Saturday, May 1, 2010

Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• Gannett's head of digital is leaving the media giant but has handed it a present, of sorts: a long memo on why the industry's fascination with paywalls is wrong-headed.
The Gannett Blog, an independent Blogspot site that keeps an eye on Gannett, reports that Chris Saridakis wrote a 1,700 word letter to employees expressing his views.

"I do not believe a paid content/pay wall strategy will work for newspaper companies. I think the industry is going about it all wrong," Saridakis writes. "If everyone decides to charge for content that a consumer will need to pay for based on usage, then every newspaper company will have learn how to market like a consumer packaged goods company overnight. They will have to build consumer experiences at the same level that Apple, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble do every day."

Saridakis is as big a believer in mobile as TNM: "(Mobile) is the next frontier, and is not that far off. In fact, having spent half my time in front of advertiser clients, the opportunity for mobile is in reach. We cannot afford to miss this one. Just like the computer, mobiles devices will get cheaper, faster, easier to use and the operating systems and applications will all become standardized. Advertisers are waiting to take advantage of this sector."

Saridakis is leaving Gannett to take a position as CEO of Global Marketing Services for GSI Commerce, a provider of e-commerce and interactive marketing services for brands and retailers. Prior to joining Gannett he headed PointRoll, a digital marketing services company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gannett.
• The April 30th date came and past and with it the official closing of 19 of the 23 titles that Reed Business Information announced would be closed. Four titles that made up Supply Chain Group found a new home, as well as three titles that Jim Langhenry has managed (Control Engineering, Plant Engineering and Consulting-Specifying Engineer). The other titles had their websites shuttered yesterday.

As I wrote on Friday, the divestiture will be felt throughout the industry, and offshore, as well. Reed Data Services, housed on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, is also being downsized as circulation and data services that once assisted RBI titles are being scaled back. Only services related to Reed Construction Data will remain.

It's one thing to conceive of an innovative new product, it's another to actually launch it.

• The week ended with the launch of the 3G model of Apple's iPad, as well as the word that H-P would not be launching its Slate tablet as expected, and the Microsoft is not going to develop its much discussed Courier tablet.

For H-P, by acquiring Palm, they have also brought Palm's WebOS in-house. Rather than launching their Slate with Windows, which would have resulted in a slower, more bloated machine, they will now have the option to develop WebOS or go with Android.

For Microsoft, the Courier may have caught the imagination of some, but in the end it was all vaporware.