Here are some media stories of note for Friday, February 22, 2013:
Given that Google's large search engine is in turn an engine for news site traffic, an understanding of its algorithm to rate content is essential to a site's success. Computerworld has examined
Google's latest patent application that reveals the elements of what it gauges in ranking site content. There are no particular surprises, as it might be expected: the site's productivity, article length, deemed importance, speed, staff size, circulation, originality, style, diversity and breadth of coverage all factor in the ranking, among other things.
Magazine editor Ann Friedman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review
, argues it's time to stop pronouncing the death of print. Many print outlets continue to thrive, she notes. Rather, it's time to simply recognize the end of the primacy of print.
Tom Rosenstiel, the veteran news executive and head of the American Press Institute, writes regularly for Poynter Online. His latest involves
what he describes as the twin delusions of the White House and the press corps. The latter has complained that the Obama Administration has managed to avoid major newspaper interviews and focused instead on local and digital sessions. Rosenstiel, who interviews extensively for the column, concludes it is wrong for the White House to think it can bypass major media and wrong for the press corps to believe it is somehow the lone gatekeeper.
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.
A new forecast today from the Veronis Suhler Stevenson media analysis firm suggests that 2014 will be the year Americans spend more on digital media than on traditional media.
The typical consumer will spend $159.59 annually on Internet and mobile services and $158.15 on such services as newspapers, magazines and books. Overall the typical will spend about $1,080 annually to be connected and served by media.
In its report on the report, USA Today notes
that cable and satellite will be the biggest winners. Newspapers, magazines and books will be slight losers.
The arrival this week of the iPad is being treated in some quarters as the turning point in the industry's search for a palatable business model.
In other words, a model ideal marriage of a device, platform and content.
But TBI Research has punctured
the balloon by noting the revenue magazine publishers will derive from their new iPad applications will by no means offset their declines in circulation and advertising revenue from the printed product.
"Even if iPads fly off the shelves, magazines will still realize only a small per cent of their overall revenue," it notes.
Even if there are more than 2.5 million of the devices in circulation, they'll yield only about 10 per cent of the revenue magazines now derive from circulation and advertising, TBI notes.
A survey released today
indicates online use and television viewing were up in the last year, but the Internet now has edged ahead of TV as the preferred platform for Canadians.
The Ipsos Reid survey found Internet use at 18.1 hours weekly, up from 14.9 hours weekly a year earlier. But that number has surpassed TV viewing, which stood at 16.9 hours, up from 15.9 hours a year ago.Listening to the radio (8.9 hours), reading the newspaper (2.9 hours) and reading magazines (1.4 hours) have been stable in the year.
The survey found men (20 hours) spent more time than women (16 hours) online weekly. There weren't large gaps in the online usage among age groups, interestingly.
It is a tangled Web, indeed --- so finds the august
Columbia Journalism Review in investigating the practices of magazines online. With the help of a MacArthur Foundation grant, CJR editor Victor Navasky and seedmagazine.com editor Evan Lerner found the Wild West is alive and not so well.
If there is a method to the madness of online magazines, the researchers didn't find one. Instead they unfurled anything but best practices: dysfunctional editing techniques, relative apathy about standards of digital against print, and paltry measures to correct the mistakes.
When publishers are in charge of the sites, they tend to make better decisions and are more likely to be profitable. But that's a stretch in both cases. Mainly the study found a weak business rationale and a weaker journalistic rationale for the conduct of hundreds of magazine sites.
While the authors didn't find a recklessness about accuracy, they did note the speed rules "in a way that tends to undermine traditional journalistic standards."
A new Nielsen study suggests
Americans are most attached to the television set, then the radio dial, and then the Internet. While the conventional wisdom supposes online has surpassed traditional media, TV and radio have a strong lead in audience.
Indeed, radio is made larger by the MP3 player. Newspapers and magazines trail the broadcast/online forms of media in the U.S.
The breakdown of percentage of audience daily and time spent was found to be:
- Live television (95.3%, 331 minutes)
- Broadcast radio (77.3% reach, 109 minutes)
- Web/Internet [excluding use of email] (63.7%, 77 minutes)
- Newspapers (34.6%, 41 minutes)
- Magazines (26.5%, 22 minutes)
The Times of London is reporting that the
Taiwanese computer company, Asus, renowned for its affordable netbooks, is about to enter the e-book race with a lower-priced unit than the popular Kindle.
According to the Times, Asus will release two models, with the lowest priced at about 100 pounds. It isn't clear if Asus will link the technology to a publishing distribution system or to other content --- the Kindle is, of course, an extension of Amazon.com and has deals with several print organizations.
But what is a major development is the format of the Asus unit: full-colour and hinged to emulate the reading experience. One of those two screens can be used as a keyboard.
With Sony readying a new unit at less than $200, and Plastic Logic in the wings, the race is going to heat up in the months to come. Still, recent research from Forrester indicates mass appeal depends very much on a much lower price point, no more than $100 and as little as $50.
In Boing Boing, Dan Gillmor of the Center for Citizen Media proposes that major media get together a form a consortium to make content available only to subscribers for a proscribed period --- then freely after a certain time, with unlimited archival access.
He chooses a fairly chi-chi list of collaborators:
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
His plan would essentially bank on two million subscribers at $10 a week (which, if you subscribe to even two of these media, is what you spend now). His post includes a lively q-and-a on the proposal with NYU's Jay Rosen.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau in Canada has released a study on Internet growth since 2001.
Its results are hardly surprising: the Internet now surpasses newspapers and magazines in time spent among Canadians (TV and radio are still one and two) and stands to be the number one medium within years. What is interesting, though, is how the Internet usage mirrors other media's use, thus making a shift in advertising spending less risky.
The PowerPoint presentation of the study is below.