Saturday, May 19, 2012

Study: Online-only news sites 'struggling to cover costs' reporting:
A report looking at the successes and failures of online-only news websites in Europe has found that most are unable to cover their operating costs, meaning most survive for less than three years.

The study, "Survival is Success", published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), suggests that "surviving for more than a few years is a form of success in itself".

Out of nine start-up news sites analysed in the report, only two, Mediapart (France) and Perlentaucher (Germany) broke even. Mediapart is sustained by a paywall system, while Perlentaucher's low operating costs help its survival, combined with a "highly diversified business model" the report adds.

The rest of the nine have either shut down, been bought out by news magazines, or continue to operate at a loss, surviving only on support from external investors.

The report says there are two main challenges for online-only news websites:

Spain's iPad Mag, Vis à Vis, Shows Growth, Points to New Path

Mediashift reporting:
In a small office in Alcala Street, in the center of Madrid, a team of seven young entrepreneurial journalists are working overtime to produce the next issue of digital magazine Vis à Vis.
Conceived exclusively for the iPad and launched in January, Vis à Vis is an interactive, visual and modern publication that wants to reinvent journalism.
The first edition of the magazine recorded up to 42,000 downloads. The third edition was released on April 1, and the team's expectations are very high.
"Journalism is going through a phase in which either you undertake your own idea or you have to conform to the reality of market," said Laura Blanco, the magazine's editor in chief.
Together with Ángel Anaya, she holds the reins of this initiative that forged its roots during their first year at college. The seven editorial staff members are between 23 and 25 years old and studied together in the Spanish city of Valencia. After working on a project involving the editing of a print magazine, they decided to launch their own publication online.
"With the emergence of digital platforms, the entire printed press industry started wobbling," Blanco said.
When the iPad appeared on the market, she and her colleagues realized that it would be a suitable platform for a lifestyle magazine, because it could combine quality content with interactive features.
"In August [2011] we reached Madrid with much uncertainty, but with a lot of hope and enthusiasm," Anaya said. He confessed that the magazine is "his creation" and passionately narrated the gestation process of the idea. In the beginning, the group of friends had to rely on family support to fund their project. When they asked for a small bank loan, they were told that they were "too young to take that risk."

"Free Forever"...

... The magazine's content consists of interviews with prominent figures in the areas of sports, television, fashion or gastronomy, presented in a personal "vis à vis" (face to face) setting. "We try to create a special atmosphere with each character. Interviews are always done in a kind of 'petit comité'," Blanco said. 

Bloomberg Businessweek goes magazine-y on the iPhone

NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
Bloomberg Businessweek is testing a question: How well can magazine content work on the iPhone?
Magazine companies have jumped feet first into the iPad marketplace, attracted to the idea that a lean-back medium like magazines would work well in a lean-back platform like tablets. But they’ve proven less interested in jumping onto iPhones and other smartphones — a target market that, while possibly less magazine-friendly, is also much larger.
The Bloomberg Businessweek+ app crossed that divide with a new version that jumps from the iPad to the iPhone, delivering the same issue-based content in a smaller package.
As on the iPad, Businessweek offers magazine articles, videos, audio interviews, and more; new issues of the magazines are downloaded into the Newsstand. Aside from obligatory design differences, the apps are identical in content; neither offers the regular updating of a daily news app.
The company says the app, which launched this time last year, has gained more than 100,000 subscribers on the iPad. The iPhone version is an attempt at opening up that number a little further...

May 7, 2012, 3:11 p.m. Super Mario Wallpaper Super Mario, cub reporter: Jesse Schell on what the game industry could teach the news industry

NiemanJournalismLab reporting: 
Take a look at the video game industry, and it’s hard not to think of journalism.
Both built themselves up by controlling their distribution platforms — whether that meant a game console or a newspaper’s printing press — in ways that made competition difficult, maintained pricing power, and generated lots of profits. And both are now being disrupted by “good enough” new competitors that use more open development platforms (the web, the modern app store), run on carry-everywhere mobile devices, and are much, much cheaper. What The Huffington Post is to your local daily, 99-cent Angry Birds or free-to-start Farmville is to the $59 Playstation console game.
Just as the Internet has fundamentally disrupted how we think about journalism, it has deeply rattled the video game industry. We aren’t just seeing a dramatic change to how games are played — on a platform like Facebook rather than on a single-function console like Nintendo, for example — we’re seeing a shift in who is making games in the first place. Sound familiar?
To start to think about the parallels, I caught up with Jesse Schell, CEO and creative director of Schell Games, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center...

For its 2012 elections coverage, MTV swaps out citizen journalism for gamification

NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
Nearly 17 million Americans have reached voting age in the four years since the last presidential election cycle. This year’s pool of youth voters includes 46 million people in the United States, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. But the youth vote is notoriously elusive.
Even in 2008, when young people turned out in huge numbers and the under-30 vote tipped the scales for Barack Obama in some key swing states, youth turnout still clocked in below the record-high of 55.4 percent in 1972. In the 2010 midterms, turnout among young voters dipped slightly below where it was in 2006. There’s also a significant education gap — 26 percentage points in 2008 — that shows college students vote in much higher numbers than young people not enrolled in college.
Surveyed about why they opt out of voting, eligible youth consistently say that they aren’t interested in politics. Other common explanations for staying away from the ballot box: Being too busy, turned off by political vitriol, or just forgetful.
Taking cues from fantasy football, MTV is partnering with a group of news organizations on a game they hope will engage youth with elective politics. The network has long experimented with ways to engage young voters, but this year it’s trading citizen journalism — in 2008, MTV picked one correspondent in each state and D.C. to cover the presidential race — for a gamification approach to elections coverage.
“Millennials are increasingly viewing life through a game lens, even just [using] #winning or #fail,” Jason Rzepka, MTV’s vice president of public affairs, told me. “Game vernacular has become a part of youth vernacular. By putting that competitive layer on top of it — a lot of people are inherently competitive, so if the path to winning is being informed, there could be a really great civic benefit.”
MTV is using a $250,000 Knight Foundation grant to launch a beta version of Fantasy Election ’12 this summer, with a formal public launch on Sept. 1. Here’s how the game works: Players and their friends sign up to compete against one another in a league. Each player drafts a 12-person team made up of Congressional and presidential candidates. When the candidates on your virtual team do well in real life, you get points. If the candidates on your team are faltering, you have the opportunity to trade them. The game emphasizes mobile — players using smartphones can check stats from their phones, receive push notifications about candidate performance, and check into various campaign-related events from anywhere...

Coverup at Washington Times

Salon reporting: 
During his long career, Arnaud de Borchgrave, a one-time Newsweek correspondent and editor, has earned his share of laurels. Fellow journalist Theodore H. White has called him one of “America’s great foreign correspondents.” “In a job that requires bluff and bravado, he has outrun the best of them,” Esquire gushed in a lengthy profile, which is quoted in de Borchgrave’s official bio. Along the way, he has also racked up some fancy titles, including director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
These days, though, de Borchgrave is involved in some less praiseworthy pursuits. Alongside his other activities, the veteran newsman is a columnist for the Washington Times, the influential conservative broadsheet, where he once served as editor in chief. And in a handful of columns over the last year he has lifted passages verbatim, or nearly verbatim, from the Internet and other sources, without attribution — a fact the Washington Times’ leadership tried to sweep under the rug, according to insiders at the paper...

True Confessions Of A Book Lover

Huffpost reporting:
Here's a dirty secret: I like books.
And I mean books, with pages made of real paper. In fact, I like them so much that I used to consider digital publishing a personal threat. I was such a loyal foot soldier in the war of paper vs. platform, that when the Kindle came out, I spent hours researching its burning point to demonstrate the absurdity of Fahrenheit 451 in a world of eReaders. (The "correct" title should be Fahrenheit 361.)
So imagine my surprise when three years later, I, a professed book lover, found myself presenting Tumblr, the microblogging service, as an ideal distribution channel and reading platform for a new fiction magazine.
I overcame my radical devotion to the printed word when I started working at Electric Literature, an indie publisher perhaps best known for being the first fiction magazine to the iPhone and also for tweeting an entire story by Rick Moody.
The fiction in Electric Literature's recently retired quarterly journal was extraordinary on any platform--including paper, though we didn't publish online. I'm now co-editor of our new magazine: Recommended Reading, which is an exclusively digital publication (online and Kindle to start). Why the drastic change to our publishing model? By publishing online, Recommended Reading is easy to share between friends, can be accessed directly through social media, and read on any smartphone. It means we can publish weekly, charge nothing, and more people will read the fiction we believe in.
We live in a culture of distraction: there's TV, Hulu, and Netflix; there's Facebook, Twitter, and OK Cupid; there are all the books you've been planning to read, the stack of New Yorkers on your coffee table, and (hopefully) some fiction journals you've been meaning to get to. Not to mention, if you have an iPhone, just like 100 million other people, all these services are always available and competing for your attention. With the world's largest library at your fingertips, how do you know which page to turn to? Here's where we step into the fray.
Recommended Reading will publish one piece of fiction a week, each curated by the best writers and editors working today...

One third of Brits now e-reading, says Bowker study

The Bookseller reporting:
Nearly a third of British adults (31%) say they are likely to buy an e-book in the next six months, according to a new study from Bowker.
According to report Understanding the Digital Consumer, the percentage of adults who have purchased an e-book has seen an almost threefold increase since February 2011.
The Kindle has become the e-reader of choice for UK adults, with 40% of those reading e-books using the Kindle most often to do so. Tablet devices have more than doubled market share between February 2011 and March 2012, with 12% reporting that they use them most often.
Growth in e-book consumption is being driven by older readers, particularly those aged 45-54. Just over a quarter of this age group bought an e-book in the six months to March 2012, up from 17% in November 2011. Men are more likely than women to buy e-books, but women buy more and also download more free titles.
Children aged 10 and under are reading e-books on laptops rather than dedicated e-readers, according to the study. However from the age of 11, the Kindle becomes their most widely used device...

Hearst hails the age of the tablet, says readers are willing to pay more for tablet editions

Duncan Edwards, CEO of Hearst Magazines International, who highlighted the striking rise of tablet publishing.
Hearst is of the largest magazine publishers in the world and has pushed magazines like Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire and Marie Claire, onto the iPad and Android tablets of late, moves which would seem to illustrate just how seriously Hearst is taking tablet publishing.
“At Hearst, we see the arrival of the tablet, and the scale of the tablet market, as a significant media opportunity. There is a huge opportunity through a new distribution market”, said Edwards, when speaking in London.
Edwards went on to assert that Hearst is looking to reach one million paid digital sales on tablets a month for the US by the end of the year, but said that monthly tablet magazine sales currently stand at around 600,000.
Despite the disparity in sales between digital and print (Hearst sells 22 million print magazines each month), it is clear that Hearst has spent some time configuring its tablet editions. The firm first established the Hearst App Lab - a laboratory for testing different tablets and software, after the launch of the first iPad, and has clearly spent some time figuring out how to bring its world-renowned print magazines onto the tablet.
Edwards explained that the tablet versions of Cosmopolitan, Country Living and Good Housekeeping are identical to the printed versions, but said that the publisher completely redesigned the likes of Elle, Esquire and O, The Oprah Magazine for the iPad. Despite some clamour for new tablet versions in the industry, Edwards stressed that most readers actually prefer their tablet editions to be ripped straight from print, and admitted that this was an easier process than having to redesign the entire magazine.
“People thought we’d reimagine the magazines to take advantage of the technology behind the device, but consumers prefer this replica version, and in reality we’re much better at doing this.”...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A DVR Ad-Eraser Causes Tremors at TV Upfronts

NYT reporting:
Broadcast television executives came to New York this week, as they do every year, to talk up their new TV shows in front of advertisers.
This year, they are having to talk about yet another technology trying to tear them down.
The disruptive technology at hand is an ad eraser, embedded in new digital video recorders sold by Charles W. Ergen’s Dish Network, one of the nation’s top distributors of TV programming. Turn it on, and all the ads recorded on most prime-time network shows are automatically skipped, no channel-flipping or fast-forwarding necessary.
Some reviewers have already called the feature, named Auto Hop, a dream come true for consumers. But for broadcasters and advertisers, it is an attack on an entrenched television business model, and it must be strangled, lest it spread.
 ...The Auto Hop is noteworthy because it originated not from a start-up but from a satellite distributor with longstanding ties to the rest of the TV industry. Dish Network regularly negotiates with the networks for the rights to rebroadcast programming. Without that programming, subscribers would switch distributors. Yet Dish has still decided to promote its ad eraser, which comes with the Hopper, a new DVR that can record all the prime-time programming on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC simultaneously.

Facebook’s biggest problem is that it’s a media company

gigaom reporting:
There’s been a lot of attention paid to Facebook’s business model recently, especially with the news that General Motors has killed a $10-million advertising campaign devoted to the giant social network — not exactly a great sign of confidence in advance of the world’s most eagerly anticipated IPO. And GM’s move is only the latest indication of discontent, as other advertisers are also questioning their spending. What all of these moves reinforce is that while Facebook may look like and function like a social network for the majority of its users, on the business side it looks almost exactly like a traditional media company, and that is both good and bad.
Like Twitter, the content within Facebook may be generated entirely by users, but the business model is all about advertising, just like any other media entity. According to the social network’s latest S-1 securities filing, advertising accounted for more than 80 percent of its $1-billion in revenue in the most recent quarter. And while some of that represents experiments with “social advertising” such as Sponsored Stories and other features, much of it is essentially run-of-the-mill banner and display advertising — not all that different from what you would find on a newspaper or magazine website, or any blog network.
...As Dixon points out, what made advertising such a spectacular business for Google was that people who are searching for things are already part-way down the road toward wanting to buy something — in other words, they are further along the spectrum of “purchasing intent.” And at least the readers of newspaper websites and other media entities are theoretically interested in information about the world, current affairs, even entertainment. Many Facebook users are simply there to socialize, share photos, etc. How does that translate into a receptive environment for advertising?...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Millennials Lead the Quest for Mobile-Enabled, Just-in-Time Information

emarketer reporting:
No longer do consumers wait until they are back at a home computer to make plans, buy products and connect with friends—instead, consumers are reaching for their smartphones to take action right in the moment. According to a study conducted between March and April 2012 by The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, smartphone and mobile device-connected consumers are falling under a new “culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers.”
Half of all US smartphone users, according to Pew’s data, had used their device in the 30 days prior to the survey to coordinate a gathering. And nearly half had used it to decide whether or not to visit a business like a restaurant. Non-smartphone owners are following this trend to a much lesser degree—only 10% had used their mobile phone during the 30-day period to decide whether or not to visit a business. Other popular smartphone information quests included solving an unexpected problem, looking something up to settle an argument and looking up a sports score.

US Mobile Phone Owners Who Conduct Select Real-Time Mobile Activities, by Device Type, April 2012 (% of respondents)

Unsurprisingly, millennials are leading this real-time information-seeking trend. ..

Monday, May 14, 2012

Future unveils “fully interactive” Total Film iPad edition

ebook magazine reporting:
Movie magazine Total Film has launched a “fully interactive” edition for the iPad which features interactive pages, exclusive content and full-screen video.
The title is available through Apple’s Newstand app and has been optimised to take advantage of the high-resolution retina display on the new iPad.
The Total Film Interactive Edition launches with an exclusive The Dark Knight Rises cover story while inside is bespoke video content direct from the set.
Publishers Future say the Total Film Interactive Edition was created using the firm’s own proprietary software, FutureFolio, an Apple-approved wrapper for digital products on the Newsstand.
Jane Crowther, Editor of Total Film, says: “The Total Film Interactive iPad Edition offers our readers the perfect opportunity to fully engage in the Total Film experience. Through interactive pages, bespoke video, plus exclusive extra content and galleries, our audience of passionate film fans are able to interact with the brands cutting-edge editorial content more than ever before.”

Nick Denton’s new advertising system may foreshadow a post-blogger future

Poynter reporting:
Gawker Media honcho Nick Denton is weaning his sites off banner ads, he announced in a staff memo Thursday: “In two years, our primary offering to marketers will be our discussion platform.” That’s the new commenting system Gawker sites began rolling out at the end of April, one Denton thinks can be sold.
Gawker’s sort of throwing up a leaky paywall around the system; Mathew Ingram wondered why advertisers wouldn’t just hop into Gawker comments for free. Denton told him:
Advertisers will pay for promotion of the discussions in which they engage. Just like any marketer can go into Twitter — but sponsored tweets give them more prominence. They will also be paying for our help in discussion management. Just like they currently contract with us to create sponsored content in the voice of the web and the Gawker readership.
If Denton’s new model works, it’ll represent an important shift from online content to online discussion. In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Binyamin Appelbaum delivers a profile of Business Insider blogger Joe Weisenthal, who epitomizes what one might call the “old Gawker” model of real-time, iterative blogging. Felix Salmon reads a dig at that approach in the piece:..

Philadelphia Inquirer introduces augmented reality

News&Tech reporting:
When Philadelphia Inquirer readers opened their Sunday paper on May 6, they couldn’t readily see what was hiding under a handful of ads and editorial content — that is, unless they were looking with their tablet or smartphone.
That’s because the May 6 Inquirer marked the launch of the publisher’s use of “auras,” or augmented reality features, which allow readers to interact digitally with their paper.
The Inquirer is the first paper in the United States to use the technology, developed by HP unit Aurasma. The Aurasma AR software powers enhanced content, including video, audio and other features, across both iOS and Android devices.
“Augmented reality is not the first idea we had when thinking of ways to engage with our readers, but once we saw the Aurasma technology everything changed,” Philadelphia Media Network Chief Brand Officer Jerry Steinbrink said in a statement. “(It) gives us the capability to deliver interactive content through a customized app without investing heavily in technology, programming or production.”
Equally important, the service bridges the gap between digital and print. The app gives PMN another tool through which it can attract print subscribers while it enhances the value of the ink-on-paper Inquirer.
Finding ways
Publishers like PMN have fervently begun exploiting technologies that bridge the print-to-digital gap — using such enhancements as QR codes and digital watermarks — in a bid to keep their print products relevant within a generation that’s embraced smartphones and tablets.
It’s not the first time PMN dabbled in erasing the chasm. Last fall it began offering Archos Arnova Android tablets to consumers that were loaded with discounted subscriptions to The Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News (see News & Tech, September/October 2011)...

This book plays itself on TV: E-book bestsellers breakdown

paidcontent reporting:
The book: “A Brewing Storm” by Richard Castle (Hyperion, list price $2.99). “A Brewing Storm,” an e-single, is #13 on the New York Times e-book bestseller list this week, and #39 on the USA Today list. As of this writing, it’s #30 on the Nook bestseller list and does not appear on the Kindle bestseller list.
What it’s about: To be clear, Richard Castle is not a real person — he’s a character on the ABC show “Castle,” where he’s played by actor Nathan Fillion. On the show, Castle is a mystery novelist and author of the “Heat Wave” series. Hyperion, which is owned by ABC, released the “Heat Wave” titles as actual books. “A Brewing Storm” is the first in Castle’s “Derrick Storm” CIA series, which he also writes on the show. (Um…get it?) ABC will release two more Derrick Storm e-singles this summer.
How it became a bestseller: “Castle” fans had requested Derrick Storm books, which are often mentioned on the show. Hyperion hopes the “Storm” series will serve as a bridge between seasons 4 and 5 of “Castle” — the season 4 finale aired on May 7.
Members of “Club Castle,” the fan community on ABC’s Castle website, got early access to “A Brewing Storm”‘s cover by completing a trivia challenge March 26-28. They saw the cover before retailers did. also posted three free chapters of the book. And the full-length “Heat Wave” was chosen as an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal on May 8, which likely drove readers to the e-single as well.
“A Brewing Storm” on … Amazon ($1.99) | Apple ($2.99) | Barnes & Noble ($1.97) | Google ($2.51) | Kobo ($2.99)New York Times bestseller list, week of 5/20/12 ...
Here are the titles in the top-35 that appear on the e-book bestseller list, but not on the print bestseller list (click the link to expand the chart).

72% of Americans Follow Local News Closely

PEW reporting:
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need.  In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others. They are much more likely than others to say that if their local newspaper vanished, it would have a major impact on their ability to get the local information they want.  This is especially true of local news followers age 40 and older, who differ from younger local news enthusiasts in some key ways. 
One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news.  Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them.  In contrast, just 19% of adults who do not follow local news closely say they would feel a major impact and fully half (51%) say they would feel no impact at all from the loss of their local paper. Only 34% of local news enthusiasts feel this way. 
These local news and information consumers stand out from other adults in several respects related to community attachment, general interest in all types of news, use of sources for local news and information, and the particular topics of interest to them on the local scene. 
As a whole, local news enthusiasts do not stand out from other adults in their use of technology or in the way they use technology to participate in local affairs, such as sending around links or posting comments on websites.  However, among local news enthusiasts there are considerable differences in technology use across generations.  
These are among the main findings in a nationally representative phone survey of 2,251 adults by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It focused on the ways people get information and news about 16 different topics, ranging from breaking news to weather to crime to schools information. The survey was administered from January 12-25, 2011 on landline and cell phones. It has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points..

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Google’s head of news: Newspapers are the new Yahoo

gigaoma reporting:
Google has a somewhat tense relationship with the traditional newspaper industry, since publishers like News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch still believe it is depriving them of revenue by “stealing” their content and aggregating it at Google News. So you might think that Google’s head of news products, Richard Gingras, would try to smooth over any ruffled feathers when talking about the future of news. He did the opposite in a recent talk at Harvard, however — comparing newspapers to old-fashioned internet portals like Yahoo, and suggesting that unless media companies can adapt to the Web rather than fighting it, they are likely doomed.
We weren’t at the Gingras event, which was hosted by the Nieman Foundation, but Matt Stempeck of MIT’s Center for Civic Media was there, and he live-blogged the entire thing on the Center’s website (his original notes are posted here). Although these are not direct quotes, we’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the comments that Gingras made on a number of important topics, from the tradeoff inherent in paywalls to the distraction of iPad apps and the dangers of innovating too slowly.
On how newspapers got to where they are:
We look back at the 40 golden years of newspaper profitability as if things had been structured that way forever. But these four decades were triggered by an earlier media disruption: television. The rise of television advertising caused a contraction in the newspaper business, where major metropolitan markets went from supporting 4-5 newspapers to 1-2 papers. The limited number of remaining companies allowed monopolitistic pricing. This wealth was created by disruption, and what disruption gives, it taketh away.
On the iPad as the savior of journalism:
[The iPad is] a fatal distraction for media companies. Too many publishers looked at the tablet as the road home to their magazine format, subscription model, and expensive full-page ads. The format of a single device does not change the fundamental ecosystem underneath it, and this shiny tablet has taken media companies’ eyes off of the ball...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Nielsen Unveiling Suite Of Next-Generation TV Meters: Designed To Enhance Compliance, Cross-Platform Measurement

Mediapost reporting:
In what is likely the most significant change in the methods Nielsen uses to measure TV -- and potentially all forms of video content -- the ratings company this week quietly began informing clients of a major initiative to develop a suite of new audience meters and digital tracking codes that could begin replacing its current meters as soon as 2014.
Dubbed “GTAM,” which stands for Global Television Audience Metering, the initiative includes the development of four new audience metering technologies designed to deal with all of the conceivable challenges involved in measuring the viewing behavior of contemporary consumer households.
The initiative is significant for several reasons beyond the technologies being developed, including the fact that it is a major reaffirmation of Nielsen’s strategy for basing audience measurement around in-home viewing, which has been the foundation of its audience measurement systems, although some components of the GTAM initiative will make it easier for Nielsen to incorporate mobile, wireless and Internet-based video audience exposure as well. The other major reason the plan is significant is that as its name might imply, it will be a global effort -- and the technologies being developed would likely be deployed as part of a standardized methodology across the 16 international markets Nielsen currently measures media audiences in.
The four new metering solutions include the so-called “GTAM meter,” which will be the primary device Nielsen plans to use for audience measurement. The GTAM meter is said to be smaller, more ergonometric, easier for consumers to interact with, and far less “invasive” than Nielsen’s current industry standard “A/P meters.” Like the A/P meters, which stand for active/passive metering components, the new GTAM meter is expected to utilize a combination of active and passive measurement technologies, but unlike Nielsen’s current meters it will not require it to be physically connected to any household media devices, such as a TV set, set-top tuner, DVR, etc., to function.
The second technology in development is a lighter, somewhat less sophisticated meter, aptly named the “GTAM Lite Meter,”.....
Read more:

Nokia Launches Reading App and eBookstore in Europe

GoodEreader reporting:
Nokia is trying to capitalize on European markets that have not been inundated with e-readers.  The company has announced today that they have developed an e-reading application and online bookstore. They intend to actively market it in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the UK.
The reading application will be available on their line of Lumia smartphones, such as the 900, 800, 710, 610. The reading app itself is available in the online marketplace and the books will be provided by Overdrive. Major publishers have signed onto this new project, such as Penguin, Pearson, and Hachette. Thousands of free books will be available and also plenty of paid downloads. Popular books like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, One Day, and The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes will be available.
Nokia mentioned that “While e-books are becoming a common sight in countries like the US and the UK, they are still in their infancy—or basically unavailable—in many parts of the world. And this is where the strength of Nokia Reading lies: in local language e-reading content.”
Nokia plans on rolling out new enhancements for its online bookstore in the coming weeks. You will soon be able to download audiobooks and a news stream.

Howard Rheingold on how the five web literacies are becoming essential survival skills

NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
Howard Rheingold isn’t too concerned about whether Google is making us stupid or if Facebook is making us lonely. Those kind of criticisms, Rheingold says, miscalculate the ability humans have to change their behavior, particularly when it comes to how we use social media and the Internet more broadly.
“If, like many others, you are concerned social media is making people and cultures shallow, I propose we teach more people how to swim and together explore the deeper end of the pool,” Rheingold said Thursday.
Rheingold was visiting the MIT Media Lab to talk about his new book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, which examines how people can use the Internet not just to better themselves, but also society as a whole. Rheingold has a longer online history than most, going back to The WELL, one of the first online forums back in the 1980s. Ever since writing about that experience, Rheingold has developed a habit for dropping the kind of book that not just probes what it means to be online, but charts what that means for all of us.
Instead, Rheingold wants to focus on how we use these tools and how users can become more mindful and literate. Net Smart offers up a set of five literacies Rheingold sees as important: attention, participation, collaboration, “crap detection,” and network smarts. As we’ve become more sophisticated in the ways we use the web, we need to adjust how we use it, being able to tell fact from rumor and able to call on the skills and resources of a community to help answer our questions.
What distinguishes Rheingold’s work here is the attention to, well, attention. He’s talking about metacognition, or making ourselves more aware of what we’re doing online. We often divide our attention online, but at any given moment make “micro decisions” about what we’re going to do — write emails for work, watch a YouTube video, get lost in Twitter. Rheingold says we have to connect our attention to our intention and be more aware of how what we’re actively doing relates (or often doesn’t) to what we need. That helps when you’re looking for a restaurant recommendation, but also when you want to find accurate information about a court verdict...

The Essay: Will reading in the digital era erode our ability to understand the world?

The Independent reporting: 
Quite the opposite, so long as we grasp the fresh routes to knowledge, and connection, that technological change brings, says Nick Harkaway.
Reading, rumour has it, is under threat - and not just from TV and computer games. The supposed risk comes from the nature of digital text, which has links and distractions. Each requires you to make a split-second decision - to follow or not to follow? - thereby kicking your brain out of the smooth function of reading and into a judgmental mode which is cognitively different. Reading in this environment, you allegedly lose the ability - it's an acquired skill, which needs to be practised - to read properly at all.

And it's not just reading which is in jeopardy; so too are family, society, even thinking. The digital age, we are told, is corrupting everything from interpersonal contact and child development to public order and the human brain. There's a panicky feel to our relationship with technology today, even though quite often it's just the bearer of bad news, rather than the cause.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about digital technology is that it is a tool rather than an identity. It is not suited to every situation. Some things, however, it does very well. We need to learn to choose when to apply it to our advantage.
The internet has the capacity to extend to us genuine choice, and that is not without risk. Real power does entail real responsibility. As social media make it easier to find like-minded people and exert pressure to a given end, we have to sk ourselves whether what we're asking for - demanding, even - is genuinely in our interest. A brief glance at the finances of the state of California will tell you why. If we are willful rather than wise, we'll bankrupt ourselves, and probably worse. Good decision-making is the crucial skill of the digital age, and one which requires information....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Books Have a Bright Future, Just Not Like You Expect

Publishing Perspectives reporting:

As the function of reading is disrupted by convenience of consumption and construction, it changes “the book.”
Editorial by Chris Rechtsteiner
This week the future of the book has been widely lamented. From the Wall Street Journal to Slate, everyone seems to think the book is doomed — or at least in for a very bumpy ride.
Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The future of the book is actually very bright. It just won’t look anything like you expect.
To be fair, there are similarities between the past, present and future of the book. Books have always been one of the purest points of intersection between form and function. The proper form of the time (parchment to paper to pixels) has had limited to no impact on the proper function (reading) throughout its history.
We’ve seen, time and again, that form follows function.
However, right now, a debate is raging about form — and the debate is seriously misguided.
While everyone’s arguing about HTML vs. apps vs. ePub vs. KF8 (form) — the function of reading is being seriously disrupted by the convenience of SMS, Twitter, Hashtags, Facebook and a host of other new elements — and very few people are paying attention.
The function of reading is being disrupted by convenience — convenience of consumption where information or a story can be read or played back, regardless of medium, at the reader’s discretion — and the convenience of construction — where authors can leverage every single technology and vehicle imaginable to tell their story.
Let’s look at two examples that are far closer to reality than most authors and publishers care to admit...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An iTunes Playlist for Magazine Articles? Zinio Thinks Outside the Brand

Mediashift reporting:
How many ways can you sell magazine content?
In the rapidly changing world of digital magazines, we've seen all kinds of variations: multimedia apps, digital replicas, individual stories, single issues, subscriptions, and even the all-you-can-read buffet model. But these variations have usually happened within the boundary of a single magazine brand, rarely blending content from different publications.
Zinio, the company best known for its magazine reading apps for PCs and mobile devices, has launched a project that crosses individual magazines' borders: Content Collections, which pull together articles from different magazines on a similar topic for readers' convenience. While the collections aren't yet available for readers to buy as package deals, Zinio is working on taking the concept in directions that challenge our ideas about magazines all over again.
Discovering Content in Unexpected Places
Zinio has found that its customers frequently buy digital magazines that are completely new to them. About 85 percent of readers who buy a single issue or a subscription through Zinio have never read that magazine in print before, according to Jeanniey Mullen, global executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Zinio.
"People were discovering magazines based on specific content they're looking for," Mullen said. "People were starting to shop by categories [on the Zinio storefront]. They'd see 10 or 20 magazines in that category and spend a ton of time checking out all the magazines."
Zinio wanted to find a way to capitalize on readers' interests in specific topics, rather than relying on magazines' existing "brand cachet," as Mullen calls it, to draw readers.

Why ‘The Atlantic’ No Longer Cares About SEO

Mashable reporting:
The number of online news consumers has grown consistently over the past half-decade, yet not every publication has gotten the same lift as The Atlantic, whose web audience has catapulted from approximately 500,000 to 13.4 million monthly visitors since taking down its paywall in early 2008.
As we’ve explored previously, there are many factors that have contributed to The Atlantic‘s online success: assigning a number of well-known columnists, like James Fallows and Andrew Sullivan (now of The Daily Beast), to begin writing original pieces for; launching and staffing two new online news properties, and; and building up its digital ad offerings to support those hires.
Furthermore, The Atlantic is adapting its editorial strategy to the shifting landscape of online news consumption, namely, to capitalize on the growing importance of social networks, rather than search engines, as sources of traffic.
“Sixteen months ago we received the same number of monthly referrals from search as social. Now 40% of traffic comes from social media,” Scott Havens, senior vice president of finance and digital operations at The Atlantic Media Company, said in a phone conversation ahead of his on-stage interview at our Mashable Connect conference in Orlando, Fla. last weekend. “Truly [our writers] are not really thinking about SEO anymore. Now it’s about how we can spin a story so that it goes viral.”

Tech News and Analysis Events Research Home Apple Broadband Cleantech Cloud Collaboration Europe Media Mobile Video oryankim: Isis mobile wallet adds AmEx cards in lead-up to launch Facebook launches app store, seeks iPhone magic

gigaom reporting:
Facebook says it is launching an app store that will allow people to get access to social apps on the network, without much heavy lifting. The company made the announcement in a blog post today. The company is hoping that the new app store will make it easy for apps to be discovered  on the platform.
Facebook, lately has been trying hard to make the world aware of its role in the fast growing app economy.
For instance, it has been talking up the success of video apps such as Socialcam  and Viddy, and points to how it has turbocharged the downloads on Apple’s iOS platform. Of course the success of those apps and their post-download usage is debatable, for many view them as spam. In addition, there was been some talk of social news readers losing some traction after a fast start, that has made some question Facebook’s role in the app-economy.
In a blog post on their developer blog,  Facebook’s Aaron Brady notes:
In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps. All canvas, mobile and web apps that follow the guidelines can be listed. All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch.
For the over 900 million people that use Facebook, the App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps like Draw SomethingPinterestSpotifyBattle PiratesViddy, and Bubble Witch Saga. Everything has an app detail page, which helps people see what makes an app unique and lets them install it before going to an app.
The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web. From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
Facebook is also betting on creation of paid apps and building an ecosystem around those apps.

Så ska Bonnier Tidskrifter slimmas

Mediavärlden reporting:
Fortsätter utvecklingen som den ser ut nu blir det noll-resultat 2013 för Bonnier Tidskrifter. Längre fram riskerade koncernen att göra förlustresultat. Om inget gjorts för att få rätsida på siffrorna.
Av de 70 tjänster som ska bort finns hälften på den redaktionella sidan och resten på sälj- och administration.
Alla anställda kommer att få erbjudande om avgångsvederlag. Men detaljerna i det är inte kända ännu. På måndag ska den informationen komma...

Digital First readies community newsrooms

 Netnewscheck reporting:
Digital First Media announced this week that it will launch 12 new community newsroom projects, as it continues to seek ways to more effectively engage and involve its local readers.
These community newsroom projects seek to build on the success of the Newsroom Café launched by the Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., an experiment that led to the newspaper being named the 2011 Innovator of the Year by the Associated Press Media Editors.
Story continues after the ad
The 12 new projects will use a variety of methods to involve the community in reporting news, issues and events in the cities, suburbs and towns covered by Digital First newsrooms.
“We didn’t want to replicate the Newsroom Café in other newsrooms,” Steve Buttry, director of community engagement and social media for Digital First, said in a statement. “What we’re trying to do is apply some of the principles of the Newsroom Café to the unique circumstances of other communities and draw on the creativity of our local staff members the same way we did with that project.”
Four of the new projects will involve “mobile community media labs,” which will equip vans with computers and WiFi hot spots for engagement throughout the regions covered by their newsrooms:

Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections

Pew reporting:
The rapid adoption of cell phones and, especially, the spread of internet-connected smartphones are changing people’s communications with others and their relationships with information. Users’ ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has documented some of the ways that people perform just-in-time services with their cell phones. A new nationally representative survey by the Pew Internet Project has found additional evidence of this just-in-time phenomenon. Some 70% of all cell phone owners and 86% of smartphone owners have used their phones in the previous 30 days to perform at least one of the following activities:
  • Coordinate a meeting or get-together -- 41% of cell phone owners have done this in the past 30 days.
  • Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered -- 35% have used their phones to do this in the past 30 days.
  • Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant -- 30% have used their phone to do this in the past 30 days.
  • Find information to help settle an argument they were having -- 27% haveused their phone to get information for that reason in the past 30 days.
  • Look up a score of a sporting event -- 23% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.
  • Get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere -- 20% have used their phone to get that kind of information in the past 30 days.
  • Get help in an emergency situation -- 19% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.
Overall, these “just-in-time” cell users—defined as anyone who has done one or more of the above activities using their phone in the preceding 30 days—amount to 62% of the entire adult population.

Tablet editions: Leveraging tap, swipe and scroll

emedia/vitals reporting:
Publishers continue to experiment with ways to turn touch-screen functionality into a better user experience for their tablet editions. By my account, they're making good progress.
I spent the last couple of weeks immersed in 10 consumer magazines running on a Kindle Fire tablet: eight Condé Nast titles (Condé Nast Traveler, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Self, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Wired), Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated, and Reader's Digest. The Condé titles and Reader's Digest were developed with Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite. (Disclosure: Adobe provided the Kindle as a loaner to review these publications.) The Sports Illustrated app was created by Time Inc. and the Wonderfactory.
Adobe has been aggressively positioning its Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) as a seamless and sophisticated platform for print publishers looking to produce high-quality digital editions. Earlier this month, the company announced that more than 16 million DPS-based digital publications had been downloaded over the past year.
As a whole, the magazines I reviewed speak well to the progress publishers have made in the tablet space in a relatively short amount of time. Here's an overview of the functionality that's defining a new generation of digital publications. 
Condé has taken a more-is-more approach to navigation with its digital publications. Any given page offers a choice of vertical swiping/ scrolling (to page through an article) and lateral swiping (to advance to the next editorial asset or ad). That's in addition to the multiple navigation options accessible by tapping on the page, including a back button, a horizontal "scrubber" bar on the bottom of each page, a top horizontal "browser" index on the top of each page, and a drop-down TOC. Phew!...

iDoLVine Offers Long-Distance Autographs for Books and More

Publishing perspectives reporting:
iDoLVine is not a mere substitute for the traditional signing but rather as a new kind of experience with different and exciting possibilities.
In 2004 Margaret Atwood made headlines when, tired of traveling long distances to attend book signings, she came up with the idea of the LongPen — a remote signing device which would enable her to inscribe books in far-off locales without leaving the comfort of her own home. With little more than a tablet PC, an Internet connection, a remote signing device and audio/video link at the other end, it was now possible for an author in Ontario to sign books for fans in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. Although a novel idea, the LongPen was no mere novelty and soon government, banks and corporations around the world were using it to centralize the execution of documents as a cost-saving and productivity increasing measure. Now the LA-based firm iDoLVine hopes to massively expand its usage in entertainment applications.“I joined iDoLVine last August as Executive Chair,” says Edelman. “I’m based in Los Angeles, which is where we will next expand the company as we launch into the various entertainment industries — sports, music, publishing (including graphic novels) and film/TV celebrities. I started my career in talent management, ended up in film production and in between ran the London-based literary agency, Curtis Brown, through a period of transition and growth. Margaret Atwood was and still is a client of Curtis Brown, which is how we met.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Journalism: Dying by a thousand cuts, or being reinvented?

gigaom reporting:
There are plenty of warning signs about the ongoing disruption in the media industry, and everyone is looking for someone to blame. But when it comes to their journalistic competition, many traditional outlets still seem to look primarily at other media players such as the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed or Politico. As information architect and web developer Stijn Debrouwere notes in a smart post about the evolution of media, however, the reality is that much of what we find competing with journalism in the digital world are things we barely even recognize as journalism. How the industry adapts to that change will be the real challenge.
Debrouwere says that when he thinks about the changes in journalism, he’s not thinking about “digital first or about blogging or about data journalism or the mobile web or the curation craze,” or any of the other aspects of democratized distribution and the social web, such as citizen journalism — all of which he notes have had a huge impact. Instead, he says we should be looking at the things that are actually replacing traditional sources of journalism in our day-to-day consumption habits.
Sites like Wikipedia and Reddit are replacing some aspects of journalism
In this category, Debrouwere mentions services such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as Spotify and Rdio — all of which feature recommendation engines, and in many cases social aspects that to some extent replace reading record reviews or concert reviews in a newspaper. Not only is there less clutter, he says, but you can listen to or watch the content right away. Other sites offer topic-specific content that is much deeper and richer than any general-interest newspaper could hope to be on a subject. And then there are sites like Reddit and Quora and Wikipedia:

...Readers aren’t interested in debates about the nature of journalism...

Smartphones Are Mom’s New Babysitter

emarketer reporting:
Mobile devices are increasingly used as a mother’s helper when her kids are bored. Research shows that moms, anxious to keep their offspring quiet and occupied, share their smartphones with children as young as age 1.
A Mom Central Consulting survey from January 2012, for example, found that 39% of US mothers who use the internet, have a mobile phone that they pass on to their children to keep them engaged during a car trip. Only the Nintendo DS and the car DVD player or video were used more often to keep kids engaged during car travel (at 40% and 47%, respectively). And just over one-quarter of the moms surveyed shared their iPads with their kids.

Devices US* Mom Internet Users Use to Keep Their Children Engaged While on a Car Trip, Jan 2012 (% of respondents)

Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Mom Central, pointed out in an interview with eMarketer that mothers of young kids are “raising digital natives.” Even at age 2, they know how to slide open an iPhone, and they know what game they want to play, she said.

No future in apps? Not so fast

emedia vitals reporting:
Technology Review's Jason Pontin got some buzz on Monday with a refreshingly candid post about his publication's decision to embrace HTML5 and, eventually, kill its apps after a $124,000 investment in app development generated only 353 iPad subscriptions. He concludes:
"The paid, expensively developed publishers' app, with its extravagantly produced digital replica, is dead."
As with all absolutes, Pontin's concluding statement exaggerates the reality of the app market for publishers. There is plenty of potential in apps for media companies. I guess you can parse his words to conclude that he's just talking about a specific slice of the app market - "paid, expensive, extravagant digital replicas" - but he's still painting with a pretty broad brush.
Pontin is right about one key point: Publishers that view the app market as a way to extend their existing print models are in for a rude awakening. Delivering and monetizing content through apps requires some fresh thinking, not lipstick on a pig. But it will take time - and lots of experimentation - before the right model emerges.
We're already seeing some promising innovation in both app design and business models.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Publishers Don't Like Apps

emedia/vitals reporting:
...Advertising is the real business of media, but traditional publishers couldn't compete with Google and new-media companies for selling digital ads. Apps would interrupt that decline, returning media to its proper, historical structure: publishers could sell digital versions of the same ads that appeared in their print publications (perhaps with a markup if they had interactive elements), valued with the old measurement of rate base.
Expressed like this, the delusion is clear enough, but I succumbed myself—at least a little. I never believed that apps would unwind my industry's disruption; but I felt some readers would want a beautifully designed digital replica of Technology Review on their mobile devices, and I bet that our developers could create a better mobile experience within applications. So we created iOS and Android apps that were free for use; anyone could read our daily news and watch our videos, and people could pay to see digital replicas of the magazine. We launched the platforms in January of 2011. Complimenting myself on my conservative accounting, I budgeted less than $125,000 in revenue in the first year. That meant fewer than 5,000 subscriptions and a handful of single-issue sales. Easy, I thought.
Like almost all publishers, I was badly disappointed. What went wrong? Everything.

Apple demanded a 30 percent vigorish on all single-copy sales through its iTunes store. Profit margins in single-copy sales are thinner than 30 percent; publishers were thus paying Apple to move issues. Many responded by not selling single copies of their magazines. Then, for a year after the launch of the iPad, Apple could not figure out how to sell subscriptions through iTunes in a way that satisfied ABC, which requires publishers to record "fulfillment" information about subscribers. When Apple finally solved the problem of iPad subscriptions in iTunes, it again claimed its 30 percent share. From June of last year, Apple did permit publishers to fulfill subscriptions through their own Web pages (a handful of publishers, including Technology Review, enjoyed the privilege earlier); but the mechanism couldn't match iTunes for ease of use, and most readers couldn't be bothered to understand it.
...Absurdly, many publishers ended up producing six different versions of their editorial product: a print publication, a conventional digital replica for Web browsers and proprietary software, a digital replica for landscape viewing on tablets, something that was not quite a digital replica for portrait viewing on tablets, a kind of hack for smart phones, and ordinary HTML pages for their websites. Software development of apps was much harder than publishers had anticipated, because they had hired Web developers who knew technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Publishers were astonished to learn that iPad apps were real, if small, applications, mostly written in a language called Objective C, which no one in their WebDev departments knew. Publishers reacted by outsourcing app development, which was expensive, time-consuming, and unbudgeted.
But the real problem with apps was more profound. When people read news and features on electronic media, they expect stories to possess the linky-ness of the Web, but stories in apps didn't really link. The apps were, in the jargon of information technology, "walled gardens," and although sometimes beautiful, they were small, stifling gardens. For readers, none of that beauty overcame the weirdness and frustration of reading digital media closed off from other digital media...;postID=29218955077908166

Home Is Where the Tablet Is

emarketer reporting:
US consumers have embraced tablets at a staggering pace. And one of the major selling points has been their portability. But, interestingly, a Q1 2012 study by Viacom of US tablet owners found that they used their devices at home 74% of the time. That makes sense considering that consumers appeared to be using tablets largely for entertainment purposes, such as playing games, or watching television and movies.
Of those using tablets at home, more than nine in 10 employed the devices in either the living room or bedroom, bolstering the idea that consumers used tablets primarily for fun or relaxation. But three-quarters of respondents were at least somewhat likely to use their tablets in a home office, suggesting that the devices were used for work at least some of the time.

In-Home Locations Where US Tablet Users Use Their Tablet, 2012 (% of respondents)

Outside the home, tablet owners were most likely to use their devices while waiting at an airport, or in an airplane. Meanwhile, a low percentage of respondents (36%) used their devices in a store, suggesting that tablets do not have the same mobile shopping draw as smartphones. In-store shoppers are more likely turning to smaller smartphones to check prices and browse product reviews. But recent research has shown that consumers are taking advantage of tablets’ larger screen sizes to research products before arriving at a brick-and-mortar location.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The newsonomics of 99-cent media

NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
Honk if you still love newsprint enough to pay $700 or more a year for a seven-day print subscription to The New York Times. Of course, you have many other choices.
You can try one of several print/bundled options for considerably less money. Or if you want to be parsimonious, you can get 10 free article views a month, or more if you want to work the social and search on-ramps to Maybe you want to be among those who pay Ongo $1.99 a month, and get 20 Times news stories a day, among lots of other news content.
Love the Guardian, and want to follow each tick of the U.K.’s Murdoch saga? If you’re in the U.S., you can subscribe to the lively iPad edition for $13.99 a month — or access it for free via the Safari browser on the tablet. In the U.S., its smartphone app is free, but in the U.K. and Europe, it requires a subscription. Of course, it’s quite successful Facebook app gives you access for free as well, anywhere.
If you’re shopping the Ongo news kiosk, look at wide spectrum of prices individual publishers are charging for access through that product: The Guardian is 99 cents a month, The Christian Science Monitor is $3.99, while the Chicago Tribune is $9.99 and The Boston Globe $14.99.
It’s not just newspaper companies that offer a patchwork of buying (or not buying) choices.
Are you a late-arriving fan of AMC’s series “Breaking Bad”? If you want to catch up and subscribe to Netflix streaming, you’ve got a good deal at the $7.99 a month rate. Cram in the first three seasons’ 37 episodes in a single month (where did that month go?), and you’ll pay just 21.5 cents per show, and anything else you have time to watch is gravy. Ah, but if we want to watch Season 4, which you can’t yet see on Netflix streaming, you have to upgrade to those red envelopes and get Season 4 DVDs — but it’ll cost you another $7.99 a month, and you’ll have to wait until the DVDs are released in June. (Ah, maybe that’s one of the reasons Netflix’s maladroit move to streaming is pushing it to a loss.)
Or you can turn to Amazon VOD and get the episodes for $1.99 each (or $2.99 in HD!), or $25.87 for the season. Or why stream when you own the DVD in a few weeks for $29.99 (or add an extra 10 bucks for added Blu-ray clarity).

Nikki Usher: “Who Needs Newspapers?” It’s fewer people than publishers seem to believe

NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
In the April/May issue of AJR, academics Paul Steinle and Sara Brown report on their travels to 50 newspapers in 50 states to find out what was happening in newspapers big and small, from The Seattle Times to the 12,000-circulation Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D. Their article (and full report at might be the most optimistic future-of-news report we’ve seen so far.
Newspapers are trying to avert economic disaster. And the steps that some are taking show signs of promise — boosts in overall circulation, jumps in digital subscribers. But my concern is that newsrooms are falsely holding on to the belief that their community members will continue to see them as their most important source of information.
This view may be leading newsrooms to false optimism. Consider what we learn from the profiles of some of these newspapers in the report.
“There are no such things as sleepy towns,” says (Grand Junction, Colo.) Daily Sentinel publisher Jay Seaton, “there are only sleepy newspapers.” Citing corruption by city officials in Bell, Calif., a town that didn’t have a newspaper, Seaton vows, “That’s never going to happen here, because we’re watching.” So Bell’s corruption was really the fault of The Los Angeles Times for not doing a better job? Where do we begin with this statement?
...This celebratory conviction of journalists doing God’s work to protect the community appears throughout every portrait of the 50 newspapers profiled. But there’s an underlying, unacknowledged fact: Local news, and in particular local news online, is not something people care about as much as local journalists might hope. As my colleague Matt Hindman found using comScore data: Local news gets less than half of one percent of all pageviews in a local market. Hindman finds that local news sites attracted 8.3 to 17 pageviews per person per month. People spend about nine minutes a month with local news, he found. Many local news sites are still struggling, beset by problems — long load time, poor design, retention of top developers and multimedia producers — that make it hard to increase engagement in a fragmented news marked.
The Who Needs Newspapers report says the keys to success include community-service-driven reporters and ethically managed reporting. And in each of the 50 profiles, editors wax on about their commitment to covering the important public-service news that keep citizens coming back to the newspaper.
More bad news: This isn’t why people are reading newspapers...

The newsonomics of Pricing 101

NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
When the price of your digital product is zero, that’s about how much you learn about customer pricing. Now, both the pricing and the learning is on the upswing.
The pay-for-digital content revolution is now fully upon us. Five years ago, only the music business had seen much rationalization, with Apple’s iTunes having bulled ahead with its new 99-cent order. Now, movies, TV shows, newspapers, and magazines are all embracing paid digital models, charging for single copies, pay-per-views, and subscriptions. ...The imperative to charge is clear, especially as legacy news and magazines see their share of the rapidly growing digital advertising pie (with that industry growing another 20 percent this year) actually decline.
... The lessons here, gleaned from many conversations, are not definitive ones. In fact, they’re just pointers — with rich “how to” lessons found deeper in each.
Let’s not make any mistake this week, as the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s new numbers rolled out and confounded most everyone. Those ABC numbers wowed some with their high percentage growth rates. Let’s keep in mind that those growth numbers come on the heels of some of the worst newspaper quarterly reports issued in awhile. Not only is print advertising in a deepening tailspin, but digital advertising growth is stalled. Take all the ABC numbers you want and tell the world “We have astounding reach” — but if the audience can’t be monetized both with advertising and significant new circulation revenues, the numbers will be meaningless.
When it comes to dollars and sense, pricing matters a lot.
Let’s start with this basic principle: People won’t pay you for content if you don’t ask them to. That’s an inside-the-industry joke, but one with too much reality to sustain much laughter. It took the industry a long time to start testing offers and price points, as The Wall Street Journal and Walter Hussman’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette provided lone wolf examples.
The corollary to that principle? If you don’t start to charge consumers — Warren Buffett on newspaper pricing: “You shouldn’t be giving away a product that you’re trying to sell.” — then you can’t learn how consumers respond to pricing. Once you start pricing, you can start learning, and adjust.
We can pick out at least nine emerging data points:
  • 33-45 percent of consumers who pay for digital subscriptions click to buy before they ever run into a paywall. That’s right — a third to a half of buyers just need to be told they will have to pay for continuing access, and they’re sold. As economists note that price is a signal of value, consumers understand the linkage. Assign what seems to be a fair price, and some readers pay up, especially if they are exposed to a “warning” screen, letting them know they’ve used up of critical number of “free” views. Maybe they want to avoid the bumping inconvenience — or maybe they just acknowledge the jig’s up.
  • If print readers are charged something extra for digital access, then non-print subscribers are more likely to buy a digital-only sub.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Friends Have More Credibility Than Brands

marketing daily reporting: According to Nielsen’s Latest Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 92% of respondents in 56 different countries said they trusted word-of-mouth recommendation from their friends and family above all other forms of communication. That’s up 17% since 2007. 
Consumers are also increasingly likely to trust the voices of strangers over those of a corporation. Online consumer reviews are the second-most trusted form of communication (cited by 70% of consumers, up 15% since 2007).
At the same time, trust in paid traditional media (including television, magazine and newspaper ads) has steadily declined since 2009. (Trust in television is down 24%; magazines, down 20%; and newspapers down 25%, according to the survey.) Overall, 47% of consumers worldwide said they still trusted those media, although the drops are substantial.
Meanwhile, trust in online advertising is growing. Thirty-six percent of consumers trusted online video ads, and 33% believed online banner ads -- up from 26% in 2007. Paid search engine advertising was deemed trustworthy by 40% of consumers, up from 24% in 2007.
Only 58% of consumers trust “owned media” such as company Web sites, while only 50% said they found content in e-mails they received from brands (by consent) to be similarly credible. Only 40% of global respondents found product placements credible, about the same levels as radio ads (42%) and pre-movie cinema ads (41%).

Gartner Says Worldwide Media Tablets Sales to Reach 119 Million Units in 2012

gartner reporting: Worldwide media tablet sales to end users are forecast to total 118.9 million units in 2012, a 98 percent increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units, according to Gartner, Inc.
Apple's iOS continues to be the dominant media tablet operating system (OS), as it is projected to account for 61.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales to end users in 2012 (see Table 1). Despite the arrival of Microsoft-based devices to this market, and the expected international rollout of the Kindle Fire, Apple will continue to be the market leader through the forecast period.
"Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "As vendors struggled to compete on price and differentiate enough on either the hardware or ecosystem, inventories were built and only 60 million units actually reached the hands of consumers across the world. The situation has not improved in early 2012, when the arrival of the new iPad has reset the benchmark for the product to beat."
"It appears that this year competitors have waited to see what Apple would bring out — because there were very few announcements of new media tablets at either the Consumer Electronics Show or Mobile World Congress. Many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and will try to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, hoping that the Microsoft brand could help them in both the enterprise and consumer markets."
Table 1Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)
Other Operating Systems
Total Market
Source: Gartner (April 2012)
Microsoft tablets are projected to account for 4.1 percent of media tablet sales this year, and grow to 11.8 percent of sales by the end of 2016. Windows 8 is Microsoft's official entrance into the media tablet market.