Monday, September 29, 2014

Magazines to Count Readers in New Way

WSJ reproting:
The industry's leading consumer trade group, the Association of Magazine Media, on Monday will launch a new monthly audience-measurement tool—a dashboard that tracks consumption of magazine content across a range of categories. There are separate metrics for print and digital editions, the mobile Web and online video, for example, as well as a total audience reach calculation.
The information will be available to the public on the trade group's website.
"It redefines the state of magazine media because you can't sell what you can't measure," said Mary Berner, chief executive of the trade group. A separate tool that tracks social-media usage is expected to launch in October.
Magazine publishers can collectively point to some positive trends, data from the new audience-measurement tool show. Despite the gloom surrounding the decline of the print business, the total U.S. audience for magazine content including digital consumption increased 10% to 1.48 billion users in August compared with the same period last year. Driving the gains were mobile Web usage, which nearly doubled in a year, and video consumption, up 53%.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

One secret to the success of Quartz, BuzzFeed and Gawker: They look at news as a service

Ggigaoma Matthew Ingram reporting:
...Many media companies and publishers do occasional customer surveys or focus groups. But these tend to be primarily marketing exercises, and ultimately just reinforce existing design and content decisions that have already been made by editors. For the most part, such organizations see their job as coming up with great ideas and producing great content — a process that usually takes place with zero input from readers — and then delivering that content on a variety of platforms. In effect, a one-way relationship.
Even the NYT’s innovation report, as valuable as it is, makes it clear that as far as the newspaper is concerned, the web and social media tools are useful primarily because they are new ways of distributing and promoting all that great content its journalists produce, not because they change anything about the journalist-reader dynamic or allow journalism to occur in new ways.
...n order to do that properly, you have to experiment, and iterate rapidly, and most of all use data to watch what your users (or readers, or customers, whatever you choose to call them) are doing with your product.
Take Snow Fall as a cautionary example — the wonderfully designed, wildly popular multimedia project the New York Times released in 2012 about the aftermath of an avalanche. It was obvious that dozens of designers and developers and writers and editors had spent thousands of hours on the article, and it showed. It was beautiful. But according to comments made recently by former NYT digital strategist Aron Pilhofer — now director of digital at The Guardian — despite the massive investment of resources, the newspaper had no analytics attached to the project.
How do you make that kind of cultural change within a traditional media organization? I don’t really know, but appointing half a dozen longtime newspaper insiders to senior jobs, as the NYT’s new executive editor recently did, doesn’t seem like a great start to me, to be brutally honest.
There are some hints of evolution even at the Times: apps like NYT Now are an attempt to do things somewhat differently, and even incremental efforts like putting links to other websites on the front page — a top-secret project that no doubt took months to plan and approve — are worthwhile steps, tiny as they may be. Cultures don’t change overnight. But the clock is ticking, and more flexible players like Quartz and BuzzFeed have a head start.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Look Away From This Graph, Book Lovers

Few people hold any illusions about the long-term — or even not-so-long-term — prognosis for paper books as a commercially viable product (hint: not good). But a new graph just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (hat tip to Catherine Rampell) shows just how dire the situation looks when you take into account age-related differences in reading, and therefore purchasing, habits. Kids these days are not into traditional books.
Take a look:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Generation Game

InPublishing reports:
New media is now old. This year, the internet celebrates its 45th birthday, while online news in the UK has reached adulthood. Any publishing strategy needs to understand that we are now in a ‘three generations in one’ news industry. There are still the legacy products like 'dead tree' newspapers and analogue broadcast but there is also the content re-versioned for online. Then there are the purely 'digital native' enterprises who sprang up fully formed by the internet. One new trend is that those three generations are increasingly combined in interesting ways.
Last year, I wrote in this magazine that newspapers had all accepted the idea of ‘digital first’. This is the idea that even if you make most revenue out of analogue, you must still re-structure your business according to the priorities of digital production and consumption. It is now the time (overdue in fact) to hire developers, publish on demand and design everything for mobile.
The implication of that strategic shift is that content is now King, Queen and Jack of Hearts. In a world where the consumer can easily access what they want directly or through networks, it is the product not the platform that matters if you want to create a sustainable business. The last twelve months have backed that up in spades.
Thinking like natives
Some publishers have tried to create a digital startup culture within their own walls. European publishing giants Sanoma and Axel Springer have literally invited outsiders in on a competitive basis and picked the best for further investment. Even the dear old BBC has created a News Lab to act as a kind of internal innovation consultancy.
...So the dead tree press may still be sacking staff but it is also hiring new people. Digital revenues don’t match the golden days of the analogue advertising past but they are continuing to rise. The Guardian losses are being slashed, while groups like the Telegraph and Mail report profits. Even parts of the local press are getting their heads back above water. But there are two other massive structural trends that should concern UK papers: the new realities of global competition and the power of the platforms.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

10 Easy Ways to Save Journalism

Some months ago, The Economist ran a column about business schools. The tagline was: “Business schools are better at analyzing disruptive innovation than at dealing with it.”
Sounds familiar, I thought. Ditto the media.
For an industry with crummy financials, the newsgathering business is bizarrely inefficient. Over my 15 years as a journalist, I’ve written for a variety of publications and watched the Internet shake things up. And it’s struck me that for all the hand-wringing about decline, it would actually be very simple to provide more and better news to the public, and to do so more cheaply. All it takes is using a few basic economic and business principles.
So, to add to the conversation created by the excellent New York Times Innovation report and others, herewith 10 easy—easy!—ways that the media can make itself more efficient, from my ground-level perspective. Warning: Not all will be popular with journalists. But this is about creating a better product using less money.
1. Reduce repetition of stories. The universe of possible news is vast and mostly untapped. I’ve argued that most papers in the country could grow to five times their size, given sufficient money and talent. Yet news coverage reflects a herd mentality. Everyone rushes to do their own story on Ray Rice, the latest iPhone, a new fracking study, and so forth.
2. Stop the over-editing.
3. Reduce on-the-scene datelines, as appropriate. 
4. Collaborate.
for more tips go to  

The New York Times Launches New Homepage “Watching” Feature

NYT reporting:

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The New York Times today introduced “Watching,” a major new feature on the homepage on desktop and on the mobile website. Watching is a stream of developing and noteworthy news designed to amplify the scope and urgency of The Times’s digital report.
Watching offers a tailored feed of the news of the moment, such as early outlines of developing stories on and curation of the most newsworthy and trusted reporting from around the web. It also features tweets from Times reporters and others, as well as photos and YouTube videos.

A team of New York Times reporters and editors, led by editors Marcus Mabry, Jennifer Preston, select the content for Watching and are in constant contact with various Times news desks. They search the web and social media for reliable breaking and developing news.
Readers can watch video, share stories and follow others on Twitter and email directly from the Watching module. They can also scroll through Watching indefinitely, to catch up on news they may have missed or track stories over time...

Moody’s: ‘Our outlook for the U.S. newspapers and magazines sector is negative’

Jimromenesko reporting:
* Publishers’ gains from digital subscriptions will plateau quickly. Digital business is the fastest-growing category for newspaper and magazine publishers, yet growth will be smaller in 2014 and into 2015.
...* The share of total US newspaper and magazine advertising will decline further as consumer reading habits continue shifting from traditional print, with competition from search engines, social media and digital video.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BuzzFeed: These 2 Trends Are the Future of Branded Content

It’s no longer fair to reduce BuzzFeed to a circus site of cat videos and listicles—and it hasn’t been for a while now. The Internet’s viral-content darling has been publishing hard-hitting reported news for years now, having built up an editorial team of over 200 journalists. What was the motivation behind this expansion? While it’s easy to say BuzzFeed wanted to grow its audience and boost its cred with more “serious” content (which it surely did), there was also a more lucrative light at the end of the tunnel: native advertising, the publication’s primary revenue source.
BuzzFeed’s executive vice president of business operations, Eric Harris, told the American Press Institute just that in a recent interview.
“Some brands that were reluctant to work with us in the past because they saw us solely as a humorous pop culture site, now take us more seriously and allocate bigger budgets to their partnerships with BuzzFeed,” Harris said, pointing to successful partnerships with major companies, such as GE, Geico, and P&G.
...“On mobile, which is now more than 50 percent of our traffic and growing, I think native advertising is really the only monetization strategy that’s working right now,” Harris said..
...Meanwhile, BuzzFeed’s partnership with Friskies for their “Dear Kitten” commercial has earned over 15 million views on YouTube and is one of the most successful brand videos to date.

Friday, September 12, 2014

How Much Editorial Love Do Fashion Magazines Give Their Advertisers?

Racked reporting:
A few years ago, the Federal Trade Commission mandated that fashion bloggers start practicing full disclosure: Every affiliate link used, every crazy gift received, every check cashed in exchange for a post on Instagram—bloggers have to let their readers know about it. While that decree hasn't been monitored too closely, at least it's a step in the right direction.
But what about print publications? Yes, there was that one time a WWD reporter got publicly scolded for posting images from a PR-sponsored weekend getaway. But for the most part, the relationship between advertising and editorial remains murky; when a brand gets a product placement in Vogue and then, 100 pages later, an advertisement from the same brand pops up, there's no note that the featured brand is also an advertiser.
With transparency out the window, we took matters into our own hands by analyzing six of the biggest women's fashion magazines (from all three major publishing houses) to see what percentage of advertisers received editorial touts....
When we reached out for comment, Condé Nast stated there was no official correlation between advertisers and editorial coverage. (Both Hearst and Time Inc. didn't reply to our requests by press date.) However, advertiser priority lists are an open secret in the biz, and some magazines try harder than others to fit brands in. For instance, every Vogue fashion editorial except for one in the back of the book included a "beauty note" somewhere in one of the captions. (On page 744: "Balance dreamy florals with an elegantly defined brow. Chanel's Crayon Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil offers soft precision in a formula that lasts.") Four out of the five beauty notes recommended brands that also paid for advertising in the issue.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Introducing The Most: trending stories from around the web, all in one place

WashPost reporting:
The Washington Post today introduces The Most, a new feature that lists the most popular stories from The Post and partner publications around the web. Readers can expect to find a mix of content on The Most, surfaced by a diverse group of readers from a variety of sites.
Katie Parker, The Post’s deputy director of digital products and design, put it this way: “Some stories in The Most will be breaking news, some will be blog posts, some will be long reads. All of them will be thought-provoking, sometimes surprising, must-reads.”
On The Most, you’ll find the stories other readers are clicking on. Popular reads from The Washington Post will be there, as will trending articles from partners like Time and The Atlantic, regional newspapers like The Denver Post and The Houston Chronicle, broadcasters like New York Public Radio and digital publications like Slate and The Dodo...

Mapping Digital Media: Global Findings

Open Society reporting:

...The Mapping Digital Media research confirms that digital television and the internet have had a radical impact on media businesses, journalists, and citizens at large. As might be expected, platforms distributing journalism have proliferated, media companies are revamping their operations, and citizens have access to a cornucopia of news and information sources.
Other findings were less foreseeable: digitization has brought no pressure to reform state broadcasters, less than one-third of countries found that digital media have helped to expand the social impact of investigative journalism, and digitization has not significantly affected total news diversity.
The Global Findings reveal other common themes across the world:
  • Governments and politicians have too much influence over who owns, operates, and regulates the media.
  • Many media markets are rife with monopolistic, corrupt, or untransparent practices.
  • It’s not clear where many governments and other bodies get their evidence for changes or updates to laws and policies on media and communication.
  • Media and journalism online offer hope of new, independent sources of information, but are also a new battleground for censorship and surveillance.
  • Data about the media worldwide are still uneven, unstandardized, and unreliable, and are often proprietary rather than freely accessible.

Fred Ryan, Next Washington Post Publisher, Signals More Growth In Bezos Era

Huffington Post reporting:
NEW YORK -- Fred Ryan, the incoming publisher and chief executive of The Washington Post, said Tuesday that the news organization plans to continue expanding under owner Jeff Bezos.
"You can’t shrink your way to success," Ryan said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "Growth is the way to continue to build a strong news organization."
Such statements will surely be welcome in the Post's newsroom, which witnessed staff reductions, the closing of domestic bureaus, and diminished national and international ambitions during the seven-year tenure of outgoing publisher Katharine Weymouth...
The Post, Ryan stressed, needs to focus on the needs of readers -- wherever, whenever and however they consume and share news..
“News is a big space,” Ryan said. “People are consuming more news than they have ever before, on more platforms than ever before. It’s not a two-horse race. It’s not even a horse race. This is a place where there can be multiple winners. I have no doubt The Washington Post will be one.”..

4 tech innovations that are transforming marketing

digiday reporting:
Netflix has about 38 million subscribers. HBO Go has about 32 million(Amazon won’t disclose its numbers). I have spent over 45 hours watching “Revenge” and never saw a commercial. I’ve streamed “True Blood,” “Game of Thrones,” “Bletchley Circle,” “Call The Midwife,” Sherlock,” “Vampire Diaries” and “Downton Abbey,” in total spending hundreds of hours watching those shows and never once saw a 30-second spot.
I still haven’t cut the cord. But cord cutters have grown 44 percent since last year, according to Experian Marketing Services. And as of a year ago, nearly 60 percent of millennials regularly stream content.
Word-of-mouth has always been the most persuasive form of advertising. People trust what their friends say more than they trust a message from a brand. Today social media has amplified that effect.--
Mobile advertising is still in its infancy and until creative and measurement improves, advertising dollars won’t flow to mobile. It’s an exciting time to be developing tech in mobile. But even though we look at our mobile phones 150 times each day, mobile doesn’t really work as an advertising channel. That’s really worrisome.

For a long time, we had to use content as a proxy for audience. Today, we can identify consumers using data, and we can use ad tech to buy access to the exact set of consumers we want to see our ads. We can also drive relevance by serving them very specific messages at very specific times when they’re at a key moment in their purchase journey.
...But there is one thing that gives me lots of hope: people love brands enormously.
People define themselves using brands. We love buying bags with logos, shoes with logos, jewelry with logos. We use brands to communicate what really matters to us — and I can’t imagine a time when we won’t. But how we discover brands has fundamentally changed. Interruption has given way to engagement, influence has changed and has shifted to people, and personalization is expected even by mass brands...