Information gathered online serves creators and producers well in targeting content. But a new study
suggests Americans don't want news and advertising directed their way.
If anything, even the notion of directed content spurs an even stronger opt-out.
The USC Annenberg School of Communication-led survey found that two-thirds of Americans surveyed didn't want advertising tailored to them. But, if they were told about being tracked online, Americans felt even more strongly they didn't want ads pushed to them.
The researchers prescribe a "regime of information respect" to the public.
The UC Berkeley conference on the future of media
has been hearing from some exceptionally strong speakers, but none probably more heart-wrenching and personal than the former editor and publisher of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News.
After all, John Temple was (he acknowledges) the lead editorial hand in several decisions that exacerbated conditions making it more and more difficult to keep the paper alive.
He accepts his share of the responsibility
and identifies several tripwires in his speech designed to help others avoid the Rocky's fate. It's a typically well-written speech.
Among his rules:
"Know what business you’re in.
Know your customers.
Know your competition.
Know your goal.
Have a strategy and be committed to pursuing it.
Measure, measure, measure.
Keep new ventures free from the rules of the old.
Let the people running a new venture do what’s best for their business, regardless of the potential impact on the old.
To compete in a new medium, you have to understand it.
Invest in R&D."
Gizmodo has surfaced with some speculation
on Apple's plans for its new publishing tablet due some time in 2010. It suggests the company is reaching out to newspaper publishers to bring text to the tablet.
What isn't clear is how the tablet would differ from Amazon's Kindle or the other devices using electronic ink due shortly on the market. But the newspaper business is clearly interested in the development, because Apple has reshaped the music industry through iTunes and altered the culture of downloading in the process.
Media organizations are finding it necessary to tell employees how they should behave online all over again with the growth of social media.
In the initial wave of guides a decade ago, employers were likely to remind staff that email wasn't theirs as a plaything. In other words, don't write what you wouldn't want to see published.
But these latest guides go farther out of necessity --- social media publishes you all over, and organizations fear their reputations are affected with each Tweet, Facebook post or Flickr stream.
The most recent guides come from the Washington Post,
and the response online has been characteristically negative
. The Post acknowledges that certain basic privileges are traded when one is a Post journalist. And it demands that its journalists not publish material that might breach standards.
There is also a directive not to associate with or follow those who themselves might breach standards, and that's likely the most contentious of the guidelines, mainly because many journalists use social media as intelligence-gathering and surveillance on others' comments.
It ought to be obvious in an era of cost pressure, advertising challenge, technological transformation and media abundance, but there is a need for a new business model.
The "non-consumer-friendly" models need to change
, in particular, says Peter Chernin, the former president of News Corp. The power has moved to the consumer, he says.
What isn't clear is what those new models look like. At a talk at the USC Annenberg School of Communication, Chernin and Gordon Crawford, the managing director of the Capital Group, indicated this is a great time to become a journalist because of the technological capacity to tell stories across a variety of platforms. What they couldn't say was how that journalism would be supported.
It ought not to be a shocker, but it's being treated as one: The decision by the Tallahassee Democrat to not run a story online
and keep it for its Sunday newspaper only.
The 120-inch story involves an investigation into a local sheriff and the paper chose to hold it offline in order to provide some unique content to the newspaper. Besides, the editor said, few people read the lengthy stories online.
The former reason is stronger than the latter one, because lengthy stories aren't read in print by the vast majority, either. They're special and they attract and motivate a special audience, but they're not mass material.
As for unique material, many newspapers do not own electronic rights to many syndications and other content (in our case, for instance, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times and Getty Images material, along with many of our comics and diversions, cannot be supplied online).
But the Democrat's dilemma belongs to many newspapers today: Now that the work has been done to make the Web site like the newspaper, how do you make the newspaper different than the Web site?
Peter B. Kann, a Pulitzer-wining former CEO of Dow Jones Co., argues that there is a high price to pay for high quality and that online revenue is hardly up to the task.
His post on Wall Street Journal
has a motive: The owner of the Journal is about to set loose more firewalls to require users to pay for content. Kann is arguing that, without some additional revenue, the good work can't continue.
He laments: "There are hundreds upon hundreds of online sites and blogs that claim to provide news, but virtually none of them even pretend to pursue the traditional news role of newspapers, which is to invest in professional staffs dispersed around a community and across the country or the globe to cover, analyze, and only then comment on, events."
In his view, the nature of quality requires a quantity of revenue. "So the online editions with growing audiences—largely cannibalized from print audiences—rely on the poor print editions for almost all the news they give away. Sadly, there is less and less of that, and the ultimate loser, of course, is the public."
The traditional measurement to charge for advertising --- the cost per thousand reader/viewer/user --- remains much in place for digital media. But Shelby Bonnie, the founder of CNET and the CEO of Whiskey Media, thinks it's time to chuck it out.
"The CPM has done more to stunt innovation and drag down quality products than any single thing on the Internet," he writes for TechCrunch
Among his criticisms: Bad ads attached to bad content, all impressions valued equally, campaigns structured through media buys and requests for proposals instead of creative ideas.
He believes the solution lies in aligning metrics with what people want and he proposes a range of options --- the main one being killing the CPM.
Seeking Alpha posts a new study
of American media usage that indicates a slight growth in online usage and declines in traditional media consumption.
The Opinion Research Corp. study commissioned by ARANet suggests daily newspaper and TV usage dropped 4.1% and 3.6% respectively, while radio usage grew 2.9% and online grew 1.9%. The file below is enlargeable.
The Atlantic excerpts a new book
from two academics and a consultant on media moguls, and its thrust is that the owners and operators of leading news organizations have squandered immense opportunity through their attraction to myths.
The book, The Curse of the Mogul, identifies and argues against several media myths: global expansion, continued growth, convergence, even the focus on content as king. It suggests that, rather than focus on basic value creation, companies and their titans devalued themselves by pursuing strategies that could not be sustained.
Rather than expand and reinvest, operators would have been better to simply return funds to investors.