Thursday, December 29, 2011

TNM's Year in Review: Q3

Part one of this series can be found here, and Part two here.

Next week marks the two year anniversary of Talking New Media, a website launched a little over three months before Apple shipped its first iPads, but more than a decade after the first newspaper and magazine websites appeared online.

2011 was a very eventful year in world news, but in some ways it was a simply a continuation of 2010 where media critics continued to debate the paid content versus advertising strategies, and where the gurus of aggregation and layoffs, disguised as 'digital first' proponents, continued to hold sway – despite any evidence that their philosophy could translated into profit publishing models.

July:

News:
Sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn collapses
U.K. phone hacking scandal widens, Prime Minister vows public inquiry
Murdoch closes News of the World
Apple releases OS X Lion though its Mac App Store
Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten evacuated during Oslo shooting and bombing
US and European economies slow due to austerity measures

In early July the phone hacking scandal finally broke big and quickly led to the decision by News International to close its tabloid, News of the World. Eventually both Rupert and James Murdoch had were forced to testify before a committee.

But during the month of July the news just kept coming as new revelations and new consequences appeared: News dropped its bid for BSkyB; Rebekah Brooks, chief executive, resigned, and on and on.

As with most big news stories, Americans looked to The Daily Show for perspective:


Google delisted Belgian newspapers from its search results after losing a lawsuit which claimed that Google did not have the right to post links to their articles without Google paying them, or asking their permission. And so Belgian papers disappeared from search results.

"We regret having to do so. We would be happy to re-include Copiepresse if they would indicate their desire to appear in Google Search and waive the potential penalties," Google spokesman William Echikson said.

Three days later Belgian papers gave Google permission to include them in search results.

August:

News:
The British Library says it plans to double the number of book titles available through its iPad app
Concerns continue to grow over Eurozone debtor nations
Quark sold to PE firm Platinum Equity
Dow drops over 500 points (again)
Gannett says it will print its Cinncinati and Kentucky papers in smaller format through the Columbus Dispatch

Time Inc. said that it will "launch tablet editions for its entire portfolio of 21 titles by year's end." Magazines that would soon have their own tablet editions include InStyle, Real Simple and Entertainment Weekly.
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“Having our entire portfolio available on tablets will create a significant new digital reach for our advertisers," said Maurice Edelson, EVP at Time Inc.

Starting next week, in the New Year, Time will begin reporting its digital sales and subscriber information to the Audit Bureau of Circulations for inclusion in its audit reports.

Web apps become all the rage as some media properties attempt to avoid creating native iOS apps. Not surprisingly, new vendors emerge to push the HTML5 apps, just they emerged to push mobile apps.

Other major publishers, such as Meredith, also continued to deepen their commitments to tablet publishing and selling subscriptions through Apple's App Store.

Meanwhile, things were not going so well at HP as the company said it would dump the TouchPad – soon it would dump its CEO.

One publication that was moving in the opposite direction was The Financial Times which had previously launched a web app. The move, which has proved successful, led Apple to dump the FT app from the App Store due to violation of developer rules.

But the real news in August was the continuing Eurozone crisis that was pushing down growth in all of Europe, not just countries at the center of the debt crisis, like Greece.

September:

News:
Yahoo! board of directors fire CEO Carol Bartz
Google acquires Zagat, publisher of restaurant guides
McGraw-Hill says it will split into two companies
Meg Whitman hired as new HP CEO
Amazon hold event to unveil the Kindle Fire
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The independent magazine publishing business did not grow as fast as I would have predicted when the iPad launched in April of 2010, as many potential publishers were held back by expensive digital publishing solutions. But indy publisher Chris English managed to release his third magazine app in September, Maybach.

The best newspaper apps continued to be appear from European – especially German – newspaper publishers. News weekly Die Zeit released a native designed app in mid-September which offered a free issue at launch, but otherwise would charge a subscription fee through iTunes.

One of the best book apps of 2011 appeared in September: Journey to the Exoplanets. The ebook app was the project of the magazine Scientific American and the book publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The third quarter ended with the Amazon unveiling of the 7-inch Kindle Fire. Anticipation was also building for the Apple event scheduled to announcement the new iPhone.

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