Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Google Screwing Content Creators? Yes – But Change is in the Air

Google needs to be checked at times

Just like Craigslist devastated local classified advertising in newspapers, Google has also chipped away large chunks of advertising revenue from newspapers by ‘copying’ original content from newspaper articles and displaying it in their search results without compensating the newspapers and original content creators!

“Simply put, Google has not done enough to aid the newspaper industry. If the company continues their profiteering ways at the expense of original content creators, more papers will fold and less content will be created.” – Michael Kozlowski

Actually that first sentence in the quote above SHOULD read that Google has not justifiably compensated news sources for using their content. It has nothing to do with ‘aiding’. Newspaper content, if it is not already, should be considered copyrighted material with agreements for ‘fair use’ by the usual players — BUT, I don’t consider Google (or any other internet behemoths) using the work of others to make large advertising profits for themselves, at the expense of the original content creators and without proper compensation, a case of ‘fair use’.

Google apparently has woken up a little (with prodding) and has entered into commercial agreements to establish a €60m digital innovation fund that will help local news companies start to monetize their newspapers in digital form. This will allow media organizations to profit from Google advertizing platforms such as AdSense and AdMob for mobile phones.

More details provided in tonight’s interesting source article from Good E Reader by :


Has Google Demolished the Newspaper Industry?

There has been quite a number of journalists weighing in on the role Google plays in the newspaper industry. The company has made billions of dollars of advertising revenue at the expense of content creators. The newspaper industry has lost billions of dollars in the last 10 years, which is directly proportionate to the sheer growth Google has garnered .  Should Google be doing more for the newspaper industry?

In 2011 Google made 37.9 billion dollars, of which 96% derived from advertising. Each quarter from 2012 to 2013 earned Google 14 billion dollars on average with the same amount coming from their core advertising market. “Our top 25 advertisers are spending over $150 million per year” on Google’s ads business such as search, display and YouTube, said a Google Spokesman . Currently Google accounts for more than 41% of U.S. digital ad revenues, according to eMarketer.

When Google first introduced their Adwords platform in the year 2000, newspapers in the US peaked at $48 billion dollars from direct advertising. This has since declined to 18.9 billion in 2012. It is painfully obvious that most advertisers are getting more bang for their buck by advertising on the internet, instead of physical papers.

In the last few months many of techs leading innovators is trying to help journalism reach new heights and put a priority in the dailies. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos acquired the Washington Post for $250 million, then eBay founder Pierre Omidyar promised to spend a similar amount on a brand-new media entity called First Look Media.   Google so far as done nothing to give back to the industry.

Many European countries are not taking the advertising market share of Google laying down.  Google generates an estimated €1.5 billion, or $2 billion, in France.  The government is irate that the company pays almost no taxes in France, and instead is going to Belgium and Ireland. “We want to work to ensure that Europe is not a tax haven for a certain number of Internet giants,” the digital economy minister, Fleur Pellerin mentioned.

Article continues here

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Solving Every Publishers Paywall Problem

Paywall Producing Money

How about a super simple program that allows you to set up a flexible content monetizer (paywall) that allows readers to pay for one article for an hour or access archieves for a week or gain access to the entire site for a month or year!

That super simple program is Tiny Pass (A real Mighty Mouse!)

“For example, the Huffington Post could use Tiny Pass to make users pay $.05 to be able to read an article by Arianna Huffington for an hour or $.25 to read her entire archives for a week. Or it could charge $5 to gain access to the entire site for one month.” 

More details at the Business Insider by Noah Davis:

This Startup Just Solved Every Publication’s Paywall Problem — And It Is Using The Huffington Post As Proof

Suppose you are a web publisher who wants to institute a pay wall. You could spend millions on developing one like The New York Times.Or you could call Tiny Pass.

The latest project from Hudson Media Ventures is a micropayment platform that allows publishers to indicate the content they want to charge users for, how much they want to charge, and how long the access will last. It then delivers said content after users simply and quickly pay for the privilege.

Read and learn more


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.

Read and learn more


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?

 Read and learn more


What Is The Biggest Opportunity and Threat To Publishers?

And the answer is, according to Jason Fell of FOLIO magazine: new technology!

Yes, all the new e-readers and iPads, etc, have opened up all kinds of new opportunities and venues for publishers…but, like roses, they come with some thorns!

From Jason Fell today:

“I’m far more worried about 500 million people on Facebook than I am about 2 million people watching Fox.”

That’s what CNN U.S. president Jonathan Klein said Wednesday during the opening keynote of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s two-day Media Summit, held here for the seventh year. An overarching topic of a number of the sessions was about the confluence of traditional publishing/advertising/distribution with emerging technologies. In his discussion with BusinessWeek editor Josh Tyrangiel, Klein, who led CNN to its most profitable year in 2009, said the company’s growth areas are online (including, mobile, U.S. cable, and said it is placing a “greater emphasis” in online video.

But while evolving technologies are offering CNN some of its biggest opportunities, Klein said they also are facilitating its biggest threats. “The competition I’m really afraid of are social networking sites, not only because of the sheer numbers of people who engage in Facebooking and Tweeting,” he said. “It used to be that Internet prime time was daytime, but now you come home and you engage in the world of Facebook, and so that’s just an alternative that threatens to pull people away from us. On top of that, if you think about it, the people you’re friends with on Facebook or the people you follow on Twitter are trusted sources of information.”

The conversation surrounding the merging of content with new technologies, and the inherent difficulties associated with it, continued during a morning workshop. One panelist, Spin magazine founder Bob Guccione Jr., said that while “print is not dead,” the wave of new tech coupled with the economic fallout has weeded out the industry’s most “inferior and inadequate” publications. “There are a lot of boring, generic, afraid, unimaginative, unopinionated magazines and the market is telling us that we don’t need them,” he said. “And e-reader devices have not yet scratched the surface of ‘saving print.’ They’re not the future of magazines. Magazines are the future of magazines. The people who make them need to find better new ways to captivate their audiences, or they will fail.”

But one way some publishers are hoping to “captivate” audiences is by producing content for the new crop of e-reader devices. Bob Nell, director of business development of Sony’s digital reading business division, said a lot of the necessary details, like revenue sharing models and content control, are still being hashed out. “Should the publisher control the iterations of their magazine across different platforms and control pricing, etc.? That’s all playing out,” he said. “Generally, I think the publishers should manage all of that.”

The Advertising vs. Pay Wall Conundrum

What would a conversation about the collision of traditional publishing and new technologies be without talk about ways to monetize it? Panelists kicked off an afternoon workshop called “Models for Change: Experimenting with Subscriptions, Pay Walls, Display and Search Advertising, Syndication, Live Events and Brand Extension Opportunities,” by dredging up Wired editor Chris Anderson’s well-known “freemium” concept—offering basic content/services online for free while charging a fee for premium features. “Unless the price of creating content becomes free, just because content is online doesn’t mean it should be free,” argued senior vice president of sales Liberty Carras. “When value becomes established, content is something that should be charged for.”

While developing multiple content platforms and diversifying revenue streams is a top priority for publishers like Conde Nast, Julie Michalowski, the company’s vice president of business development for its consumer marketing division, said the publisher is not considering erecting any pay walls. “What we want to continue to do is to build digital relationships so that we can have a multi-channel relationship with our consumers that includes print and includes other ways that they want to access us,” Michalowski said. The trick, she said, is for publishers to find a balance between “discoverability and profitability.”

Marc Ruxin, executive vice president and chief innovation officer at McCann WorldGroup San Francisco, said publishers and advertisers need to develop new ways to make online advertising effective for both parties. One example he noted was allowing the consumer to determine the types of ads they want to see on the sites they frequent.

“Content has been subsidized by advertising since day one, but display advertising doesn’t cut it now,” he said. “New models need to emerge to continue to support content creation.”


Getting Paid for Digital Content–Where Do We Go From Here?

Trying to figure the optimum pricing model for digital content is just in the infancy phase. Matt Kinsman of FOLIO magazine writes this:

Investors want to see paid content models while publishers express their doubts, and some dotcoms say the advertising model isn’t done yet—provided publishers can tap into marketing and promotion budgets.

Future revenue models for publishers dominated the discussion today at the DeSilva + Phillips Dealmakers Summit 2010, where publishers and investors debated where the revenue growth will come from.

Managing directors of two of the largest investment firms said content-driven businesses—including magazines—remain attractive opportunities, but monetizing that content is a priority.

“We believe in content but we’re struggling to monetize it,” said Jeff Horing, managing director of Insight Venture Partners. “It’s not really an issue for the next five years but it could be a problem five years from now when we try to sell the business and project what it will be worth to a buyer.”

Content that can’t be had elsewhere—either through original reporting or unique ways of aggregating—are attractive investments, said Richard Zannino, managing director of CCMP Capital Advisors (which owns Hanley Wood).

And despite the contraction among both industries, magazines remain a more attractive opportunity than newspapers. “We would not invest in newspapers,” said Zannino. “With magazines, maybe. It depends on the market. Newspapers have a fundamental issue where they don’t deliver as much value as their alternatives. With magazines, that fundamental issue doesn’t exist as long as they’re targeted to an attractive niche market.”

Others said magazines are essential within their broader organization. Washington D.C. insider Politico is a “reverse publisher” in which much of the magazine is created from Web content. “We see about a 50/50 split in print and online revenue,” said editor-in-chief John Harris. “It’s kind of a parlor game to say, ‘well if we have print it’s more expensive.’ Yes we have more costs but it also lets us have more reporters, which helps us draw an attractive audience for advertisers. I’m not fixated on any platform print or online. One of our most successful products is Mike Allen’s Daily Playbook—nobody reads it on the Web site, they read it on e-mail.”

Bloomberg chief content officer Norman Pearlstine explained what BusinessWeek offers. “Think of BusinessWeek as part of the whole Bloomberg ecosystem,” he said. “It starts with a terminal where people pay $20,000 per year, which offers access to news and data. BusinessWeek offers access to the executive suite they don’t get with just the terminal.”

Pay Walls a Non-Starter?

Harris, Pearlstine and Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau expressed their doubts about the viability of pay walls.

“I think it’s hard to make it work,” said Pearlstine. “In our experience, you can charge a lot of money for specialized information for an audience with a need for it—it doesn’t have to be business and finance. But for more general interest, the value just isn’t there.”

Politico won’t charge for the content it currently produces, said Harris. “We’re successful with our ad model and putting stuff behind a pay wall would diminish that,” he added. “Our editorial model is about the conversation of the day, and a pay wall runs against that.”

Hippeau said that while the Wall Street Journal was an example of a successful paid model with $100 million in revenue a few years ago, you haven’t heard much about it since. “The history of the pay wall is not a good one,” he added. “With magazines, you promise your advertisers a rate base and then spend a lot of money to acquire that rate base and keep it up. It’s hard to do.”

Making Online Advertising Work

While nearly all conference participants seemed to agree that banner and online display advertising don’t hold much promise, some said it could work if it’s part of a more in-depth package.

“I would be scared to invest in creating content if the only way to get your money back is banner ads,” said Matthew Bromberg, CEO of online startup Major League Gaming, which has a model combining subscriptions and advertising. “However, our players pay to play and we do multi-year sponsorships and branded content.”

Others see online publishing evolving much like traditional publishing. “I think the online publishing model will follow the magazine model by targeting attractive niches” said Tyler Goldman, CEO of BuzzMedia. “Right now, the Internet is still so immature that everything is driven by the product. But ultimately, users don’t want to be their own programmers. People are still going to the same three or four sites every day.”

But that means creating more comprehensive marketing programs. “We can’t think of just creating content for consumers and slapping an ad on it,” said Goldman, who added that marketers need to connect with the market, rather than just pitch to it. “There isn’t really an issue with demarcation between content and advertising,” he said. “It’s not about advertorials; it’s about creating programs around brand message. The publisher who can figure out both sides will have a lot of success.”

According to Bromberg, publishers shouldn’t be afraid to ask more of marketers. “People don’t require enough from buyers,” he said. “An advertiser will come in and say, ‘We want to move the needle.’ OK, to do that, you need to be on our site for a year and build a connection with our audience. Then we can do something.”

Hippeau said Huffington Post is finding opportunity in a merger between classic CPM-based advertising and social media, including a program around the upcoming Olympics where marketers like HBC are sponsoring blogs and Twitter feeds for a fixed fee. “This isn’t advertising but promotion and marketing,” he said. “The money being spent on Facebook is not coming from advertising budgets.”

A Content Commerce/Hybrid?

Others are looking to a combination of commerce and content. “Online content monetization through traditional advertising is tough but content monetization with e-commerce is very interesting,” said Horing. “Today, if I have new content for moms, it’s easier to white brand a store with that than that trying to make money off something like Procter & Gamble advertising—there’s too many middleman trying to get margin on that.”

“I think the traditional media focus should be on commerce,” Pearlstine agreed. “There are a lot of eyeballs and uniques and we’re seeing it in Germany with publishers like Springer.”

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