Saturday, August 8, 2009

Surprise! Newspaper ad revenues may rise

      Newspaper ad revenues will increase, according to Borrell Associates, an ad research firm.

      "We are forecasting that by 2014, newspaper income will be up a total of 8.7% over the 2009 figures, to slightly more than $39 billion," said Colby Atwood, the firm's president.

     Atwood said that newspapers are getting better at selling ads, using improving and still big ad sales staffs to contact local advertisers. And their own web sites, advertising on which Borrell doesn't include in its newspaper numbers, will likely generate more revenue over time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is the era of free online news over?

     Rupert Murdock, declaring that the era of free online content is over, tells the Guardian that all his news properties will be pay-only by the end of the year.
     Here's a typical quote: "Quality journalism is not cheap," said Murdoch. "The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites."
      Wanna bet how long it takes the rest of the industry to follow -- at least how long it takes anyone actually intending to continue publishing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Internet ad spending falls again.

Indicating once more that it's the economy, stupid, a new research report shows that worldwide online advertising spending had declined again during the second quarter. Ad spending on the Internet declined 5.5 percent worldwide, but 7.7 percent in the U.S., according to Online Media Daily. This is the second straight quarter where online advertising fell.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Study shows newspaper advertising works

     I do a lot of asking for evidence that online ads work. The Sacramento Business Journal offers evidence -- that newspapers work. Despite all the hand-wringing, etc.  Yes, the study is by the Newspaper Association of America, which is hardly an unbiased organization. But there are figures. Fifty-nine percent of consumers doing comparison shopping uses newspapers.

     I know from personal experience that's true. I drink Coke (actually, Diet Coke while the rest of the family drinks Coke Zero).  Since Coke gouges on its price in Milwaukee, I look each Sunday in the newspaper to see if it's on sale (cheaper) at 1) Pick 'n Save, 2) CVI, or 3) Walgreens. If it's not on sale (and generally Pepsi is, but Coke isn't), I pick up a couple of weeks' supply at Costco, which means driving 17 miles.  The point is, that I do use the newspaper to comparison shop. I don't go on the Internet. Just as a comparison, just now I went to Google and typed "Coke milwaukee price today." The answer: about 322,000 hits. The newspaper works -- and maybe someday, newspapers themselves will start selling this point, and smarter advertisers will realize that evidence of new media advertising superiority isn't there yet (except that it's much cheaper; just as advertising on TV at 3 a.m. is much cheaper).

Research report looks at social media today

What's the hottest topic in new media circles these days? It's social media. The public relations/research company Porter Novelli has issued a comprehensive report on today's social media that makes for very interesting reading.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reporting on the death of journalism

    Nice tip from former Journal Sentinel critic Damien Jaques, who since taking the company's buyout offer this past week apparently has time to read other newspapers, who guided me to a story on the death of journalism from the Washington Post. Note, I didn't say the death of newspapers, but the death of journalism.

     The story, by Ian Shapira, goes through what all he had to do to produce a story, which then was basically lifted from the Post website by with little or no work involved. 

    What's important isn't just that a website basically cherrypicked a newspaper story, but Shapira's going through all the steps he took to produce the original 1,500-word story. And, frankly, this is journalism that isn't likely to be duplicated by websites. Think about it a minute. How often do you see a story on a website that's its own reporting and not just picking up facts from someone else's reporting.  Also, Shapira is, one of the larger national sites. 

     As a perceptive former colleague suggested this morning while talking about the more than 30 Journal Sentinel writers, editors and photographers to leave, journalism is hurt by this -- especially local journalism. For those who hate their local paper, where are they going to get local news if it's gone? The national papers will survive. But who's going to keep an eye on the county executive or your alderman or your governor without a local paper?