A few media stories of note for Wednesday, June 5, 2013:
The World Press Trends annual report
indicates newspaper circulation worldwide declined 0.9 per cent in 2012, largely due to advances (1.2%) in Asia that offset most of the losses in North America (6.6%), western Europe (5.3%) and eastern Europe (8.2%). Still, it meant more than 2.5 billion newspapers in print
and half the world reading a daily newspaper, with more than $200 bilion in revenue. Moreover, when digital extensions of the paper are tallied, the content is reaching more people than ever, the report says. Advertising revenue declined 2% in the year (but 22% since 2008) and the report notes that 80% of classified advertising is now digital. The report indicates audience engagement is a key to future success.
Worldwide entertainment and media spending will continue to grow over the next five years to $2.2 trillion from $1.7 trillion, with digital and its associated consumption accounting for the most of the increases. The annual media and entertainment report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers
says the rise of tablets and smartphones and the rapid growth in India, China and Brazil as vibrant media markets will lead the growth. The Los Angeles Times reports
digital media will account for 43% of all media spending in the U.S. will be in digital by 2017, up from 31% in 2012.
The future of news is necessarily small. That's the view of Harvard Business School's Nicco Mele. Writing for the Nieman Reports,
he says scale is elusive in the new business models and it isn't clear yet how investigative journalism will be financed in the new era. He suggests new players --- academia, entertainment firms, even industry associations --- might be keys to the financial puzzle.
Media notes for Friday, April 12, 2013:
Nieman Journalism Lab carries a column
from the author of The End of Big, digital strategist Nicco Mele, and fellow Kennedy School lecturer John Wihbey. They suggest news organizations could benefit by serving as platforms for talent. While the Internet blurs brands, it can empower individuals,they write for Nieman. Organizations should recognize that all media will be social media soon, so their best bet is to tout those who create their content as a new form networked news emerges. The challenge isn't saving the news business, they argue, but the individuals creating for it. In other words, their actual brand.
John Newby, an Illinois newspaper publisher writing for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association,
looks at the very different approaches of Warren Buffett (a buyer of community newspapers) and Advance Publications (a reducer of print frequency in its newspapers) and wonder which one is right. He notes community papers may suffer some declines and revenue challenges, but are in the best position to deal with digital transformation because of their market dominance. And the papers in heavy competition are smart to reduce those legacy costs to preserve their operations. In other words, both approaches are right.
Two product launches of note at either end of the new and legacy media: Twitter is launching
its own stand-alone music application that recommends on the basis of personal signals (including who one follows), and the U.S. newspaper industry is launching Wanderful,
an online shopping tool aimed at buttressing its insert business, at 327 sites. Both services are ambitious expansions
Media stories of note for Thursday, April 4, 2013:
Felix Salmon's latest post for Reuters
identifies trends in the evolution of online paywalls. In discussions with Mather Economics and Mediapass, Salmon notes that different paywall models are emerging that might be more adept at securing subscription revenue and subscriber loyalty, principally by recognizing audiences for certain content and by offering a clearer mix of free and metered material.
Mathew Ingram's latest post for paidContent
delves into Present Shock, the new book by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, and his premise that traditional organizations are finding themselves trapped these days between the desire to be reflective and analytical and the need to be part of a more iterative, intense media --- what he calls the trap between the reservoir and the stream.
Kylie Davis, the News Ltd. editor who writes for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association blog
, identifies traits for successful editors: reflexivity on why people should follow you, humility, personal change, tough empathy and daring to be different.
Five media stories of note for Thursday, March 14, 2013:
Anette Novak, a media consultant blogging for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association,
examines and argues for the involvement of legacy media in building community competence and awareness. She believes media can help their communities understand the three C's: critical thinking, consent and copyright. She says this would improve relationships and build credibility.
Casey Frechette, a journalism professor and digital strategist, has created a primer at Poynter.org
for journalists who want to understand effective web design. She identifies techniques to achieve simple, effective expression: design grids, repetition of elements, white space, hierarchy, texture and depth, the use of colour to express meaning, and contrast.
A new study from Pew Internet suggests
one-quarter of teens mainly gain access to the Internet through their smartphones. One in four teens are "cell-mostly" users. Among many lower-income and lower-educated households, teens focused on their smartphones in the absence of computers. One in four teens owns a tablet, similar to the level among adults. Smartphone ownership has grown to 47 per cent, up from 23 per cent in 2011.
A British study suggests women Tweet more often than men, and are more likely to talk about personal matters, television and work, while men talk about sports, gaming and news. The Telegraph reports
on the Brandwatch study of 1,000 Twitter accounts and concludes women (15 Tweets daily) and men (nine) not only discuss different things but use different language to do so.
John Pavlus, writing for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review,
looks at the very different tracks of two major media sites: The New York Times and the Daily Mail. The former is designed to encourage reading and the latter "doubles down" on anti-readability, he notes. But the Daily Mail just keeps on growing and striving for clicks, while the Times' strategy hasn't been proven effective just yet.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, February 26, 2013:
Is there some science behind successful Tweeting? Seems so. Poynter's Jeff Sonderman writes about a Georgia Institute of Technology study that suggests negative Tweets are largely a turn-off in securing a larger audience. Given that Twitter is a weak-tie platform, the more negative Tweets tend to make unfamiliar people uncomfortable. Another conclusion: Feed those followers information, not your eating habits.
There are three different takes arguing the necessity of media change.
Kylie Davis, the national real estate editor for News Corp. in Australia, challenges print media
to embrace content marketing or face its wrath -- the departure of advertisers who will become direct competitors. She writes for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) blog that it can deliver a targeted audience, take time away from traditional media, and might even be better in some cases as storytellers. "Choosing to ignore it or claim it is not relevant will end only in shouts and tears."
Mark Challinor, the director of mobile for the Telegraph Group in London, says print will remain the cornerstone of his business. Challinor, writing for the INMA blog, suggests print will be integrated
with mobile as a vehicle to cut through the clutter and deliver audiences to advertisers with rich content.
David Lieberman, the executive editor of Deadline New York, writes about an analyst's view
that big media companies are taking the rise of mobile streaming far too lightly. Laura Martin of Needham & Co. says a new wave of streaming tech companies are sneaking up on the traditional networks and outlets with short-term premium videos designed to attract younger viewers of tablets and smartphones.
Media stories of note for Monday:
Anette Novak, an international media consultant, suggests the audience should be asked to grade the quality of journalistic content to help improve it. In her latest blog
for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association, she says the creation of paywalls is only part of the challenge for news organizations --- they must also demonstrate what they're doing is of quality. "As an experiment in 2013, news organizations should let consumers show the way forward by asking them to grade the angle, accuracy, and strength of storytelling in our journalism," she writes. "What if the wisdom of the crowd helps us deliver the caviar content?"
Several news organizations permit readers to help correct online content through submitted forms or alert buttons. The New York Times says it is working on a more sophisticated system for its content. Its senior editor for standards, Greg Brock, tells Journalism.co.uk
the existing approach is not strong enough and the Times is working on a "fairly simple" electronic corrections form.
David Carr, the media columnist for The New York Times, weighs in on the controversy
involving the publication of gun ownership data in a New York town. He describes himself as an absolutist on the need for records to be public, but makes a distinction when it comes to publication of content. There has to be a strong public purpose, and he felt this publication didn't meet the test.
"We live at a time when data of all kinds can be unleashed with very little friction; part of the value of the news business comes from making sense of it all," he writes. "When we push the button on something, we expect people to pay attention. We should make sure we are pushing that button for the right reason."
The executive director of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association crafts a very strong post this time on the challenge of understanding the audience
Earl Wilkinson has some fun identifying the historical approach --- vague as it was --- and touting the contemporary approach --- precise as it is --- in comprehending who is reading content. What he notes is that the industry's leaders are losing sleep because they can't figure out how to monetize content by weaving together audience and story.
Instead, sites are fetching audiences through sensational headlines to optimizing search engine-driven traffic --- the most significant marketing measure today, he notes.
"Oh, for simpler times," he writes. "Ignorance was bliss."
The International Newsmedia Marketing Association gathered last week in New York to look at industry trends and its executive director has posted what he thinks are seven key takeaways.
Earl Wilkinson has some surprises
in store in his list:
1. Paid content is an important discussion, but not the whole discussion news organizations need to have.
2. The iPad isn't a killer application or device, but it is the start of something new.
3. The advertising business is smitten with social media over all else.
4. Advertising is a commodity buy.
5. Nuanced multimedia buys are emerging and timing is everything.
6. Perceived value can support pricing or be its downfall.
7. Commercial value is created by linking audience, content and platform, so it's necessary for CEOs to get it.
Earl Wilkinson, the executive director of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association,
has issued his annual outlook for the newspaper-based industry.
It's called Last Minutes of Danger, Last Minutes of Opportunity for good reason: Wilkinson sees too much fiddling and not enough really new music in the way the business is transforming. The shifting sands of audiences now provide new platforms for consumers to make smarter choices.
"Writing more or selling harder won't produce the growth needed to fund the journalism that is the DNA of our industry," he says. "We have to change the rules. We have to restructure the people and technology at our disposal to serve smaller audiences more profitably."
The report is proprietary to INMA members (disclosure: I am one), but in broad outline it identifies strategies for publishers, how audiences need to be redefined, the challenge of advertising and the revenue and expense outlook for the business.
It suggests new thinking needs to be applied to the value of content across platforms, how consumers interact with news brands, whether there are other ways than brands to build value, and how the industry can sell marketing solutions.
Its tone is impatient in places. While Wilkinson sees great change in places, he also thinks the recession's economic distractions haven't served to reorient the business sustainably --- instead, the cost-cutting process took up the attention.
The executive director of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association is a well-travelled observer of the thinking by executives and practitioners on the craft and business of journalism.
When he vents a little,
it pays to pay attention, because Earl Wilkinson has had enough with the "digital Taliban" and the notion they want to help the newspaper industry find solutions. He believes they're largely mischief-makers who might have good intentions for journalism but have neither interest nor aptitude to build a business plan or help newspapers survive.
"The Digital Utopiasts want the Bottom-Line Guys to fail so a new order can be imposed on how people consume information," he writes.
On the other hand, he's also frustrated with the inertia inside newspapering and the lack of identification of new value propositions that might position the business for better times.
He's interested in the middle ground, using the parameters of the digital enthusiasts to help furnish passion in the pursuit of new newspaper goals.
"How are newspapers, magazines, and professional purveyors of deep rich journalism different than the emerging chorus of clever and low cost-amateurs that are legitimately contributing to the emerging map that governs our daily lives?
I ask these questions because newspapers need to publicly provide good reasons to fight on. Many publishers believe this is a silly exercise, yet in the absence of differentiating reasons newspapers are being defined by critics who want to slit our throats and take our wallets."