Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

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:FB) andLinkedIn 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:NWS) will 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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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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02/16/2011

Is Content King or Pauper? Value or Valueless?


Some are trying to redefine what content REALLY is…or isn’t. They are doing this by trying to separate content from any measurable value of it’s own and essentially saying that the mass availability of any content somehow makes it valueless.

 Au contraire! In this writer’s humble opinion, content CANNOT be separated from it’s own inherent value…which is simply what the content portrays to each of us. Some peoples dislikes are others love affairs.

Look at basic content (say raw data and facts alone) as a blob of clay (to be shaped later into a unique sculpture) or a painter’s blank palette (to be transformed into a work of visual art)…the content blob has inherent value on its own because it is the substance or heart of what will be (refined content, if you will). Basic content is like the living cells of a larger being. The ability to create this larger literary being is talent loaded with value.   

It’s how the content is structured, analyzed and presented that adds more overt value, insight, viewpoints, education and entertainment to the basic content. It becomes a living, breathing piece of readable gold…And this is the intellectual capital of the author-artist and it is literally PRICELESS!…And deserves proper compensation and copyright protection.

Jeff Jarvis of the HuffPost seems to harbor a different view (if I’m interpreting this correctly) even though he is restricting his comments to news and media…Hell, content is content:

Please read my yesterday’s post on the Writers Welcome Blog  (Is Copyright a Relic?) for more background on what Jeff Jarvis is referring to in his featured article here:

It’s Not All About the Content    

In his New York Times column complaining about Huffington Post and the new economics of content competition, I think David Carr makes two understandable but fundamentally fallacious assumptions about news and media: that the value in journalism is in content and that making content must be work. Because that’s the way it used to be.

In their op-ed the next day in the New York Times complaining about copyright losing its hardness, Scott Turow, Paul Aiken, and James Shapiro extend the error to entertainment, assuming that content is entertainment and content is what content makers make.

Not necessarily.

Pull back to view the true value of these things: information, knowledge, enlightenment, amusement, experience, engagement. Content can be and has been a vessel to deliver their worth. But it is not the only one. That is the lesson of the internet — indeed, of Huffington Post itself. I have argued that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the BBC, and other media should have but never would have started the Huffington Post because they, like the gentlemen above, still see content as value in itself and further believe that content is their own franchise (granted by their control of the means of production and distribution). So the benefits of content cannot come from others — bloggers, commenters, citizens, amateurs — as new wine in new casks. They instead want to put their old wine in the new skins (witness The Daily). (John’s note: I do believe good content can come from others — bloggers, commenters, citizens, amateurs, etc.).

That is why old media people are missing new opportunities. It’s not about the content (stupid). It’s about the value.

We can be informed now by many means: by our neighbors telling us what they know, enabled to do so by the net, at a marginal cost of zero, doing so not because it is work (and work must be paid) but because this is what neighbors do for each other (John’s note: This has always been the case, even before the net…nothing new here). We can be entertained by many means: by clever people making songs and shows and telling stories because they love doing so and because they are compensated in attention rather than royalties (and that attention may well lead to money when they can finally detour around the gauntlet of old media’s closed ways to find audiences on their own). (John’s note: Again this has been the situation since the beginning of time).

Why do people write on Huffington Post? Because they can. Because they give a shit. Because they like the attention and conversation. Because they couldn’t before. Why do they sing their songs on YouTube? Same reasons.

Is there still a role for the journalist, the professional, the artist in this? Perhaps. I think so. That’s why I am teaching journalism school. But I’m not necessarily teaching them to make content. (John’s note: you can’t “make” content, it already exists due to human existence; you can only interpret and write about it). That is now only one of many, many ways to meet the goals of adding value to information, time, and society. Some of my entrepreneurial journalism students are, for example, creating businesses that will use data to impart information; they will add value by gathering and analyzing it and making it possible for you to find the intersecting points that matter to you. Other of my students are creating platforms for you to get more value out of your own data. Others are creating platforms for people to connect around interests and make and find their own value. Others are finding new ways to sustain reporting and the making of content. They are all valid if they bring value.

If you concentrate on the value, not the form — content — then the possibilities explode.

Turow et al shut down the idea that opening up information can yield greater value that protecting it. Sharers are…

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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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12/14/2010

Reuters Positioning to Compete with AP & CNN


With newspapers and other news media scrambling to find ways to cut costs and streamline to improve their bottom line (due to falling advertising, print sales and subscriptions) Reuters has created an alternative for aggregating, selling and distributing news.

The operational process being employed by Thomson Reuters will create more journalism jobs, utilizes more sources and really is quite exciting!

The vetting of news stories could be an issue, but I’m sure that will become a non-issue with this company’s expertise.

Jennifer Saba, a correspondent and blogger for Reuters reports these details:

Thomson Reuters starts service for U.S. news media

Thomson Reuters Corp has launched a news service for U.S. publishers and broadcasters in a bid to win business from the Associated Press and CNN.

The new service, Reuters America, provides text stories, photos and video by Reuters journalists for newspapers, television stations and online publishers. Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co is its first customer.

As part of the service, Reuters America also will offer sports and entertainment news from six partners: the Wrap, SportsDirect Inc, the Sports Xchange, US Presswire, SB Nation and Examiner.com

The service comes as newspapers and TV stations try to recover from the worst financial recession in recent memory.

Tribune Co, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and TV stations in New Orleans, San Diego and Denver, has signed a multi-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.

Reuters is hiring journalists and using outside journalists, or “stringers,” to provide general news stories in addition to its business and financial news. It also will write stories commissioned by its news clients.

“This is being designed and being run in a way that is not one size fits all,” said Chris Ahearn, Thomson Reuters’ president of media. “It gives (publishers) comfort and flexibility that there are other choices than… some of the legacy providers.”

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Another great take on this story Selling the News: Reuters, the AP and Tribune by Robert MacMillan, also of Reuters.

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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10/29/2010

World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN)


WAN is the host of the World Newspaper Congress, which meets every year or bi-yearly (after some research I’m still confused on schedule for this event)…The purpose of the Newspaper Congress being to bring all worldwide news media members together to discuss present and foreseeable news production problems and solutions…resulting in a more free press.

WAN’s vision is “to be the indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defense and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses and technology.”

WAN CEO, Christoph Riess, recently visited Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, who is lobbying for the 2012 World Newspaper Congress to be held in the city of Kyiv.

If selected, the Newspaper Congress will coincide with the the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, also being held in Kyiv.

But, beyond this tidbit of coincidence…and much more important…is the fact that the event could spell the solidification and recognition of a more democratic and free press state for the Ukraine.

This report from Yhiah Information Agency:

Yanukovych meets CEO of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych met with Christoph Riess, Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN), according to the Press office of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Welcoming the guest in Ukraine, the President reiterated his earlier invitation to the WAN to hold the World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv in 2012. “It is important that it was held in Kyiv,” Viktor Yanukovych said. He reminded that in 2012 Ukraine will be hosting the finals of EURO 2012, therefore all the necessary hotel, transport and exhibition infrastructure will be ready.

“Conducting this very important forum in Kyiv will be the evidence that the state is attractive for free journalists and media,” he said.

Viktor Yanukovych stressed the importance of development of the information market for Ukraine. “It is also the path of democracy and freedom development. For Ukraine, it is its establishment as a democratic state,” he said. The President said the Ukrainian side is interested in any investments in this direction.

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10/01/2010

The Association of Magazine Media


The main (and probably the oldest – est. 1919) professional association for magazine publishers is the Magazine Publishers of American (MPA).

Well, they have just changed their name to The Association of Magazine Media…which they still abbreviate or accronym as MPA?!

Why don’t they just use AMM for Association of Magazine Media?

The reasoning for the new name, they say, is to get away from the words “print” and “publishing” which they figure are dead to the younger generation.

What a cluster muck of thinking! For one, they are still publishers regardless of the media format and secondly, print is not going away (changing yes, but not dying); on the contrary new print tech is here and more surprises are coming in print media.

This report from Reuters by Robert MacMillan:

They’ll always be the Magazine Publishers of America to me

The Magazine Publishers of America said on Friday that it is renaming itself the MPA — The Association of Magazine Media. The notable difference is the omission of the word publishers. Why?

“MPA is underscoring the fact that magazine media content engages consumers globally across multiple platforms, including websites, tablets, smartphones, books, live events and more.”

“More” presumably means “printed magazines,” but nobody in media is all that hot on associating themselves with words like “publish” and “print” because to young people (or young “consumers” in the parlance that people use when their sole desire is to make money from you) and investors those words smell like death.

When magazine publishers like Conde Nast and newspaper publishers like Advance Publications (like Conde Nast, owned by the Newhouses) have been forced to cut hundreds if not thousands of jobs and stop publishing some of their products, it doesn’t do much good in the public relations department to accentuate the part of your business that is fading, even if it still produces 80 to 90 percent of your revenue. Fortunately, Time Inc CEO and incoming MPA Chairman Jack Griffin manages to refer in passing to “print” one time in the press release quote.

Read more http://alturl.com/d6zrd

08/11/2010

Newsday is GROWING!


Good news for newspapers!…At least one newspaper. It appears the newspaper biz may be experiencing a resurgence in profitability just like the magazine sector has of late.

I’m happy for these type publishers turning the corner.

Matthew Flamm of Crain’s New York Business reports this RE Newsday:

After several rounds of cutbacks and a battle with its union over a new contract, Newsday is hiring.

In a memo to the paper’s staff Wednesday morning, Editor-in-Chief Debby Krenek announced that the Cablevision-owned daily would hire 34 new reporters over the next six months and add 2,600 pages of additional news annually, or about seven pages a day.

“I’m very excited to announce that we are making this significant investment in people and pages to provide more and stronger coverage for Long Islanders,” she wrote.

The hires are a surprise move at a time when few newspapers are hiring and many continue to cut back. It’s particularly surprising that Cablevision is making this investment following bitter contract negotiations that ended in June with Newsday union members agreeing to wage cuts of from 5% to 10%.

The Dolan family, which controls Cablevision Systems Corp., paid $650 million for Newsday in 2008. By combining the paper with Cablevision assets, the Dolans were hoping to become the dominant player in Long Island news. They have been mainly preoccupied with cutbacks as newspaper advertising has plummeted.

In the second quarter of 2010, Newsday had revenue of $80 million, down 10% from the year ago period. The paper’s operating loss narrowed to $1.3 million from $2.6 million.

Read more http://alturl.com/5hu8y

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