Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/30/2013

Mix Newspapers + Digital + Metered Paywalls and Shake Well! – Hot Mixture or Not?


Newspapers have danced with ups and downs in the past few years. But, as I have posted on periodically in the past, this segment of publishing was one of the first to analyze its options in the new tech environment, embrace change, initiate appropriate training and launch new business models that have included digital and associated mobiles, etc.

This brought about a big learning curve (that is still active) – but, what has shaken out thus far looks promising and has resulted in positive growth in digital circulation and stopped the bleeding in print circulation and even turned print around a little.

Now, let’s drill down and get into some numbers provided by AAM (Alliance of Audited Media) that will tell us for sure if the ‘newspapers + digital + metered paywalls’ mix is a hot mixture or not.

Matthew Flamm reports on the semi-annual newspaper AAM numbers for Crain’s New York Business:

 

New York Times overtakes USA Today as No. 2

The Grey Lady gains 18% in circulation in the past year as metered paywall pays off. The Wall Street Journal jumps 12% in the much-anticipated semi-annual industry audit.

The New York Times has moved into the No. 2 spot in newspaper circulation, ahead of USA Today, as the addition of more than 300,000 digital subscriptions gave the paper an average weekday circulation of 1.9 million print and digital copies in the six months ending March 31.

The number marked a nearly 18% circulation gain compared to a year ago, with digital gaining enough to more than offset print losses, according to the Alliance of Audited Media, which released its semi-annual newspaper survey on Tuesday.

The alliance includes in its digital count subscriptions to the online paper distributed to tablets, iPhones and through its website. 

The Wall Street Journal, in first place, was up 12% in combined weekday circulation, to 2.4 million print and digital copies. Both papers relied on digital circulation for growth. The Journal‘s print edition fell 5% to 1.5 million copies, while the Times‘ slid 6% to 731,000. 

USA Today dropped 8%, to 1.7 million copies, of which only 250,000 were digital.

On Sundays, the Times remains the clear No. 1, with total circulation of 2.3 million copies, up 16% from a year ago. Its print edition slid less than 1% to 1.25 million copies.

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09/14/2011

Poignant International Newspaper ‘The Guardian’ Opens Office in U.S.


One of my favorite and intellectually incisive international news resources has been the British newspaper The Guardian … I love it!   

The new American soil version,  http://www.guardiannews.com/ , debuted yesterday and I welcome it wholeheartedly. 

The Guardian‘s original website had more than 10 million unique visitors in the U.S. in August, according to comScore.
 
These details by Matthew Flamm in Crain’s New York Business.com:
 

The British are coming: Guardian hits U.S.

The left-leaning British newspaper has unveiled Guardiannews.com, the beginning of an effort to carve out a footprint in American cyberspace. To come: writers, technologists and “American expertise.”

The Guardian has launched its U.S. website, marking the left-leaning British newspaper’s latest attempt to expand its footprint in the American market and score advertising dollars out of its substantial U.S. readership.

Guardiannews.com, which went live Tuesday morning, is just “the beginning of our efforts, not the reveal of a finished product,” wrote Janine Gibson, editor in chief of Guardian US, in a blog post.

Based in New York, the new outpost has hired former New York Times writer and editor Robert Mackey and will bring on a team of other writers, technologists and editors. The aim is to “combine the Guardian‘s internationalist, digital journalism with American voices and expertise,” and draw on the paper’s reporters around the world, Ms. Gibson wrote.

The Guardian‘s website had more than 10 million unique visitors in the U.S. in August, according to comScore. In 2007, parent Guardian Media Group launched the Guardian America website, which had more of a U.S. focus than the current effort, but it failed to catch on.

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07/12/2011

Tablet, E-Reader Addicts Also Want Print


Printed Books Still Desired

This is not surprising to me at all … I have posted many times RE the NON-demise of the printed word.

John’s Note: I tried to link to all past posts on ‘printed word’ or ‘print’ but WordPress is giving me trouble tonight! Just go to the “search this site button” at top of this page and enter ‘print’ for my past discussions. 

Oh, the printed word has definitely gone through changes … but, think about it … these changes were brought about by what? Why, the ‘printed’ word itself, of course … only in a different format (digital), that’s all.

A study on this very issue is presented in an article for FOLIO Magazine by Executive Editor Matt Kinsman:

Study Says Tablet, E-Reader Users Haven’t Given Up Print

Few magazine apps in the App Store don’t have at least one reviewer clamoring for a subscription package that bundles print and app, and now a new study from GfK MRI suggests that rather than abandoning old media, tablet and e-reader users might still be print’s best audience.

John’s Note: By the way GfK means ‘Growth from Knowledge’ and MRI means ‘Mediamark Research and Intelligence’

According to the study, tablet owners are 66 percent more likely than the average U.S. adult to be heavy users of printed versions of magazines, while e-reader owners are 23 percent more likely to be heavy print users.

The study also says men are more likely to own tablets while women are more likely to own e-readers (although I still dig my Kindle and I’ll arm-wrestle anyone at GfK MRI or Yudu who makes fun of me).

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02/08/2011

Investing in News Media Publishing has been a Sucker’s Game…EXCEPT for…


By now, most have heard that HuffPost was sold to AOL for 315 million! God bless Arianna Huffington and her success…She is the first to score BIG money from any kind of a media investment in six years…But, she worked hard, was hands-on and sharp on surrounding herself with knowledgeable, intelligent people. (There is a little confusion on just how much of the money Arianna received. Forbes mag discusses).

Aaron Elstein,  of Crain’s New York Business, details a little history of past and present media investors…including Rupert Murdoch (WSJ), Warren Buffet (Wash. Post), Philip Falcone (NY Times) among others…and their successes and failures. Two of the three high rollers I just mentioned are in the media investment losers’ column (two are definitely investment losers and Murdoch is struggling).

This is an interesting, insightful and revealing article: 

HuffPo’s profits are rare these days

by Aaron Elstein

Back in the spring of 1995, renowned money manager Mario Gabelli bought a 6% stake in publisher Pulitzer Inc., owner the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other newspapers. Over the following years, Mr. Gabelli added shares until he owned 40% of the company.

In early 2005, Mr. Gabelli scored big when Pulitzer agreed to be acquired by rival Lee Enterprises for $1.5 billion. The investor’s stake by then was worth no less than $600 million.

This almost-forgotten deal wouldn’t be worth recalling except for this fact: It was the last fortune made by an outside investor in the news business. Until Arianna Huffington and her partners scored earlier this week with the $315 million sale of her website to AOL, that is.

Mind you, when reviewing big investor scores in media-land, I’ve disregarded the Bancroft family, which owned Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal for over a century until Rupert Murdoch blew them away in 2007 with a $5 billion bid. The Bancrofts inherited their stakes and were such passive owners that it seems more fair to call them “dividend collectors” than investors.

For nearly everyone else, investing in news media has been a sucker’s game for years.

One of the biggest losers is Warren Buffett, the Washington Post Co.’s biggest stockholder, who has seen his stake fall by more than half over the past six years, to about $800 million. (He plans to leave the company’s board soon.)

Philip Falcone’s investment in the New York Times Co. has been a tremendous bust. Starting in 2007, the hedge fund manager began acquiring what eventually became about 20% of the Times’ stock. But the stock has sunk, and Mr. Falcone’s stake has shrunk to 2.6% as he’s unwound his position: Last November, Mr. Falcone sold 7 million shares for less than half the price he paid for his original investment, according to a regulatory filing.

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01/17/2011

Apple iPad Inks Deal with Murdoch Newspaper Despite Issues


In yesterday’s post,  Apple iPad Too Dictatorial to Publishers? , I discussed the two main issues RE why newspaper and mag publishers were avoiding Apple as their host digital seller. Those issues were an Apple-applied cut in desired publisher subscription rates and no subscriber data offered to publishers for follow-up sales, etc.

However, Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp.’s Daily digital newspaper have not been deterred. In fact, they have sunk quite an investment into an app for the iPad store.

See if you think Old Rupert made a good deal in the following details offered by Michael LearmonthAdAge.com, writing for Craines’s New York Business:

First sponsors emerge for iPad’s Daily

Macy’s, Verizon, Pepsi, Land Rover and Virgin sponsor project from News Corp. and Apple.

In the coming weeks, News Corp. is set to unveil one of its more audacious content bets in recent years: The Daily, a newspaper designed for the iPad and the generation of tablet devices it inspired.

Conceived by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who negotiated directly with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, the publication breaks new ground in a couple of ways. First, it’s one of the biggest bets on traditional journalism in years on any platform—100 writers, editors and designers have been hired for the project—since Condé Nast sunk $100 million into Portfolio magazine.

Second, it will break the logjam that has bedeviled publishers attempting to move their subscription models to the iPad. Thus far, publishers have been reluctant to accept Apple’s terms: a 30% cut of subscription fees and no subscriber data. But The Daily will sell subscriptions through Apple’s App Store: 99¢ a day after a two-week trial, according to people briefed on the project, plus the ability to push new content to the app throughout the day. In a sign of how complex this is for Apple and for News Corp., tech blog AllThingsD reported the planned launch this week was delayed as the partners work out the kinks.

But one thing has fallen into place for The Daily: an impressive array of launch sponsors, including Macy’s, Verizon Wireless, Land Rover, Pepsi Max and Virgin America, according to people close to those deals. In addition to sponsoring the project, they’ll help The Daily get off the ground by offering incentives for their customers to download the app, such as frequent flyer miles from Virgin America.

Apple has an initial exclusive window for The Daily, but over time the newspaper will be adapted to a fast-proliferating category of iPad-like tablet devices running Google’s Android or operating systems from Microsoft, BlackBerry and Palm, now a division of HP. A good portion of the Murdoch clan, including Daily publisher Greg Clayman and newly appointed sales chief Christine Cook, were all at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month to take in the new devices.

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12/07/2010

Digital Newspapers with ‘Live Layer’ Can Stream Live Breaking News Stories!


Digital newspapers using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite for Newspaper Tablet Editions can stream live breaking news stories and updates using the ‘Live Layer’ function of the suite.

Damn, this is good, no?

Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, and part of the Bonnier international publishing group, is the first publication to enter daily production using the subject Adobe Suite.

This BusinessWire press release has details:

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that the Bonnier international publishing group has selected the Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite for its development of the tablet newspaper publishing platform, News Plus. Bonnier’s News Plus platform will be used to create tablet editions of leading Bonnier Group news magazines with a total daily print circulation of more than 800,000. The first News Plus based edition expected to enter daily production is Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, which launched its Apple iPad News Plus app in the Apple App Store yesterday.

Following Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier plans to launch four additional dailies on their News Plus platform, including Sydsvenskan, Expressen, Dagens Industri and Børsen. Built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the Bonnier news magazine initiates a dialogue with readers, while staying on top of a 24-hour content cycle. Beginning with Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier is making innovative use of the Web View functionality in the Adobe Content Viewer to display and push HTML5 content to readers as it happens throughout the day. In addition, the company has implemented a publisher direct model for subscription payments and scheduled content distribution using the Digital Publishing Suite.

“Adobe Digital Publishing Suite has been a key element in the development of our News Plus platform,” said Tore Fjaertoft, chief technology officer, Bonnier Digital. “We were challenged to efficiently and quickly create novel reading experiences that map to our business goals. The innovative Adobe Digital Publishing Suite enables us to design and produce a daily newspaper application within a very rigorous and fast paced production cycle while supporting our subscription based business model.”

Following Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier plans to launch four additional dailies on their News Plus platform, including Sydsvenskan, Expressen, Dagens Industri and Børsen. Built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the Bonnier news magazine initiates a dialogue with readers, while staying on top of a 24-hour content cycle. Beginning with Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier is making innovative use of the Web View functionality in the Adobe Content Viewer to display and push HTML5 content to readers as it happens throughout the day. In addition, the company has implemented a publisher direct model for subscription payments and scheduled content distribution using the Digital Publishing Suite.

“Adobe Digital Publishing Suite has been a key element in the development of our News Plus platform,” said Tore Fjaertoft, chief technology officer, Bonnier Digital. “We were challenged to efficiently and quickly create novel reading experiences that map to our business goals. The innovative Adobe Digital Publishing Suite enables us to design and produce a daily newspaper application within a very rigorous and fast paced production cycle while supporting our subscription based business model.”

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12/05/2010

iPad Falling Behind in the "Savior of Publishing" Race – And Rightfully So!


Holy shitswowski! What’s going on with Apple and it’s stupid approach to putting up roadblocks to potential magazine and newspaper publishing clients in it’s iTunes Store RE handling of subscriptions?

Many popular magazine and newspaper iPad apps have already been developed to allow selling digital versions through Apple…AND the so-called Apple visionaries (idiots is more like it) are not allowing the personal information of subscribers to be accessed and managed by the content providers themselves!

Why? What is the purpose of this greedy hoarding? This should be a win-win situation for all parties to be more monetarily successful. The more direct use of personal demographic info will result in more targeted success for the newspaper and mag clients AND should result in more volume biz for the Apple iTunes Store.

Can someone with more insight than I explain this to me?

If Apple stays on this dumb course I think the popular mags and newspapers will take their business elsewhere. And where is that, you might ask? To the upcoming and surging Google and Android platforms, of course!

Also, Apple is demanding too damn much of a cut (30%) to allow the apps! Remember that great line from the New York gubernatorial campaign: The rent is too damn high!

Read these previous posts of mine for more background on this issue:

From this blog, Time Magazine is Unhappy with iPad Publishing

From Writers Thought for Today Blog, Publishers Becoming Wary of Apple

Here is a current little ditty on iPad News: Apple, Publishers Clash on Subscriptions from iPad.net :

The iPad has been looked upon as the “savior” of the publishing industry, but relations between Apple and major publishers have hit an impasse that may be insurmountable. If the two cannot agree on key issues, the publishers may be taking their business elsewhere.

We’ve been hearing rumors for months that iPad apps for numerous popular magazine and newspaper titles will become available for subscriptions at the iTunes Store. Now the reasons for the delay have surfaced. According to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, Apple and the publishers are “still miles apart” when it comes to the terms for how to sell subscriptions.

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11/29/2010

Publishing Crossroads – The Main Intersection


With the advent of mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone, newspapers and magazines see a hitherto nonexistent opportunity for generating paid subscription digital versions as the new mobiles (and they WILL be proliferating like rabbits!) will be hungry for great, meaningful and pertinent content.
The publishing crossroads is a balancing act between the younger generation, used to digital media and expecting instant info, and the older generation, still loyal to print…and how to make both profitable while complimenting each other!

Tony Glover writes this for The National:

Publishers put future at fingertips with iPad papers

Business moguls such as Rupert Murdoch and Sir Richard Branson are developing newspapers and magazines that can be viewed only online on the Apple iPad. This move to entirely digital newspaper publishing could herald a global expansion of online publishing in regions such as the Middle East, which have a growing thirst for local content.

Mr Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, is reported to be planning a daily digital iNewspaper to launch on the iPad, which it is understood will be called The Daily. He is believed to have a staff of 100 in place in New York to run the newspaper. The absence of printing costs means The Daily is expected to retail at only 99 cents a week. The project follows Mr Murdoch’s move to make the digital versions of the UK’s The Times and The Sunday Times pay-only websites.

But The Daily has already attracted criticism from rivals who say that a staff of 100 is too small to produce a credible daily newspaper. However, some of Mr Murdoch’s rivals, such as Sir Richard, are trying to leapfrog News Corp by publishing offerings of their own, with Virgin expected to unveil an iPad magazine in New York this week.

Newspaper publishers are becoming convinced that iNewspapers on devices such as the iPad will gradually come to replace print. Many of the world’s leading publications are also developing versions of their publications specifically for the iPad. The Economist, for example, has an iPad application and, like other digital publishers, considers these new internet devices as ideal for winning market share in regions such as the Middle East, where print distribution can be expensive.

Sanjay Gohil, the iPad production editor at the Financial Times, says: “The iPad is a lot more nimble and quick than traditional PCs and allows you to download electronic newspapers and read them later, when you are without an internet connection.”

He says the iPad allows online newspapers to become multimedia products, offering video and audio clips in addition to print and stills photography.

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11/28/2010

Market Intelligence for the Professional Publishing Industry


In the digital publishing age a balance needs to be created between the customers’ desire for immediate accessability at any time to enriched text (enhanced with audio, video, three-dimensional objects, full text searching, note taking, etc) and “…publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.”

We are at the age where researchers can access works in the form of e-books that are accessable at any time and any place and never go out of print!

This is heavy neatness to the extreme. Publishing and content are moving at warp speed!

Simba Information, publishing and media intelligence and analysis, has outlined a report that exemplifies the ongoing depth of analysis required in this transition time in the publishing industry:

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries

Electronic books offer creative possibilities for expanding access as well as changing learning behavior and academic research. Content can always be accessible, regardless of time or place, to be read on PCs or on portable book readers. Books need never go out of print, and new editions can be easily created. One can carry several titles at once on a portable reader and, over time, build a personal library.

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries examines how libraries are turning to e-books to strike a balance between patrons’ demands for openness and convenience and publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.

Features such as full text searching, changeable font size, mark-up, citation creation, and note taking are enhancing usability. Print text can be integrated with multi-dimensional objects, sound, and film to create a whole new kind of monographic work.

The report examines questions such as:

– What happens to e-book usage when barriers to inconvenience are removed?
– When patrons can have easy access to scholarly e-books, what does their usage look like and what does this predict   for the future of these types of resources?
– Are these innovative models more or less fiscally sound than their traditional counterparts?
– What will make e-books a viable part of academic library collections?
– What features, rights, business models, hardware and software standards are needed to meet the goals of large academic library systems to support open scholarly exchange?

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10/22/2010

Murdoch’s "Digital Newsstand" is Belly-Up


Due to his wanting to control all the subscribers’ list data demographics, and not even sharing this info with those newspaper publishers participating in his digital newsstand, he has not been able to generate any interest from other publishers in joining his online newsstand! Duh, I wonder why?

David Zax , of FastCompany.com, reports more intriguing details:

Project Alesia, one year and $30 million in the making, would have bundled online subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, but publishers weren’t interested.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is ditching an idea one year and $31.5 million in the making: an online newsstand that would have bundled online subscriptions to newspapers and magazine. “Project Alesia,” as it was called, is being abandoned for lack of interest among the publishers News Corp. had pitched.

Reuters’ source says that Alesia is just on hold, but MediaWeek claims the decision is absolute: “an entire, dedicated News Corp U.K. operation being dismantled just days before a product was due to go on market.” Over a hundred people were working on the project; most have been reassigned elsewhere.

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