WebProNews is asserting that some U.S. legislatures are enacting laws that will pose restrictions on technology that tracks user patterns online. Another survey cited indicates some 42 per cent would opt out of tracking technology if possible.
Which points to an anticipated hurdle. As technology improves access to users and understands their behaviours, so will users demand access to technology that protects them.
The Canadian newspaper industry has not experienced the same sort of economic revolution under way in the United States. Its revenue base, while not necessarily booming, isn't in the decline of its counterpart below the border. Indeed, with a wave of competition from free and niche publications, the daily newspaper has held its own as digital revenue starts to develop.
The Canadian Newspaper Association released data today on the first quarter of 2008. It shows daily newspaper print revenues down 2.8 per cent to about $608.8 million. The declines were more pronounced in eastern Canada; the West still is robust, CNA notes.
Apart from that print revenue, the online advertising piece added $39 million to the total (the methodology for gathering the material changed, so comparables are not available to 2007). What that indicates, of course, is that print revenue is still the overwhelming piece of ad revenue (about 93 or 94 per cent). Circulation revenue declined 1 per cent to about $201 million, so the importance of that stream remains.
A new Borrell Associates report examines the trends in online advertising. It notes whopping growth of about 50% in online advertising, but says the successes in news media are those shedding their old forms and moving into new fields. Increasingly the winners are those venturing into new product lines and breaking away from their roots.
Borrell predicts more double-digit growth in online advertising until about 2012, then a settling in. If the last four years were of the 48-per-cent growth era, the next four will be of the 15-per cent era.
It says newspapers have the advantage in the local market.
Jupiter Research has new data indicating that young people are turning to old media for their new media fix of news.
And those sites are more popular in Europe than social media or video sites.
Branded news sites are even more popular than aggregators like Google.
A new newspaper has been launched. That in itself is an accomplishment in 2008 in America.
It is being launched in Silicon Valley. That old media would rear its head in new media mecca is also an act of derring-do.
But if that isn't enough, it is being launched without a Web site. No plans for one, either, say the owners of the Palo Alto Daily Post (sorry, no link available).
After all, they note, they're a newspaper. Not a broadcaster. Not a new media entity. The New York Sun's story on them is here.
A plug for a new site from the distinguished newspaper/online columnist Steve Outing, www.ReinventingClassifieds.com, which engages us in a conversation about how to revive the most ailing part of the newspaper business.
The site has a fair amount of commentary already. It ought to be a valuable resource in the time ahead as organizations try to suss out the future of a once-weighty revenue stream that is under siege from the free kings like Craigslist and Kajiji and the tailored classified sites in automotive, real estate, obituary and other categories.
Eric Schmidt has given an extensive interview to Frankfurter Allgemaigne organization and the Google CEO makes news in the process:
1. Web 2.0 advertising isn't working and won't work until a new invention comes along.
2. Mobile advertising is the next big advertising thing. Everyone has a phone, companies are producing phone-based browsers that are getting speedy, and you can personalize the content.
3. Widgets are important because they speak to the personal, portable qualities people are seeking.
4. Search marketing is still a major deal and hasn't yet reached its potential.
If the headline is confusing, put yourself in the mind of the audience.
In recent days there have been some passionate arguments put forward that suggest a) old media need a new advertising model, b) newspapers are just fine, thank you, and c) new media aren't finding a business model that will attract more investment.
Jack Myers has spent three decades examining media business models, and in his latest posting he's suggesting the Industrial Age model of advertising in media needs to become a Relationship Age model. It's a provocative piece that suggests old media are about to become the railway unless they break the price-negotiation model of advertising.
Then again, Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, says newspapers aren't dying at all. Good returns of investment, healthy profits, stability and that sort of thing.
As the Financial Times notes, the Web 2.0 social media firms are having their difficulties in finding a business model, and that is creating a damp climate for investment.
At the risk of overworking the canine cliche, two new studies point to a transformational period in media. They indicate that print media are far from dying and that a new advertising model online isn't emerging the way people anticipated.
Roland Berger Consultants has created one of the most assertive studies on the strength of the print media in some time. He outlines nine theses on success in the next number of years: high-quality, investigative, niche, premium, even marketing, and so on.
The Publishing 2.0 site is one of the strongest around the media (r)evolution, as it terms it, but Scott Karp has diagnosed in his latest posting a real issue for advertising valuation in the digital sphere. Namely, advertising isn't adding value online, so advertisers are only paying a fraction of what they did for conventional media. He doesn't have a real prescription --- if he did, he would rule the world at this point --- but his analysis of the conditions is sound.
Jakob Nielsen is the acknowledged seer on Web usability, and his Alertbox site produces and collates some of the most interesting behavioural information on browsing.
In catching up to his latest annual usability report, which BBC News outlined this weekend, I came across this great fact: On average people read on average at most 28 per cent of the words on a page per visit. In fact, 20 per cent might be closer to the truth.
Nielsen cites research that articulates a formula for how much people read, and how much more they'll read as you add text to a page.
The research also indicates the Back button is dropping down the charts. It's now the Number Three Web page feature, down from Number Two, behind clicking hyperlinks and the new rising star, clicking buttons that go to new pages.
Nielsen notes that people are much more impatient than ever, that they are more familiar with design and functionality, and that it's a larger challenge than ever to get people to stay online with promotions and other attributes that try to keep their attention.