Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 26, 2013:
An international study commissioned by the BBC examines the use of television and tablets in consuming news. It suggests a TV-first habit remains in the consumption of breaking news but that tablets and the Internet are increasingly the resource to dig deeper. Rather than take away from television, tablets are integrating into an environment of smartphones and laptops, says the study reported in TechCrunch.
Indeed, nearly have of the tablet owners say they are watching more television.
The BBC has created a database of "expert women" to increase the proportion of women seen and heard on its news programming. Poynter notes
the database is part of an initiative that recently saw BBC train experts in presenting their views at its BBC Academy. A YouTube channel was launched featuring some of these presentations.
Ken Doctor, the news executive who writes for Nieman Journalism Lab
, explores the recent State of the News Media report's assertion that most news companies may have missed the opportunity to capitalize on the emerging mobile and local digital advertising market. The strength of the so-called GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Apple) in securing the front row may have precluded their significant presence.
The prominent Ars Technica blog features a post by Ken Fisher
on whether tech journalists have an ethical duty to "out" industry leaders.Fisher writes as Tim Cook assumes the CEO role of Apple. Cook has not discussed his private life and that has raised speculation. Fisher points to journalists who might know but choose not to write about the matter and questions their ethics, just as he wonders about Cook's ethics for not discussing his personal matters.The post follows one from Reuters' Felix Salmon chronicling the reaction to his post last week on the topic of Cook. Salmon argues that it is a relevant, important subject not to be ignored, and many of his readers have challenged him on that.
These are still early days, but the Apple iPad is the leading-edge tablet and it's worth understanding the early learning of its use in determining how devices will alter the consumption of media.
NPD has released its second study of iPad users. The main headline --- apart from substantial satisfaction with the iPad --- is that 20 per cent of usage takes place in bed. But the more significant findings indicate that netbooks and laptops are threatened by the tablet's incursion into email, browsing and software use.
The survey indicates, though, that the initial purchasers are more attached to their iPads than those who bought them more recently. It suggests that the core loyalist isn't necessarily indicative of the overall use. Indeed, there remains some criticism --- the lack of a USB port, for instance, or easy printing solutions.
Newspapers are producing new applications for Apple's iPad
in the hope they provide more significant per-reader advertising revenue and, perhaps, more significant per-reader subscription revenue.
But The Economist notes
it's not yet a match made in heaven. There are several challenges as papers enter the app age. Apple is making it difficult to sell subscriptions (the other day word surfaced that Apple is going to take a 30% cut on such revenue) and is reluctant to say much about buyers (frustrating for publications that want to cross-sell into other services).
Another dilemma is what to do about existing free Web services --- wall them off, curtail their offerings, retire their development? The Economist
suggests that publishers are hoping another device, perhaps with Google's Android operating system, emerges and gives them some leverage over Apple.
The shift of searching to getting is at the heart of the Wired.com pair of pieces
that identify the decline of the World Wide Web and the rise of the application in our digital lives.
Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, one a prominent editor and the other a prominent columnist, have produced companion arguments that the Web is no longer what we use --- that the Internet is a mere conduit for the apps that dominate our time online.
"It’s driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it’s a world Google
can’t crawl, one where HTML doesn’t rule," Anderson writes. "And it’s the world that consumers are increasingly choosing, not because they’re rejecting the idea of the Web but because these dedicated platforms often just work better or fit better into their lives (the screen comes to them, they don’t have to go to the screen)."
That it's also a more optimal environment for monetization only strengthens the situation, he says.
Wolff, meanwhile, examines how the open Web is closing and reestablishing a corporate hierarchy --- the "collectivist utopianism" is disappearing and a top-down theme is reemerging. The alternative to the Web came as some entrepreneurs sought to have the clout of Google, only without the open-source approach.
Wolff's piece is far more critical of the developments --- of the value of advertising, of the value of the audience, because of search engine optimization. He says we flirted briefly with the "transformative effects" of the Web but now are "returning home" to Apple
, all systems that are closed and traditional.
Anderson's conclusion: Blame Us. Wolff's: Blame Them.
Next Issue Media released a study
today indicating the U.S. periodical business can recognize $3 billion in interactive revenue by 2014. It's a prediction predicated on some challenging assumptions --- lots of devices, lots of familiarity, touchscreens and colour --- but the Oliver Wyman study
identifies some major gains ahead for 230 periodicals:
1. Higher renewal rates of subscriptions if an interactive edition is available --- 64% instead of 55%.
2. Greater revenue from bundled print/interactive packages, something consumers so far like.
3. Bill-me-later interactive editions heavily reduce churn rates to 25% from 45%, again yielding greater revenue.
4. Cross-selling advertising through recommendation engines through the editions will drive revenue from other products.
5. Availability of interactive editions will triple uptake from non-subscribers to the print periodical, to 15% from 5%.
The study nevertheless indicates some immense challenges for publishers: devices need to be encouraged, archival material made available, workflows changed, partnerships established, among other things.
There are two surveys out that suggest a rearranged pecking order in online media trust.
One, from Harris Associates, suggests consumers
are more trusting of branded news organizations that of portals. The trust extends through editorial and advertising content, says the survey for the Online Publishing Association.
The second, from Zogby Interactive, suggests that
the technology heavyweights still hold reputational sway over the social networks in terms of consumer trust. Microsoft, Apple and Google have higher trust levels than Facebook and Twitter. John Zogby says the new firms don't have the brand equity yet.
Without any really large story online --- yet --- there are several headlines worth discussing:
1. Facebook is going to launch
location-based service soon. Loopt is also going to upgrade
its location-based offerings to permit multitasking and location updating.The implications are significant for news organizations aiming to use Facebook for crowdsourcing and storytelling.
2. Apple has issued its new operating system
for the iPhone, tailored for the iPhone4 but still applicable to iPhone3.
3. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and CNN writes on how
non-profit organizations are filling some of the gaps left when newsrooms de-emphasize investigative work.
4. The New York Times announced
former editor and publisher Arthur Brisbane as its new public editor. He succeeds Clark Hoyt. The implications of his appointment: As goes the Times in identifying standards for the craft, so can go the craft.
Apple's recent acquisition of Siri, a voice-activated iPhone application, leads Jemima Kiss of The Guardian to speculate that
the company is aiming for small-scale, voice-commanded devices in the near future.
As she sees it, a voice-activated phone could shed the screen and place the technology in a device smaller than an iPod Shuffle, with commands unfettered by menus.
As she notes, though, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has repeatedly denied his company is moving into the search engine business, which a device as she describes surely comprises. Mobile, though, is the next major scramble.
arrives internationally this Friday. Peter Preston does the math in the United Kingdom for The Observer in the Guardian
and calculates its impact will be a pittance in the pot of newspaper financial needs.
It is more than a news device, and that's part of the problem, Preston concludes.
Considering how many newspapers are sold nationally, how many iPads will be sold nationally, and how many users will employ the iPad to consume news, it's a matter "of bits and bobs, not salvation," he writes.
"The iPad – plus heirs and successors, perhaps – isn't some surrogate digital newspaper waiting to rescue Fleet Street. It's different, with a different appeal. It will surely a find a money-coining slot in the digital spectrum. But salvation? That's something else (even before your wife goes upstairs to bed)," Preston argues.