RECENT PRESS MENTIONS
Steve Rubel Steam and Forbes/August, 2010: “Media Companies Must Divide to Conquer,” Aug. 12. “Media analyst Ken Doctor, in his outstanding book Newsonomics, makes a strong case that there will be only a dozen major global news players. This is down dramatically from the hundreds we have today. Given the above trends, the rest many not make it. But I am optimistic that they can if they see the light now.”
Ad Age: “Coupons Come to the Wall Street Journal,” Aug. 12, 2010. “I think of them as being more Prada than Pillsbury,” Mr. Doctor said. “It does seem to create some dissonance with the brand promise….It’s just going to put a little thing in the back of some ad buyers’ minds: Is The Journal going downscale? They’re not going to run out and cancel their ads but it gets in the way of the message.”
SFGate (Bloomberg): “U.S. Magazine Ad Sales Drop Slowed in First Quarter“. “It’s still not clear if this recovery is going to be a sustained recovery. Publishers will have to see a few quarters of improved advertising sales before they can begin hiring again, or adding pages.’”
Advertising Age: “USA Today Outsources New Content Creation to Demand Media.” “It is simply news companies understanding they’ve got to get their cost of content creation down. That is a huge driving force at the traditional news companies: They have got to get their content costs down. The traditional way of doing that is you do buyouts and layoffs, and we’ve certainly seen thousands of those. In general what these content farms are showing is there’s another way to do this.”
Crain’s New York Business: “Will Arthur Sulzberger Make Steve Jobs Blink?” “My sense is that the sharing of information [between Apple and publishers] in a way that makes sense, will determine [the degree to which publishers embrace the iPad]. Apple has an opportunity here to distinguish itself from Amazon.”
BtoB: “Bloomberg, Dow Jones make moves“ “If you can harness the content you create—and then use that content three, or four or five ways—that’s the way you’re going to make money.” Doctor said the moves are an acknowledgment that the long-promised concepts of “convergence” and “synergy” have finally arrived, as evidenced in part by the fact that online videos now actually play. “The maturity that we’re seeing is that the technology is much easier to use, [videos] are cheaper to use. And they work—not just for businesses, but they work for consumers, too.”
News and Technology: “Papers becoming niche medium“ “Newspapers have always been a mass medium even though there might have been some niches. Now newspapers are the niche, the Starbucks buy. If you are a baby boomer and are willing to spend twice as much as you did even two years ago (to buy a paper) you can still read your paper.”
Doctor, a former editor at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press and a Knight Ridder Digital executive, said the emergence of Apple Computer Inc.’s iPad “has the potential of changing the news reading experience exponentially and could further move people away from print.”
“It may return the day of the pleasurable reading experience. We all use desktops and laptops, but they are essentially work devices. You can find news from anywhere in the world, but that is a (version) 1.0 experience. With the iPad, you control the experience, so it returns the notion of reading for pleasure, and that’s one of the main reasons people like reading newspapers.”
Manichi: “Free is History: Pundits punt paid online news“ “New York Times has cut a smaller percentage of reporters than many large newspapers. They’ve been as judicious, as smart about it as they could be. They are going to charge for online content but they’re not going to start it until a year from now, January of next year…They are saying ‘the top 5-10 percent of our readers, those people who are very loyal to us, how do we get some money from them?’ And so that’s the key is that 5-10 percent and basically leaving advertising as the main means to get money from 90-95 percent of the people”.
Wired: Tablets of the New Covenant Ken Doctor claims that the consortium’s members won’t be able to match the vast online audiences of Google and Yahoo. He also suggests that new forms of aggregation will emerge in the gaps between magazine publishers’ e-reader products.
“Sports Illustrated isn’t just competing with print-based rivals,” he argues.”It’s competing with cable and pay TV. The competition will make aggregated products that appeal to special-interest groups, like fans of the New York Yankees.
“The history of digital content so far is that you can try to hold on to your content and keep it behind your wall. But there are enough others who will contribute content to an aggregated product. The magazine publishers should get ahead of this trend and create their own aggregated products.”
Doctor fears this won’t happen. “All of these magazine companies are used to owning everything and they’re very vertically integrated. So it’s a very tough proposition.”
“Most of these publishers have a very strong drive to maintain the integrity of the printed product,” he says. “More than anyone else, they have fought against the atomisation of content on the web.”
PC World: Can the New York Times Lead All Newspapers to Salvation? Or might news sites affiliate with one another, so that customers could subscribe to one and get content from all?
“That’s something news organizations have been looking into,” said Ken Doctor, research analyst at Outsell, Inc., a Burlingame, CA-based company that offers advisory and analysis services to publishers.
Doctor said newspapers might band together to reach the critical mass necessary to turn online news into an at least partially paid service.
AdAge: NYTimes.com Meter Could Alienate Valuable Readers “The metering method gives you more flexibility,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst at Outsell. “If you’re The Times and start to see, ‘Uh oh, we’re starting to lose too much traffic,’ you can turn the dials in a different direction.”
The risk, however, is that The Times will be fiddling with its most loyal readers, a group that’s becoming increasingly important to ad sales across the web. Like other sites, The Times has more data on its heaviest users than it has on less frequent visitors, so it can show them more appropriate advertising. They generate more page views on the site and see more of its ads. And advertisers often like site loyalists more than the people who pop in for a single story, unknown consumers who arrive through search results or social media and then disappear again.
“If you know more about those people than you would about your average reader, you can better serve them the advertising they want, which is more appealing to advertisers,” Mr. Doctor said. “Not only do you know more about them, but their proportion of the site’s use is greater.”
The Economist: The Year of the Paywall Ken Doctor of Outsell, a consultancy, points out that American news publishers took about 20% of all advertising revenue before the emergence of the commercial internet. Online, they take no more than 10-12%.