May 10, 2013
Among these four newer products, we can see the emerging new rules of publishing creation. Among them:
Critical mass enables growth. Niche product creation that builds on existing company infrastructure, knowledge and marketplace learnings is the cost-effective way to go. Each of these companies adapted what they learned to these new launches. Politico’s seven Pro products illustrate this most clearly; Atlantic Media’s cousin-by-cousin launches put a parallel spin on the notion. (Intriguing side note: Politico owner Robert Allbritton put his once-core TV station holdings on the market last week, saying he wanted to further invest in and around Politico. The “around” could include replicating the Politico business model in a new coverage niche.) This is a new power of incumbency. It’s not the ownership of a printing press, as it was for newspaper publishers in the old days.
Analytics leads the way; in-person follow-up seal the deal. You may have an intuition about a new market, but checking it out — doubly — is essential.
Help your audience deal with future and present shock. Covering a sector is one thing; covering in a way that embraces — and tries bring a bit of order to — the multiple change issues of any audience is another. That’s an aspirational and competitive editorial positioning, but we can see ongoing examples of it in the work that Mint, Quartz, and Politico already produce.
Events are emerging as both a vital new revenue source and an almost counterintuitive high-touch part of the mostly digital business mix. HuffPost Live, Google Hangouts, and assorted other ways to assemble online community are great experiments and promising tools, but old-fashioned in-person events are gaining strength as we all go more digital. That’s an important learning about the value of relationship, and how to reinforce it, even in the age of MOOCs.
It’s not print or digital. It’s digital and print, suited to audience reading habits — which of course are a moving target. Influentials, like all of us, toggle between the two.
Mar 15, 2013
At a time when so much of the news industry seems in flux, the FT has managed a steady-as-she-goes transition into the digital age arguably better than anyone else. While it occupies an enviable global business news niche, the ingredients of its relative success are ones that can be mixed and matched into all kinds of recipes — metro, regional, or local; daily or weekly; newspaper or magazine. It’s not otherworldly magic that’s happening at the FT. It’s just ahead-of-the-pack thinking that has given it a headstart — and now gives it the ability to build second and third generations of its digital business. It is now where fast followers will be in two to five years.
Make no mistake: The FT hasn’t quite cracked the code yet. It’s profitable, but not by that much. In 2012, the FT Group, which includes the FT, Mergermarket, and 50 percent of The Economist, registered an 11 percent profit margin or £49 million. It is reducing and re-skilling its staff. Further, it’s been subject to new “for sale” rumors, though John Fallon, the new CEO of parent company Pearson, has recently denied that likelihood. Fallon’s recent take on how 2013 will turn is painfully familiar to all in the business: “We expect the FT Group to benefit from continued growth in digital and subscription revenues in 2013, but advertising to remain weak and volatile with profits reflecting further actions to accelerate the shift from print to digital.”
All that said, given its digital transition, I believe it is far more likely to successfully cross over to the new age than other publishers.Read More »
Feb 15, 2013
The New York Times Co.’s zero, in fact, is actually a milestone number. It’s the first increase, however meager, in overall revenues since 2006, when it managed a 1.8 percent increase in revenues…..Overall, the zero plateau provides at least the illusion of a resting point. A point from which to figure out how to find growth, or at least how not to go negative again. That’s the company Mark Thompson has inherited; his job: find life above zero.Read More »
Feb 8, 2013
Rationalizing the old printing business is one significant part of what’s going on in Columbus. Let’s look, though, at the deeper and wider newsonomics of the press-led innovation. The three-around change both supported the Dispatch’s new emerging, reader-focused business model and offered editor Ben Marrison the opportunity to reimagine the daily.Read More »
Feb 7, 2013
2012 is the first year in which circulation revenue has surpassed advertising revenue. Full-year, it’s now 51% of all revenues.
Especially given the continued ad decline, that majority revenue number is hugely important. It’s now the foundation of the business, and it gives the Times the only real stability it enjoys. As it becomes a larger and larger share of revenues, the ad loss — even if it continues — becomes a bit more manageable. One often-unseen point here: digital subscriber “churn” is lower than print churn; fewer readers cancel.Read More »
Jan 21, 2013
Cultural misalignment. Reader misalignment. Merchant misalignment. Shopper misalignment.
Publishers searched for new models but came up short, and too many stayed the course as the world was changing. You can listen to Click and Clack and realize that lots of people, including publishers, drive ailing vehicles for way too long.
Now, though, finally, publishers and editors have been heading in for some repairs — clearly still bodywork in progress — and getting better realigned. Let’s call this the newsonomics of the body shop, the realignment of business models and mindsets.Read More »
Dec 16, 2012
Dominate the Emerging Mobile World: UCLA’s Arvli Ward, long-time director of student media, has an ambitious, ahead-of-the-curve strategy — and he’s implementing it. His plan is to dominate the campus-related mobile space. “We want students to use 15 of our apps before they graduate,” he says. Ward has created an app farm, powered by 10 to 15 paid students and 40 to 60 interns. In less than a year, they’ve created 85 apps; Ward says his goal is three a week, starting in January.Read More »
Dec 3, 2012
So Thomson’s ascension is no surprise (“Nine Questions as Murdoch Splits The News Corp. Baby”). Sure, he’s an editor — but he’s a News Corp. editor, and has been for a decade. Robert Thomson has been well schooled in the College of Murdoch. He’s a strategic news executive with a good sense of how emerging editorial and business models mesh, or sometimes collide, in the digital age. Further in the U.S. and Australia, News Corp. has put innovative and strategic business leaders in place as Dow Jones and News Limited move forward — so he has a bench in place. In the U.K., the business questions are more profound, as are concerns about the economy and the deepening business model gloom of the U.K. press overall.Read More »
Dec 3, 2012
Why did The Daily fail? I think the short answer is that it missed the first law of media: Make it interesting. The Daily was attractive, even sometimes stunning, in its visual appeal, but too empty-headed to attract a daily readership. If you are going to call something The Daily, you better figure out how to make it a must-read, and that means differentiated content, a reason for you and me to stop reading something else and start reading The Daily. I called it (“The Newsonomics of Mr. Murdoch’s The Daily”) an attempt to create a USA Today for the tablet century, and it failed as that publication attempts its own renewal. Chalk it up as an expensive R & D lesson for News Corp, though its Wall Street Journal tablet learnings are far more to the point of its future. One other note: On business model, The Daily’s Demise reminds us that if far easier to launch a large digital/All-Access circulation business if you start with a print publication — and an installed base of paying customers — than from scratch. We can extrapolate a lot from that learning, but that’s for 2013.Read More »
Nov 30, 2012
The newsonomics of native, indigenous, and immigrant content promises a revenue evolution for both national publishers and regional ones. At a time when pricing pressure on display ads remains relentless — and even Google’s paid search rates have hit a bad patch, causing recent investor concern — this new commercial content offers a way forward to re-invigorate advertising.
Let’s start definitionally. Jay Lauf, Atlantic Media Co. vice president/group publisher and graduate of Wired (back into the days when it defined much of early Web lexicography), defines native content as content that “is native to the web.” It is “linkable, sharable, findable, able to be Facebook-liked and tweeted.” What it’s not: ad units.Read More »