The business platform for digital media

Industry Insights: It’s a tough time to be a reporter

May 26, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week

Journalists are again in for a tough time as their employers are cutting yet more reporters and editors. First The Daily Telegraph announced it was culling senior newsroom staff including their Deputy Editor. Then new media darling Vice axed both London-based foreign correspondents and another 18 people in the UK and the US as they restructure. Finally, The New York Times announced buyouts as part of its overall effort to remake their entire organization. Even with more digital revenue filling the coffers, sadly it’s not enough to prevent a dramatic loss of talent from top news organizations.

Story of the Week
Looking for a sustainable business model for a regional newspaper? Start at the Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Star Tribune’s revenues are up in 2016 after holding even for the past couple of years. This news won’t provoke envy at Google or Vox, but it’s good news for a newspaper publisher nonetheless. CEO and publisher Michael Klingensmith talks about how the Star Trib is keeping ahead of trends to keep their ROI up.

Fee or free? When to charge for online content
An interesting look at how to charge for content under different online subscription models – focusing on how content appeals to audience in cycles. For instance, when a sport is in season, there is more demand for content surrounding that sport and subsequently, it becomes easier to charge for related content. Keep reading

Industry Insights: Change the silos in industry reporting

May 19, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week

This past week a lot of different reports were released with different but similar emphases like: mobile users won’t pay to block ads or for content, or online news consumption is reaching a plateau. Yet industry commentator Tomas Baekdal makes an important point, most studies being done today are still reporting digital content in print verticals and thus aren’t accurately reflecting the true state of the industry. While print is still an incredibly important part of publishing, it needs to be differentiated in reports from digital because increasingly, the two are completely separate, disconnected products.

Story of the Week
We Need Better Digital Media Studies
Another really great call to action from Thomas Baekdal, this time asking the media industry to stop doing study after study that break down digital content into print verticals and instead redefine digital media into specific digital verticals that can be used to understand the industry better going forward.

The Washington Post tests personalized “pop-up” newsletters to promote its big stories’
An idea the WP is testing is personalized email newsletters that are based on readers’ interests and behavior. Right now the tool is outsourced, but it will be moved in-house soon using Amazon’s personalization engine. Thus far the approach seems to be working as click through rates are three times above average. Keep reading

Starting today, Dallas Morning News’s digital readers will see limit on free articles

DMNMeterBy Brandon Formby, Dallas Morning News

Less than two years after shutting down a short-lived paid website, The Dallas Morning News plans to again start charging digital readers for access to online content. and on Tuesday moved to a metered model that will allow local digital consumers to read 10 free articles in a 30-day period. Once that limit is hit, readers can either purchase a digital subscription or wait for the 30-day clock to reset.

High school sports site and entertainment sites will remain free for all readers.

Mike Wilson, editor of The News, said the move to a meter will have little to no effect on how the organization approaches its coverage of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It just seems like an appropriate business move,” Wilson said. “Our journalism is going to be what I hope it always has been: essential to people in North Texas.”

Continue reading…

Industry Insights: Facebook’s distribution conundrum

May 12, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week
Facebook has eagerly accepted the mantle of distributor-in-chief but now faces the age-old question every media outlet has faced: how to not exude editorial bias? The company has relied on algorithms and  actual humans to curate users’ newsfeeds; but bias is inherent in algorithmic programming – the same as a person gets from life experience. With more than 60% of younger people getting their news from Facebook, the company should take the opportunity this week’s kerfuffle presents to gain a deeper understand of its position as distributor-in-chief and then embrace greater transparency regarding news feeds.

Story of the Week
Facebook Must Own Up to Being An Increasingly Powerful Media Outlet
Ingram nails it when he says that Facebook has become the go-to news source for a lot of younger readers. The company distributes content from many major media companies – its algorithmic newsfeed dictating the news that most people see. Fairly distributing the news is a conundrum the media industry has faced since inception and a responsibility that so far, Facebook has ignored.

Facebook accused of censoring conservatives, report says
Tech blog Gizmodo broke the story about Facebook censoring stories with a conservative slant, keeping them off the “trending news” sidebar. More importantly than conservatives being shunted aside is the question of what happens when social media algorithms become the only determiners of what people see in their Facebook feeds. Keep reading

Industry Insights: The Paywall turns 20!

May 05, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week

The paywall turned 20 this week when The WSJ celebrated two decades of charging for content on its website. Even though almost all online media now regard subscription revenue as an essential revenue driver, it remains difficult to ramp up revenues as we again learned this week when The New York Times announced in its quarterly earnings report that despite growing digital subscriptions by almost 20%, the company did not generate a profit. A combination of innovative ideas, audience segmentation and targeted user offers will certainly help media companies on the path towards sustainability, but it won’t come without difficulties and costs.

Story of the Week
The Wall Street Journal website — paywalled from the very beginning — turns 20 years old today
A really nice read about the history of the Wall Street Journal’s paywall and the thought process behind their decision to launch it and of course, the ramifications for the industry over the course of the next twenty years.

The New York Times thinks digital growth will outpace print losses — just not yet
The latest New York Times revenue driver is…. crossword puzzles. Yup, there are sufficient crossword subscribers to merit their own category in the latest NYT quarterly earnings report and it’s driven digital subscriptions up almost 20%!

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