Magazine article Marketing

Andrew Walmsley on Digital: Of Course, One Is Online

Magazine article Marketing

Andrew Walmsley on Digital: Of Course, One Is Online

Article excerpt

Oft-maligned as antiquated, the Royal Family has a pretty respectable grip on the digital world.

The good folk of Google UK are steam-cleaning the red carpet and practising their curtseys ahead of a visit by royal neighbours the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh this week.

According to Buckingham Palace, 'the Queen has always kept up to date with the latest technology', although when conferring an honorary knighthood on Bill Gates two years ago, Her Majesty let on that she hadn't yet used a computer.

This hasn't stopped the House of Windsor's technological advances. Last year, the Queen became Google's first royal client with the launch of a YouTube channel, whose production team she will meet on her visit.

Users can view videos of this year's blackcurrant harvest at Sandringham, and catch up on Swan Upping news (a fascinating interview with the Queen's Swan Marker), or revisit old favourites such as the 1957 Christmas Broadcast (1m views so far).

This seems to be pretty popular stuff. The channel exceeded the US President's White House channel's daily viewing figures in its first two days, with nearly 400,000 people visiting it, and it continues to trounce Queen Rania of Jordan's channel with more than twice as many subscribers.

To date, the Royal Channel has notched up more than 22,000 subscribers, making it the 18th most popular on YouTube. It joins an array of other new media ventures from what HM calls 'the firm', including a podcast of the Christmas broadcast, a website and a ticketing website for visits to royal residences and galleries.

Odd though it may seem, the Royal Family is no stranger to technology Back in 1980, Prince Philip was at the centre of one of the earliest hacking controversies, when his email account was accessed by two journalists.

So how much of her time does the Queen really spend online? What does her digital media diary look like?

It is reported that the Queen has mastered emailing in the past couple of years, and now has a BlackBerry so that she can keep in contact with the family while on the move. The Duke of York, the most tech-savvy of her heirs, also suggested that her senior aides be equipped with BlackBerrys too. Two years ago, Prince William bought the Queen an iPod, on which she reportedly stores the Last Night of the Proms.

Last year's Christmas message was uploaded onto YouTube almost exactly 50 years after the Queen's message was first broadcast on TV. …

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