Friday, September 3, 2010

Publishers using new tools to match consumers/media content

Meanwhile, in a really intriguing post with deep implications for both producers and consumers of media, eMedia Vitals says that publishers are quickly adopting strategies and tools to personalize their content.

New tools that are being used include social media, current and past viewing to build a consumer's profile and use that to offer suggestions. It's similar to the music site Pandora, which suggests music based on your preferences.

Imagine all the readers . . .

Paywalls aren't a panacea for newspapers, according to An analysis indicated that even if every single subscriber switched to online paid content, newspapers would still lose their shirt. Each online viewer would be worth only a quarter of the value of a paid print subscriber.

Although basically a UK analysis, it holds deep implications for newspapers. As the story indicates positing big losses with readers shifting online behind a pay wall: "If that sounds bad, imagine the situation for publishers whose websites are not starting charging." Well worth thinking about.

Fall fashion magazine rebound on this scale

Measured by weight (its traditional measure), fall fashion magazines are way up. This year's key magazines weighed a total of 16.58 pounds, according to TheWrap's scale. Last year the magazines weighed only 15.34 pounds last year, far from 2008's 21 pounds. Vogue was the winner with its 726 pages weighing a hefty 2.89 pounds.

Time blasts apart its campaign secrecy wall

The old days when media kept its secrets, especially gameplans, close to its vest are totally gone. Time announced its plans for the upcoming campaign season, telling not only its readers/viewers but its competitors exactly what it plans to cover, how and when.

Just one of the plans announced: Joe Klein will launch a four-week, 12-state swing across America, highlighting key races. Wisconsin will be one of the states profiled.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Newspapers aren't going away, innovator says

Another day, another story on newspapers. But this essay in AdWeek, by
Rishad Tobaccowala is chief strategy and innovation officer at VivaKi, is both interesting and offers some good thoughts.

The money quote: "There is a high likelihood that the legacy packaging of the news industry, the newspaper, will become less relevant to most folks; I also predict that the industry's product and services will become more relevant."

Tobaccowala suggests the newspaper industry will grow by continuing changes in newspaper culture, technology, partnering and focus.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New e-reader on the horizon?

Keep your eyes open, yet another new electronic option for reading newspapers, magazines and books is coming fast. LG, which manufactures screens for the Kindle and iPad, says it's ready to launch two flexible, very thin screens that can be used for books, magazines and even a newspaper broadsheet (on a 19-inch monochrome flexible screen).

Are all the bugs out so these e-readers can dominate the media market? Not yet, but they are yet another step toward the day when e-readers will rule. They have come an amazingly long way in the past couple of years, and I think their flexibility and light weight will prove a long-time winner.

Pictured is a press release photo showing the new flexible e-readers in action.

Radio: The original social medium

What's new is old, and what's old is new. When I really began to study history, I realized that the adage that looking at the past gives a glimpse into the future is really true. It's especially true in media.

Neil Glassman writes about how radio was the original social medium, and perhaps still is the best. For example, he writes:

"AM had Top 40 formats (mashups), DJ shout outs (tweets), contests to win logo T-shirts (badges) and exclusive clubs to which everyone belonged (Facebook groups). I got into late night talk shows (blogs), which had an intimacy and affinity with listeners that radio has lost and web social networks have yet to fully discover. Later, FM jocks changed my music buying habits and political views (influencers)."

All of today's new media buzzwords apply to radio. It also instructive, I think, to realize that "everyone" said radio would die when television came around (as well as movies). And newspapers would die when radio came around. And newsletters and opinion pamphlets would die when newspapers came around. They're all still here, and some are in better shape than they've ever been.

So is radio dead? Not by a long shot. Television? Newspapers? Magazines? Books? None of it is backed up by real data. Are they changing? Sure. But, as with movies and radio, change leads to growth.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

USA Today to shift focus to digital

USA Today plans to shift its focus to its digital side. OK, what does that mean? The announcement wasn't all that clear. Yes, it's going to eliminate 130 jobs (where? what jobs? It doesn't say), it's going to create a stand-along sports section, it's going to push the digital side to be newsier (one goal: post news stories within a half-hour of an event) and it's going to try to win a larger share of the digital and mobile phone markets.

Still, details are pretty unclear. One staffer who listened to the management announcement said it appeared to be a work in progress. Frankly, that's the way I'd approach this sort of change. You don't know until you get doing something how it's really going to turn out. One criticism of newspapers is that they weren't flexible. Sounds like USA Today, under pressure from the Wall Street Journal, is doing that.