THOMSON FINANCIAL corporate services, the giant of investor relations website hosting, seems to be listening to what we’ve been saying here at IR Web Report about their clients’ websites falling behind current Web trends.
Last week, the Boston-based company introduced a service that incorporates Flash video, audio, animation and transcripts to create a more engaging way for companies to post on-demand Web presentations.
Thomson’s iShowcase is basically a Flash-based presentation service. You provide a script, graphics, slides and your executives for Thomson to tape against a “green screen.” They’ll then put the presentation together and host it for you.
Many alternatives available
Large companies with internal web communications capabilities would be better off using Adobe Corporation’s Flash and video production software or the new Acrobat Connect Professional service, which includes powerful web conferencing and on-demand presentation capabilities. Adobe offers a hosted service and a software license option for enterprises.
For organizations without strong internal web communications capabilities, Thomson’s iShowcase may be an option, but I think these companies would be much better off working with a specialist web communications agency that can provide a higher level of counsel, creativity and customization.
And for the do-it-yourself crowd, there are a growing number of free online video editing and publishing services that they could use with a bit of effort. For example, the free Spresent.com service allows you to create your own online Flash presentation incorporating Flash animation, audio and video. Just add your imagination.
Simpler still is shooting a video, uploading it to YouTube and then embedding it on the company’s website. This has worked for a variety of companies including, most famously, JetBlue.
Racing stripes on a station wagon
Quite honestly, while I applaud Thomson for bringing out new products, the company is merely applying a band-aid to fundamental flaws in its hosted IR website model. It’s like adding racing stripes to a station wagon.
The main problem on IR websites today is not a lack of Flash video or content, but rather it is poor site management and atrocious usability.
The message Thomson won’t deliver
Companies have failed to put the proper resources in place to keep their websites relevant in an environment of rapid disintermediation of influence and vanishing barriers to effective web publishing.
This is not a message Thomson or its main rival Shareholder.com are comfortable communicating to their clients. It conflicts with their business models. A pusher doesn’t enroll a junkie in rehab.
So that leaves companies with their corporate reputations wide open to attack on the Web and no capability to respond quickly and effectively. (Just like Thomson probably won’t respond to this post even though they’ll be among the first to read it.)
If you believe that reputation is a corporate asset that management must protect, then not having an internal or near-internal web communication capability in this day and age is unforgivable.
Bottom line? Thanks for the bling, Thomson, but it’s not going to make a difference.