Thursday, March 1, 2012

Online streaming increases TV watching time

For years I've wondered why the commercial television networks didn't repeat shows, like we've become used to on HBO or Showtime. I remember when I quit watching "Lost." I loved the show the first season, watching it faithfully until I went to a beach over the winter holidays, and came back to find myself three shows behind. That was the last time I watched the show, and I could have been kept so easily.

That came to mind with a little story from MediaPost offering statistics on how a network online presence increases television watching. It increases total watching time, not just watching missed shows. I think it increases out interest in shows with evolving storylines. Sorry nets, but we don't like on your schedule any more.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Digital free for Post, but extra content available

The Washington Post is trying something different, Poynter reports. It's offering free digital apps for iPhone, iPad and various other smart phones, but adding premium content. This is the basic model cable television used. It worked for them, and I don't see why it won't work for the Post.

Meanwhile, Warren Buffet, who knows a few things about making money, doesn't understand the newspaper industry giving away online content, the Post reports, but thinks "they will have a decent future if they continue delivering information that can’t be found elsewhere." "He says,newspapers need to make sure they remain the primary source of information about subjects readers are interested in," the Post reports.

Hearst predicts half revenue to come from digital

Speaking of digital media, as we do so much these days, AdWeek reports that Hearst is anticipating that half of its revenue will come from digital subscriptions this year. Hearst charges extra for digital subscriptions, which may explain why its newspapers are dying so quickly.

Journal Sentinel move gets attention

Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel paywall (oops, they like it called a "digital subscription package"; sounds better) gets a lot of attention in a long story on Poynter, with a lot of details that haven't been locally reported. Apparently it's successful enough that other newspapers are look at how and what they are doing in Milwaukee.

There are some worrisome notes, especially on pricing. Along with an announcement that the "digital subscription package" -- which is free to print subscribers -- will soon have a tablet app, is the ominous phrase that " the tablet launch will come with a free-to-subscribers, two-month trial period," implying that print subscribers who want to use the tablet app will be charged extra. That means more revenue, but removes any incentive there is to remain print subscribers.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Now, a word from the other side

As long-time readers know, I really like print publications and believe they have a future. I'll give you some reasons why, but first here's the other side: Jordan Kurzweil at says "It’s been said before, but it needs saying again (and again and again): PRINT IS DEAD."

Kurzweil, CEO of a digital company, makes a good argument for why print has no future and that media companies should clear the decks for a digital future if they have any hopes of having a future.

My quibble is that he's ignoring media history, which shows that media has adapted tremendously over the years and few forms of media actually die. Most evolve. (Remember radio was going to kill newspapers, television was going to kill radio -- and certainly kill newspapers; none of that happened.) The point is that media evolves rather than dies.

As I look across the room to a iPad and type on a laptop while watching the Wisconsin-Ohio State basketball game on television, I certainly appreciate digital media, especially well-designed web sites. But I keep seeing people reading and buying print products, and I can't imagine some of them -- think National Geographic magazine -- losing a print presence.

And, in fact, some of his arguments try to argue both points. After making an argument that people want digital rather than print, he then says that Patch "can't seem to find readers or revenue," and, after making are argument that content and technology are equal, he states that content is the "most cherished" asset. Sorry but one can't have it both ways.

Still, Kurzweil has some good points. Print media has been poorly managed, although I think it's getting better lately. Younger audiences skew digital; most old media web platforms are awful; and, of course, that print revenues are declining.

Read his article. It's thought-provoking.