the author? If you do, then acknowledge first his opinion, and then explain why you do not agree. If you cannot do this properly and civilly, then do not leave any comment. Move on to a blog/topic that you can do so. Blog commenting is one sure way to advertise your blog. A long, well thought of comment will surely entice the author to get to know you more. Leave those good comments and gain more readers in the process.  
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How to Choose the Best Swimming Pool Cover to Fit Your Needs

A swimming pool is obviously a significant investment. Many consumers might be enticed by price when adding the required accessories. Choosing pool covers based on price will cost you more in the long run and diminish your enjoyment of your pool.

Swimming Pool covers come in a wide range of quality and material to match the needs of each pool owner. Pool covers come in solid fabrics of various strengths and durability. Pool covers of a solid material will block sunlight to help diminish the development of algae and minimize debris from getting into the pool.

There are many types of pool covers to consider.

Covers for winter: The value of a winter pool cover comes from the quality of each of its components and the construction process used to make it. A US made winter pool cover will last many years. The best winter pool covers are made in the United States. The following points will guide you to the best decision (hint: none of them are price).

1.The manufacturing process used by U.S. manufacturers produces fabric strands that are superior in strength and straightness due to a hot air process compared to Import manufacturers that use a water loom process. So basically, the cheaper import is comprised of a weaker, kinked strand that requires more outer reinforcement to seal it. This distinction allows U.S. producers to make more durable, more uniform pool cover fabrics that are lightweight yet stronger than the competitive imports. Ultimately, the domestic product is less likely to delaminate and separate away from the fabric.

2. Denier: The most important consideration is called the “Denier”, which refers to the breaking strength of each strand used in the weave fabric. The denier associated with domestic winter covers is nearly twice that of the imports, making them almost impossible to rip. They hold up to harsh winter conditions far better as a result. The ability to stop rips lends itself to cover durability, longevity and serviceability.

3. The third factor is the “Scrim “, the number of strands woven together horizontally and vertically, per square inch. Intuitively, the more strands, the stronger the cover, depending of course on the denier. The consumer should understand that Scrim by itself is not indicative of quality. Stores that only sell the cheap imported pool covers will not indicate the denier, do not highlight the origin of manufacture and unsuspecting consumer is none the wiser. Ultimately, many pool owners will have to replace their imported, cheap pool covers within a couple years because of these quality differences. Like many things of quality, the overall cost of ownership associated with quality products is less even if the initial price tag is more expensive.

MESH POOL COVERS: Mesh pool covers block most of the light, yet allow water to penetrate the cover. This advantage means you do not need to pump the water accumulation off the pool cover, leaves and debris will just blow away or easily removed. This allows faster pool opening in the Spring. By avoiding the requirement to refill the pool, you save water and lots of time. Mesh and solid pool covers are available in round or oval shapes to fit most pool shapes and sizes.

AUTOMATIC POOL COVERS: An Automatic pool cover uses an electric motor to open and close the cover. The cover rides on a track system that is built into the top of the in-ground pool wall or deck. An automatic pool cover serves as the pool solar cover, winter cover and a safety cover that lasts for years.

SOLAR POOL COVERS: Solar pool covers deliver solar energy to the water increasing the water temperature and reducing heat loss. Pool solar covers capture heat from sunlight inside thousands of tiny sealed air bubbles and transfer that energy to the pool water. The darker the pool cover color, the more heat they attract and the faster the transfer. Solar covers can add weeks of swimming fun by raising the water termperature 15 degrees over normal. Solar pool covers can pay for themselves in terms of energy conservation and help to prevent heat loss and pool water evaporation. They can reduce your pool heating costs by hundreds of dollars. They come in most standard sizes and can be trimmed to fit the pool as needed or ordered to fit. Although pool solar covers are lightweight and float on the pool surface, they still can be difficult to manage. Have a reel will make it easy to put the solar cover on and take it off. Using a solar cover without a reel is not recommended because the blankets are difficult to handle and usually require a couple people. Even without the reel though, the benefits from the solar heating blanket make it well worth the small investment.

POOL SAFETY COVERS: As implied by the name, they help protect your pool for accidental drowning and intrusion. Pool safety covers come in a Solid or Mesh fabric. There are advantages to each. Solid fabric will better block all the algae causing sunlight. The more popular mesh fabric will block most of the light yet allows rain, melting ice and snow to pass through and the leaves and debris just blow away. The covers are anchored into the pool deck to lock the cover down, so throughout the winter or during vacation your pool can be protected against intrusion or accidents. They are extremely strong and can support several hundred pounds, so they give peace of mind.

 

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INFLUENCERS or ADVOCATES, Where Should You Invest?

There is so much talk today about “INFLUENCERS” and how companies need to build up an army of these people to help promote their brand. Is it real or the right thing to do? Should you invest money into this strategy and marketing tactic? Allow me to offer maybe a different perspective for you to consider before you dive into this approach.

I think it is important to clear up something that is often confused… the difference between an INFLUENCER and an ADVOCATE. Sometimes these words get used interchangeably and to me they are very different people.

An INFLUENCER is someone that helps persuade or influence someone else’s opinion about a company’s product, service, or experience. They may or may not have used the product or service or even had an experience with the company first hand but based on their position in the market their opinion matters more than others. Often times they can also compensated in some way for their opinions and influence over potential customers.

For example, let’s say someone is knowledgeable about a particular product or service based on their research in a particular area. They might write about this item and say that based on their research it appears to be a great product and something they would recommend to others. Because they are respected in their industry, they are viewed as someone who can speak with authority.

There are other examples of influencers as well… such as employees who work for your company. They can say how great it is to work there and how wonderful the people are and what great visionaries the leaders appear to be and so forth. They are “influencing” the audience because they have “insider” information about how things operate. There are other similar examples but they all have the same intent… to influence you in some way so the company stands out from the crowd and you will hopefully purchase their product or service.

An ADVOCATE is quite different. An Advocate is someone who has some personal experience with you, your employees, or your company in some way. They have usually used your product or service and have had an experience with your people or your company. While this isn’t a requirement, it is more often the case.

An ADVOCATE is someone who proactively tells someone else about you, your product or service, your company, and their experience… and they tell them with passion. They usually will emphatically recommend they work with our purchase from your company. They are people who speak with conviction about you, your employees, and your company. They tend to be quite absolute… meaning they simply tell others to work/buy from you without question.

They don’t have to have been a customer to be an Advocate for you. For example, I know of some professionals (attorneys, accountants, real estate, etc.) who I have never worked with because I haven’t had the need. But because I know them personally, have heard from others who have worked with them, and understand the experience they provide, I would emphatically tell others they are the ones to go see if they ever need these services. So I don’t need to have worked with them to be their Advocate and sing their praises… proactively to my friends, connections, or my general audience. I can speak very passionately about who they are and why I highly recommend them to others.

A KEY DIFFERENCE between an Influencer and an Advocate is the DEGREE OF TRUST.

As an ADVOCATE, I have a much higher degree of TRUST for a company than if I am just an INFLUENCER. And similarly, my TRUST as an INFLUENCER is greater than if I didn’t know the company at all or know anything about the experience they offer. In my opinion it is the DEGREE OF TRUST that clearly separates ADVOCATES from INFLUENCERS.

Both can be valuable to the efforts of a company to market and spread information about their BRAND. Both are definitely better than either using traditional marketing or social media to blast out messages to thousands of people that don’t know you or care about you. Blasting lots of messages (Spraying and Praying) is the worst thing you can do today for your brand… it is a key reason for “brand erosion”. Both Influencers and Advocates offer a much more focused and personal approach to help share your message and brand with your desired audience.

I personally believe it is worth the investment to create ADVOCATES… above and beyond anything else… even INFLUENCERS. Advocates carry the highest degree of trust and they also send the potential customer directly to you… because they are a “trusted source”. An Influencer is better to have around than just an audience of “commodity consumers” but they still aren’t as trusted as an Advocate.

ADVOCATES also keep telling people over and over and over again about you… they don’t stop until they stop being an Advocate. They are committed to you and they are passionate about helping you… because they TRUST you. INFLUENCERS not so much… they have the information and justification but generally lack the enthusiasm and passion an Advocate conveys.

Having both is great… but if you only want one strategy, my recommendation is to build an ADVOCATE STRATEGY for your organization. This has many aspects to it with the end goal to provide such an incredible experience that your audience can’t wait to tell others about you. An Advocate is the highest level on the “Relationship Pyramid”… the pinnacle.

Only the very best organizations strive to create an army of Advocates because they know how strongly the can help their company grow. They not only generate more revenue for the company, they also help lower costs because they are essentially helping you to market. This combination increases profitability. Advocates increase your profitability. Influencers generally help increase revenues but have less impact on profitability.

Either way, both INFLUENCERS and ADVOCATES are valuable assets to any organization… far above doing nothing. Building a strategy that helps you create both is one of the best ways to lead your industry and cement your brand.

If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends so they can also learn from the material. It not only means a lot to me but it helps other people see the story. And if this resonated with you, please visit and read more posts like this one.

We used to get excited about moving our companies from being GOOD to being GREAT… but today, being GREAT isn’t good enough… it’s a commodity. Today, if you aren’t on a path to move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE and MEMORABLE, you don’t get talked about.

My PASSION and MISSION is to help INSPIRE, GUIDE, and HELP you move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE… and create Word-of-Mouth on STEROIDS so you get talked about… a lot.

I have a model that helps get you to REMARKABLE. In the core of the model is creating unbelievably incredible amazing and awesome Customer Experiences… you can learn about it in my book, “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences.” With this as a foundation, you are well on your way to being REMARKABLE.