Media stories of note for Monday, May 13, 2013:
Bloomberg has found itself in the middle of a controversy in recent days. Its reporters are able to see some, but not vast, information about a client's use of its vaunted terminals. And a complaint was launched that suggested this access was inappropriate and infringed on privacy --- or worse, that reporters might have benefited from the access. The New York Times reported
that Bloomberg journalists were trained in how to use the login activity to advance news coverage. Bloomberg's editor-in-chief today responded.
Matthew Winkler indicated that, while the access was limited, it should not have happened. Policies have been changed so reporters have no more access to information than do clients.
Rick Edmonds, writing for Poynter
, notes new McKinsey and Company research
that indicates people spend 92 per cent of their news consumption time on legacy platforms. The research suggests 41 per cent of the time is spent with television, 35 per cent with newspapers and magazines, and 16 per cent with radio. Laptops and desktops account for four per cent, and tablets and smartphones amount to two per cent of time spent.
Frédéric Filloux, in his weekly Monday Note
, examines the different strategies of The New York Times and Washington Post. The former has created a paywall, the latter is moving toward one. But Filoux notes the Times is increasingly able to develop a digital subscription model and other media firms might be able to do so because the approach is common. "It is increasingly clear that readers are more willing than we once thought to pay for content they value and enjoy," he writes.
Media stories of note for Wednesday, April 10, 2013:
The veteran news executive, Alan Mutter, argues in his latest post
that online paywalls are not the blessing they appear to be. While they are helping to staunch the revenue declines many newspapers are experiencing, their main impact is to extract revenue from loyal readers. In effect, they fail to broaden audience appeal, a necessary condition for media sustainability. Mutter believes a partial solution comes in the form of reinvesting subscription revenue into new technologies in mobile.
Curtis Brainard, writing for Columbia Journalism Review,
discusses seven rules to avoid gratuitous descriptions of female scientists. The rules are called the Finkbeiner Test, named after a science blogger, and they suggest no story mention a) that she is a woman, b) her husband's job, c) her child-care arrangements, d) how she nurtures underlings, e) how she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field, f) how she is a role model for other women, and g) how she is the "first woman to" do something.
The European has published much of a conversation
between its deputy executive editor Martin Eiermann and NYU media scholar Clay Shirky on the meaning of journalism in 2013. There are several threads of note, including the assertion that journalism has failed to comprehend the need for collaboration with the audience and some insight on why Shirky resists identifying a business model to help solve the economic challenges of the industry.
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.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, April 2, 2013:
Aereo, the Barry Diller-supported Internet streaming service the captures over-the-air television signals and transmits them to users, has won another court battle
over television networks that want to knock it out of business. Bloomberg reports the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York turned down an appeal of a lower-court ruling that had denied a preliminary injunction against Aereo, which now plans to expand its service nationally. Doubtlessly, with stakes so high, the court proceedings are not over.
A new Dutch online news operation has successfully crowdsourced funds beyond its start-up needs for it to start an advertising-free high-quality journalism site later this year. The Irish Times reports
the title will be de Correspondent, based in Amsterdam, and its principals say it will aim up-market. More than 15,000 people have paid in advance their subscription fees, giving the title more than one million Euros to start.
Mashable weighs in on the successes of Financial Times,
in particular its ability to effectively gather data about its audience. Rather than view paywalls as a way to repel those who want the content free, the FT uses the paywall to register and gather fairly extensive data about those it grants access to eight free articles a month. The result is a more sophisticated understanding of who it reaches.
Always beware information on that first day of April. Arguably the most intriguing of these assertions on April Fool's was TechCrunch's intrepid coverage
of a French plan to enlist drones to deliver newspapers in France.
Four media stories of note for Monday, April 1, 2013:
PaidContent contributor Eliza Kern writes about her own "Generation Mooch"
and how it will be difficult, to say the least, to get her cohort to pay for content that has been freely available. This generation has little or no experience paying and she notes it even rides on a parent's subscription for content in behind a paywall, so it is a real question on whether it can be turned into an audience that change its habit and financially support content.
Karen Rothmyer, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
reflects on her time as the first public editor for the Kenya TImes. She notes the precious concept of press freedom in developing countries has brought with it a respect for standards and a determination to independently oversee them, even if the work produces some uncomfortable results.
The Los Angeles Times raises questions
about an advertising deal in the Orange County Register with three universities who will receive editorial coverage in exchange for their financial support. The Times notes the universities would help generate the editorial ideas and coverage. The paper asserts it retains editorial control, but the Times says some staff are uncomfortable with the arrangement.
The American Journalism Review looks at DNAInfo.com,
one of the newer entrants in the hyperlocal journalism field. Underwritten by billionaire Joe Ricketts, the sites write extensively about a range of elements in New York and Chicago and have built impressive audiences in the early going. The question now is whether the financial support will follow the audience support, the article notes.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, March 5, 2013:
Nate Thayer, a freelance journalist, carries his email exchanges
with an editor at The Atlantic on its attempts to get him to revamp a piece on the "basketball diplomacy" of Dennis Rodman in North Korea free in exchange for the large platform it would reach. Thayer's exchange reflects an emerging trend of platform-as-currency for creators.
Twitter is often cited as a gauge of public opinion, but a new Pew study suggests
it is more often than not more of an extreme indication. The study examined eight events over the course of a year and found that general public opinion differed from what the Twitterverse produced. There is no particular theme involved: at times it is more liberal, at times more conservative.
Publishers are charging more and offering fewer free articles as they develop more metered delivery of their content online. The paidContent site examines data
from more than 400 publishers in the Press+ fold and found the average subscription price was $9.26 in January, up five per cent from a year earlier and 40 per cent from two years earlier. And fewer free pieces were being offered before a paywall cut off the reader.
Some media stores of note Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013:
If paywalls are an important part of the revenue stream for news organizations, then they need to make them walls and not fences. They are easily breached at the moment, defeating much of their purpose. The New York Times has moved to close a few leaks
in its online paywall, New York magazine reports. Among other things it has adjusted URLs to make evading the wall more difficult.
ZenithOptimedia has released a new study
on new media adoption and found Western Europe leads the way in adoption of smartphones, Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) and tablets. It says the region will continue to be a strong adopter in the next few years, with four of the top five markets.
The American Journalism Review examined
the approaches of four U.S. newspapers in devising new functions and connections in their communities. The general conclusion of the piece is that papers have to stop occupying defensive territory and move into a proactive approach.
The Washington Post's Paul Farhi examines
the White House communications strategy for President Barack Obama and concludes he's just not into newspapers. Obama gave most of his interviews to television outlets.
The transformation to a digital culture is only part of the newspaper's challenge. The bigger transformation is to a digital revenue model that will yield a sustainable business.
Enders Analysis has examined some of the metrics of the transition and its conclusions
1. A paywall subscriber is only worth one-quarter to one-third of a newspaper subscriber. Even if every subscriber converted to the paywall, there would be a problem of scale.
2. Paywalls will not be able to expand the revenue base by expanding the audience, due to the abundant source of free content online, in broadcasting and print.
3. Newspapers will have to re-examine their scale to retain their bearings. Rather than a 500-journalist operation, they will be looking at 200-journalist operations (the report is written in England --- thus the large newsroom numbers).
Parenthetically, Canada's largest newspaper today hired one of its rival's former editors to be its new vice president of business development. Ed Greenspon, former editor in chief of the Globe and Mail, has surfaced a year later at the Toronto Star, where he will work on development of new business models and write a weekly column.
At first, the notion of a paywall seemed silly. Better to take it down and get the traffic.
But when the traffic didn't turn into profit readily, the notion took on new seriousness. For some time now, publishers have been weighing the benefits of reconstructing a paywall to bring revenue.
In his latest post, veteran media and tech executive Alan Mutter notes the arrival
of new, well-heeled local players in the game (Yahoo, AOL, Huffington Post), all willing to give away content others contemplate placing in behind the paywall.
Mutter's conclusion: "For anyone other than publishers of mission-critical business or government news like the Wall Street Journal and possibly the New York Times, pay walls will not fly. It is time for everyone else to move on to more productive pursuits."
Those pursuits? Unique products for print, online and mobile, valued by customers and advertisers alike. Charging for day-to-day coverage is not likely "fruitful," he argues on his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog.
In the slow-news days of summer, even media transformation grinds to a near-halt. What is clear, though, is that major players and preparing for major plays in the months ahead, among them The New York Times as it (re)starts charging for content online.
It won't be a full paywall but a metered system and the Times is surveying its customers on an array of options.(survey below from Scribd). What it's looking for is the elasticity of demand and the price point when there is just the right mix of customers and revenue.
The Times is particularly examining whether existing print subscribers would pay additional fees for digital content, but it's also on record as saying its approach will be to permit a certain number of stories free each month to all before demanding fees. Some of the options include a day pass, an online subscription and an all-devices fee.
It'll be several months before the project is rolled out, but as might be expected, the industry is looking most keenly at its efforts.