Friday, January 23, 2015

5 charts that show how social media rules publishing

digiday reporting:
The New York Times may deny that it’s playing the BuzzFeed game, but there’s no getting around the fact that with the homepage declining in importance as a source of publishers’ traffic, the pressure to use social media to find readers has never been greater...
This shift is happening as their employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media for traffic. In September 2013, the eight biggest social referrers drove 16.4 percent of traffic to publishers’ sites, according to Shareaholic, which measured traffic across more than 200 sites of varying audience sizes. A year later, that number had nearly doubled, to 29.5 percent. Facebook is in a class all its own: It drove more than 22 percent of referrals to publishers, with Pinterest a distant second....
The sites that are winning on Facebook are digital-native, viral sites, led by The Huffington Post, which had more than 42 million total likes, shares and comments in December...

Don’t try too hard to please Twitter — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk

NiemanLab reporting: The past year brought major changes to The New York Times. The social media desk’s editors joined a new department, Audience Development. Our team gained new resources as we combined efforts with colleagues who previously ran the Times’ Facebook page on the business side of the company, formalizing a relationship that had been more casual. Our desk now works alongside teams focused on search engine optimization, community management, newsroom analytics, and growth. We focus on setting standards for the distribution of Times journalism to broader audiences...
On a daily basis we publish many articles that need an alternative approach to attract readers that might come to us from social media. But there are also a significant number of instances where we shouldn’t try too hard to write a great tweet when other skilled journalists in our newsroom have already written one in the form of a headline. We’ve learned that lesson on our team, and also work to communicate it to desks around the newsroom that are more actively staffing their own Twitter accounts.
Photographs and other visuals all but took over Twitter’s main stream in 2014. It became not uncommon to see news organizations and even some journalists embed a photo in nearly every tweet. We expanded our use of visuals on @NYTimes, but in a way that served Times journalism and held us to our high standards for photojournalism...

The case for, and against, integrated print-digital newsrooms

digiday reporting:
...Now that time has passed, some publishers are recognizing that each platform has a distinct nature that demands its own specialists. We talked to two publishers, one with an integrated newsroom and one with separate print/Web staffs, to give both sides of the issue.
Daily News The tabloid paper integrated its print and Web staffs in 2011 when it also adopted a new content-management system, believing a platform-agnostic approach would help increase its posting volume. Today, the 270-person edit staff generates 200-300 online posts a day, up from 50 two years earlier, and traffic has grown to 26 million monthly uniques, a nearly 50 percent increase, according to comScore...
Daily Mail The online arm of the Daily Mail of the U.K. has become a digital powerhouse, with a U.S. audience (47 million uniques) that trumps many homegrown news sites, and, it’s worth noting, doubling its homepage traffic in the past two years. It credits that growth with a site that’s always been managed separately from the print paper, a practice that continued when Martin Clarke became editor-in-chief in 2006...

Newsonomics: How deep is the newspaper industry’s money hole?

Ken Doctor reporting:
How big a hole is the U.S. daily newspaper industry in?
We know the toll in newsroom jobs — about 20,000 lost in a little under a decade — and the fact that the industry as a whole took in about $26 billion less in 2014 than it did a decade earlier. We’re used to, and fairly inured to, those numbers. So let’s ask a new question: How close is the industry as a whole to reversing its long slump? That’s an answer we can quantify.
In 2013, total revenue in the U.S. industry totaled $37.5 billion, accordingto NAA. That number was down an even one billion dollars, or 2.5 percent, from the year before. The difference between its actual performance and what it would have needed to get to the new normal: $1.4 billion. With a revenue of $38.9 billion, the industry would have grown one percent and stayed even with inflation. The industry missed a new normal by about 4 percent.
It may seem like a small number, but it’s been a mountainous goal. The industry hasn’t overall seen revenue growth at all (much less with inflation taken into account) since 2007. The continued declines in print advertising — down in the high single digits, percentage-wise, year after year — have been too big for other revenue sources to make up the difference.
...Think of industry’s potential revenue growth buckets as three-fold: reader revenue, digital advertising, and what we’ll call the Third Stream.....
..The Third Stream The situation: In 2013, what NAA considers “newly developing” revenue came in at $3.15 billion. Notably, this is the fastest growing play publishers have, growing a little faster than circ revenue.What’s in this bucket? It’s things like commercial printing, distribution of other products (e.g., other newspapers), event marketing, e-commerce and marketing services...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Inside the NY Times’ audience development strategy

digiday reporting:
“It isn’t chasing clicks”
As a founding editor of The Huffington Post, MacCallum understands well the need to have social analytics at a news product’s core. Having been on the business side — she joined the Times (after getting her law degree at UC Berkeley) in a strategy and development role for video and then the paper’s new Cooking product — she had worked closely with tech and design teams, which gave her an understanding of how those parts of the Times ecosystem work together. But MacCallum said while the Times could learn from viral news outlets like the HuffPost and BuzzFeed, her goal for the paper, as a news brand with a strong subscription business, is different.
“It isn’t chasing clicks; it’s making people loyal to the Times specifically,” she said. “The Times has had the luxury of readers coming direct for many many years. As readers move from search to social, we haven’t been as in front of them.”
Things are off to a hopeful start. In a memo to staff in January, executive editor Dean Baquet said that in the first two months since the paper increased its audience focus, the Times’ online readership has increased 20 percent. (ComScore multiplatform figures back up that claim, showing the Times’ U.S. monthly uniques rose 22 percent from August to November, when they stood at 56.4 million.) Some of that was due to a strong news month in October, but MacCallum has also been busy, building her team and introducing new practices at the paper....

Friday, January 2, 2015

Magazines boomed during 2014

New York Post reporting:
It was a banner year for magazines — at least in terms of new titles jumping into the market.
Professor Samir Husni, the director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, counted 234 magazine launches in 2014 — up 21 percent from the 185 launched a year earlier.
The one-time book-a-zines and annuals added 621 titles, although the book-a-zine craze seems to have slowed down somewhat. It was down by 32 titles from 2013.
Husni tagged Dr. Oz The Good Life, which debuted in February, as his Magazine of the Year.
“It was the first magazine since O, the Oprah Magazine, in 2000 that had to go back on press for a second printing of its debut issue,” he said.
The joint venture between Hearst and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the heart surgeon/talk show host, plans to up the rate base to 800,000 next year from its launch rate base of 450,000.
One noticeable trend, Husni said, was the move by pure digital companies to roll out traditional print magazines.
The trend follows companies like Politico, DuJour and All Recipes, digital products all, that launched print titles in 2013.
Net-a-Porter launched Porter magazine with a February/March issue, while the booming apartment rental site, Airbnb, launched its own magazine, called Pineapple, this month.
“I know we live in a digital age, but print is still a powerful medium,” he said. “I think any digital company that is worth anything will be doing print magazines in the next two to three years,” said Husni.
One other reason for print’s staying power, according to publishers, is that there has been relentless downward pressure on the standard banner ads on the digital side, making the relatively stable print ad page prices more attractive. Big publishers are nevertheless doing far fewer big launches...