Monday, April 30, 2012

Magazines Can't Turn Page on Slump

WSJ reporting:
The media marketplace may be expecting an advertising rebound this year, but at least one group isn't benefiting so far: magazines.
The number of ad pages in U.S. consumer magazines fell 8.2% during the first quarter of 2012 from the year earlier period, according to research by the Publishers Information Bureau. The quarter is the third in a row where the number of ad pages declined from the year-earlier period.
"They are having a slow start to 2012," said Robin Steinberg, a media buyer at MediaVest...

Journatic CEO: We are creating a better future for journalism

gigaoma reporting:
The Chicago Tribune recently laid off many of the reporters and editors who produced its hyper-local editions, and announced that it was outsourcing those functions to a startup called Journatic — a move that drew criticism from those who saw the company as a Demand Media-style “content farm,” replacing journalists with algorithms and poorly-paid freelancers. In an interview with GigaOM, however, Journatic CEO Brian Timpone said that not only is his model more efficient than that of a newspaper, but it can actually help produce better journalism.
Timpone — who got his start as a journalist working for TV stations and broadcast affiliates in Duluth, Minnesota and Springfield, Illinois and at one time owned several community newspapers — said he got the idea for what became Journatic after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, when he started a content-management service for newspapers (Timpone also runs a data-driven real estate service called Blockshopper). He said that at the time, he was fascinated with the difference in market penetration between smaller community papers and large metropolitan papers:
[I]n Chicago, the penetration is so low, but in a small town it can be huge. So I started thinking about how you can build higher penetration in those kinds of markets… there are suburbs of Chicago with 50,000 people and there’s no newspaper at all, not even a weekly.
The Journatic founder said that he reacted negatively to suggestions that his company is a “content farm” because he believes it is completely different from what someone like Demand Media does, which involves aggregating information in the hope that it will do well in search. “We produce a ton of content, but we are completely different,” Timpone said. When asked how many stories or items Journatic produces, he said he couldn’t say exactly but it was in the range of “tens of thousands a month, and growing quickly.”

A lot of community news doesn’t need a reporter

What the company produces for clients like the Tribune — and a number of other papers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle — is community-level news, Timpone says, but it is able to do so much more efficiently:
The base of community news is what they call in the industry ‘process news,’ and it doesn’t really require a reporter, it just needs some cleaning up. This is not some new concept, it’s how community news has worked for decades. Who makes community news? Churches, schools, municipal governments, all the town councils that have 5 meetings a month where no one ever goes to them. This is the same stuff you’d read in a community newspaper in the 50s....

Study Finds Gen Y Responds To App Ads Read more:

A new study by mobile application company Tapjoy and market research firm Interpret polled 2,000 consumers on mobile app attitudes and usage. The study found that adults 25-34 are more likely to value the influence of advertisements, and they recall seeing more ads while using mobile apps, particularly video ads or fully sponsored/branded apps. They also recall a larger number of ads per single app use: seven, compared to six among the total population.
Once members of this age group saw an ad within an app, half of them decided to click on it, versus 45% of typical app users. Twenty-eight percent of people 25-34 and 29% of those 18-24 have followed an ad to download another app, compared to 24% of total app users. Over one-third of adults 18-34 have downloaded an app to earn rewards, compared to 29% ofthe typical user...
...The study breaks app using into several groups. One group, about 21% of the respondents, are "premium essentials" who are willing to pay for apps; they have a lot of apps and prune their number to eliminate the ones they don't like or use any more. The study said they find apps from word of mouth, and browsing the app store, but not by advertising and promotions. They are most likely to try a free version -- and if they like it, upgrade to the paid one. They also over-index for mobile games, are willing to pay for premium games and pay up front.
Another group, "researcher purchasers" -- about 29% of the respondent group -- uses social networks and recommendations to find apps....
Read more:

Magazines slow to adopt new reporting format

adweek reporting:
As the number of digital reading devices has grown, publishers have evolved to keep up. So, too, have the firms that audit them. Last year, with ad buyers clamoring for more information about print audiences, the Audit Bureau of Circulations launched a voluntary product called the Consolidated Media Report that presents publications’ total brand footprint across print and digital platforms.
So far, 30 or so newspapers have released Consolidated Media Reports. Magazines have been slow to follow suit, but they’re starting to. On April 30, The Economist will release a CMR, the second major title to do so. (Popular Science released the first one last fall and parent Bonnier Corp. is getting ready to release reports for three more titles, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Popular Photography.)
The Economist has had a good print and digital story to tell, so it’s not totally surprising that it’s one of the first to adopt this new reporting format. It’s bucked the downward circulation trend, despite its high price. (An annual print subscription averages $105.) And unlike most magazines, it doesn’t give away its print content online.
In addition to the print circulation stats that are in every magazine’s ABC Publisher’s Statement, The Economist’s CMR reveals that its digital edition averaged about 48,000 in sales for March—about 6 percent of total circulation, putting it at the high end of magazines. There were 255,000 readers. At $105 for an annual subscription, the digital edition commands a premium as the print does...

Old Dogs New Tricks and Crappy Newspaper Executives

Digital First reporting:
John Paton: Good evening.
I’m old media.
This is my 36th year as a newspaper man – apologies – my 36th year as a multi-platform news executive.
It’s a career I started as a copyboy on this same street about a dozen blocks east of here.
I was hired for taking a picture of a belly dancer fooling with a drunk columnist. I was given the job of a guy who had just been fired for being a drunk. And I ended my first night on the job, taking home – dead drunk – the guy who hired me.
In my career the only reprimand I have ever received – if you don’t count the odd suspension for insubordination – was about expenses, specifically it was about booze. It read: “You are no longer allowed to order an Armagnac, digestif or any other after dinner drink that is older than you are.”
This is commonly referred to as the Golden Era of journalism.
And now, like many of you, I am struggling hard to teach this old dog new tricks.
Struggling to accept that much of what we know is no longer valid.
And trying to come to grips with the fact that crappy newspaper executives are a bigger threat to journalism’s future than any changes wrought by the Internet.
All of us have been subjected to the annual spectacle of a gaggle of print publishers gathering on a panel – Doug Knight, our moderator this evening, has officiated over a couple of these – to declaim they are not dead yet.
It’s an embarrassing display played out time and time again at conferences where our industry heads look like aging ingĂ©nues at Stratford declaring they can still play Juliette. And nobody has the heart to break it to them.
Or worse still, mediocre journalists, wrapping themselves in the flag of long-form journalism, to deride the value of social media as a reporting tool. A tool they don’t understand or care to understand.

Gatekeepers need to find new value when the fences have blown away

Teh Buttry Diary reporting:
The gatekeeper days of journalism were fun. But they’re over. And they weren’t as good as we remember them.
In a Facebook discussion today, Arkansas State journalism professor Jack Zibluk wrote, “By abandoning the gatekeeper role, I believe you are abandoning the profession.”
I replied: “Jack, no one abandoned the gatekeeper role. It became irrelevant when the fences blew away.”
Jack asked me to elaborate:
If journalism and journalists are no longer gatekeepers, then what ARE we? Nobody I know of has made a cohesive explanation of what our role is any more in society.
I initially begged off, saying I might blog about gatekeepers in a week or two. But another gatekeeper discussion on Jack’s Facebook wall and an exchange of private Facebook messages prompted me to blog now...
....But for better or worse, as the fences blew away, journalism has changed forever. We don’t compete with just another newspaper or two and a few local TV stations. People can get their news from a seemingly endless selection of blogs and social media accounts, some of them from independent journalists with the same standards we have, some from newsmakers trying to cover themselves (some to spin the news, some to provide legitimate journalism in areas we traditionally undercovered), some of them from the general public.
In a February address to the Canadian Journalism Foundation, John Paton, my boss, explained the realities that Digital First Media if facing:
We have accepted we are no longer the old-fashioned agenda-setters or gatekeepers of information for our communities...

'Real Simple’ Gets Into Direct Sales With Gift Guide App

Mashable reporting: Real Simple magazine is making its first foray into mobile commerce with the launch of a gift guide app for iPhones Tuesday.
The app is fairly standard as far as gift guides go, featuring 50 Mother’s Day gifts selected by the magazine’s editorial team. In keeping with Real Simple‘s budget-conscious audience, no item is priced above $50. Next month, the title will add gifts deemed suitable for Father’s Day and graduation.
Where the app deviates from your standard, one-off magazine app is in its shopping capabilities. Rather than sending users to third-party retail sites, the magazine partnered with DropWallet to enable users to purchase any of the items directly within the app. Real Simple receives an (undisclosed) cut of each sale, managing editor Kathleen Harris tells Mashable, which is stated in a disclaimer in the app.
Shannon King, general manager of, says the gift guide could be the beginning of a new revenue stream for the magazine and parent company Time Inc. Should it prove successful, the team plans to look into adding shopping capabilities to its other offerings: namely, the iPad edition of Real Simple and its website.
The app also marks an opportunity, says Harris, to provide a service to Real Simple‘s audience. Allowing direct purchase saves readers the effort of hunting down products.