Newspapers Digital First News Summary-4/18/14

Jeff newDigital First News Summary-4/18/14                                                Newspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print audiences while growing digital audiences and engagement to develop a sustainable model for the future. See how newspapers are meeting that challenge including this story- Can The Washington Post’s national push help support local news?

How your data is helping publishers increase circulation                                                   Legacy print publishers are under assault from all sides. Marketers are putting less money into print advertising just as readers are increasingly becoming mobile-first

Mobile is hitting the nuclear reset button                                                               Many startups believe there are better ways to make money in mobile than advertising.

DFM’s Paton: ‘Moving on from Thunderdome’                                                                     Digital First Media CEO John Paton attempted to put a positive spin on the company’s decision to kill its groundbreaking Thunderdome project.

How media companies can manage acquisition budgets on the fly                                           By harnessing data, media companies can quantify the non-linear relationship between financial investments in subscriber acquisition and actual long-term circulation gains, making better decisions about where to spend.

Forecast: Right healthy 2014 ad spending                                                                          Though the media economy has seen great recovery from its struggles during the recession, it still has some ways to go before things return to pre-crash levels.

Can The Washington Post’s national push help support local news?                                  When The Washington Post announced in mid-March that it would provide free digital access to subscribers of a half-dozen local papers around the country, the consensus take was clear: After years of hesitation, the Post, under Jeff Bezos, was finally looking to “go national” in a big way.

Inside the Massacre at the Newark Star-Ledger                                                                    New Jersey’s biggest paper gets gutted—right when local reporters are most needed in Newark and Trenton.

News revenue declines despite growth from new sources                                                    Total revenue supporting American journalism has declined by one-third since 2006, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center. 

Wall Street Journal Editor Gerard Baker on the US Newspaper Crisis                                   In an interview,Gerard Baker, the editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal, discusses the wave of billionaires diving head first into the journalism business and his own newspaper’s evolution after seven years of ownership by Rupert Murdoch.

Digital Ad Spending Worldwide to Hit $137.53 Billion in 2014                                      Spending on digital ads will make up around one-quarter of total media ad spending around the world.

The View From New Haven: What Went Wrong With Digital First                                      The end for one of the most widely watched experiments in local journalism.

Optimism is the only option: The Washington Post’s Marty Baron on the state of the news media As a small band of ex-Posties launch the much watched Vox, the paper’s top editor sees better days ahead for many outlets new and old.

Sun-Times subscribers can pay with bitcoin.                                                                            The Chicago Sun-Times has started accepting bitcoin for yearlong print subscriptions and subscriptions to the newspaper’s digital replica.

Pew: More seniors own tablets or e-readers than smartphones                                        About 27 percent of U.S. adults age 65 or older own a tablet or e-reader device while just 18 percent of seniors own a smartphone, according to Pew’s new report on seniors’ digital habits.

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Newspapers Digital First News Summary-4/11/14

Jeff newDigital First News Summary-4/11/14                                                Newspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print audiences while growing digital audiences and engagement to develop a sustainable model for the future. See how newspapers are meeting that challenge including this story- Jeff Bezos’ Master Plan for His Newspaper

The future of news: know thy audience                                                                                        As news businesses continue to redefine themselves for the digital age, knowing their audience is essential

Pew’s state of the media report: In search of a sustainable digital business model         Released last week, this report is brimming with positive vibes. But amid all the optimism, there’s a subtle undercurrent of concern about media companies’ inability to shed the weight of an outdated, ad-driven ecosystem.

The Changing Revenue Picture for American Journalism                                                          In 2013, the business of journalism saw another twist in its digital evolution: An influx of new money – and interest – from the tech world.

Growth in online video news consumption slows                                                                Despite the recent rapid proliferation of mobile devices, the number of Americans who consume video news online has increased just three percentage points since 2009, from 33 percent to 36 percent in 2013.

8,000 readers purchase Austin American-Statesman content day pass                            After a paragraph teaser, non-subscribers are invited to use the US$0.99 day pass programme, giving them access to articles across the media company’s various platforms. Its greatest success? Sports readers.

Are New Media Companies in a Race to the Bottom?                                                            With BuzzFeed and Upworthy reporting eye-popping traffic growth and planning to hire teams of reporters, many people are wondering whether sharing is the new currency of media success.

State of the news: Shakier than you think                                                                                 The reality is that the businesses that historically have funded local journalism are cutting coverage at the same time that most of the hundreds of new digital entrants are struggling to achieve financial sustainability.

The debate over pageview journalism ignores the real problem: flawed business models Pageview journalism is one of those topics that simmer underneath the surface, bubbling up from time to time when a publisher discloses that it’s implementing a new traffic-based compensation model for writers.

Jeff Bezos’ Master Plan for His Newspaper                                                                               The Washington Post will be giving away digital subscriptions to other newspapers. This is just the first step for the newspaper’s future.

The 3 keys to a multi-media transformation storyline                                                            The principles of print to multi-media transformation at media companies involve making innovation routine, strengthening the platform-agile management limb to facilitate revenue diversification, and having a clear path to integration.

Your phone may one day read your watch’s Washington Post articles                              Emily Steel writes about the Washington Post’s innovations under new owner Jeff Bezos:

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Newspapers Digital First News Summary-4/4/14

Jeff newDigital First News Summary-4/4/14                                                   Newspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print audiences while growing digital audiences and engagement to develop a sustainable model for the future. See how newspapers are meeting that challenge including this story-Report finds embattled newspaper industry still pulls in more than half of all news revenue

What’s the hardest part of digital for legacy publishers?                                                         The biggest players in the online publishing space converged in Vail, Colo., for the Digiday Publishing Summit this week to discuss the wholesale transformation of the industry into a digital and multiplatform phenomenon.

NAA’s new chairman says newspaper biz should have collaborated sooner                   Robert Dickey, the president of Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing division, said U.S. papers should have collaborated more before the meteor hit:

How Papers Should Be Doing Video                                                                                              As newspapers wade deeper into the video waters, they need to make sure the videos they produce look professional and are engaging if they want the to be successful drawing viewers and advertisers.

A Sense of Place: The Future of Local News                                                                    Thoughts on the future of local media companies from a veteran editor with extensive experience in digital content, audience development, video programming and process innovation.

Why The Information chose to follow a paywall model                                                      Jessica Lessin, founder and editor-in-chief of The Information, outlines the site’s approach to paywalls, which she believes should be driven by high-quality content

The ‘Internet of Things’ Will Reshape Advertising Agencies                                              There are two important drivers of the next evolution of the Internet, known as the Internet of Things.

At Newspaper Association of America conference, content — and passion — make a surprise appearance.  The concept of focusing coverage in a given paper’s print editions and website on a handful of “passion topics” particular to that community is picking up steam.

How USA Today reinvents for the digital world                                                                      USA Today is in the midst of rethinking what it’s all about. Gone is the mindset of being a national newspaper

With Quotas and Incentive Pay, The Oregonian is Again Reshaping Its Experience for Readers Close readers of The Oregonian have borne witness to dramatic changes in the past several months.

The Secret About Online Ad Traffic: One-Third Is Bogus                                                 Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud.

‘Robot’ to write 1 billion stories in 2014 — but will you know it when you see it?                   If you’re a human reporter quaking in your boots this week over news of a Los Angeles Times algorithm that wrote the newspaper’s initial story about an earthquake, you might want to cover your ears for this fact.

Newspaper executives talk about their experience with digital subscriptions                     The top executives of print industries such as The New York Times and the Toronto Star described their experience with online subscriptions in Tuesday’s NAA mediaXchange session, “Digital Subscriptions Three Years In: Lessons Learned and Best Practices.”

NYT CEO: ‘We’ll continue to have a newspaper 7 days a week for many years to come’  The New York Times is launching a series of paid products beginning April 2nd, starting with a cheaper digital subscription package in the form of an app called NYT Now.

Professor: 90% of News Stories to be Written by Computers by 2030                      Professor of Computer Science Dr. Kristian Hammond predicts that by 2030, 90 per cent of all news stories will be written not by human reporters but by computer algorithms.

Report finds embattled newspaper industry still pulls in more than half of all news revenue Pew’s 11th annual State of the News Media report, out this morning, offers fresh measures of news media revenue and news staffing at digital-only start-ups. Both findings are arresting for those of us in the news-about-news business but also shed light on the well-being of the industry as a whole.

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Newspapers Digital First News Summary-3/28/14

Jeff newDigital First News Summary-3/28/14                                                Newspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print audiences while growing digital audiences and engagement to develop a sustainable model for the future. See how newspapers are meeting that challenge including this story-New York Times Publisher Says Print Will Outlive Desktop 

Print media’s inevitable digital future: A tough ride                                                             While most newspapers are developing strategies for a combination of traditional print and digital news dissemination, some publications are moving to become online only editions.

Connecticut paper to charge journalists $15 for errors that require a press plate change  Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer managing editor Chris Powell has warned his staff that they face a $15 charge for errors that require a press plate change. 

New York Times Publisher Says Print Will Outlive Desktop                                        Company Hopes New Apps Will Reinvigorate Digital Sub Growth

Could robots be the journalists of the future?                                                                              In this digital age, even journalism is being automated. Now over to GUARBOT for the news …

In looming battle for identity, news publishers must claim their audience through more intelligent data If data is what media companies compete on — and the platforms matter — then there is nothing more important than a sustained understanding of who our audiences are and what, where, how, and how often they want what they want.                                                                                                                                                                                              Time to ditch uniques and page views for engagement in measuring digital audiences  Ditch uniques and develop a better metric. Then-Newspaper Association of America president Mark Contreras was right when he made this case four years ago. It still hasn’t happened. One- or two-time visitors are not a business opportunity — they are an accident.

Media disruption: Bad for us, wonderful for humanity                                                Disruption of the mass media is a big subject. But here’s an even bigger one: The incredible amount of good this same disruption is bringing to humanity worldwide.

Just say no to autoplay video ads                                                                                            When did autoplay video ads become accepted practice?

Papers Need Entrepreneurial Space                                                                            Newspapers need to be more entrepreneurial going forward and experiment with new products in an effort to stave off competition from digital pureplays

Paywalls Vary But Get Results                                                                                                There are numerous paywall models being tried out at newspapers today, but a panel of newspaper executives speaking at the NAA’s mediaXchange conference say that most of them have been effective.

The Washington Post goes national by offering free digital access to readers of local newspapers  In 1980, The New York Times launched a daily national edition that, despite a significant upfront investment, turned into a position of strength; today, more than half of the Times’ print subscribers are outside New York. The Washington Post didn’t.

The unfaithful audience: How topics, devices, and urgency affect the way we get our news  A new study from the Media Insight Project examines how Americans’ news consumption jumps across platforms.

News Tribune looks beyond print to grow audience, revenue with 5 building blocks         The News Tribune honed the marketing message about its Web sites and mobile apps by focusing on customer service, acquisition and retention, content marketing, social media marketing, and multi-platform engagement.

Publishers unbind their customers by unbundling their content                                          Why not make life easier on your cherry-picking customers — and open up entirely new revenue streams?

Is Facebook Paper the Wake-up Call Publishers Need?                                                      There are no two ways about it — natively digital companies including Facebook, Amazon and Google have disrupted traditional journalism and the news media.

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Newspapers Digital First News Summary-3/21/14

Jeff newDigital First News Summary-3/21/14                                                Newspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print audiences while growing digital audiences and engagement to develop a sustainable model for the future. See how newspapers are meeting that challenge including this story-What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong 

USA Today’s two-year strategic overhaul gains traction                                                      USA Today has probably changed more in the last two years than in its previous 30.

In the Age of Big Data, Sometimes a Phone Call Still Works Best                                    More and more, marketers are turning to deep data analytics to measure the relative impact of a local marketing campaign, but call measurement provider Telmetrics says that value can still be delivered by paying attention to a more basic form of interaction: phone calls

Tumblr Ponders Ways to Boost Revenue                                                                                Nine months after Yahoo acquired Tumblr, it is considering ways to boost revenue from the visual-blogging site

Three-fifths of Twitter’s UK users follow a newspaper or journalist                         Guardian and Times top list as research finds those following press accounts are twice as likely to tweet as those who don’t

The Top 3 Social Messaging Apps Among Smartphone Users                                          While it trails Facebook as a messaging app in the United States, WhatsApp dwarfs Facebook in terms of monthly active users.

Multiscreen Advertising, Audience Targeting Lead the Way for Mobile Ad Targeting  Mobile advertising is changing thanks to major advances

Media brands should keep tabs on what’s up with WhatsApp                                        Should the cross-platform, instant messaging app WhatsApp be part of media companies’ new social media/digital strategy?

Apple releases iOS 7.1                                                                                                               Apple released the most significant update to its mobile platform in six months, featuring tweaks to the user interface introduced in iOS 7, fixes for lingering bugs, and new features such as support for the new CarPlay infotainment center.

Days numbered for mobile banners as brands embrace native advertising                    Hefty investments from Mondelez and Omnicom last week suggest that marketers may finally be ready to kill off the mobile banner in favor of social media-driven, native ad placements.

Why so many digital publishers are flocking back to print                                                 With circulation numbers sinking and print ad rates dipping just as fast, now seems like a really bad time to start a magazine.

As Newspaper Revenues Decline, Print Media Stocks Rise                                                   The long-suffering print media industry continued its decline last year. Print circulations and advertising revenues are both down. Companies rooted in the printing press are surviving, and now profiting, thanks to their erstwhile competitors: the Internet and television.

Los Angeles Register to Launch April 16th                                                                     Freedom Communications today announced April 16 as the soft launch date for the Los Angeles Register, a locally focused, community-building daily newspaper serving Los Angeles County

What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong                                                              We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read. We mistake sharing for reading.

6 months after launch, Apple’s iTunes Radio already more popular than Spotify       Apple’s iTunes Radio has carved out 8 percent of the U.S. streaming music market, placing it ahead of popular service Spotify and just behind second-place iHeart Radio

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Digital Subscriptions-Meters, Marketing and Analytics


Just having a meter on your content isn’t enough. As newspapers focus on growing digital subscriptions, more newspaper companies acknowledge the “low hanging” fruit has been captured by newspapers that have had an aggressive paid content strategy in place for an extended time. In simple terms, while the number of subscriptions continues to grow, we’re getting closer to securing most of the digital subscribers that we can acquire by putting our content behind the meter.                                                    

Of course, there are exceptions to that. Many newspapers (including some in Morris) are still experimenting with the meter settings and what content “ticks” to find the elusive and fictitious balance between pageviews and subscriptions. So for those newspapers, their payday awaits a more aggressive position.  That’s good.

But what happens after that? What other factors play an important role?

Marketing. We have to do a much better job of marketing our digital subscriptionsmarketingWhen we launched our pay meters (or in most cases-All Access models), we had solid promotional launch campaigns to drive sales. Radio, billboards and in some cases, TV. But after that, then what?

Looking at approximately 15-20 sites daily (including our own), most of the promotions have been in place for too long. The same design, with the same offer, in the same place, day after day. They become invisible. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal buck this trend.

Why? Is it a resource, logistical, promotional space issue or, more likely, a lack of commitment to the goal of growing digital subscriptions? The first one is a much easier fix.

Ask yourself these questions.

How many of us have a digital subscription promotional calendar in place for 2014?       How often are we changing out the message, the design and the offer?                             Have we tested multiple offers via social media?                                                                     How do our subscription pages look on mobile?                                                                   Where, outside of our own products, are we promoting sales?                                               Are we retargeting potential subscribers with a different offer?

Testing different price points is also a critical part of a marketing strategy. Is $9.95 the ideal price? Would $7.99 generate more subscriptions and ultimately more revenue? How effective are $0.99 introductory offers in terms of acquisition and retention? Are their experts who can help us balance subscription volumes and revenue by determining a better price point? Should you sell digital bundles or offer individual platforms?

These questions demand in-market testing and experimentation.

A/B testing of price points and messaging can help determine what works best. Digital subscriptions are the perfect place to use this option. The good news is that many newspaper companies are climbing on board the A/B testing bandwagon.  It’s quick and easy to put into place and can reveal much about finding the sweet spot in terms of marketing, messaging and pricing.

Marketing subscriptions in the digital space is a strategy that has to be in constant motion. Develop, test, launch, measure and refine. It’s never-ending.


And don’t leave analytics out. They are a key piece of solving the digital subscription puzzle and while this may be the new frontier for circulation/audience executives, it’s critical to maximizing our opportunities to grow digital subscription volumes.

How many unique visitors to your website actually see a stop light box notifying them they’ve reached their viewing limit in a given month (you’d be surprised how small the percentage is)?  Of those that were stopped, what’s the sales conversion rate? What’s a good level for both of these metrics?

Comparing these two, uniques stops and conversions, can reveal much about your content, the liberal nature of your paywall and your pricing/messaging.

Knowing where readers encounter the ‘stop’ box can help you make content and promotional decisions. Monitor time and exits from purchase pages. Retention and reacquisition can’t be overlooked either. What offers are the best in terms of the lengthening the life of a subscription? Should your offer monthly subscriptions as well as annual? How do you market to subscribers that have left you? Measuring the success of different marketing, pricing, retention and reacquisition initiatives is critical. Track everything. Measure it all.

Lastly, according to several newspaper company reports and research, up to 75% of digital-only subscribers aren’t subscribers that have “crossed over” from print. Read that again and get very excited.  This is a new revenue stream and critical to the success of your newspaper.

Growing digital subscriptions doesn’t happen just because your content is good and you have a pleasant pay meter offer. Constantly, you need to evaluate and reset the strategy to reach many different users and their various behaviors.

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Newspapers Digital First News Summary-3/14/14

Jeff newDigital First News Summary-3/14/14                                                Newspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print audiences while growing digital audiences and engagement to develop a sustainable model for the future. See how newspapers are meeting that challenge including this story-The Big Shift in Newspaper Revenue   

Press+ partners with AAM to simplify audits                                                                      Press+ said it will integrate its paid subscription software and data with the Alliance for Audited Media to enable circulation auditing of publisher’s using its platform to manage paywalls.

The Big Shift in Newspaper Revenue                                                                                 Revenue continued to fall at newspapers last year as modest increases in circulation revenue failed to offset bigger declines in advertising, according to the latest earnings reports from the nation’s large, publicly traded newspaper companies.

If native advertising is so harmless, why does it rely on misleading readers?                      It’s hard to read the latest gimmick for infusing a dying industry with cash as anything other than journalism selling its soul

Kids May Be Leaving Facebook, but They Love YouTube                                                     But, let’s say Facebook was concerned — maybe just a little bit — that the kids were no longer alright. Where should it go to find them?

3 Ways To Capitalize On Digital Disruption                                                                  Newspaper publishers, accustomed to coping with the chaos of a massively changing media industry, can win by embracing the storm and picking up on cues being left by a rising tide of digitally native publishers

Creating new forms of journalism that put readers in charge                                                  It’s been 20 years since the Internet began to disrupt journalism. It has turned our business upside down, but it’s also given us a new canvas to invent different ways of presenting information.

Time to dismantle the newspaper factory culture                                                                      To achieve a full print-to-digital transition, media companies must do more than tack on a digital component to their print operations.

Who cares if it’s true?                                                                                                           Modern-day newsrooms reconsider their values

U.S. Adults Spend 11 Hours Per Day With Digital Media                                                    Here’s a stat we’ve heard over and over: 58% of American adults own smartphones. Pair that with the fact that digital culture permeates almost every aspect of our lives, and we can already assume the average person spends a lot of time with gadgets.

Video strives to engage advertisers with leading print ideas                                                    To inspire advertisers, media planners, and creative agencies, Newspapers Canada produced a video that showcases innovative ways to use newspapers’ front pages.

Want more relevance and revenue? Start with your mobile audience                           Content is still king, but the way consumers access that content is a moving target — a target advertisers must follow.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Print Still a Strong Revenue Generator-The John Henry Emails                                       Take a deep dive look at his decision to buy the Boston Globe and his quest to save journalism.

58% of US adults say they have a smartphone — and other sobering stats                              It’s sometimes easy to forget that the mobile revolution hasn’t put a smartphone in the pocket of every American yet. Pew cures that ignorance with hard data indicating fewer than 3 in 5 adults in the U.S. own smartphones.

Days are numbered for the mobile banner                                                                                      Mobile advertising is a tough business to be in. Then again, it was never an easy one.

More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times                                                                             The cuts are to begin in May and last through September.

Warren Buffett on newspapers                                                                                             Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has, over the past few years, bought up dozens of newspapers, with 69 papers and other titles currently part of the BH Media Group,

What Marc Andreessen got right and got wrong in his future of news manifesto            When the history of journalism’s turnaround is written some years hence, I think 2013 and 2014 will go down as years when Internet billionaires, the new Carnegies and Rockefellers, stepped into the fray in a big way.

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