Friday, December 30, 2011

Nielsen’s Tops of 2011: Advertising

Nielsen reporting: From Volkswagen’s adorable Darth Vader-inspired Super Bowl spot to Purell’s memorable placement on The Big Bang Theory, Nielsen names the top advertisements and integrations of the year. The lists demonstrate that reality and scripted shows continued to find innovative ways to integrate brands into their broadcast primetime programming. The best liked ads reflect the enduring value of traditional ad elements that have withstood the test of time – strong creative, simple and engaging messaging, and a solid emotional connection.

Nielsen’s Tops of 2011: Digital

Nielsen reporting:
As 2011 comes to a close, Nielsen reviewed the top online destinations, social media sites, and smartphone devices. Google was the most-visited U.S. Web brand, while Facebook held its lead among social networks and blogs. Smartphones were popular in 2011, making up the majority of new phone purchases with Apple as the top smartphone manufacturer and Android as the leading OS.

Also top US social networks and blogs, etc....

Top 10 U.S. Web Brands in 2011
Rank Web Brand Avg # of Unique Visitors (000)
per month
1 Google 153,441
2 Facebook 137,644
3 Yahoo! 130,121
4 MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 115,890
5 YouTube 106,692
6 Microsoft 83,691
7 AOL Media Network 74,633
8 Wikipedia 62,097
9 Apple 61,608
10 Ask Search Network 60,552
Source: Nielsen     

March 11, 2011, noon Pablo Boczkowski: The gap between what reporters write and readers read threatens news orgs’ future

Niemanlabs reporting 11.3.2011:
...Here, Pablo talks about a series of studies he’s done looking at the gap between the kind of journalism that news organizations produce and the kind of journalism that consumers consume. He’s gathered data from a number of different countries and time periods to see how those interests match up (or don’t). I think we found a few interesting points of disagreement — it’s worth a listen.
I’ve posted a transcript below of both Pablo’s comments and my own (but omitting the very interesting Q&A which followed, which is also worth a listen). For anyone wanting to skip ahead, Pablo’s talk begins at 7:50 in; my response starts at 37:10; the Q&A begins at 57:45. (And if anyone wants an MP3 version for their morning commute, here’s the link.)
... So this book — News at Work, as Jason just said, is a story about the increasing role of imitation or copying or replication in news production — the idea that more and more and more, we have the same news across different outlets...
actually there is a huge mismatch, as I say here, between the supply of information and the demand of information.
Basically, that means that the stories that news organizations consider to be the most newsworthy ones, the most important ones at any given point in time for any day or hour — the stories that are above the fold in print newspapers, or at the top of the hour in the television newscasts, or that they are in the top screen of the website — those stories that are the most important ones for them are not necessarily the stories that consumers consider to be the most important ones.
And this ties back to a long-standing debate between journalists and scholars about the stories that journalists say we need in order to function properly in a liberal democratic tradition, as citizens of the polity — information about national news, international news, business, economics, et cetera — versus the stories that often times we want to read, that are stories usually about sports, crime, or entertainment — that are not necessarily uninteresting or unimportant stories...
...So basically, just to summarize a lot of interviews, people consider political news or public affairs news anxiety-provoking, demanding a lot of cognitive effort. And they feel somewhat unprepared to interpret it. All of that moves them away from this information. So we have two very different cultures and two very different logics here...
Third, the Washington Post finding is, in part, an interesting one for me, the reverse nature of the gap, because it tells us that the niche sites, the sites that have a specialty, are siphoning interest from the generalist sites. People who are in St. Louis or people who are in Seattle who are interested in politics go to Politico or the Washington Post — they don’t go to their local news organization.
So the bundled product strategy, the generalist strategy that dominated the industry for a long while, actually might no longer be so feasible.

Advertising Isn’t Dead – The Creative Process Is

socialmedia reporting: Every single year we hear advertising as a whole or the various mediums (ie radio, print, outdoor, etc) are dead. And, every year we see new advances in technology and advertising thrive. There are new mediums emerging and we are expanding advertising, so to say that advertising is dead is ridiculous. Advertising is more alive now than it ever has been. I admit, I am a bit old school when it comes to advertising and, like many, think radio, tv, print, outdoor. But, there is a whole other medium that we tend to not necessarily consider advertising: the social platforms; which are very much alive.
The technological advances are astounding. We have come a very long way from the early days of advertising. There is more opportunity now to be creative but it is missed. It is easy to create a commercial that has the spokesperson/mascot, the catchy jingle, the stereotype, humor or lack thereof (it obviously was funny to someone) but is hard to create an ad that speaks to the target market well enough to have them take action and that is a viable ad across the various mediums. We can say that this ad will work well on TV but does that translate over to YouTube? Does that Tweet translate well over on Facebook? Is that even considered, especially for a small business?
Exposure across the mediums has become the goal. More eyes, shares, retweets will gain more exposure but does that exposure resonate and equate to action? Creating a commercial requires a story board. Does anyone have a storyboard or something of  the like for Twitter? Big brands have an agency or department that develops the voice of the brand online which is different than creating a spot but is it really? If we think of Twitter and Facebook as a billboard as each time we update as similar to people flying by on a highway at 65 and catching a glimpse then, we have to treat our social media accounts as advertising. Sure, some are able to sit in traffic on the highway and see all the billboards, especially the digiboards that change which again is like Twitter when we tweet more and more. Social media platforms are advertising and should be treated as such when to comes to the creative process.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Extra! Extra! Local Newspaper Readership Stays Strong

Mediapost reporting:
Local newspapers remain the dominant source of news in small towns and rural areas, according to the results of a new survey performed by the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Center for Advanced Social Research and the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism on behalf of the National Newspaper Association.
Overall, 74% of residents of these areas said they read the local newspapers at least once a week, with 48% reading them once a week and 11% reading them every day.
When interpreting these results, it should be remembered that many of the newspapers in question are weeklies or “non-dailies,” making up 86% of the newspapers in the survey. Thus, 70% of the respondents said they read non-dailies.
Respondents said they spent an average of 39 minutes a week reading the local newspaper, up slightly from a previous survey in 2010. The survey also found that older adults, residents who have stayed in their communities longer, and people with more education read local newspapers significantly more than younger adults, residents of shorter duration, and those with less education.
Among respondents who said they read a local newspaper, 92% said they pay for the newspaper, and the rest get it free. Within this group, 67% subscribe to the newspaper, while 33% said they buy it from a news rack or store.
In terms of motivation, 83.2% of respondents who read the local newspaper do so primarily for the news content, but 69.2% also agreed that it “provides valuable local shopping and advertising information.”

The New York Times Company Agrees to Sell Its Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings LLC

Market Watch reporting:
NEW YORK, Dec 27, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The New York Times Company NYT +0.11% has entered into an agreement to sell its Regional Media Group, consisting of 16 regional newspapers, other print publications and related businesses, to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments. The transaction is expected to close within a few weeks and upon completion of the sale, the Company will record an after-tax gain on the sale in the first quarter of 2012. The Company intends to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes. The Company estimates the net after-tax proceeds from the sale will be approximately $150 million.
"These news organizations have served as trusted institutions in their communities, delivering news and information that matter most to their readers," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company. "The sale of our Regional Media Group will enable The New York Times Company to continue our transformation to a digitally-focused, multiplatform media company." 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hyperlocal Execs’ 2012 Predictions: Webster, Tolles, Priebatsch and More…

Street fight reporting:
As 2011 draws to a close, it’s clear that it’s been a pretty momentous time for hyperlocal businesses. Between Patch’s rapid expansion, the explosion of the daily deals industry, Groupon’s IPO and the demise of Gowalla (to name a few), there have been plenty of intriguing developments and big stories since Street Fight launched in April.
Looking toward next year, we asked a few hyperlocal luminaries to weigh in on what they think will be the biggest story in 2012. 
Seth Priebatsch, CEO, SCVNGR/LevelUp
2012 will be the year of the transaction. Broadly speaking 2010 was the year of the check-in. 2011 was the year of “beyond the check-in” — where companies focused on richer forms of engagement; photos, filters, information about the places, adding game elements, location-based deals, etc… 2012 will be all about the transaction. The companies focusing on location-based interaction are going to drive to connect the engagement they can create with the register. Doing this both drives, and tracks, true financial value-add. I don’t think it’ll be all about mobile payments, or POS or NFC or deals or any one concept at all, but rather a global movement to get all LBS interaction as close to the transaction as possible.
Nihal Mehta, CEO, LocalResponse
In 2012, I think more and more consumers are publicly publishing to the web via social media and LBS — Zuckerberg’s law realized. To date, only 5% of adults are actively engaging in LBS, but I believe this number will go up 10-20x, especially with greater realization of “passive” check-ins, where consumers need not actively open an app, select a venue, and “check-in.” These passive platforms include apps that are always geoaware and running in the background, carrier geofencing, credit card transactions, and point of sale/NFC proliferation...

iPads and Kindles force newspapers further away from print

Guardian reporting:
A million iPads and Kindles may have been unwrapped on Sunday – according to tentative analyst estimates – an influx of portable technology that is expected to hasten a decline in the already faltering sales of printed newspapers, adding pressure on traditional business models that have traditionally supported so many titles around the country.
Publishers, preparing for the handheld arrivals, took the chance to break with a tradition that dates back to 1912, when publishers agreed not to produce Christmas Day papers to give paperboys, among others, a day off. For the first time in its 190-year history the Sunday Times published a digital-only edition on 25 December – with the normally paid for product given away in the hope of luring sought after digital subscribers.
Boxing Day publication, for dailies like the Guardian, has also become a necessity – to ensure digital editions for new Kindle and iPad owners to read. The result is that what was a traditionally quiet period for news has become a critical moment to showcase new work, at a time when an industry already riven by the phone-hacking scandal and under judicial examination, is facing what can be described as an existential crisis.
Fifty years ago two national dailies – the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express – sold more than 4m copies each; today the bestselling Sun sells 2.6m. In the last year alone, printed sales declined by 10% for daily broadsheets and by 5% for daily tabloids – and when the News of the World stopped printing last July 600,000 copy sales simply disappeared.
The knock-on impact of the decline has been a push for digital readers that have seen newspapers like the Daily Mail win 5m unique visitors a day – compared with its printed sale of 2m – but struggle to generate revenues to match. The Mail generated £16m from its website last year, out of £608m overall.
Some specialist titles, such as the Financial Times, are managing the transition well – it has 260,000 digital subscribers – up 40% this year – compared with 337,000 buyers of the printed product, where sales are down by 12%. Digital subscribers generate £180 a year and the paper, priced at £2.50 on the newsstand on a weekday, is profitable.
John Ridding, the managing director, says that 30% of the FT's revenues come from digital sales and that "within two or three years" digital readers and revenues will account for more than those from the printed business. 

New Rules for the Ways We Watch

NYT reporting/David Carr:
Yes, competition is storming out of every device and connection, and consumers have choices and leverage they never dreamed of. But network television continues to waltz along, attracting advertisers in big numbers. Cable had a great year, and media octopuses like Time Warner and News Corporation continue to find plenty of profits. Big media companies still rely on huge, well-entrenched assets that include brands, distribution and capital.
But even if the sky is still aloft, there are visible, portentous cracks appearing. The inertia that has kept consumers from bolting from traditional content providers is beginning to erode as a new generation remakes media in its own image. Device companies and search outfits are intent on manufacturing their own content. And the migration of movies, music and video to the cloud could change the weather in a hurry.
Even as some of the old truisms in media still obtain — content wears the crown and strong brands break through clutter — a few new rules are taking shape.
A SCREEN IS A SCREEN Steve Jobs taught us a bunch before he exited, but one of his most current lessons could be the one with the most far-reaching implications. Content has a price tag, which is reassuring, but the old dividing lines between television, radio, Web and print disappear within the four corners of a tablet. That means, for instance, that CNBC and The Wall Street Journal are not in different businesses anymore, and in fact The Journal is adding hours of live video with each passing month. The BBC and Al Jazeera are no longer regional curios, they’re here. Every cable channel with two nickels and more than a few digital enterprises is financing the kind of narrative television that used to be available only at a certain time on a certain network.
NEW NETWORKS EVERY DAY On Christmas Day, a lot of people took the ribbon off a Web-enabled flat-screen television, and now the fight for real estate on all those enhanced television screens will be fast and furious. Cable providers will try to keep people from downloading the products of insurgent Web “broadcasters,” but they can’t stop what’s coming. They will have to win by providing value that trumps the now-infinite channel universe of the Web.
The $27 billion that traditional media just paid to the National Football League is a hedge, not an answer. So-called virtual operators — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google and Apple — have none of the legacy or infrastructure costs. Google has unleashed $100 million to seed new programming on YouTube, and Netflix is financing a series by the director David Fincher. That gaming device your children are playing with? That too is a network in the making. Traditional networks and cable providers have the content, but if they hold on too tight, they will miss out on vast new avenues of distribution and revenue.
THE REMOTE AS BRICK The iPad is a screen on your lap that makes it easy to navigate toward a completely personal experience. That screen on your living room wall is going to have to perform the same way to remain relevant. As it has in many other areas of technology, the smartphone will point the way. Our phones — and now tablets — are always on and poised for action...

Celeb Magazines Down, but Specialty Titles Gain

adweek reporting:
People isn’t the newsstand stalwart it once was.
For years the celebrity weekly held the No. 2 spot behind Cosmopolitan. But a 10.5 percent drop in newsstand sales in the first half of the year, to 1.2 million, caused the Time Inc. title to slip to No. 3 behind Hearst's Cosmo and Bauer's Woman’s World, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations’ magazine figures.
People’s single-copy sales were down less than its competitors, and its annual subscriptions, at a pricey $100, were up 6 percent. Still, that the usually reliable People was off as much as it was shows how tough it's been for magazines to sell newsstand copies.
For the industry overall, newsstand declined 9.2 percent. Paid
subscriptions, which publishers have more control over, were down only slightly, which limited the decline in overall circulation to 1.4 percent.
There are some pockets of growth, however, especially among special-interest titles. Defying the conventional wisdom that guys don’t read magazines, Game Informer Magazine boosted its circulation by more than a third, to nearly 6 million, making the video game guide the fourth biggest consumer magazine after AARP’s titles and Better Homes and Gardens.
Hispanic-interest titles also dominated the fastest-growing magazines. Poder Hispanic, which formed last year with the merger of Poder and Hispanic magazines, more than doubled its circulation, to 278,786.

Publishers Challenge Audience Report

adweek reporting:
Magazine publishers are demanding explanations from GfK MRI after its fall magazine audience report showed more than two-thirds lost audience versus a year ago, many of them by double digits.
Some year-to-year audience fluctuations are common, but the fall report was unusual. About 70 percent of the 220 magazines measured were down, according to MRI. Big decliners included Wired, down 22 percent to 2.5 million; Bon Appétit, down 17 percent to 5.8 million; O, The Oprah Magazine, down 10 percent; and New York, down 14 percent.
Print ad buyers use the semiannual report to decide where to
spend clients’ budgets, so declining audiences are the last thing publishers need. Until now, the overall magazine audience had held steady, giving periodicals needed ammo at a time when newsstand sales and ad revenue were falling. The fall MRI report showed the total magazine audience down 3 percent, though.
Publishers’ unhappiness doesn’t end there, though. Some are complaining that the report under-represents their digital audience.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Until recently, magazine measurement firms focused on their print audiences, but readers are now getting magazine content on mobile devices and online as well as in print. To that end, MRI, along with rival Affinity, has begun measuring magazines’ digital footprint, a step that some publishers hoped would boost their overall numbers. MRI’s fall report was its first to include such comprehensive data.
One publisher, whose title saw a double-digit audience decline, fumed, “Magazines with robust readership are showing declines, and magazines with significant digital platforms are not seeing those recognized. MRI is going to have a lot of explaining to do.”
Another publisher, Bon Appétit’s Pamela Drucker Mann, said it was a “challenge” to understand why Bon App’s audience fell 17 percent, given strong year-over-year newsstand sales for the past several issues under new editor Adam Rapoport.
“We did speak to MRI about this, and they said it typically takes syndicated research 12-18 months to reflect an editorial change,” she emailed. “Therefore, we conclude these numbers to reflect reader fatigue toward the former Bon Appétit editorial product and the exact reason Adam’s team was brought on to reshape the editorial vision of the magazine.”
Howard Mittman, publisher of Wired, said the problem was the methodology itself. MRI gathers the information by conducting in-person surveys with 26,000 interviewees.
“The last wave had Wired showing a healthy double-digit increase, and this latest wave has us showing a double-digit decline,” Mittman emailed. “Frankly, I believe any drops, or increases, are less a symbol of a magazine’s audience than they are a shining example of deficiencies in the research collection process itself. Do you really think a Wired reader is going to spend that amount of time completing a written and online survey? If so, they're not likely the affluent, intellectual readers we target anyway.”

The Trouble with In-App Advertising

emarketer reporting:
Most smartphone users prefer to get their apps for free, and accept the tradeoff of advertising to support that. November 2011 research from Lab42 found that 80% of smartphone users had recently downloaded apps with ads, and data from the same month from Pontiflex indicated just 12% of smartphone users preferred to pay for apps.
The Lab42 survey revealed that most smartphone users had clicked on at least one in-app ad in the past three months, though not many had clicked on more than a few. But despite evidence of the high effectiveness of mobile advertising, just half of that group remembered what the ads they had clicked on were for.

Number of In-App Ads on Which US Smartphone Users Have Clicked, Nov 2011 (% of respondents)

The Pontflex survey found a preference among smartphone owners for ads that keep them within the app, rather than pulling them into a mobile browser, and a lack of affinity for mobile video ads, which are similarly disruptive....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mail Online and Wired among best apps in Europe, according to iMonitor

newmediaage reporting:
Three other UK titles – The British Journal of Photography, Metro and car magazine Evo – also feature in the top ten.
iMonitor provides evaluation and global tracking of around 3,700 apps related to magazines and newspapers, or which fall into the “other news” category.
The ratings are based on a combination of app design, functionality and use of rich-media features that enhance user experience and expand upon the services offered by traditional print publications.
Germany also fared well with apps for tabloid title BILD and computer magazine CHIP making the top ten.

Facebook Owns 95% Of Social Networking Time

Business Insider reporting: Facebook accounts for 95% of social networking time on the web in the U.S. according to an analysis of comScore data provided to us by web publisher Ben Elowitz of Wetpaint.

Elowitz's takeaway from the data: "There’s now no question that 'social' means 'Facebook.'" And if you want to be in front of consumers, you have to figure out a way to be in their Facebook news feed.
This is important for Facebook, since it just announced plans to insert ads into users news feeds. If publishers agree with Elowitz, then it could be the big revenue generator Facebook needs to sustain itself for the next ten years.