Friday, October 30, 2015

If audience engagement is the goal, it’s time to look back at the successes of civic journalism for answers

NiemanLab reporting: Simply put: civic journalism worked. Readers and viewers got it. We learned that if you deliberately build in simple ways for people to participate — in community problems or elections — many will engage.”

Facebook, Twitter and the death of the link

Fortune reporting:
...Facebook’s “Instant Articles” and Twitter’s new Moments feature seem to be accelerating this phenomenon, for better or worse. The whole point of Facebook’s Instant Articles project, in which it has formed partnerships with publishers like the New York Times, is that the content from those publishers exists completely inside Facebook’s mobile app. It’s consumed there, and shared there—there’s no link to an external site because it’s unnecessary...
So where is the downside? The risk is that since news consumption occurs entirely inside Facebook, the social network becomes thedefault source of news for large numbers of people, and they eventually stop associating that news with the outlet that actually created it. There’s already some evidence that this is happening...

What Are They Thinking? Eight Principles for Mathias Dopfner's Transformation of Axel Springer

Newsonomics reporting:
...3. Greatly reduce dependency on print as a source of earnings.
Today, Springer can claim that 72 percent of its earnings now comes from digital businesses. In jettisoning newspaper businesses and investing in digital, the earnings sources have seen quick reversal. Just six years ago, only 13 percent of earnings came from digital businesses. Earnings are still a struggle, though, up only 8 million euro 2014 over 2012.

Pew reporting:
Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45% among adults, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center.1 Smartphone ownership is nearing the saturation point with some groups: 86% of those ages 18-29 have a smartphone, as do 83% of those ages 30-49 and 87% of those living in households earning $75,000 and up annually.At the same time, the surveys suggest the adoption of some digital devices has slowed and even declined in recent years.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Economist's Robin Raven: "Freemium is the only way to go"

But that in-app purchase model is infinitely preferable, he argues, to that of a hard paywall. We've seen arguments on both sides of this for a while, with the Sun's capitulation in lowering its paywall against Martin Sorrell's 'paywalls are the way to go' argument. So why does Raven believe the freemium model - such as that employed by Espresso with its free articles - is the correct model. Ultimately, he argues, it all comes down to allowing your audience to discover the value in your product and making it a part of their daily habits of their own accord:
"Freemium, in my opinion, is the only way to go. I fundamentally disagree with [The Times' hard paywall]. I think it's insane. You need to be able to get your content out there and people need to be able to sample it. "What we're trying to do is build habit-forming products. The most engaging apps out there are habit forming products."

Thursday, October 22, 2015

To combat ad blockers, media companies should shift their business model

INMA reporting:

“Blocking the ad block users from reading your content is not going to work,” Van Rijn said. “If you have good advertising, non-intrusive and native, then people will stop using ad blockers.”

...The conclusion of the discussion was hard but straightforward. Van Rijn wrapped things up with this: “Ad blockers are here to stay, and we have to make advertising a whole lot better.”

Read more:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NYT: Our Path Forward

NYT memo:
...We are reimagining the way we build products to reflect the simple truth that journalism, audience development and revenue are not at odds but entirely dependent on one another. This includes continuing to expand on the success of the last year by empowering more cross-functional teams — with news, product, design, technology, marketing and advertising working shoulder to shoulder — to create more cohesive and comprehensive products that meet our customers’ needs across platforms. ● Over the next few years, the battle is going to be won or lost on smartphones. This continues to be our biggest area of focus in every part of the organization. But longer term, we have to build a flexible organization that can respond quickly to future changes in technology and user behavior....

The New York Times builds out digital rewrite team

politicomedia reporting:
The New York Times has created a new newsroom unit to tackle the types of stories that are going viral on the web.Headed up by Patrick LaForge, the "Express Team" "will cover news that readers are searching for and talking about online, but also push that news forward rather than just repackaging it for clicks," according to a Tuesday afternoon staff memo signed by executive editor Dean Baquet, deputy executive editor Susan Chira, editor for innovation and strategy Kinsey Wilson, and assistant editor Clifford Levy."This new team will quickly and smartly weigh in on the issues and questions that are attracting attention across the day and around the world," they wrote.The move comes as the Times' is becoming ever more aggressive about scaling its digital audience, which is becoming more important to revenue growth...