May 31, 2013
Digital advertising is all about technology in 2013, and you’ll see lots of talk of the ad-tech stack, and who owns it. Google, of course, owns much of it, through its successive AdWords/Doubleclick/AdMob and more creations, acquisitions and integrations. Its stack is so efficient that many publishers feel compelled to use it, though they are wary of getting their businesses tied ever more directly to Google — or the Google “Death Star,” as some critics call it.
For most publishers, Google is the classic frenemy. They work with it when they think the advantages outweigh the hazards, even as top publishers build their own programs. In fact, expect to soon see U.S. news publishers transition their Newspaper Consortium partnership with Yahoo into something intended to be broader, something that allows publishers to opt into and out of the ad programs of multiple portals — not just Yahoo — harnessing the ad tech of the day.
Six-month-old Smart Match is one of the FT’s latest innovations to stay “premium.” In brief, the content of an advertisement is matched, dynamically, to that of an article. The technology: semantic targeting of both article content and the FT’s current “ad library” for the best matches on the fly, as compared to standard keyword targeting.Read More »
May 3, 2013
Design is an important part of these acquisitive moves. One reason these companies have value on the market is that they stand out. It must be said: For the most part, news companies have once again missed a chance to innovate, to make something new of a new platform. Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite each saw the potential of tablet news and magazine feature reading early and set to work to present it harnessing the glowing touchscreen. Now Flipboard 2.0 (build your own magazine) and Zite 2.0 are moving to a next generation. The best newspaper sites have mastered the utilitarian basics, but they hardly break new presentation ground. They also emphasize a single brand, where plainly many readers relish cross-title variety and a bit of serendipity. Innovation on tablet news design has been minimal, and it’s outsiders who largely deserve the credit for it.
One noteworthy exception: AP Mobile. While it lacks the finesse of Flipboard, it delivers a national and local experience, bringing in hundreds of local news feeds into its tablet and smartphone products, and is one of the top news apps downloaded in Apple’s App Store. AP Mobile is a rare case of newspaper cooperation, building a single customer experience; now it’s up to AP to deliver the next-generation mobile experiences.Read More »
Jul 18, 2012
What has the experience of leading Google’s latest push into local advertising taught Mayer? Google Maps, Google+, Google Ad Words Express, Google Zagat, Google Places are all meshing into Google Places for Business, meaning a better place for local merchants to invest their marketing dollars — with Google. Is the Men in Black memory eraser part of Mayer’s Google contract? Or will Yahoo, and its news partners, benefit from her recent experience?
We’d have to believe that the odds against Mayer are long. She inherits a mess, and she’s an inexperienced CEO. She knows product, but she’s not a deal-maker. She’s got the experience of one great company, but no other. The game is newly afoot though, and therein lies the serial pleasures of YahooingRead More »
Feb 3, 2012
The next CEO is a big roll of the dice, as the gaming table shrinks. There’s little room for error. Pick the right new leader and the Times has improved its chances for survival; pick wrong and these key years of 2012-2014, as news crosses over into a mainly digital business, will be cited in the obit. AP faces a similar tension as it seeks a successor for long-time CEO Tom Curley. Dow Jones, cushioned by parent News Corp.’s better-lined pockets, too, is finalizing its CEO search. Put them together, and it’s a signal moment for American news media, as three top positions open themselves up to possibility, and imagination, simultaneously.Read More »
Nine Questions for the Cusp of 2012: NewsRight, Erin Burnett’s Screens, Gail Collins’s Emergence & Smart Cookie Arianna
Jan 5, 2012
Getting All-Access right — pricing, real tablet- and smartphone-appropriate apps, customer ease, giving subscribers cross-title benefits — is one of the biggest tasks for news and magazine publishers this year.Read More »
Oct 14, 2011
“The metered model is simply a tactic,” says Gary Farrugia, publisher of The Day. “The database is the strategy.” That database was built by Daniel Williams, whom Farrugia hired a year ago from the New York Times Regional News Group, and it’s indeed the next step in the evolution of print-based, throw-it-on-the-driveway local newspaper company.Read More »
Oct 10, 2011
As leading-edge publishers move away from destination-only strategies, they seek to colonize other habitable web environments; Facebook now looks like the friendliest clime, allowing publishers to keep all the revenue from ads they are selling within their Facebook apps. In addition, Facebook is providing aggregated data on user engagement — active users, likes, comments, post views, and post feedback.Read More »
Sep 30, 2011
Consider emerging tablet news disruption. For 18 months, the tablet and smartphone news environment has been single-brand-oriented. Early top-drawer brand winners include: The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the BBC, NPR, the Financial Times, and CNN. Three start-up news aggregators have popped up their heads. Zite, a product that has pushed the concept of “fair use” taut, has been scooped up by CNN. Flipboard, with a revamped publisher relations strategy in place, and backed by$60 million in venture capital, would like to be the tablet news aggregator, as would Pulse. We’ve wondered where the big guys are — those winners in the online web derby. We won’t have to wonder much longer. Google Propeller and Yahoo Livestand will soon join AOL Editions, as Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft all up their various tablet aggregation plays, as well. 2011 may well be remembered as a short time of innocence in the tablet news landscape.Read More »
May 20, 2011
In this evolution, the iPad is so far our human pinnacle, though it will be followed by wonders to come. It also marks a signal change in digital usage, and especially in digital news consumption. I think of it as the likely missing link in the digital news evolution. It’s a link that, out of the blue — or maybe out of the darkness — has offered news companies, old and new, the unlikely (last?) chance to get a new sustainable business model.Read More »
Feb 7, 2011
Ah, but what kind of new face will AOL/HuffPost’s be? It could be, simply, the anti-Murdoch. Sure, The Daily is “centrist,” whatever that means in the world of 2011, but the right-leaning proclivities of Murdoch Media are clear. MSNBC has tiptoed into position, leaning forward gingerly, but then wrapping itself in knots over small campaign contributions. Arianna could simply embrace the left end of that spectrum, porting over her passion and partisanship, the very elements that have defined her Post, the fastest growing news site on the web. In fact, if she doesn’t bring along what got her to where she is, then what exactly is AOL buying and where will her core audience go?Read More »