Saturday, April 30, 2011

New rule: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest

Jeff Jarvis:
Try this on as a new rule for newspapers: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.
That’s not how newspapers work now. They try to cover everything because they used to have to be all things to all people in their markets. So they had their own reporters replicate the work of other reporters elsewhere so they could say that they did it under their own bylines as a matter of pride and propriety. It’s the way things were done. They also took wire-service copy and reedited it so they could give their audiences the world. But in the age of the link, this is clearly inefficient and unnecessary. You can link to the stories that someone else did and to the rest of the world. And if you do that, it allows you to reallocate your dwindling resources to what matters, which in most cases should be local coverage.
This changes the dynamic of editorial decisions. Instead of saying, “we should have that” (and replicating what is already out there) you say, “what do we do best?” That is, “what is our unique value?” It means that when you sit down to see a story that others have worked on, you should ask, “can we do it better?” If not, then link. And devote your time to what you can do better.

Jay Rosen on journalism

Jay Rosen: Next month I will have taught journalism at New York University for 25 years, an occasion that has led me to reflect on what I have tried to profess in that time.
Or, to put it another way, what I think I know about journalism.
It comes down to these four ideas.
1. The more people who participate in the press the stronger it will be.
2. The profession of journalism went awry when it began to adopt the View from Nowhere.
3. The news system will improve when it is made more useful to people.
4. Making facts public does not a public make; information alone will not inform us.
Shall we take them in order?

Why Nicholas White Gave Up the Newspaper to Save Newspapering

MediaSift reporting:
The following is a guest post from Nicholas White, the CEO of The Daily Dot, a new startup in community journalism. White leaves a long lineage of newspaper men and women in his family to join digital media and explains why.
Six months ago, I quit my family's 179-year-old newspaper company. I left not because newspapers are crumbling -- though they are -- but because the very thing that has made the old industry so fragile offers hope for the future of journalism.
daily dog grab.jpg
I quit to start an entirely new newspaper: an experiment in media called The Daily Dot.
Everything you know about this failing industry is wrong. Which is to say, it's right, but it's also not why the industry is failing.
...Unfortunately, geography is forged into the very foundation of the newspaper business, in its heavy iron presses and fleets of trucks, and in the deeply etched mindsets of its journalists. It may be that the industry as we've known it for the last century has to disintegrate so that the reportage it sustained can survive and flourish.
...I trust that if we keep following people into the places where they gather to trade gossip, argue the issues, seek inspiration, and share lives, then we will also find communities in need of quality journalism. And rather than simply covering the web from broad and outside perspectives like other publications, The Daily Dot is conceived from the outset to be of, by and for the web -- which is, after all, the largest community in the world.

'There's No Problem!' Newsrooms in Denial About Rampant Errors

IdeaLab reporting:
Jonathan Stray has opened a new conversation about measuring accuracy in news reports. Stray, who works at the Associated Press and blogs on the side, comes at the issue with a refreshingly analytical, data-driven perspective. His in-depth post, which I urge you to read, does a couple of things. It summarizes important research: There seems to be no escaping the conclusion that, according to the newsmakers, about half of all American newspaper stories contained a simple factual error in 2005. And this rate has held about steady since we started measuring it seven decades ago.

And it offers some useful ideas: We could continuously sample a news source's output to produce ongoing accuracy estimates, and build social software to help the audience report and filter errors.
Stray understands that it's no good to count correction rates without tracking error rates, and vice versa -- you need to know both if you want to assess a news organization's performance. So he imagines a not-too-distant future in which many or most newsrooms sampled their story output regularly to gauge the frequency of errors and encouraged readers to submit (and rank) error reports. With some sort of standardization of both metrics, and if newsrooms could get comfortable with publishing these numbers, we'd finally have a useful yardstick for accuracy in news coverage.

Friday, April 29, 2011

How Retail Sites Can Make the Most of Video

Ecommerce reporting:
video has been a fast-growing feature on online retail sites over the past year. Retailers are quickly finding that adding product video to their sites increases conversions, but ecommerce video is still maturing as they continue to discover best practices.

Nearly three-quarters of US retailers featured video on their sites in Q4 2010, according to the e-tailing group’s “13th Annual Mystery Shopping Study,” published in February 2011. This percentage was up significantly from the 55% of retailers who reported using video on their sites a year earlier.
Similarly, the e-tailing group’s “10th Annual Merchant Survey” found that 75% of retailers rated video as a valuable merchandising feature in Q1 2011, up from 68% in Q1 2010 and 58% in Q1 2009.

Visualization/Rich Media Features Considered Valuable Among US Online Retailers, 2009-2011 (% of respondents)

Why the End of Scarcity Will Change the Economics of Everything reporting:
James L. McQuivey, Ph.D. is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving Consumer Product Strategy professionals.
Apple triggered much debate when it recently announced it would begin enforcing policies that add a 30% toll to any content — Kindle books, newspaper subscriptions — sold through an app on an Apple device. Apple essentially restrained publishers’ access to Apple’s customers — a huge market within the Apple ecosystem.
With this move, the company –- typically known for anticipating and even causing seismic shifts in the business world -– demonstrates that it is fundamentally unprepared for one of the biggest transformations we are about to experience: The end of scarcity.
Our day-to-day experience teaches us that scarcity is real. All modern business practices are built on this assumption. Some businesses depend upon it entirely. For example, high-end auction houses and low-end infomercials both remind you through various cues that if you don’t buy it now, you may not be able to ever buy it again.
But what happens if the economics of scarcity are exchanged for the economics of plenty? For those industries that provide information or experience as a primary good, scarcity is rapidly evaporating. The media business is undergoing a similar change with the rise of citizen journalists, bloggers, and YouTube performers — all of which circumvent the traditional systems that once dictated production norms and processes. Most of these companies have sought to restore order by reinstating scarcity rather than celebrating its passing. It’s not a good sign of things to come.

How Print Vs. Online News Consumption Compares

paiContent reporting:
Can online news revenue ever come close to print revenue? Scout Analytics looked at the differences in user behavior in print and online and came to a pessimistic conclusion—that both the time spent consuming and money earned from online news will never come close to that of print news.
Specifically, in 2006, the average time spent reading a newspaper was 29 minutes per day, while the average revenue per user was just under $287. In contrast, in 2010, the average time spent reading online news was less than 1.2 minutes and average revenue was just under $29. Check out more stats in the infographic embedded below: [Also below, MarketWatch Founder Larry Kramer raises questions about this kind of research…]

The newsonomics of story cost accounting

Niemann Journalism Lab Ken Doctor reporting
 What’s a story worth? Last week, I looked at a single investigative story (California Watch’s “On Shaky Ground“), and we saw the tab of half a million dollars for a 20-month-long tale of sleuthing. What about that ordinary daily story, quotidian journalism as we know it — the grinding out of less eventful articles, the kinds of things that keep us informed but don’t offer epiphanies? How much does it cost, and how much does that matter to the future of the news business?
It’s not an academic question. This week, McClatchy added to the long line of down financial reports, telling us that it was down 11 percent, year over year, in ad revenues and 9 percent in overall revenues, for the first quarter. That announcement follows on from similar reports from The New York Times Co., especially its regional properties, and Gannett. The U.S. news industry is extending its unwanted record: 21 straight quarters of revenue down quarter to quarter. That’s a lost half-decade.
The new CEO of Deseret Media will soon be able to tell you exactly how much articles cost him. He’ll specify the differing price points of local, proprietary content, of AP content, of a blog post written halfway around the world, and lots more.
For now, he draws upon his experience as a Harvard Business School prof and strategic consultant. From that career work, he estimates the following, general cost metrics for the content offered by news companies in print and online:
  • $250-$300 per staff-written story;
  • $100 per stringer story;
  • $25 per Associated Press story;
  • $5-12 for “remote” stories, largely written by the emerging class of bloggers

First Multi-Media eBook Novel with Self-Contained Music Soundtrack

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 28, 2011
Cathedral Rock Publishing is proud to announce the release of the 1st multi-media e-book novel to contain its own music soundtrack: Cathedral of the Senses, the sequel to the cult classic novel, Trick of the Light, which was touted by critics to be "One of the Top Ten Most Inspirational Books of All Time."
The iPad version of Cathedral of the Senses allows readers to hear music written specifically for the novel by merely touching the screen at appropriate points in the novel. If the reader wants to download the entire song or the album, he or she may do so by touching the screen again and purchasing the song or album.

Next week Cathedral Rock Publishing will publish The Big Bite, a controversial work about the Book of Genesis.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable

Clay Shirky's provoking thoughts:
...As these ideas were articulated, there was intense debate about the merits of various scenarios. Would DRM or walled gardens work better? Shouldn’t we try a carrot-and-stick approach, with education and prosecution? And so on. In all this conversation, there was one scenario that was widely regarded as unthinkable, a scenario that didn’t get much discussion in the nation’s newsrooms, for the obvious reason.
The unthinkable scenario unfolded something like this: The ability to share content wouldn’t shrink, it would grow. Walled gardens would prove unpopular. Digital advertising would reduce inefficiencies, and therefore profits. Dislike of micropayments would prevent widespread use. People would resist being educated to act against their own desires. Old habits of advertisers and readers would not transfer online. Even ferocious litigation would be inadequate to constrain massive, sustained law-breaking. (Prohibition redux.) Hardware and software vendors would not regard copyright holders as allies, nor would they regard customers as enemies. DRM’s requirement that the attacker be allowed to decode the content would be an insuperable flaw. And, per Thompson, suing people who love something so much they want to share it would piss them off.

Media companies haven’t exploited opportunities created by iPad and mobile technology

Poynter  Damon Kieslow: So far those (iPad) opportunities have gone largely unexploited as media companies try to figure out exactly what tablets are good for. As I noted last month, most of the U.S. newspaper apps to launch recently on the iPad are replica editions — basically PDFs of the printed product. While there may be a small audience for these replicas, this is a transitional model at best and will do nothing to build new audiences on tablets.
Likewise, many interactive newspaper apps are a lot like print products — but not necessarily in a good way. Apps from USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are well designed, but they still offer the same type of content as in print, with a similar look and feel.
Personalized news services like and Trove are entirely new forms of news presentation, pushing the medium forward with a mix of aggregation, social media, curation and filtering. For better or worse, the vanguard of this effort consists of startups like Flipboard, Zite, News 360 and Taptu, not longstanding media companies.
So, just over a year into the age of the iPad, what can media do to compete? Clay Shirky has suggested that “nothing will work, but everything might.” That is a call to experiment,  fail and try again. Not every startup will succeed, but it only takes one Craigslist or Google to devastate an old industry (classifieds) or start a new one (search advertising).
The problem has been that media companies are not trying enough, quickly enough. It is not that media cannot innovate, it is that media organizations have not been structured to encourage it.
That is beginning to change, slowly. Look again at and Trove. Neither is a finished product or a perfect one. But both were created by newspaper companies that put resources into research and development. was created by The New York Times R&D lab and transitioned to Betaworks for development. Trove was built by the WaPo Labs team.
Tackable, a crowdsourced photojournalism app, is another example. An independent developer is building the app, but the San Jose Mercury News is incubating it. Tackable gets office space and some development assistance, and the Mercury News gets a version of the app built to its specifications.
And this week, the first round of the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Challenge launched. In the next two years the project will fund fellowships for 15 developers in newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad to “harness open-Web innovation for journalism.” One of the first challenges is building HTML5 apps for Web and mobile platforms.

Guardian abandons local journalism programme

newmediage reporting:
The Guardian is to wind down its conceptual local journalism initiative, Local, because of a lack of commercial viability.
When Local launched two years ago, the idea was to experiment with “new models of local journalism to see whether they could be editorially and commercially viable”, wrote Guardian digital engagement head Meg Picard on the paper’s blog.
But now the project is to be abandoned and communities and topics will be subsumed into wider coverage.
The project saw blog and network specialist Sarah Hartley lead as editor, supported by a team of three reporters in Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh, using multimedia reporting, online and offline community management, events and participation across social media platforms.
Since launch, the three blogs have had “real impact”, according to Pickard. Many of the issues covered led to changes in decisions taken by local authorities.
... While Local has done much to underline that readers and communities can still be engaged through digital platforms, it shows that a viable commercial model for hyperlocal journalism has yet to be found.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

E-Books Explosion Will Displace Paperbacks, Hardbacks And Apps

paidContent, Benedict Evans reporting:
Today, I published a short piece of research for Enders Analysis on ebooks. As Enders is on a subscription model I can’t paste it here, but the summary bullets capture the flavour:
  • Market data and industry anecdote point to an explosion in ebook sales in the US and UK in 2011. Leading consumer publishers are seeing ebook sales at 10-15 percent of total sales in January and February, driven by Christmas device sales.
  • So far ebooks had been strongest in niches: romance, business books and frequent travellers. They have now moved into the mass market: few genres will be untouched.
  • This shift brings with it a very different market structure, with Waterstones likely to shrink dramatically, technology companies with little stake in the health of publishing taking major roles and publishers faced with disintermediation and forced to build direct consumer relationships for the first time in their history.
  • ...chart also illustrates, to me, the foolishness of spending all your time playing with apps and enhanced ebooks when those will only represent a tiny proportion of the publishing business. When cheap colour printing came in that didn’t mean all novels had to be in colour, and the availability of apps doesn’t mean everything has to be an app. The $50 coffee table book is not the publishing market, and the app that cost $500k to develop won’t be either.

The app divide between casual readers and news junkies

Andrew Phelps from Nieman Journalism Labs reporting:
That’s the question I found myself asking upon rereading that report from a couple weeks ago on iPad users’ reactions to The Daily.
The report was put together by knowDigital, a division of market-research firm Coleman Insights, which asked more than 40 iPad owners to download The Daily and use it for two weeks. Sam Milkman, the head of knowDigital, interviewed participants afterward, and he found that even in a group that small, the needs of users were split.
“Very quickly the participants sorted into these two camps,” he told me. One “was a heavy news user found that the depth and breadth of what was offered totally lacking. There was no way that this product was ever going to to satisfy his interest in news.” These are the news junkies: comfortable piecing together a news stream from multiple sources, including blogs and RSS feeds.
And the other camp? Milkman described another user was “completely enthralled by this product. She is not really into the news. She quickly says, ‘It gives me just the right amount of national and international news,’” Milkman says. (Although “This is new to her because she’s not heavily into technology to begin with. And the glitz and the glamour of it draws her in.”) These are casual readers who depend on fewer sources of news. The app was a hit with this group.
Both kinds of readers wanted different things from The Daily. The junkies wanted deeper, broader news coverage, better sports coverage with more personality, and the addition of financial news. They complained the material was too generic, even voiceless. The casual readers showed little interest in international news and asked for coupons. Sports news looked odd next to the gossip.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Tale Of Two Timeses: A New York Meter, A London Wall

PaidContent reporting:
They may share both a name and new online fees, but onlookers shouldn’t confuse the new access models of The New York Times and Britain’s The Times. Though each is historically the “paper of record” in their respective countries, each online strategy is quite different - but each may be just as instructive… (NYSE: NYT) weekday visitors may be down by five to 15 percent since it introduced some charges, according to Hitwise. But, across the Atlantic, that kind of result would be considered a huge victory.
For, whilst introduced a meter by which more than 20 on-site articles per month and full mobile access costs between $15 and $35 per month, News Corp.‘s UK title last summer opted for a blunter instrument - no free content; an across-the-board fee of £8.67 per month (or £1 a day). One analyst calls it not so much a “paywall” as a “Berlin wall”; you’re either in or out.
Relative to this backdrop,’ approach is the have-your-cake-and-eat-it strategy. Britain’s The Times has deliberately shed the vast majority of its visitors - many of whom, common to most news sites, had always been fleeting, coming in from search and other sources - and is now pitching to advertisers the “quality” of its much smaller audience. In contrast, can retain a higher proportion of its page views for advertisers and gain new paying customers. Crucially, can also retain influence, something many think The Times has lost online.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adweek names the most successful and influential magazines of the year

AdWeek reporting:
The magazine industry emerged this year from the most perilous downturn in its history with a set of unmistakable powerhouse titles celebrated here in Adweek’s 31st annual Hot List. Those that made the cut, from Food Network Magazine at No. 1 to Vanity Fair at No. 10, were the industry’s most successful and influential over the past year.
Hearst may have long been in Condé Nast’s shadow, but who needs Condé’s prestige when you have Food Network Magazine? This is one case when Hearst’s lower-brow attitude—combined with its strategy of partnering with established personalities and platforms—has turned into a winning recipe. While Condé was shuttering Gourmet, Food Network Magazine was drawing in readers with celebrity talent, over-the-top recipes, and a general refusal to take itself too seriously. In just two years, has circulation soared to 1.3 million.
The inner workings of the fashion industry remain a source of intrigue, and few have exploited that more aggressively than Hearst’s Marie Claire, which has thrown open its doors to TV cameras recently in the name of brand awareness. It’s worked. Ties with Project Runway and Running in Heels—and the star power of Adweek’s Editor of the Year, Joanna Coles, and fashion director Nina Garcia—have helped raise the magazine’s profile. In 2010, Marie Claire grew ad pages by 20 percent, the fastest pace of any of the established fashion mags.
The rankings are based on financial performance metrics—ad page, ad revenue, newsstand, and overall circulation, growth—along with an influence measurement derived from social media footprint, press impressions, and search engine results. Also factored in is a product quality measurement, based on the number of edit pages, Web traffic, awards, and other reader satisfaction benchmarks.

Majority of Chinese dumping print medium for digital reading

Beijing, Apr 23 : A majority of Chinese people are turning to digital reading as compared to printed books or magazines, according to the Eighth National Reading Survey. The survey conducted by Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, also showed that the number of Chinese readers using digital media dramatically increased last year.

Nearly 23 percent of respondents read books via mobile phones, 3.9 via e-book readers, 18 percent on the Internet and another 2.6 percent by PDA (personal digital assistant)/MP4/electronic dictionaries, according to the survey.The survey covering 19,418 respondents showed that out of the various media for digital reading, e-book reading saw the highest increase, rising by 200 percent compared with 2009.

According to China Daily, it found that readers aged between 18 to 70 spent about 42 minutes daily reading online.It also showed that users spent about 3 Yuan on reading via mobile phone monthly, and that more than half of China's mobile phone readers were rural residents due to a lack of other reading sources.

Grey media - Audiences are getting older

The Economist reporting:
The noisy disruption of media business models by the internet in the past decade has obscured a profound demographic transformation. Whether they are buying music, listening to the radio, reading newspapers or watching television, media consumers are ageing even more quickly than the overall population. Rather than trying to reverse this trend by attracting younger people, many companies are attempting to profit from the greying of media.
...If broadcast television is growing old gracefully (helped by Botox injections), newspapers are racing towards senescence. Between 2002 and 2010 the proportion of American papers’ regular readers who were aged 55 or more rose from 37% to 46% (see chart 2). Fully 43% of readers of Britain’s Daily Telegraph and Daily Express are at least 65 years old, according to the National Readership Survey. Such papers are littered with advertisements for comfortable shoes, cruises and stairlifts.
The reason why newspaper readers are ageing so quickly is simple: the young are abandoning print faster than everyone else. They may pick up free papers to read on public transport, but when reception is good they tend to plump for mobile phones and the internet. The Pew Research Centre, an American think-tank, finds that 65% of 18- to 29-year-olds describe the internet as their primary or secondary source of news. Only 14% of people aged 65 or over say the same.
...The practice of measuring television audiences by the number of 18- to 49-year-olds they contain is simply an historical anachronism, argues Mr Wurtzel of NBC. David Poltrack, his counterpart at CBS, agrees. It used to be assumed, he says, that older people had already worked out which brands they liked and could not be persuaded to try new things. But the middle-aged have taken to toys such as e-readers and iPads. Mr Poltrack has devised an alternative way of classifying viewers that emphasises tastes and attitudes to media (for example as “sports enthusiasts” or “surfers and streamers”) rather than age.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Google News now personalizes results based on users’ viewing history

Poynter reporting:
Google News Blog
The “Personalized U.S. edition” of Google News now uses people’s past viewing (on Google News and across the Web) to shape what they see. Google explains: “For example, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we’ll make sure that you get a chance to see breaking baseball stories. We found in testing that more users clicked on more stories when we added this automatic personalization, sending more traffic to publishers.” The service also uses viewing history to suggest topics for users to follow. || Related: Mashable checks out the personalized news service  || Earlier: How Google News is integrating the social Web.

The New York Times’ R&D Lab has built a tool that explores the life stories take in the social space

Nieman Journalism Lab reporting:
Yesterday afternoon, the team gave a demo of the tool, which, in ultra-widescreen form, lives on a series of screens embedded in a wall outside the R&D Lab. And though, at this point, we’re all familiar with the wonders of social analytics, the tool distinguishes itself for the fact that it treats people not (well, not just) as data points, but rather as information agents — active participants in news consumption. One of the problems journalism, as an institution, has had in fully engaging its audience (and, relatedly, in engendering that audience’s trust) has been logistical: News outlets simply haven’t had the tools that would allow them to understand their readers — and to understand, at levels both broad and detailed, how those readers engage with their content.
The tool is framed around the social science-based concept of the “cascade” — in this case, the chain of events that propels a story through and around social networks. (I might come across and an article in the Times and tweet it out; Justin might see my tweet, and simply retweet it; Andrew might see Justin’s tweet, read the article, and then tweet it out with an entirely new framing. And on and on.)
Project Cascade — it’s a working title — lets you visualize a cascade as a comprehensive unit; it also allows viewers to zoom in on particular events to see key points in how a story’s sharing activity has unfolded. Its side view demonstrates a (relatively) simple timeline of a story’s activity; its radar view demonstrates the separation between conversations; and its 3D view essentially marries the two, representing individual threads of conversation in a sharper way. Complex cascades can also be pruned to show only the most influential tweets (what Thorp calls the “backbone” of the conversation), and the users who posted them.
...And — here’s where things get really interesting — the Times could then bring in those influential news-spreaders to become news…producers. With the tool, “we’ve seen this little community discussion that we would have never been able to filter out of the noise before,” Thorp notes.

Edulliset omakustanteet nousussa sähkökirjamarkkinoilla

Wall Street Journal kiinnittää huomiota uuteen ilmiöön, jossa Best Selling -listalla on yhä enemmän kirjojaan edullisesti hinnoittelevia omakustantajia. TOP 50-listalla on nyt 15 alle viiden dollarin kirjaa. Artikkelissa esitellään eKirjojen eri hinnoittelumalleja ja haastatellaan Mr. Lockea, omakustantajaa, joka myy 99 sentillä dekkareita Amazonin eKirja-kauppapaikalla. Isojen kielialueiden mahdollisuuksia kuvaa se, että vaikka Amazon ottaa 70 % komission, Locken maaliskuun tulot dekkareista olivat yli 120 000 dollaria.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Conde Nast Taps Brakes on Churning Out iPad Editions for All Its Magazines

Ad age reporting:
Conde Nast is tapping the brakes on its drive to deliver iPad editions of all its magazines, according to company employees, acknowledging that conditions aren't quite right yet to deliver the ideal app editions at the kind of scale that advertisers want. If publishers want to introduce new iPad editions right now, Conde wants them to be sure they're justified.
That hardly means Conde is done with the iPad. It remains committed to creating iPad editions for its titles, with an undisclosed one planned to arrive in May. And it has created many other kinds of iPad apps tied to its brands that don't attempt to deliver an entire print issue's experience.
But Conde Nast enthusiastically planned for the iPad even before the device was out, telling employees in February 2010 that it would introduce iPad editions of Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Glamour. Since then Golf Digest, Self and Allure have followed.
Now, however, publishers and executives feel a lot less reason to add more titles without a particularly compelling business case.
"It's a shift," one Conde publisher said. "The official stance was we're going to get all our magazines on the iPad because this is going to be such an important stream. The new change is maybe we can slow it down. In my opinion it makes Conde look smart because we have the ambition, but we're not rushing."
"They're not all doing all that well, so why rush to get them all on there?" the publisher added.
...Ad buyers point out that iPad editions across the publishing industry still lack both the scale that marketers want and the metrics to help gauge ad effectiveness. "As this platform is still in its infancy, it's important that we marketers and sellers continue to explore, experiment and innovate in delivering unique experiences to consumers from a content and creative perspective," said Robin Steinberg, exec VP-director of publisher investment and activation at MediaVest USA. "In addition, it's critical we are able to evaluate and measure these opportunities in order to create business models demonstrating best values."

Friday, April 22, 2011

New news aggregator launched

The news aggregator launched Thursday morning as a subscription iPad app, with support from more than 20 major media outlets.
Built by Betaworks, the app aggregates and filters news from a wide variety of sources, but will pay a licensing fee to official media partners in return for use of their content. Articles from those partners has been reformatted for the “best reading experience” on the iPad according to an FAQ on the company’s website.
Consumer access to the app costs $0.99 a week, or $34.99 a year. Partners will receive a “fixed fee” for each unique page view; the company has not publicly stated what that fee will be.

NYT has 100 000 online subscribers

Asweek reporting: On Thursday, The New York Times Company published its first-quarter results for 2011, and things are looking good for digital subscriptions. In a statement, the company said that the number of paid subscription packages for and its other digital platforms has surpassed 100,000 since the Times launched its global paywall on March 28.
“We are pleased with the number of subscribers we have acquired to date, as initial volume has meaningfully exceeded our expectations,” said the company’s president and CEO, Janet L. Robinson.
...those 100,000 subscriptions include the 99-cent introductory offer promotion but not those tied to print subscriptions or a promo offered by Lincoln giving readers free access.
...The company also reported that total digital revenues increased 6.1 percent to $95.9 million from $90.4 million, with digital advertising increasing 4.5 percent from $80 million to $83.6 million. However, that growth couldn’t offset the 7.5 percent decline in print advertising revenues for the quarter.

iPad apps not a good business for magazines

Magazine publishers are pouring money into apps, seduced by the notion that tablet computers can open a new avenue to make money from their content. But will they ever make it back? Certainly not in the near term and, perhaps, never.
There are only 8 million iPads in circulation (so far the only interactive tablet on the market) and the audience is currently too small to attract serious ad dollars.
David Link, a founder and creative director at apps developer The Wonderfactory, said magazines are spending as much as $500,000 in upfront costs and hiring three to five staffers—and in some cases up to 10 people—to provide ongoing design, ad sales and tech support. "I don't think most people expect to make much money for the first couple of years," Link said.
"The problem with apps is, not a ton of people are downloading them," said Martin Walker, a publishing industry consultant. "It's a very small business at the moment. Apple still owns it and they won't let you sell subs. You can't make money on something where you're selling a few thousand copies."

...On the revenue side, the money isn't exactly rolling in. Some advertisers were willing to pay to be part of the iPad's launch, but the initial buzz has long worn off, and now advertisers are paying little or nothing to have their ad appear on many magazine apps. At the high end is Condé Nast's Wired, with downloads averaging around 29,000 for the past four months, but other monthlies are selling just a few thousand per month. "These $30,000 sponsorships are not happening," said one media buyer, who asked not to be named. "Nobody's going to pay that because there's no audience."
Condé Nast said after this story went to press that its digital magazine apps business, including Wired, GQ and Vanity Fair’s apps, is profitable (it’s sold close to 500,000 apps across the company), although it declined to give details on its revenue or cost breakdown.

Condé Nast Looks to Break Out of Publishing's Digital Doldrums New content management system

Last fall, Condé Nast finally gave its publishers control over ad sales for their own websites, something they'd been waiting on for a long time. Now, the company is about to fulfill a similar promise for its editorial side.
A couple of years after the prestige publisher started launching companion websites for its magazines, it’s preparing to roll out a new online publishing system across its titles, including Vogue, Lucky, and GQ.
“We’re going to hand more creative control back to the magazine staff,” Joe Simon, the company’s chief technology officer, told Adweek.
The adoption of the new system, Adobe Day’s CQ5, is expected to speed up the process of updating the websites, allowing them to publish more digital-only content, and more easily. The current system has been criticized as cumbersome because it involved help from a separate entity, Condé Nast Digital. Condé also sees CQ5 as a way to streamline workflow—not an insignificant point, now that the company's titles have to pump out content for more platforms despite having essentially the same staff as before.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magazine Publishers Scramble To Streamline Their App Production

paid.content reporting:
Magazine publishers are not only trying to pack more features and content into their apps—they’re also trying to design for an ever-growing variety of devices and formats. The result is wreaking havoc with traditional print production schedules and, in some cases, budgets. And, then there’s the fear that even after all that blood-sweat, advertisers and readers will see the magazine apps as irrelevant.
One executive at a major publisher told me: “We shouldn’t be doing magazine apps. It’s a different format entirely from a print publication. We should be spending the resources to come up with special extensions of the brand.” The source added: “Consider the fact that iTunes doesn’t even have a dedicated ‘magazine section,’ so we’re effectively competing with Angry Birds and Flipboard at the same time.”
Yet despite the hurdles, major publishers are, of course, building apps, and are scrambling to streamline production and technology to make that process easier and cheaper. To get more insight into ways that big publishers are dealing with the new deadlines and formats, I spoke with executives at Time  Inc.‘s Sports Illustrated, Hearst Magazines’ Popular Mechanics and Condé Nast.
Sports Illustrated: On top of developing apps for each of Sports Illustrated’s weekly editions, the Sports Illustrated Group has done about 20 additional apps this year and two books with “enhanced” for iPad editions. Yet the SI Group hasn’t added much in the way of personnel to handle the additional workload—just two new art department staffers, one for tablets and one for print. Executives say rather than adding more people, the key is getting the production routine down.

Chasing page views with values in Christian Science Monitor

NiemannLabs reporting on a research paper by Jonathan Groves and Carrie Brown-Smith of the University of Memphis. They’ve been spending a lot of time in the newsroom of the Christian Science Monitor to observe its transition from a daily print newspaper to a web-first newsroom with a weekly print edition. That transition required shifts in operations, in culture, and in the kind of journalism the Monitor produces.

"We’ve seen a flood of innovations over the past few years in journalism on the web: from technology and the delivery of news to new forms of storytelling and reporting. But making those innovations happen has been neither fast nor easy. How do you manage meaningful change that sticks? That question drives our research.
Since October 2009, we have immersed ourselves in the Christian Science Monitor as it took the “web-first” mantra beyond platitudes and abandoned its daily print edition.
It was a difficult, wrenching process for many journalists used to the rhythm of the daily newspaper and concerned about the fate of the Monitor’s serious take on the news of the day. But the lessons learned along the way are valuable for any legacy news organization.
Like many newspapers, the Monitor faced a critical moment in 2008. Its national circulation had plummeted from 220,000 in 1970 to 52,000. Revenue was dwindling. And its owner, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, told newsroom managers the paper’s $12 million annual subsidy would be slashed to $4 million in five years. Such moments are fear-inducing and disruptive. They are also opportunities for meaningful change.
Monitor editor John Yemma and publisher Jonathan Wells developed a plan: Remove the shackles of the daily print edition, increase pageviews, and aggressively pursue online advertising. The paper also maintained a weekly print edition that allowed it to continue doing some longer-form journalism.
They set a clear five-year newsroom target: Drive pageviews from 3 million per month to 25 million. And they reached it.

Every media company should be afraid of Flipboard

Poynter reporting:  Flipboard epitomizes the best and the worst of the internet. The best is for the user. The worst is for the content providers that feed its stunning expansion without getting a dime in return. According to Kara Swisher ‘s AllThingsD, nine months after launching its first version, Flipboard’s new $50m financing round gives the company a €200m valuation.
Many newspapers or magazines carrying hundreds of journalists can’t get a €200m valuation today. Last year, for the Groupe Le Monde, an investment bank memo set a valuation of approximately $100m (net of its $86m debt at the time, to be precise). That was for a 644 journalists multimedia company – OK, one that had been badly managed for years. Still, Flipboard is a 32-people startup with a single product and no revenue yet.
So, what’s the fuss about?
The answer is a simple one: Flipboard is THE product any big media company or, better, any group of media companies should have invented. It’s an iPad application (soon to be supplemented by an iPhone version), it allows readers to aggregate any sources they want: social medias such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or any combination of RSS feeds. No need to remember the feed’s often-complicated URL, Flipboard searches it for you and puts the result in a neat eBook-like layout. A striking example: the Google Reader it connects you to suddenly morphs from its Icelandic look into a cozy and elegant set of pages that you actually flip. Flipboard most visible feature is an interface that transform...  (Google reader list to layouted pages)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tablets Quickly Become Major Home Entertainment Device

Most owners are using their PCs less

Research on tablet usage has found, since the iPad first made its way into the hands of millions in 2010, that they are primarily used for entertainment, and the availability of media content on the devices is still driving purchase intent. A March 2011 survey from mobile ad network AdMob amplifies those findings further, showing that for many owners tablets are fast becoming a primary source of entertainment.
Nearly seven in 10 tablet owners reported spending at least 1 hour per day using the device, including 38% who spent over 2 hours on it. And while just 28% consider it their primary computer, 77% are spending less time on desktop or laptop PCs since they got a tablet.
More than two in five respondents now spend more time each day with their tablet than with a traditional computer or with a smartphone, and a third use tablets more than they watch TV.

The No. 1 tablet activity, according to the survey, was playing games. Searching for information, emailing and reading the news rounded out the top four activities, suggesting that web surfing and keeping up with communications are important tablet activities that go beyond pure entertainment, without reaching very far into the realm of genuine productivity.

Explainer maps locate, contextualize and localize, increase site traffic

In recent weeks, the media have reported on how events in Libya and Japan are affecting Misurata, Az Zintan, Tripoli and Rikuzentakata.
Is your geography good enough to know that Misurata and Az Zintan are in northwest Libya, that Tripoli is northeast of Kabaw, and that Rikuzentakata is a coastal town in northeast Japan?
If not, then look at some of the maps that journalists at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and CNN have published recently in print and online.
A chart showing the spike in searches for maps of Libya.
Stats from Google trends indicate that people want to know where the countries and cities in the news are located. Searches for maps of Libya and Japan, for instance, have spiked significantly this month.
Google’s Sean Carlson says he’s seen a steady flow of news organizations using Google Maps and Google Earth to help illustrate recent international stories. He looks at these tools as “helicopters in the hands of news organizations” — ways to provide readers with a perspective they might not otherwise get from text or photos.

Book piracy: Less DRM more data

O'Reilly radar reporting:
 As digital book publishing continues to expand at a rapid pace to meet reader demands, piracy rears its head at the forefront of many a discussion in publisher circles. Many publishers respond to the perceived threat with strict digital rights management (DRM) software. But is this the best solution? And does it even provide protection from piracy?
In the following interview, Magellan Media founder and TOC 2011 speaker Brian O'Leary (@brianoleary) discusses the current state of book piracy, how measurement data isn't sufficient to determine its impact, and why DRM is a poor anti-piracy tool.
...As to sales, Paulo Coelho is a good example. He mines the piracy data to see if there's a burgeoning interest for his books in a particular country or market. If so, he either works to get his book out in print or translate it in that market.

Gary Veynerchuk: "The Thank You Economy"

Business Insider reporting:

Gary Vaynerchuk's great new book "The Thank You Economy" came out yesterday. The book is a big wet kiss to customers everywhere. From where Gary sits, anyone who doesn't prioritize customers and the customer experience is making a huge mistake. His book talks to the importance of using technology to understanding your customers and deliver a personalized experience -- not a generic "thank you," but rather a "thank you" that knows who your best customers are and how best to thank them.
Gary is clearly a man who puts his money where his mouth is. His best customers at his multimillion dollar wine shop have always been thanked and rewarded. Before the advent of social media, that was good business. It resulted in loyal customers and great word of mouth. But in this era of Facebook and Twitter and blogs, it is absolutely necessary. Social media tools greatly amplify positive voices but, even more so, negative ones. As Gary predicted here on MSNBC, those businesses that don't pay attention to their customers will face the same fate as did Borders and Blockbuster. The Startup Economy is all about the ROI of social media, for better or for worse.

U.K.'s Mail Online Becomes the World's Second Most Popular News Site

AdWeek reporting:

The Daily Mail's website Mail Online has surpassed the Huffington Post as the world's second most popular news website, according to March data from comScore, and now ranks behind only The New York Times' site in comScore’s newspaper category.
Mail Online reported a 27 percent rise in unique visitors between February and March, to 39,635,000, while the Huffington Post recorded a 20 percent lift, to 38,429,000 unique visitors.
Mail Online has grown in popularity over the past few years because of its "showbiz-laden front page," says the Guardian, and because of its increased coverage of U.S. news, with expanded

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ad-Supported Kindle

Tested reporting:
Despite the Kindle being Amazon's top selling product (though official sale figures have never been released), we've long maintained that the magic price point for e-book readers to become commodity devices is $99. Last year's price drop lowered the Kindle to $139 for the Wi-Fi-only model, and we've been eagerly anticipating a drop below the $100 mark some time this year. Now it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer for a sub-$100 Kindle--at least without compromises. Today, Amazon announced a new $114 version of the Kindle, which will run rotating ads in the main menu and screensaver screens. This new ad-supported Kindle will be otherwise identical to the Wi-Fi model, and Amazon says that ads will only appear on those two screens, and never in an e-book.

Digital Reading: Ads will Happen

They’re here. Well, they’re about to be here next month. And only if you buy the discounted Kindle-with-special-offers. And only on the home screen and screen saver. And only when you’re looking at it, when it is “on,” with the case cover opened. And you will have some input into the style of ad you prefer.
That doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, customers don’t seem to be as upset about the incursion of ads into their e-books as you might expect. After Amazon announced their new, lower-priced and ad-supported Kindle, most complaints seemed to be either that the $25 price cut on the reader isn’t anywhere near enough, or that Wi-Fi delivered advertising separates the reader even more firmly from his purchased product: “When will I actually own what I have bought?”

Read more at Will ads in e-readers change our perception of digital books? | Digital Book World

Online story The Wall Street Machine won Pulitzer

MH: an example of great (web) journalism, infogrpahics etc

News organizations are difficult partners

Nieman Journalism Lab reporting
Editor’s note: It’s easy to get people to talk about their successes. Getting people to talk about projects that haven’t gone well is harder.
That’s why I was happy to see Jeff Reifman of NewsCloud open up about how their recently concluded Knight Foundation grant didn’t deliver what they’d have hoped. Reifman’s final report discusses the difficulties their project — which aimed to partner with news organizations to build online communities around Facebook — faced. Some are familiar complaints: difficulties getting buy-in from large news outlets; struggles to interact with their technology side; and problems dealing with a shifting underlying platform (in this case, Facebook).
Reifman is writing from his perspective, obviously, and the news orgs he worked with would likely have a different take — but he does try to note some of the complaints his partners raised here too. For others who’ve tried to partner with news organizations — or who’ve been on the other side — anything in here look familiar? If you’re starting out on a project of this sort, I’d recommend giving NewsCloud’s report a read to get one take on some of the problems you might face.

UK Government Will Press Ahead With Giving Away Paid Content To Libraries

Paidcontent reporting:
The UK government still aims to press ahead with plans that would allow Britain’s main libraries to harvest and make freely available material from online news publishers, including those with registration and pay walls.
On Monday, we reported the government had abandoned the plans because consultation submissions had failed to show the idea would not place extra burden on publishers, which will need to open their sites to new library indexing algorithms.
But the Department for Culture, Media & Sport’s initial announcement was ambiguous and wrongfooted some media outlets, including us. A department spokesperson now tells paidContent:UK the aim is unchanged. It will now seek detailed estimates for the cost to publishers, before actually moving ahead to implement the requirement.
Currently, the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 grants the British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, and the university libraries of Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College, Dublin, the right to receive and store one copy of each printed work available in the UK. Last September, the government proposed extending this provision to offline digital publications and online publications, whether free or paid. The libraries would run harvesting programmes to grab and store the content for their users.

Gannett’s Digital Revenues Still Rising; UK Decline Drags Print Down

paidContent reporting:
Gannett’s ability to reach and retain profitability over the past year rested on two main things: the growth of digital revenues and its dedication to holding down expenses. While the McLean, Va.-based media company was able to hold the line on costs in general, and digital revenues were still up by double digits, it wasn’t enough to offset a decline in ad spending that ate into Gannett’s profits and total revenues, both of which declined in Q1.

Digital: Revenues were up 12.1 percent to $156.7 million. Costs were up a bit to 3.1 percent. While digital has generally tended to provide the most positive news for the company, jobs site Careerbuilder was often a laggard. But not for the last few quarters. Careerbuilder has gotten stronger along with the other major Gannett (NYSE: GCI) digital property, rich media provider PointRoll.

Monday, April 18, 2011

US Community newspapers continue to show strong readership, community reliance

NNA reporting

COLUMBIA, MO — Communities served by community newspapers continue to demonstrate heavy reliance upon their local papers for news and information. Seventy-three percent say they read a local newspaper at least once a week.
Readers also say they read most or all of their community newspapers (78 percent), and of those going online for local news, 55 percent found it on the local newspaper’s website, compared to 17 percent for sites such as Yahoo, MSN or Google, and 26 percent for the website of a local TV station.
The results are reported by the National Newspaper Association, which has just completed its fifth readership survey on the patterns of community newspaper readers. Working with the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, NNA tests reactions of people living in smaller communities served by local newspapers.
Since 2005, NNA has done research on how people read and what they think about their local newspapers. Results have been fairly consistent over the years, though the surveys have focused more tightly on small communities during the five years. For the 2010 survey, readership for towns with newspapers that have circulations of 8,000 or less were sampled. The community size has not significantly affected outcomes. The surveys show that community newspapers have remained popular.
The early data indicate that the positive findings are consistent with the earlier surveys:
  • 73 percent of those surveyed read a local newspaper each week.
  • Those readers, on average, share their paper with 3.34 persons.
  • They spend about 37.5 minutes reading their local newspapers.
  • 78 percent read most or all of their community newspapers.


ABC's Approach to Media Transparency and Accountability for U.S. Newspapers

By: Michael Lavery, President and Managing Director, Audit Bureau of Circulations
Published: December 22, 2010

Part five in a five-part series detailing the recent changes to U.S. newspaper rules
Reviewing the rules
The U.S. newspaper industry is transitioning and expanding its channels of distribution. Throughout this series, I have reviewed ABC's response to these changes. To summarize, a need for more transparency in circulation channels led to the verified circulation category. Inclusion of targeted publications published by ABC-member newspapers to reflect their total media footprint inspired the implementation of branded editions. And the new rules regarding digital editions reflect the market's shift toward digital devices as delivery channels.

The new rules, which took effect on Oct. 1, 2010, result from a great deal of discussion and preparation from the ABC board, its advisory committees and members. The result is more comprehensive reporting to better represent the current U.S. newspaper media marketplace.

ABC's solution now encompasses a two-report approach:
1) Traditional Publisher's Statements and Audit Reports are newly revised to incorporate greater detail on distribution channels and digital devices.
2) Consolidated Media Reports allow publishers to present comprehensive, audited data for traditional and new media channels across multiple properties.

New Research: Consumers Rate Newspaper Advertising as Primary Shopping Information Source

Editor&Publisher reporting: Published: April 13, 2011

Arlington, Va. - Newspaper advertising is the leading advertising medium cited by consumers in planning, shopping and making purchasing decisions, according to data from a Frank N. Magid Associates survey of 2,500 adults. The findings, announced today by the Newspaper Association of America, paint a strong picture of the unmatched value newspaper advertising continues to deliver in today's media landscape.
The study, titled "How America Shops and Spends 2011," is the latest in an ongoing series of NAA research investigating consumer shopping habits and the influence media has on shopping today. Highlights include:
• Four-in-five adults (79 percent) of those surveyed said they "took action" as a result of newspaper advertising in the past month, including:
o Clipping a coupon (54 percent)
o Buying something (46 percent)
o Visiting Web sites to learn more (37 percent)
o Trying something for the first time (20 percent)
...• Advertising on local newspaper websites ranked second (behind only e-mailed store or product information) among online options for advertising sources, beating general interest websites, or portals, paid ads that appear on the right side of the search engine screens, ads on social network pages, and ads on mobile devices.

Plain old banner advertising eyed with renewed interest in US

The 2010 online advertising industry numbers posted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau this month showcased an impressive increase in US online ad spending for the year.

Search marketing remained the largest ad spending contributor, its share down slightly to 46% of all US internet advertising dollars. Display advertising, which includes banner ads, rich media, video and sponsorships, increased its share, accounting for 38% of US online ad spending in 2010, up from 35.2% in 2009.

US Online Ad Revenues, by Format, 2009 & 2010 (billions, % of total and % change)

News organizations are difficult partners

Nieman Journalism Lab reporting
Editor’s note: It’s easy to get people to talk about their successes. Getting people to talk about projects that haven’t gone well is harder.
That’s why I was happy to see Jeff Reifman of NewsCloud open up about how their recently concluded Knight Foundation grant didn’t deliver what they’d have hoped. Reifman’s final report discusses the difficulties their project — which aimed to partner with news organizations to build online communities around Facebook — faced. Some are familiar complaints: difficulties getting buy-in from large news outlets; struggles to interact with their technology side; and problems dealing with a shifting underlying platform (in this case, Facebook).
Reifman is writing from his perspective, obviously, and the news orgs he worked with would likely have a different take — but he does try to note some of the complaints his partners raised here too. For others who’ve tried to partner with news organizations — or who’ve been on the other side — anything in here look familiar? If you’re starting out on a project of this sort, I’d recommend giving NewsCloud’s report a read to get one take on some of the problems you might face.

Newspaper On The TV: Guardian, Others Will Develop YouView App

paidContent reporting: Looks like the idea of newspapers having their own TV channels could finally happen.

Guardian News & Media, together with three support companies, has been granted public money through the Technology Strategy Board to develop TV apps for the upcoming YouView service and Android TV services, Broadcast reports.
GNM was last month named by the YouView consortium as its only non-AV content partner. Together with the media data consultancy Idio, music data specialist Decibel and the multimedia agency Golant Media Ventures, it will develop “an app that will direct visitors to a variety of rich content aggregated from TV, film and music rights holders”, the report says.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Banner Ad Click-through rates by type of site, 2010

Adweek reporting  April 4, 2011 - Mike Chapman
Oh, how simple it all was a decade ago: Just slap clickable banners all over the right Web pages, it was believed, and the world of potential customers would beat a mouse trail to your door. But that balloon burst long ago and click-through rates for banner ads have continued to plummet. Consider this new data, supplied exclusively to Adweek by online ad solution provider MediaMind.
Even while the data—compiled from the performance of 200 billion banner ads served up over the course of 2010—show that you can raise your click-through rate by several hundred percent by choosing the “right” Web site, even on kids’ sites, the best performers, less than 0.4 percent of impressions garnered a response. Of course, display advertising is not just a quest for clicks anymore. Unsurprisingly, that has not been the goal since response rates fell below 1 percent.

ABC news opens a video bookstore reporting
Today ABC News introduced an interactive ABC Video Bookstore in the Apple App Store, producing eBooks and enhanced eBooks that draw from the news organization’s extensive archives.
Follow this link to see the free iPad app. The store opens with two titles: A Modern Fairy Tale: William, Kate and Three Generations of Royal Love (sample page embedded below) by Jane Green and The Amanda Knox Story: A Murder in Perugia by ABC News. The titles will sell for $7.99 through the app and for $5.99 as text and photo eBooks for eReaders without video support.
ABC News president and author Ben Sherwood explained in the release:  “Working with our colleagues at Hyperion, we are uniquely positioned to give readers access to history in a vibrant eBook form – from political campaigns and human drama to the triumphs and tragedies that grip the world.”

How HTML5 Is Influencing Web App Development

Mashable reporting

Over the last 12 months, the momentum behind HTML5 has continued to build, with application developers, browser makers and hardware vendors fully embracing and supporting the web of the future. Consumers have started to embrace HTML5 as well, especially as more users understand the benefits and potential that HTML5 can mean for the future.
With Firefox 4, Google Chrome, IE 9, Safari 5 and Opera all offering better, more robust support for HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, we’re already seeing glimpses of what is possible and what the web of the future may look like.
Let’s look at some of the aspects of HTML5 that are already making their mark on web app development.