Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

01/06/2014

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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09/28/2013

Great Publishing: What Is Its True product?


And, have publishers lost sight of it?

Can Jeff Bezos, who just bought The Washington Post, eighty years owned by one of America’s great publishing dynasties: the Graham family, redefine the newspaper publishing business and reintroduce the true publishing product?

Given his success in redefining the book selling and publishing arena — I would lay odds on his success.

The Graham family ran the paper with dignity, grace and a commitment to public service — but, time had passed them by.

In the past newspaper world they always kept the business side of the biz separate from the editorial side; this served the industry well, insulating journalists from pressures that would undermine their objectivity — But, as financial pressures came to the fore and the cult of shareholder value took hold—a notion increasingly becoming known as the dumbest idea in the world—publishers lost sight of the true purpose of the industry—to inform, excite and inspire.

Also, in 1989 a lone revolutionary working at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee wanted to free content from the confines of technology platforms. He built a World Wide Web on which access became universal and distribution free.

Key excerpt from tonight’s source article:

“For too long, media executives have gotten it backwards.  Great publishing comes not from marrying content with distribution.  It is the product itself that attracts distribution.  So enough talk about “eyeballs,” “native advertising” and all the other buzzwords.  To build a great business in media, or any other industry, you need to put the product first.”

So, how does all this tie together to give us publishing’s true product — mainly, content that attracts distribution?

Read this Forbes article by Greg Satell to find out:


How Publishers Lost Their Way

 

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08/05/2013

Amazon’s Bezos’ New Mission? Perhaps to Prove Print Isn’t a Dinosaur Headed for Extinction


Bezos interested in much more than just Amazon!

Most have heard by now that Amazon Head Honcho, Jeff Bezos, has bought The Washington Post newspaper for a cool $250 million smackaroos 🙂

I suspect that Mr. Bezos might have a nostalgic soft spot, as do I, for the dynamic, constant deadline publishing style of newspaper journalism; but, his interest in a print newspaper probably goes to a higher motive than just nostalgia.

He does want to become a big media player as evidenced by his current involvement in streaming movies available to its Prime members in an ongoing competition with Netflix — and Bezos’ Kindle has been delivering videos, music, news and books; a media-consuming tablet put in-place to push device sales.

BUT, can he save a print industry plagued by declining print advertising sales? OR is he going to redefine that revenue source with something entirely different (imagination needed here)? Remains to be seen.

Don’t forget, though, that Bezos is somewhat of an advertising guru himself — just look at the money he attracts with Amazon (which is detailed and tracked more by eMarketer in tonight’s feature news article drawn from USA Today).

He is also interested and has ambitions in many things outside of Amazon, retailing and books. Bezos is still heavily involved in his 2000 startup, Blue Origin, which intends to provide a human spaceflight company for space exploration — with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for several million people orbiting the Earth.

High ambitions, indeed!

From Scott Martin, USA TODAY:

Amazon’s Bezos: Retail revolutionary, news tycoon?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has done a number on brick-and-mortar retailers, defied Wall Street for years in eschewing profits for growth, taken on Apple in tablets and now holds a new title: newspaper owner.

Amazon’s CEO agreed to acquire The Washington Post for $250 million today.

The 49-year-old Bezos — who is famous for a honking laugh and gregarious nature — is No. 19 on Forbes‘ list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of $25.2 billion. Bezos started Seattle-based Amazon in 1994 as a bookseller and rapidly expanded its categories and has swallowed many more.

Bezos is not the first billionaire to become a major media player. AOL founder Steve Case merged AOL with Time Warner. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes picked upThe New Republic. And IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller bought Newsweek, which ceased printing last year. Given how troubling advertising has been to publishers, Bezos has his work cut out.

“The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs,” Bezos said in a letter to Washington Post staffers.

Bezos has already displayed a proclivity for endeavors far outside of the confines of e-commerce.

One of his interests is space exploration. He captured the public’s fascination with his startup Blue Origin, a “human spaceflight company,” with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million to 3 million people orbiting the Earth.

Read complete USA Today article here

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06/29/2013

Social Media Sites to Become “Personalized Newspapers” – Elsewhere, Market Caps for Current, Fading News Sources


The ‘print publishing industry’ is a phrase used by some in the field to refer to the old newspaper game. And it’s a game undergoing some dynamic shifts and adjustments — due mostly to falling subscriptions and advertisements — the financial numbers depicting this follows in tonight’s post.

This adjustment/survival mode being entertained by the major print news giants such as New York Times and News Corp has opened up new inroads for innovative companies to deliver more frequent and customized news (and news feeds) to more demanding and sophisticated customers.

And just who are these innovative ‘white knight’ companies who will charge in and take up the banner of global news delivery? Social media sites, that’s who — Facebook and LinkedIn, to be specific. Others are sure to follow.

Facebook is developing a service called ‘Reader’ that will reveal news content to its users and LinkedIn just bought ‘Pulse’, a mobile application that enables users to create custom news feeds. The service is similar to Facebook’s Reader.

Imagine being able to immediately tap into news feeds that old print newspapers used to get the stories they published the next day or later? All kinds of interesting things are brewing and possible in the future of news and news delivery 🙂

From the Insider Monkey by The Motley Fool:

Facebook Inc (FB), LinkedIn Corp (LNKD): Two Companies That Will Grow In a Declining Publishing Industry

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 revolutionized the world, reducing the price of printed goods and enabling the materials to be mass-distributed. Now, technology is doing the same. Established publishing companies are facing challenging times, while social media firms like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FBandLinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) are poised to capitalize within a new market.

A dying model

Newspapers generate their revenue primarily from subscriptions and advertisements. And with both decreasing in recent years, the industry is under major reconstruction. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, The Newspaper Association of America estimated that U.S. print advertising fell 55% in the past five years. Further, Magna Global expects print ad revenues to drop 6.8% in 2014, and Zenith Optimedia anticipates print ad spending to drop 8% in coming years.

Entrenched players are adjusting to stay alive

The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) publishes national and regional newspapers and “owns eight network-affiliated television stations, two New York radio stations and more than 40 web sites.” However, to diversify its portfolio and focus its strategy, it plans to sell The Boston Globe and related assets.

The transition comes as New York Times wants to expand its international reach. With current assets just under $1 billion as of the first quarter, and liabilities exceeding $2 billion, the cash generated from the potential sale will help the publisher to remain competitive by paying down debt, moving into new markets, and holding a cash reserve for future use.

On Friday, conglomerate News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSwill officially spin off its publishing and newspaper assets. It wants its two major business units to function independently and to encourage growth, especially with its entertainment division. This segment will be named 21st Century Fox, and will continue to operate major news and television studios, along with major broadcasting networks.

News Corp’s publishing spin-off is valued at $9.1 billion, about one-seventh the value of 21st Century Fox. However, by market cap, it is still the largest print media firm in America.

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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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04/27/2013

The Publishing Industry is Just Experiencing Growing Pains – Not Armageddon!


Publishing Business experiencing growing pains

The change washing across the publishing industry has caused some, even some so-called pros within the profession, untold angst and driven them to overdose on Bromo Seltzer, declare an end to ‘literature’ and ALL things cultural, for that matter – It’s no f—ing wonder they haven’t jumped out of 30th floor windows like when the market crashed in ’29!

Just goes to show you that being learned in a profession does not immune you from stupidity when that profession experiences inevitable change/growth. We all enter the food chain at a specific snapshot in time — and having cut our teeth on and learned the ‘procedures-of-the-day’, resulting in income/rewards of varying degrees (depending, perhaps, on our karma), we think what we have mastered will never change and we will live in this snapshot in time forever after.

Bullshit! — Just as we age and change, so does everything else – including publishing.

Please read this post on my Writers Welcome Blog: James Patterson Wants Government to Bail Out Book Industry for a little background.

Relax, folks, the publishing industry is going to be just fine, literature is NOT going to disintegrate – in fact, it’s going to EXPLODE as never before for those that will come after us and books, both digital and print AND future formats, will live and thrive together. Bank on it.

This view by Brandon Barb as reported in The Spencer Daily Reporter:

 

The publishing industry is safe

The publishing industry is in the same boat as the newspaper industry. Both are dealing with digital formats that are quickly changing the way people read and consume content, but neither industry has quite figured out how to utilize that digital aspect to a full extent. When those formats are ironed out the industries will be just fine. Neither books nor newspapers are going to go away.

With that being said, successful author and writer James Patterson is calling for the U.S. government to bail out the publishing industry. For some background, Patterson’s books have sold millions of copies and he is on four New York Times bestseller lists. He isn’t exactly in need of a bailout, nor is the publishing industry.

Patterson called for the bailout in an advertisement placed in the New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly. It asks, “If there are no bookstores, no libraries, no serious publishers with passionate, dedicated, idealistic editors, what will happen to our literature?”

The same can be said for the newspaper business. If there are no newspapers or magazines, where will people read news that matters? Where will our news come from if not from editors and writers all over the world?

Read and learn more

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10/31/2012

New York Publishing Blown Away By Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy Devastates NY Publishing

Let’s pull our head out of the digital publishing world for a bit and take an insightful look-see into what happened to the three-dimensional physical publishing world after hurricane Sandy came crashing through New York on 29th October 2012. 

This takes you right through the flooded streets and publishing offices in New York and lets us peek into a little decision-making RE The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal among others.

Adweek article by Lucia Moses:

Publishing World Muddles Through Storm

Sandy wreaks havoc on city’s dailies

It was a storm even the most prepared media companies couldn’t totally anticipate. Hurricane Sandy stymied efforts by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal this morning to deliver to Manhattanites who still prefer the ink-on-paper version (assuming customers even had light to read it by), while the storm’s aftermath disrupted many of the major publishing houses.

The storm’s timing, along with road, tunnel and bridge closures, prevented the Times from getting into Manhattan from its College Point, N.Y., plant, although deliveries were made to parts of Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

The Times gets about one-third of its circulation from New York state, or some 236,842 copies.

“We are making every effort to distribute as transportation issues improve,” a spokeswoman said.

There was no home delivery of the Journal in Manhattan and only a limited number of single copies made it to newsstands, a rep there said.

Those with Internet access could still get information online from the Times as well as The Wall Street Journal, which lowered their paywalls today for the second day in a row so readers could get storm and recovery information. A Journal rep said WSJ.com would be free again on Wednesday.

The storm has had varying effects on other publishing houses, which remained closed or advised employees to work from home for the second day in a row today.

Dennis Publishing’s The Week had to set up shop in a conference room at a Residence Inn across the street from its offices in order to meet its Wednesday press deadline. “Our entire edit team had to hand-carry their computers and servers down five flights of stairs,” president Steven Kotok emailed. “We rebuilt the servers in the hotel conference room.”

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12/03/2011

‘History on the Run’ – An Insight Into News Publishing from Nova Scotia


Graham Dennis - News Publisher in Nova Scotia

Apparently Graham Dennis, publisher of The Chronicle Herald and The Mail Star in Nova Scotia for the last 57 years, fought off the temptations to be like the Murdochs and the Maxwells of the world — brash, flamboyant, vain, complicated, and determined to build an empire.

This fact alone makes Mr. Dennis a hero in my book … And a true journalist, businessman and publisher focused on a mission to better the world through genuine reporting of world and local events.

Graham Dennis passed away last Thursday at the age of 83 … He outlived many icons and through much transformative history.

Here is a little of Mr Dennis’ unique history and an inspiring slice of publishing history:

As reported by Jim Meek for The Chronicle Herald

When Graham Dennis took over as publisher of The Chronicle Herald and The Mail Star, the type was hot, the war with the Soviets was cold, reporters were “ink-stained wretches,” and writers of letters to the editor signed off their fiery missives with pseudonyms.

The year was 1954. The New York Giants were World Series champions. Louis St. Laurent was prime minister. Dwight Eisenhower was president. Queen Elizabeth was two years into her reign. Conrad Black, future media baron, was still wearing short pants. Graham Dennis, destined to serve as this newspaper’s publisher for the next 57 years, was 26 years old.

Mr. Dennis, who died on Thursday, outlasted all of the above in one way or another — except the Queen, which would be just fine with him. Yes, Mr. Black is still around, but he’s been to prison and he can’t be described as a media mogul anymore.

I mention dear Conrad because he in many ways stands for the typical newspaper proprietor of his era. Black is like the Murdochs and the Maxwells of the world — brash, flamboyant, vain, complicated, and determined to build an empire.

Graham Dennis was cut from different cloth. He was modest, self-effacing, shy, polite to the point of courtliness, and focused on the single goal of running one smallish daily newspaper whose mission was to support progress in the place he loved — Nova Scotia.

Conrad Black was also like many of his Canadian contemporaries in another way — he was determined to buy The Chronicle Herald newspapers from Mr. Dennis. In fact, quite a crowd of media bosses has tried to unseat the Dennis family.

When I was The Chronicle Herald’s Ottawa correspondent, in the early 1980s, the guys who worked for the Thomson newspaper chain often bugged me about whether “Graham” might sell. The Thomson newspaper chain is no longer with us; the Dennis family still owns the Halifax newspapers.

In 1999, I was at a dinner in Toronto at which Peter White, an adviser to Conrad Black, pointedly sat beside me. I was vain enough to imagine that White wanted to experience the light elegance of my refined company. Within five minutes, his real mission was clear. He wanted to know if Mr. Dennis would speak to Conrad about selling the paper.

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10/10/2011

World Association of Newspapers (WAN) – Expo Opens in Vienna


 

THE Global Newspaper Publishing Association

WAN – IFRA, the global organisation of the world’s press, representing more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries (phew! Lot of interesting info here :)) … opened its 41st newspaper publishing Expo in Vienna today.

And as might be expected, DIGITAL, with all its opportunities and challenges, will be front and center and consume many presentations RE publishing news to tablets and mobile devices thru apps.

IFRA Expo 2011 drew 306 exhibitors from 30 countries … 

WARNING: There are some excellent learning links in this post 🙂

From BizCommunity.com :

World newspaper publishing expo opens in Vienna

VIENNA: The trade exhibition for the newspaper publishing industry opened in Vienna on Monday, 10 October 2011 and provided an illustration of how the news industry is rapidly evolving. IFRA Expo 2011 drew 306 exhibitors from 30 countries including printing press manufacturers, editorial and advertising system providers and other suppliers to the newspaper industry.
 
Some 10,000 visitors from more than 90 countries are expected to attend the three-day expo, which covers nearly 11,000 square metres of space at the Reed Messe Wien Exhibition Centre.

“It’s safe to say we all arrive here at a particularly crucial moment for our industry. Expo has always served as a platform for innovation and an exchange of ideas among colleagues from all over the world – even with competitors,” said Jacob Mathew, president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the organiser of the expo.

“This expo also reflects how our industry is changing,” he said. “There are nearly 50 first-time exhibitors. As you might expect, many are from the digital arena, thanks to the continued developments in tablets, mobile services and applications, and paid content services. But look for some major announcements this week in print, even new press formats being introduced, major orders being signed, and the continued march towards automation.”

New media impact on news industry

Hans Gasser, president of the Austrian Newspaper Associations, also addressed the impact of new media platforms on the news industry.

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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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