Saturday, December 19, 2009

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• After 23 years of advertising on the Super Bowl broadcast Pepsi has decided to place those advertising dollars online. A 30 second Super Bowl spot will set you back $3 million, a bit less than the price of a banner ad on this site (hey Pepsi, what a deal! Call me.). 

• The Detroit Media Partnership get e-reader fever, signing a deal to appear on Amazon's Kindle device. Readers will be charged $6.99 a month for access to the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.  Both newspapers are also working with Plastic Logic to develop a new edition of their newspapers in a different format.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update: Esquire issue now online

This is a quick follow-up to my content story here: you can now find the Esquire issue shown in the demo in the iTunes store (iTunes link).   Maybe iTunes links will become my version cat blogging.  In the spirit of holiday cheer here's another.


Consequences of the deal gone bad: GM to wind down Saab; Nielsen to wind down E&P

I couldn't help but think of Editor & Publisher this morning when I heard the news about Saab: GM was to begin shutting down operations at the Swedish carmaker according to the reports, and it all sounded very much like what is going on today at Nielsen.

In both cases, there was hope that a deal with a new owner was in the works. In the case of GM, a deal with Spyker Cars could not be completed; in the case of Nielsen, the final deal with e5 Global Media Holdings LLC did not include either E&P nor Kirkus Reviews.

I'm sure that both owners had already envisioned life without their properties, so that when the deals could not be completed they went to Plan B -- a shutdown. I'm also quite sure that both GM and Nielsen are still open to some sort of last minute deal that would either sell off the brands completely, or at least sell off the assets and brand.

The next week or two will reveal whether either brand will survive intact.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

IAB revises "Standard Terms and Conditions for Internet Advertising"

The IAB released a revised standards statement for Internet advertising today. The new document includes sections on non-disclosure and data usage, ad placement and positioning language as well as other language usually found in media and advertising contracts and schedules.

“Streamlining business processes in interactive has been one of our main objectives as an organization and with the contributions from both advertising agencies and media companies we believe that we have accomplished this goal,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB in a press release that can be found here.

Tailoring content for both web and mobile devices means new content, new service and new ideas

The fact that B2B publishers are suffering in today's economy more than any other medium should not be news -- it certainly is not for the publisher's themselves. But the decline and fall of newspapers, and now their trade magazine, gets most of the attention.

But as I mentioned in the third quarter advertising report story, both mediums are suffering at rates higher than others -- meaning that even in good times these mediums would be in decline.

Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that both formats have been the slowest to adapt to the Internet and to the new rules that govern electronic publishing. For years now writers such as Paul Conley have been complaining about what he sees on B2B web sites -- the lack of links, the lack of new content, etc.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For some publishers "brother can you spare a dime" is the new sales pitch

Is charity a business model? One would get that impression reading some of the stories that have appeared today.

There seems to be a common theme in some of today's media stories: Media Matters . . . raised roughly $10 million in 2009; this quote contained in a Times story on tablet readers "We all kind of regret that our ancestors gave away the magazine for too little money,” Mr. Granger said; and finally this one Herald to Online Users: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Paper taking donations for Web content (believe it or not, I wrote my headline before seeing that one).

SustainableJournalism.org had a very good interview with Michael Schudson yesterday concerning the future of journalism. His views seem very well reasoned, especially his optimism concerning New Media. Mr. Schudson also voiced some thoughts about what would support the new journalism -- philanthropy and government were mentioned, though I doubt he thought they would be the exclusive sources of support. But really, is this a good model for publishers to pursue? or is this coming form a journalism perspective?

(Looking at the Voice of San Diego site what grabs your attention? For me, it is the "Donate Now" button as well as the About Us page where the staff includes a Director of Development, in charge of fundraising, and a Corporate Sponsorship Coordinator -- but no Advertising Director.)

The good news is that I believe most major publishers have moved beyond free, and are now ready to admit that they must again start driving revenue -- the days of cut-cut-cut may not be over as many owners still have not learned that this is a dead-end solution -- but creating new revenue channels is a must if they are to have a sustainable (if I may borrow that word) business.

The question is where will this new money come from? Advertising? Subscriptions? Apps? Devices? The answer remains all of them as publishers continue to experiment.

The New Year, though, will provide many answers as the market gets hit with new media readers, apps and . . . pleas for charitable contributions.

E-newsletter advice from an interesting source

Almost spilled my coffee this morning: just to the left of the story Jamie Jungers: Tiger Woods And I Had Sex The Night His Father Died and below the story Tara Reid's Playboy Cover Photo  (sorry, no links) I found some advice on e-newsletters from George Weiner: R.I.P. E-mail Newsletters: 7 Ways to Pump Adrenalin Into Your List. He follows up this post with some more words here on the dosomething.org site where he is the CTO.

Next week ESPN.com will have a story on ways to use mobile media to do investigative journalism. Or not.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Business Models

David Shedden is at it again. His latest compilation of links concerns business models -- well worth bookmarking. (His other pages under the Transformation Tracker title are great, as well. But this one is especially relevant to the topic of this site.)

WSJ and Facebook -- I'm trying to get used to the idea

The new Wall Street Journal:
"One wife told of receiving a child's toy dishwasher—she had asked for a real one—and immediately bursting into tears." WSJ's Facebook home page.

(It's a reference to this story.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paid content vs. Paid App.

Rupert Murdoch wants readers to pay for content; some say paying for something more tangible like an iPhone app is a better way to go -- actually, I've said that.

The Guardian, at least for now, is falling into the "app" side of the battle. They have introduced their own iPhone app that will cost the user $3.99 (iTunes link). The Guardian app gives you access to Guardian content, and is free of paid advertising (at least for now). For many, the lack of ads will justify the purchase price of the app; others may consider the app price a type of subscription.

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The Trade Press Problem: it's not the editor's fault

If I could summarize the reason this blog exists I would do so as follows: this site is designed for the business side of the new publishing world, those executives, publishers and ad execs who struggle every day to find solutions to the problems of modern publishing.

In others words, we love you journalists, but there are plenty of other sites catering to reporters, editors, freelancers and others on the writing side of the business.

While trying to decide what to write about this morning I found this finely written column by Alan Webber on the Folio: web site. I read it . . . twice . . . and could find very little to disagree with.  But it was targeted to the wrong audience.