Saturday, December 12, 2009

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• Reed Construction Data has thrown more charges at arch rival McGraw-Hill.  Earlier this year Reed closed most of its regional construction magazines.

• Google made three rather significant announcements during the past week or so that may have an effect on publishers in the New Media space.

• The sad news of the week was that Editor & Publisher was closing, of course. But the other part of the announcement was that eight of the ten brands that made up the Nielsen group have found a home with e5 Global Media LLC, a new company formed by private equity firm Pluribus Capital Management and financial services company Guggenheim Partners. The Hollywood Reporter's take on their new home was upbeat.

• The New York Times fourth quarter forecast is not exactly good news: Times print advertising is expected to decline 25%, though Internet advertising is expected to grow. I guess the good news is that this is an improvement on the over 31% decline the Times suffered in the third quarter.  The TMS Media report on third quarter media performance is here.

• In a week of downers, I guess the way to end this round-up is to point out the WSJ story on new forecasts for advertising growth in 2010.  ZenithOptimedia is now expecting a blowout year (snark alert) with growth of .9% versus their previous forecast of growth of .5%. Let's start to chill the Champagne.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What does it mean to be "profitable" today?

A TNM Editor & Publisher autopsy:

The announcement yesterday by Nielsen of the sale of The Hollywood Reporter and other books, and the closing of Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews are stark reminders of how brutal this business can be.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nielsen shutters Editor & Publisher (with updates)

As someone who spent their youth in the newspaper industry, this one hurts: 'Editor & Publisher' to Cease Publication After 125 Years.

According to E&P's editor, Greg Mitchell, employees will be around through the end of the year and will be updating the web site. But the print publication is closed immediately.  For my thoughts on this, follow me below the fold (with updates).

UStream brings video streaming to the iPhone

Trade publishers often ask more than is humanly possible from their editors -- editing more than one magazine; writing, editing and blogging; photography and design; podcasts and video podcasts -- now publishers can ask their editors to be broadcasters, as well. Good grief, is there still time to add this to the 2010 budget?

Here is one way to do it: give your editor a new iPhone and have then download the Ustream mobile app from the iTunes app store (iTunes link). They will be all set to begin broadcasting their publication's new online TV show.

The whole process took me five minutes from start to finish.

For now, at least, you have to watch the "broadcasts" on a station you create when you sign up for the service. You can also upload the videos to your YouTube page, or download the video as a Flash file for display on your web site. Each video is also given a direct URL for easy viewing.

Is all this practical? I don't know. You can, after all, use a video camera or phone for capturing video at a trade show or other event, encode as Flash or QuickTime, and host on your site now. Why do live video through a phone?  Maybe it's silly . . . but wait, someone will put this to good use and when I find a great example I'll write another post about it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ad declines continue in 3rd quarter; Internet advertising up a bit

TNS Media Intelligence released its number for the third quarter, and while the picture remains gloomy, Internet display advertising at least grew.

You can find the report here, but the highlights (or lowlights) are below the fold:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google has made three announcements in the past three working days that could have an impact on publishers

On Friday Google announced it is expanding personalized search results based on an individual's search history. While the change is somewhat of a commonsense evolution of the search engine, some fear the consequences could lead to less diversity in search results.

The first impact would be that SEO would harder to achieve. The second impact might be that the results are skewed towards larger companies. In a PC World post by Tony Bradley, Andreas Pouros, chief operating officer at Greenlight, said that "small businesses that aren't as well known as the bigger brands won't be clicked on as much and won't then get the opportunity to appear in results in future searches." I'm not sure this isn't already happening anyway.

Major publishers formally announce digital consortium

Can the magazine publishing industry be led from the wilderness by the big guys or is this new effort simply an attempt to keep the "leaders" in front, and to keep others out?

That is one of the questions on my mind when reviewing today's announcement by the new publishing consortium announced by News Corp., and Hearst.  If you didn't read the announcement here it is with an excerpt below the fold:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Apple's iTunes app store for the iPhone and opportunities for trade publishers

I plan on talking about the iTunes app store more in detail later, but for now here is a lengthy story from the New York Times on the subject. There is no mention of publishers using the store which is strange since the New York Times app (iTunes link) is very popular.

UPDATE 12/9: MarketWatch reports that an analyst for Oppenheimer,  Yair Reiner, has said (leaked) that Apple will be producing tablets in February for a possible March or April product launch.  It's interesting that on Friday Skiff, the Hearst backed platform, made its initial announcement; then yesterday the consortium announcement. Seems that things are heating up in the e-reader world. (And yes, I don't exactly trust these analysts either.)

AOL: the second time around

This week AOL becomes an independent company again and few old media outlets share their opinions on the matter:

WSJ: "...AOL, which is poised to reemerge as an independent entity later this week, albeit in an online world that has passed it by."

AP: "Marriage of old and new media is ending in divorce."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Time Warner is set to spin off AOL this week in a move that finally will undo the much-maligned AOL-TW merger."

Canadian Press has the most interesting take on this:
AOL also is trying to produce online material far more cheaply. It plans to launch dozens of new sites next year and populate much of them with work done by freelancers. These freelancers will be paid by the post - some with a flat rate, some with a share of revenue based on the amount of traffic the post generates.