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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06/23/2012

Print vs Digital magazine Format – Intriguing Decision


SmartMoney Mag – Going Digital Only ?

An intriguing decision, indeed, and this post looks into insiders’ analytical thinking and number crunching.

This post also peeks inside who’s who (and was) in the News Corp, Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, Smart Money and Market Watch  hierarchy.

Smart Money, one of the largest monthly personal-finance magazines with a circulation of 813,730 last year, is going to cut its print version beginning in October, 2012, and expand its digital platform.

Why ? Well, the thinking, reasoning and data supporting that decision is explored by John Jannarone And WilliamLaunder in the Wall Street Journal:

SmartMoney Will Move to Web-Only Magazine 

Dow Jones & Co. said Thursday it will stop publishing the print version of SmartMoney, although it will expand the personal-finance magazine’s digital platform.

Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp., which also publishes The Wall Street
Journal, said it would add six new positions to SmartMoney.com’s editorial staff but eliminate 25 jobs related to the print edition production. The last issue of the monthly magazine will be September’s, available on Aug. 14.

“It’s clear that the volatility of markets and asset classes has increased the need for rapid delivery of personal finance intelligence, so we will be expanding our team and presence on the Web,” said Robert Thomson, editor in chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

SmartMoney is among the largest monthly personal-finance magazines, with a circulation of 813,730 last year, compared with 818,526 in 2007, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Rival magazine Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has a circulation of about 628,000 and Money has roughly 1.9 million readers, the ABC says. All three magazines have struggled to increase circulation in recent years.

The decision to halt publication of SmartMoney is one of the first major changes at Dow Jones since the arrival in February of Lex Fenwick as chief executive. In 2010, Dow Jones acquired from Hearst Corp. the 50% interest in SmartMoney it didn’t already own. Hearst and Dow Jones jointly launched SmartMoney in 1992.

More changes appear to be in store at Dow Jones. In an internal memo to employees Thursday, Mr. Thomson said there are other “just-approved expansion plans” for The Wall Street Journal but didn’t provide any specifics. Earlier this week, Dow Jones announced a reorganization of management and the resignation of Todd Larsen from his role as president.

Dow Jones said all content and tools from SmartMoney.com will become available on a new co-branded personal finance section on its MarketWatch.com financial-information site . In May, MarketWatch.com had 5.3 million unique visitors, up 50% from the same month of 2011. SmartMoney.com’s unique visitor count has increased 14% over the same period to 1.6 million people.

Write to John Jannarone at john.jannarone@wsj.com and William Launder at william.launder@dowjones.com

 

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02/18/2011

Apple Pissing on Antitrust Laws


More on Apple’s asininity RE their new subscription plan (actually a power grab plan to control setting digital publishing standards).

Apple’s new subscription plan for publishers is drawing close eyeballing from both the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the Justice Department, both of which investigate ‘stifling-of-competition’ cases (why do we have this kind of overlap in our government agencies, anyway?)

Apple can spin this anyway they want…AND the FTC and Justice can rationalize this to avoid enforcing this rampant violation of our antitrust laws (as this writer sees it)…but, it won’t change the inherent fact that Apple’s conduct in their subscription requirements IS against the law and stinks of the skunk of greed!

More details in this report from the Wall Street Journal By Thomas Catan And Nathan Koppel :

U.S. antitrust enforcers have begun looking at the terms Apple Inc. set this week for media companies who want to sell their content on its popular iPad and other devices, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission’s interest in Apple’s new subscription service is at a preliminary stage, and might not develop into either a formal investigation or any action against the company. But it comes as Apple has attracted growing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said Thursday that the commission was aware of the new subscription service and was “carefully monitoring the situation.”

The Justice Department and the FTC are both interested in examining whether Apple is running afoul of U.S. antitrust laws by funneling media companies’ customers into the payment system for its iTunes store—and taking a 30% cut, the people familiar with the situation said. The agencies both enforce federal antitrust laws and would have to decide which one of them would take the lead in the matter.

Representatives of the Justice Department, the FTC and Apple all declined to comment.

Apple’s rules don’t stop media companies from selling digital subscriptions on their own. But the company imposed restrictions that could make that option less attractive to customers, and steer more sales through its own system.

Apple keeps a tight grip over almost every aspect of its iPad tablet, iPhone and iPod music and video player. It decides which applications can run on them, and the devices work only with content delivered through its iTunes store.

That level of control has drawn complaints from publishers unhappy with the company’s subscription-sales terms.

Under Apple’s terms for the new service, companies that sell digital subscriptions to content on Apple devices would be required to make it available for sale through apps at the company’s iTunes App Store at the best available price.

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01/19/2011

Interactive Digital Books-Making Reading an Experience


I first posted about video-enhanced books on my Writers Welcome Blog back in February, 2010. These new interactive  books are called

Vook

“vooks” and, along with the written content, offer video, enriched imagery and social sharing!

Vooks Inc. offers these digital, interactive books and the company is growing in popularity and investment funding…just wrapping up $5.25 million in Series A financing from investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners and Floodgate Fund.

Here is the latest poop from Ty McMahan of The Wall Street Journal:

Are “Vooks” the Future of Book Publishing?

You can find a Sherlock Holmes book in just about any bookstore. But when you buy an interactive digital book called a “vook,” you get the “Sherlock Holmes Experience.”

So says Vook Inc., which offers digital books that combine video, text, photos and social sharing. Its Sherlock Holmes vook, for instance, features two classic stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – “The Man with the Twisted Lip” and “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” – and enhances them with videos that delve into the history and legend surrounding the character of Holmes.

Vook founder and Chief Executive Brad Inman said he believes he has found the future of publishing. Some investors agree. The company told VentureWire it has closed $5.25 million in Series A financing from investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners and Floodgate Fund, a firm founded by angel investor Michael Maples. Vook plans to add to its sales team and continue to accelerate the technology platform.

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08/24/2010

Best-selling Author Dumps Traditional Publishers


The publishing and book world is ABUZZZZZ with the news that Seth Godin, a top selling marketing author, is dumping his traditional publisher because they take too long to get his product to his readers AND he has developed a close enough relationship with his readers, through his online blog, that he feels he can sell directly to them and dispense with the laborious publishers.

Phew! That was a long and laborious sentence, I’m out of breadth…It says a lot though:

First, it points out the importance of blogs to establish an author’s online platform and relationships.

Second, life is too short to waste it jumping through the traditional publishing hoops.

Third, the internet can tell you just who your readers are (and provide better tracking).

This from Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal:

In a significant defection for the book industry, best-selling marketing author Seth Godin is ditching his traditional publisher, Portfolio, after a string of books and plans to sell his future works directly to his fans.

The author of about a dozen books including “Purple Cow” said he now has so many direct customer relationships, largely via his blog, that he no longer needs a traditional publisher. Mr. Godin plans to release subsequent titles himself in electronic books, via print-on-demand or in such formats as audiobooks, apps, small digital files called PDFs and podcasts.

“Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books,” said Mr. Godin in an interview. “What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.”

It’s unclear how many, if any, best-selling authors will follow Mr. Godin’s lead. However, his departure from Portfolio, an imprint owned by Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group (USA), comes at a critical juncture for the industry. With many new titles spending less time on best-seller lists and in bookstores, publishers are increasingly dependent on brand-name authors such as Mr. Godin to deliver significant book sales.

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