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Are We at a Tipping Point Against the Dominance of Ad-Supported Journalism?

Mar 23, 2016
Industry trends

by Hampton Stephens, Mediashift

A year ago, after two decades of morale-sapping uncertainty about the viability of its business model, the journalism industry was feeling optimistic. Late 2014 had seen a dramatic vote of confidence in its future, as several startup digital publishers received lavish investment from both venture capitalists and large media companies.

“Big money is beginning to wash over the media landscape,” the Wall Street Journal reported in January 2015.

Reports of these developments hopefully suggested that the difficult economic puzzle of digital-age journalism had been finally solved, and that new innovations like native advertising would sweep away old notions about how journalism was done and financed. Coverage of advertising-supported new media juggernauts like BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Vice and Vox was ubiquitous.

Comparing BuzzFeed’s native advertising model to financing journalism with display ads, technology analyst Ben Thompson was almost giddy in his belief that the future of journalism had arrived. “BuzzFeed’s writers simply need to write stories that people find important enough to share; the learning that results is how they make money,” Thompson wrote. “The incentives are perfectly aligned.”

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Data-driven product pricing for digital subscriptions

This is another article from Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak written last year and re-posted here for the edification of our faithful readers. To read all of Roman’s articles please click here.

Digital pricing is not usually coupled to the cost of production. In fact, digital pricing, like that of luxury brands, is based upon perceived value. Why would people pay for the New York Times online when news and information is freely available on the Internet? Because people believe when they purchase a NYT subscription they are getting a better product, with unique, distinctive content plus they value the paper’s editorial curation. So how does this apply to online publishers who are not the New York Times?

Two words: Quality Content

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Industry Insights: Apple ups ante in distributed content fray

Mar 17, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week
Apple upped the ante this week, announcing they would let almost anyone publish via RSS feed into their Apple News app. The company hopes that the exponential increase in content will drive advertising revenue and diversify its income from just hardware and software. With Google introducing AMP and Facebook also allowing any news organization to publish directly to Instant Articles, the distributed platform game has gotten really interesting. Will the homepage even be necessary in five years?

Story of the Week
At The Dallas Morning News, becoming truly digital means starting over
The DMN was stuck in the ’90s and they knew it, so they brought in consultants, broke into teams and dissected the newspaper from top to bottom to discover what they would need to do to get the paper into the digital era. The result should be pretty remarkable as the paper prepares to re-launch itself while still producing a daily product. Keep reading

New Zealand Newspaper jumps on the Paid Content bandwagon

Mar 16, 2016
Industry trends

By Tim Murphy, The Spinoff

Its masthead describes it as the “Independent Voice of the South.” Others, affectionately, call it the Oddity.

Now the Otago Daily Times lives up to both labels with its decision to charge readers to use its website.

From mid-April, Dunedin’s leading newsroom will introduce a metered paywall offering between 15 and 30 free stories a month before readers have to cough up about $27 a month as a subscriber. Print subscribers already pay that figure monthly and will get the digital subscription free.

It will be the first major news publisher in New Zealand to do so, following many in the United States, Europe and Australia. And it could be in the right place, at the right time, to make it work.

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Three Thoughts on Publishing Frequency

Mar 15, 2016

This is another article from Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak written last year and re-posted here for the edification of our faithful readers. To read all of Roman’s articles please click here.

Recently Colin Morrisson, a media and marketing consultant, published an article on his blog, Flashes & Flames, that got us thinking. Among other things he talks about is the fact that the Times of London is considering publishing articles on an edition schedule rather than “as it happens.” This is not terribly unusual, he points out that network TV faced the same conundrum when it first went on the air, inventing the morning, noon and evening news programs. In fact, many news sites still publish their articles in batches in morning & noon or morning & evening cycles. But there is another approach that newspapers and especially magazines are considering. We have already entertained requests from publishers to help them sell content in issues rather than time- or meter-based. This looks like publishers are thinking about print rather than about the digital audience they now serve. While we can not provide a definitive answer to which approach is better, here are a few thoughts on what we’ve seen in the data so far related to this topic. Keep reading