Monday, August 26, 2013

iPad and iPhone Uses Differ Sharply

Folio reporting:
Publishers looking to develop their presence on smartphones and tablets need to remember that the two are separate entities. Design and utility needs to be customized for each.
Flurry, a mobile ad firm, analyzed the usage data from more than 44,000 devices in May, grouping iPhone and iPad users based on the patterns. The biggest takeaway? iPhones go out, iPads stay in.
iPhones tend to be used by shoppers, singles and new moms-people constantly on the move-while iPads spend more time with pet owners, small business owners, moms (different from new moms) and gamers-people who tend to be home more, either working or playing.
Categories of usage mirror the user personas. Navigation, health and fitness and photo and video app usage skewed heavily toward iPhones, while education, newsstand, games and reference apps were iPad favorites....!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are tablets cutting into e-book sales?

Los Angeles Times reporting:
On his blog Rough Type last week, Nicholas Carr addressed the flattening of e-book sales. Citing a report from the Assn. of American Publishers, Carr noted that “in the first quarter of 2013, overall e-book sales in the U.S. trade market grew by just 5 percent over where they were in the same period in 2012.” What this means, he concludes, is that the “explosive growth of the last few years has basically petered out, according to the AAP numbers.”
Carr has been commenting on e-book sales since the beginning of the year: In January, he wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal suggesting that, rather than eclipsing print, “[i]t may be that e-books … will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books — a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.” His recent post follows up on this argument.
“E-books,” he acknowledges, “are still taking share from printed books, as overall trade sales declined by 4.7 percent in the quarter, but the anemic growth of the electronic market calls into question the strength of the so-called ‘digital revolution’ in the book business.”
Carr cites statistics, which have also been reported elsewhere, that e-book sales seem to have leveled out at “a bit less than 25 percent of total book sales … an impressive share, but … still a long way from dominance,” before referring to “a remarkable new Nielsen report indicating that worldwide e-book sales actually declined slightly in the first quarter from year-earlier levels — something that would have seemed inconceivable a couple of years ago.”
...But Carr saves his most interesting conclusion for the end of the post, where he raises the issue of a “possible link between the decline in dedicated e-readers (as multitasking tablets take over) and the softening of e-book sales. Are tablets less conducive to book buying and reading than e-readers were?”,0,2443682.story

Saturday, August 10, 2013

60% of North American Online Consumers Will Own a Tablet by 2017: Forrester

Forrester reporting:
Global tablet sales will pass 381 million units in 2017, according to a new report by Forrester. Tablets will become so mainstream that one in eight humans on earth will own one, representing 29% of online consumers worldwide, according to the Global Business And Consumer Tablet Forecast Update, 2013 to 2017 report.
In North America, 60% of online consumers own a tablet by 2017. In Europe, 42% of online consumers will own one. According to Forrester, by 2017, there will be 905 million units installed globally in 2017.
According to the report, tablets will begin to play a more important role in the workplace. Eighteen percent of the 381 million units sold by 2017 will be purchased from businesses. Here is more from the Forrester blog:

Newspapers Should Be More Like Amazon

New Republic reporting:
What's intriguing about Jeff Bezos, who purchased The Washington Post this week, is not that he's a digital guy or that he has a lot of money — though both certainly help — but that ever since he founded Amazon, he’s specialized in the long view.
...As bleak as the industry sometimes seems, the news media can be profitable — but only if companies better serve their customers, transform their business models, and alter their financial time-horizons. That includes having the kind of patience that Bezos demonstrates at Amazon. Outlets that cut back on basic services — especially reporting — will improve their near-term quarterly profit, but squander the future.
...Implicit in the mastery of the long-tail strategy is the idea that a big company can serve each customer with precision, in part by deploying sophisticated data analytics and in part by using technology to efficiently deliver good service to small numbers of people. That is an anathema to some in “mass media,” but news outlets need to embrace that approach if they're to serve readers with enough value to regain relevance.
...“The three big ideas at Amazon are long-term thinking, customer obsession, and willingness to invent,” Bezos said recently. Precisely the ones the news industry now needs.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nieman Journalism Lab reporting:
Why sell? Why now?
There are two fairly simple answers.
For the Post, quite specifically, its Kaplan genie ran out of Post subsidy wishes. As other newspaper companies turned south, with the one-two punches of digital ad and reader disruption and then the Great Recession, Kaplan — the Post Company’s separate education business — offset lost Post profits. Then, with government pressure on the excesses of the digital education business, Kaplan lost its mojo, its revenues and, in 2012, its profits.

For Post execs, it was time to face the financial music. The tune they heard was off-key. It’s a reckoning I now hear widely across the newspaper industry, from the U.S. to middle Europe: the next five years may be as tough a digital transformation as the last. Yes, the positive of digital/All Access reader (circulation) revenue is great, a ray of hope. Marketing services and events businesses are offering new revenue streams unthought of three years ago. Yet, the accelerating print ad decline, coupled with tepid (if any) digital ad revenue growth, casts a dark cloud over the next several years.
The meager profits (5-10% in many cases) of daily newspaper companies are fading from solid black to gray, in danger of turning red, or in the case of the Washington Post publishing division, staying in the red....
...So this new private ownership takes newspaper companies out of the glare of public company profit pressure and scrutiny. The Globe and the Post will be just the latest to move from publicly traded companies into private hands, following the Orange County Register, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Journal Register Co, and MediaNews Co, among others...

When UX Takes a Back Seat to Pageviews

Digitoday reporting:
The pressures of the current publishing world are making publishers compromise the standard user experience. A talented designer or user-experience expert would be aghast as some practices employed by marquee brands.
We see it in the form of video autoplays, welcome ads, in-article links or the ubiquitous slideshow. A user experience expert sees such tactics as antithetical to providing people with an enjoyable visit. And yet they’ve become common practice as publishers have grown beholden to the pageview economy, where low ad prices mean the pressure is on to generate more an more clicks. The pressure to squeeze as much revenue out of a single page’s real estate has simply made it too easy to toss some of the most basic user-experience tenets by the wayside.
“When you’re getting pressure from all around and see white space, the urge is to fill with more options but is antithetical to what the user wants,” said Dan Maccarone, co-founder of Charming Robot, a design agency whose current clients include ABC News, Mental Floss and Backstage.
A few of the more offensive tactics:
Video autoplay Nobody likes a video that launches automatically. And yet, from the Washington Post to ABC News, they’re everywhere. “Video is sexy for advertisers, but not for users,”
Slideshows Every single article on the Huffington Post has one.  ...“If they can convert that one person to going a slideshow of 20 photos, they can count that traffic as 21 pageviews,”...
Links between paragraphs... 

Top 10 U.S. Newspapers Ranked by Digital Circulation

When news broke on Monday that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, had purchased The Washington Post, Twitter users and media pundits alike were quick to analyze what the purchase meant for the premiere newspaper of the nation's capital.
Interestingly enough, only 9% of WaPo subscribers pay for the digital edition of the paper: 42,313 digital subscribers of its 473,462 total circulation.
 chart below ranks the top 10 newspapers in the United States by total subscribers and breaks down circulation between digital and print. As the chart shows, The Washington Post has the fewest digital subscribers and the lowest ratio of digital subscribers to print subscribers of any of the top 10 U.S. newspapers. In contrast, the New York Times is the only paper to boast more digital than print subscribers — 1.1 million versus 731,395 — bringing its total circulation to 61% digital.
2013_08_06_Newspaper (1)

Online Retail Now Accounts for Nearly Half All U.S. Book Sales

dbw reporting:
Online book retail, including ebooks, accounted for 44% of all spending by consumers on books in the U.S. in 2012, according to a new report from Bowker.
This is up from 39% in 2011, which was the first year when online retail eclipsed physical retail as the No. 1 place U.S. consumers buy books.
The new data also revealed that Amazon increased its lead over other outlets in online book retail in 2012, with ebook sales from Barnes & Noble, the second-leading online outlet, declining as a proportion of overall sales even as ebooks continue to gain popularity nationwide. This bit of data dovetails with marketplace chatter about Barnes & Noble’s declining position among ebook buyers and as a source of revenue for some publishers.
Ebook spending grew in 2012 to an 11% share of the total versus 7% in 2011. While about a quarter of Americans say they read ebooks and many “power buyers” buy huge volumes of them, ebooks typically cost much less than print books, which explains the discrepancy between the number of Americans who read ebooks and the amount spent on them.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Newsweek has been sold to IBT Media, publishers of International Business Times

Poynter reporting:
Earlier today, IAC/InterActive reached a deal to sell Newsweek, which has been publishing since January as a digital-only version of the old magazine, to the owners of the International Business Times. 
The announcement ends weeks of speculation about who might purchase what remains of the 80-year-old journalism brand, which was on the block for the second time in just three years.
Newsweek, the once-venerated weekly newsmagazine that at its height in the early '90s rivaled Time for readers and exercised tremendous influence on Washington politics, fell on hard times under the ownership of The Washington Post Company, and was sold to audio-equipment magnate Sidney Harman for a dollar in late 2010.
Harman subsequently entered a partnership with Washington Post Company board member and IAC chairman Barry Diller to merge Newsweek with IAC's Tina Brown-helmed digital-news company, The Daily Beast, but the merger was viewed as a failure. After Harman's death and the cessation of the print version of Newsweek at the end of 2012, Diller admitted in interviews that it had been a mistake to purchase the magazine and attempt to merge it with The Daily Beast in the first place.
In a private deal, none of the details of which are yet clear, the Newsweek brand is now the property of a digital start-up that has flown under the public radar while rapidly increasing its readership across the internet.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The newsonomics of The New York Times running in place

Ken Doctor reporting:
The New York Times is running faster under new CEO Mark Thompson, but it’s still running in place.
From today’s New York Times Co. first-half financials call and announcement, we know the headlines from the second quarter: Revenue loss at the company was held to 1 percent. Operating profit’s up 13 percent. Cash is up modestly, debt down a bit.
That’s an improvement over the first quarter, in which the company lost 2 percent of revenue. The numbers tell us the Times has a long shot at repeating its 2012 overall performance. For that year, it gained 0.3 percent in revenue. That was a true milestone — its first growth in a half-dozen years.
Now, within the Times strategy, we can see a clear two-year plan. It’s a next-stage digital transition plan, consisting of two parts:
  • Keep the current business at as close to a steady run rate as possible over the next two years. This is the newsonomics of zero I’ve written about, wherein zero is a new floor. The zero math is simple: offset declining ad revenues with increasing all-access/digital-circulation revenues. The Times’ 2012 financial performance offered hope there. Zero is still but an aspiration for most metro publishers in the U.S. and Europe; just as they seemed to be getting closer to it, ad performance worsened. Even the FT, a clear leader in the digital transition, just reported flat revenues for the first half of the year.
  • Invest in growth initiatives that will finally provide dependable revenue and profit growthif the companies can hit the zero benchmark in their core businesses...

The seven-day print daily is going away.

The New York Times itself is down 6.3 percent in daily circulation and 1.7 percent on Sunday, both numbers getting worse from the first quarter. Its all-access strategy has strengthened the Sunday print paper, but now even that apparently can’t do enough to keep it from declining. The accelerating print decline, of course, is the main driver of the massive Advance paper cutting. More importantly, we can see almost all big dailies emphasizing Sunday and weekender print/digital packages, as seven-day print home delivery becomes obsolescent....