That’s a quote from James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Herald, in 1845, a year after Samuel Morse connected Washington, DC, with Baltimore on the information superhighway of the day, the telegraph. But the telegraph didn’t kill the newspaper era. From The Economist:
“The telegraph did indeed reshape the newspaper industry, but not in the way that Bennett and others had predicted. For although telegraph wires could deliver news more rapidly than ever, they had a ‘last mile’ problem: they could not disseminate news quickly to thousands of people. Only printed newspapers could do that. Far from putting papers out of business, the telegraph actually made them more attractive and increased their sales.”
Ah…. Perhaps news readers have always valued distribution over the content itself. Bennet is finally right: If you’re in the newspaper business, new technologies have put you in a terrible, probably hopeless, spot. If instead you’re in the news business, though, you’ll figure out how these digital platforms enable more efficient news delivery — dominate that last mile, like you have for the past 200 years! — and you’ll let your legacy newspapers go the way of the telegraph.
For my writer friends who gripe that Huffington Post doesn’t pay its writers, stay away from Worth Magazine! It has recently launched a “Wealth Advisor Program,” where high net worth gurus and aspiring gurus can pay Worth for the opportunity to write an article. (Worth reviews submissions and apparently requires quality in addition to the money before publishing.)
This isn’t a model that will help save investigative journalism. But if you believe (like I do) that valuable content can be created sometimes by people who aren’t professional writers, it’s an interesting model. It recognizes that the value created by media companies isn’t just the content, it’s also the distribution channels that deliver the content to readers and viewers.
Now that radio measurement firm Arbitron has replaced its self-reported paper diaries with Portable People Meters that actually track listening behavior (as Nielsen did for TV ratings in 1987), it’s finding that we listen to the embarrassing stuff more often than we’d like to admit. Ratings for classical stations are nearly 11% lower than previously reported, and men make up 16% more of the soft-rock audience than they did when they had to acknowledge it in writing. More at NY Times.
Eleven percent here, 16% there — it adds up to a big gap between what we do and what we tell pollster we do.
Silicon Alley Insider summarizes Google’s recent presentation on its evolving display ad strategy.
On the surface, two aspects strike me as mistakes. One, I worry that the intensely rational approach to targeting may go too far, forgetting that brand advertising is often intended to create interest among consumers who didn’t have (or, therefore, express) a preexisting interest. Two, I’m not sure that “simplification” is what brand advertisers want; they (and their margin-deprived agencies) certainly want a streamlined media-buying system, but not at the expensive of unique formats to express the uniqueness of their brands.
What I really like, though, is a continuation of the advertising philosophy that’s made Google so dominant. Start by understanding what your customer (the reader, viewer or searcher) is doing at various parts of your site, and then create ad formats that match the user experience. If a visitor to Google.com expects to ask a question and get a list of text results ranked by relevance, Google.com advertisers must articulate their propositions in text, ranked by relevance. If someone “shows up” at the front page of YouTube, he or she isn’t yet searching for something specific. YouTube serves up graphical teasers to content that has broad popular appeal (the opposite of relevant) and homepage advertisers are given the opportunity to do rich media mass marketing.
Here’s a fun promotional gimmick from the New Zealand Yellow Pages: Enlist a civilian with no chocolate-making experience from among a pool of 80 applicants to design a chocolate bar that tastes like the color yellow, using only suppliers and and service providers found in New Zealand’s Yellow Pages. The project became a social-media hit.
“Combining one part crowdsourcing, one part viral marketing and one part pure creative flair, Yellow’s effort demonstrates once again that a little alternative thinking can blow traditional advertising out of the water,” says Springwise.
Newspapers have lost 7 million subscribers in the past 25 years, while online newspapers have picked up 30 million readers in the past five. See? The Internet’s not all bad! (Though you might argue that email’s mostly bad, since 90% of emails sent each day are spam.)
“The No. 1 ranked golfer’s standing with the public has plunged in the wake of reports of infidelity that followed a Nov. 27 car accident outside his home near Orlando, Florida. Woods’s ranking among celebrity endorsers tumbled to 24th from 6th, according to the Davie Brown Index, which is used to gauge the ability of personalities to influence shoppers.”
Internet advertising is the only ad sector to post gains in 2009. More at .
“The net was the only medium to attract more money in 2009 in Zenith’s figures, though its growth curve is flatter than the early-2000s heyday growth of 40+ percent a year. It’s now on track for more modest but consistent growth pace of 9.5 percent (2010), 12 percent (2011) and 13 percent (2012), in line with that of TV, which will remain the dominant medium.”
“High Gear Media, a publishing company focused on automotive digital media, is having a great year. The Palo Alto, CA-based vertical content startup raised a second round of funding last Summer to the tune of $5.5 million and has been growing like a weed.
“Today, the company’s announcing that Chas Edwards is joining its board of directors. Edwards is the former Chief Revenue Officer of Federated Media who in May 2009 left the digital advertising network to become the money guy at Digg.
“High Gear Media is riding the wave of built-for-the-web content production platforms, publishing a mix of original, licensed, aggregated and user-contributed content. You could compare this approach to the Demand Media model, the route AOL is taking towards massive low-cost content production and Seeking Alpha’s strategy in the stock market vertical. It’s clearly turning into something of a trend.”