Posted tagged ‘media’

Tracking Consumers : Not Just For the FBI

March 15, 2009

person-question_1According to an article on BusinessWeek.com, a new company named Sense Networks is working to track consumer movements through their cell phones. It then groups consumers by ‘tribes’ based upon the places they visit and upon common behaviors.

In the article, the focus is on how this data could be used to create much more targeted advertising campaigns, but upon reading it, I began thinking about how it could be used by magazines, newspapers and books.

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Some Cheese for that Whine… Newspapers (Part 1): Changing Distribution

February 28, 2009

dog-newspaper-21I recently finished a series of “Some cheese for that whine” on the book industry. Now, it’s time to turn our focus to an arguably more doomed industry: the newspaper industry. There are a lot of major issues facing the news world today, and competing with the internet is among the most demanding.

The image of a young boy with a baseball cap, riding a bike with a satchel of newspapers is a pretty American image – but the movement toward digital media may mean no more newspaper boys, and no more having fido fetch the paper (though who gets to tell them they’re fired?)

Newspapers have been threatened before. They were said to be doomed with the birth of radio… and again with the birth of TV. However, this time is different.

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Basically… people are lazy

January 28, 2009

Basically, people are lazy. Publishers forget this. Even I did. They want “content” – no matter what the format – delivered to where ever they are already reading things. They don’t want to have to go looking for something to read – they’d rather it be delivered to their doorstep, to their inbox or to their blackberry/iphone etc.

However, as a recent post on MediaPost Magazines mentions,

“I realized that what I like about Time, or any print vehicle for that matter – be it magazine or newspaper or broadsheet or pamphlet – is that I am exposed to tidbits of information and long-form thought pieces that I don’t necessarily want to fetch.”

It is this quality that magazines, newspapers and print producers of every kind need to remember. If they choose their market, they can provide things that that market didn’t know it wanted to read – but that they will find interesting, nonetheless. While, essentially, this is what “cookies” (web sites use cookies to track what you look at to provide you ads you are most likely to be receptive to) do for advertising, nothing currently exists that can bring together different written content and deliver it in an interesting package and deliver it to the consumer – without them having to do a lick of work.

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Google. Not a Media Giant?

November 10, 2008

The recent settlement with Google will take a long time still before we feel all the effects but what it proves is that copyrights mean something. And it serves to remind us that Google began life as a search engine, not a content provider.

With the invention of the internet, came the idea that content should be free. Consumers like to consumer free content. But, as many in the publishing industry have come to realize almost too late, it is not free to produce. And what can be produced for free, lacks the editorial filters to ensure quality.

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Books: The Only Ad free Media Today

October 28, 2008

I discussed a little bit in my last post how media these days seems to revolve around advertisers. It’s no longer a system where content is created for readers, then advertisers pay to be seen by those reads. Now, frequently, content is devised to interest advertisers, since they pay the overhead costs, then it is ‘marketed’ to readers.

Most of our media today exposes us to ads. Conservative sources say the average American is exposed to at least 347 ads a day – but other estimates are as high as 3000 ads. Newspapers, magazines and websites all expose us to them. The only media source that doesn’t expose us these days is books – except for the few pages at the back that tell us other books the publisher thought we might like.

Maybe that is part of the reason e-books and e-book readers haven’t caught on as much as their manufacturers might like.

Books are the one media that consumers really expect to be what THEY want. They aren’t personally interested in book brands – most readers couldn’t tell you who publishes their favorite books. They read because they enjoy it, because it provides a longer escape from reality then a magazine. So, any attempts to change this reading behavior is sure to be slow. And it needs to really consider what readers want and how they use books. (Bnet recently wrote an article on this).

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Mixed Blessings 4 Magazines

October 17, 2008

According to Mr. Magazine,

“The number of new magazine launches for the third quarter of 2008 exceeded that of the similar period of 2007 by 29 magazines. For the first time this year, the new magazine launches reversed the huge downturn trend that started with the third quarter of 2007 and continued throughout the first half of 2008.”

While this means that obviously those starting new magazines don’t believe the industry is doing as poorly as those in it do, it also means more competition for decreasing ad dollars. But, while most magazines that have passed their first birthday are worried, according to Media Life MagazinesEurope’s business elite has increased its readership.”

You may think this just means that the business elite are an older generation – but according to the survey that reveled these findings, those same people have “ramped up their consumption of news online,” but

“…they have not cut back on their consumption of traditional sources of news. Key among the reasons, believe the researchers, the print titles are portable, which fits well into an on-the-go lifestyle. But another key factor is trust. Those readers trust what they read in those publications over what they read online.”

This seems to be extremely positive. It means that there is a differentiation here between print publications and online media that is possibly, hopefully, a sign of a new trend that will filter down. It’s consumers consuming print (vs electronic media) BECAUSE it is print. Rather then reading the news on their blackberries or other small electronic devices they are reading it in print because of what print offers that online media does not: gatekeepers.

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The FCC – Newspapers going flat update

December 19, 2007

In a very controversial move, the FCC voted to remove the ban on broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership. If you haven’t heard, I recommend checking it out. I have two quick comments on this decision:

First, it is getting harder and harder to draw the line between the media industries. Take blogs for example; in most ways they are similar to a newspaper, but video content and feeds can easily be added. Can a broadcast company have a website that publishes news? Or is that too close to having an electronic ‘newspaper’? Can a newspaper have a website with video content or things that typically fall under ‘broadcast’ categories? The line was already getting blurry, although it hadn’t caused any serious problems yet (that I’m aware of).

Second, we discussed in my Financial Aspects of Publishing class that many newspaper companies are merging to limit the number of reporters they need to pay, since they aren’t earning as much any more for their product. This is would allow broadcast news companies to further merge with newspaper companies or radio companies. I know its wishful thinking, but with multiple budgets is possible to hire better reporters and allow them to go more in depth, isn’t it? I think this is probably what Kevin Martin had in mind. I’m skeptical about its likelihood but I’m willing to recognize it as a possibility.

All in all, I’m not as opposed to the decision as many others out there seem to be. I think that something needs to be done; I agree with many of the problems they see in todays media; but I don’t think that fighting change will fix the problems. The question is coming up with the right solution. I’m sure the FCC is open to suggestions – any one have any?

I’d love to hear comments on the decision that were more analytical and less bashing.