Posts Tagged ‘Trends’

A Polemic on Cheap and Free Content

July 12, 2010

If you find it distressing that those low-paying organizations like Demand Media that distribute written content for practically nothing, Ad Age points out that free content can pull in high paying advertisers just as well. It is interesting to note that the article uses as an example of the new form of writer, i.e., one who is willing to do it for nothing, a young man who started writing sports articles while he was waiting for his bar exam results, and is still doing it for nothing many hundreds of articles later.  This young man, meanwhile, having failed the bar 3 times, is being supported by his parents as he hones his craft. I wonder how long they are going to allow this practice to continue.  The article also points out that the Huffington Post is perhaps the mother lode of all free content.  It is, and most of the content in it which has any value at all is either written by one of the 53 editors that HuffPo pays, or taken from some other source that pays its writers, like the NY Times.  What this says about the future of journalism is more than distressing.  There is a place for journalism of the people, by the people and for the people, and it can even work in concert with the more elite kind. Yet, I find it hard to believe that there will not always be a need for writers who can actually write, for investigative journalism, and for content that is meaningful.

To make this point, perhaps, Nick Bilton’s Bits Blog notes that the content products for digital devices, like the iPad, are really being thought out, as publishers try to find a mix of content, design and community that make them stand out from their free web content.  Many of the magazine apps are rejecting the commentary and social aspect of their web counterparts.  On the Wired iPad app, for instance, readers cannot copy and paste links or text, comment or share on Twitter, or “like” an article on Facebook. Time Magazine’s app does not allow for sharing or linking. Another Condé Nast product, Gourmet (which shuttered its print version last fall), will be reborn in the fourth quarter as an app, which will have social aspects built into it.  This suggests, as some analysts have pointed out, that the lack of social connection on apps is because the mags haven’t quite figured out how to do it yet.  It really behooves publishers to make these apps as striking as possible, since they are behind a pay wall.  Time , meanwhile, is moving the current content of most of its magazines behind that app paywall. Their policy will be to “… use the web for breaking news and ‘commodity’ type of news; (news events of any type, stock prices, sports scores) and keep (most of) the features and longer analysis for the print publication and iPad versions.”

And speaking of magazines, you know those little subscription cards that fall out every time you open one up?  Turns out, they are, or soon will be, a complete waste, as Folio reports that 24 per cent of subscriptions that are sold by publishers come from the web.

They Really Do Take Care of Their Online Lives

June 4, 2010

A new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project refuted some people’s (including Mark Zuckerberg) notion that young people do not care about maintaining privacy on Internet sites.  Reputation Management and Social Media found that young adults, those aged 19-29, are in fact the most active managers of their online lives. For example, more than two-thirds (71%) those young adults who use social networking sites have changed the privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online. In addition, 44% of young adult internet users say that they “take steps to limit the amount of personal information available about them online”, 47% of them delete unwanted comments about themselves that are made on their profiles, and 41% have removed their tagging from photos.  These numbers are considerably higher than those for older social networkers, but then again, they probably have a lot more information to manage.

Still, the Internet is where people go to find out about you, and that includes potential employers, as well, as potential dates, so there are benefits to having an online presence.  Many of those social networkers who are employed work for a company that has very strict policies about how their employees present themselves online, thereby limiting what they can put in a profile or a blog post.  This can prove interesting as it blurs the line, which used to be very distinct, between one’s working life and one’s private life.  40% of users say that they have been contacted by someone from their past because of their online profile – of course that can be seen as a negative, depending on who from your past finds you. I’m sure that we’ve all found  that there’s a reason that those people are in our past.

Magazines Get A Second Life

May 7, 2010

There is a mood of upbeat optimism at magazines, now that they have entered their second life.  And we’re pretty sure that has happened, as the chief exec of Future Publishing, in the UK, said that digital publishing would ensure that paper mags will become “collectible artifacts rather than sources of valuable information… content that we want to own rather than connect with”.  Speaking before the PPA conference in London, Stevie Springs added that magazines would have to accept changes like enver before, and fast.  “Darwinism continues,” she said, “But it’s Darwinism on speed.   It’s survival of the fastest…we have to adapt and accept that some things are done much better in digital that in print.” She also feels that the next three years will be better than the last 3 have been, largely as the magazine figures out its new habitat. 

Folio mentions that digital vendors are at the moment either creating their own online marketplaces or creating “magazine branded storefronts and/or apps”. It makes sense for them to take themselves out of the picture in favor of the magazine brands, since that is where the public will be going. Most feel that tablets like the iPad are the basis for the second coming of the magazine business. Says the founder of Technologizer, “They already have well-established publisher relationships …, and far more people are going to want to read magazine-format publications on tablet-style devices than ever wanted to on PCs.”  Publishers are already creating apps for the iPad as well as downloadable content for the Kindle, the Nook, and mobile phones.

Condé Nast was a late web holdout, and the New Yorker has a brand spanking new web editor, who spoke with Sparksheet about the challenges for maintaining the execellence of that magazine’s editorial integrity.  Blake Eskin says that Condé stills maintains that the purpose of the web sites is to generate print subscriptions. While they have met the digital age with podcasts, author interviews (that are posted on Facebook) and blogs, they do not post the entire magazine online, but they do have some content that is web-only.  Eskin says, “…we keep an eye on what kinds of stories tend to do well…. We try to bring that sense of polished editing and excellence to things we can do simply but well.”

Mary Meeker Speaks

April 26, 2010

Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker  issued her 2010 report on Internet trends.  And we all listen.  She says that we, and by that I mean the world, has entered the fifth major technology cycle, marked by the adoption of the mobile Internet in a big(ger) way. She says that mobile will be bigger than desktop usage in five years, and that 3G coverage has reached at least 20% of all the world’s cellphone users.  AT&T is already seeing the result of the data ramp up, as their lines in NY and SF get clogged up.  Says GigaOm, reporting on her report:

The average cell-phone usage pattern is 70 percent voice, while the average iPhone is 45 percent voice. At NTT DoCoMo, data usage accounts for 90 percent of network traffic. The analyst says her team expects mobile data traffic to increase by almost 4,000 percent by 2014, for a cumulative annual growth rate of more than 100 percent. Such numbers will likely strike fear into the hearts of carriers, but joy into the hearts of equipment suppliers and mobile service companies. (by the way if you feel like going through all 87 of her slides, you can do so on GigaOm’s post).

Here are some of the other trends she sees:

Mobile E-Commerce — mobile will revolutionize e-commerce, forcing both innovations for both online and brick-and-mortar companies. She identifies location-based services, push notifications, transparent pricing, and instant mobile delivery as four potential areas this will occur.

Virtual Goods will be a growth area.

Applications:  Meeker refers to Apple and Facebook as”vibrant developer / application platform ecosystems, ” and suggests that companies will continue to leverage social networks for fans and for revenue.

Video: Meeker’s says that video will outpace VoIP and other resources people seek to access with their mobile devices, and that video is driving the growth in mobile Internet traffic. And speaking of VoIP, if Skype were a carrier, it would be by far the largest in the world. She sees a big future for Google voice, as well.

She also says that people are more willing to pay for content on mobile devices than they are on desktops (good news to Apple’s new content providers), and, marketers take note, personalization is more important on mobile than anywhere else.

As far as social networking is concerned, Facebook is now the largest repository of user-generated content and games, while the main professional repository has yet to be determined. Since people spend more time on social networking sites than on other places (232 billion total minutes in 2009), and the time spent on them is growing rapidly (50% more in 2009 than in 2008), in case you hadn’t figured it out, this is the place to be.

The Difficulty of Making an Advertising Job Transition from Print to Digital

March 26, 2010

Ad Age insists that the transition for media professionals from print to digital is difficult and getting to be moreso.   The beginnings of the digital revolution required that ad sales people understood the print medium, and how to sell the story of the consumers to a brand.  Now, however,   ad sales revolve more around the technology than around the story.  Recruiters are looking for people who are more analytical, who can understand optimization. Add to that the fact that there is a “prejudice against print”. There is a big learning curve in going almost wholly digital. “ Partly for that reason, digital employers who do take a chance on print pros aren’t necessarily going to hand out positions equivalent to those being left behind.”  On the bright side, though,

for print professionals who want to make the switch … their digital competition sometimes lacks certain skills that have become more important in the recession. Many digital natives who came up haven’t experienced the ups and downs of business that have marked other, more mature media sectors. If online advertising increasingly focuses on particular audiences, moreover, over and above certain sites, print professionals may have an advantage.

The Media and the Minor

February 1, 2010

And here’s one reason that the iPad is the way the future is going to go.  The future meaning maybe a year from now.  The Kaiser Family Foundation released a study this week about how kids 8-18 use media.  They average 7 ½ hours a day connecting to media in some form, and in those hours, they manage to fit 10 ¾  hours worth of interaction.  Obviously, there’s a lot of multitasking going on – almost 30% of the time that they spend doing something with media, they’re also doing something else with some other medium.  (So why not do it all on one handy device?) The study was conducted to measure media’s effect on children, and, hopefully, to guide those who are involved in their “healthy development”.  What the study found was that, of no surprise to any of us, media use among this age group for every medium except printed matter (books, magazines and newspapers) has grown hugely.  And while the daily reading of magazines and newspapers has dropped rather significantly over the past five years (to 9 minutes and three minutes, respectively) book reading has actually increased slightly in the last 10 years (from 21 to 25 minutes a day).  Now, about that multitasking – kids in grades 7-12 were asked whether they were doing something else while they were using a computer, and 66% said they were. 56% of them admit to being media interactive while they are doing their homework.  Thirty-nine percent in the study said that “most of the time” while watching TV, they’re simultaneously using a computer, reading, playing video games, texting or listening to music. Another 29 percent said they do this “some of the time.” Moreover, kids now consume TV content online (24 minutes), on an iPod or other MP3 player (16 minutes) and on cell phones (15 minutes). Which in general means ignoring commercials.

Media Myths — Confirm or Deny

January 22, 2010

LEK Consulting issued  some findings from a study they did on “Hidden Opportunities in New Media”. Here are a few of those opportunities, which don’t seem all that hidden to me.  First off, cable providers can rest safely in the assurance that people will continue to be happy to shell out their money.  What’s more, for the most  part, they are willing to pay a few extra shekels for the ability to watch TV shows either online or on mobile, as long as those shekels do not add up to more than $20. The cable bill will end up being a catch-all for much viewing on all platforms.

Rather than decreasing TV viewing, the study found, DVR usage actually increased it.  Of course, as DVR’s pick up usage, broadcasters are going to have to come up with a way to make sure that the time-shifting population gets their quota of advertising.  Some other findings – e-readers could be the savior that publishers are seeking; e-reader owners read more than paper readers do, both books and periodicals, and they read stuff that they would not have read in print.

We’ve mentioned this before, but these numbers make the truism startling – people are multi-consuming like crazy. 33% of online time is also spent with the TV on; 19% of people who are online are also listening to music, and 11% of people who are online are also talking on the phone.  In other news, Internet radio is about to put satellite to permanent sleep. And the study debunked and confirmed several media myths.

Debunked: TV will be ravaged by Internet cannibalization; the success of movies this year will continue; DVD sales drops are due to the recession and will bounce back later

Confirmed: Physical newspapers are continuing their march to total irrelevance; “all you can eat” pricing works better than transactions in a recession; “Life requires a soundtrack”, Internet usage continues to eat into personal time.

Where the Jobs Are

January 15, 2010

USA Today created an interactive map, with the help of Moody’s Economy that will show you where job growth in the information/entertainment sector will be happening.  Hint: it’s not New York, where such jobs are expected to continue to shrink (3% in 2010).  The left coast, if you were thinking in that direction, will be flat. Here’s where the growth is: New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma (!), South Dakota and  —  a bit closer to home – New Hampshire and Massachussetts.

Mediabistro’s Jobs Report

January 15, 2010

MediaBistro published this week its first jobs report, compiled from its job board.  There are some categories that reported growth: PR, marketing and digital/online.  The areas with the biggest declines were television, teaching and magazines. Another highlight is that in 2007 the top 10 posters on the board accounted for 19% of the jobs; in 2009 they accounted for only 8%.  And, says the report, competition for jobs is fierce: many jobs getting hundreds of applications. In fact, a quarter of all jobs had more than 100 applications submitted, while the average was 81 applications per job. The greatest number of applications for a single job was 1,309.

Sir Martin Speaks

January 11, 2010

Sparksheet, a newsletter published by Spafax, a division of WPP interviewed Sir Martin Sorrell.  This may seem on the face of it to be fairly self-serving, and maybe so.  But during the course of the interview he had one or two notable things to say about media, media habits, and the whole money issue.

 “Media habits are changing, becoming much more one to one. That’s good news, but it’s also bad news because it’s highly fragmented, and therefore you don’t have large globs of ad revenue sticking to properties anymore. So it makes life for newspapers, magazines, and free-to-air TV much more difficult.It also means that smaller fragmented audiences are much more important. For example, the Transumer [people who travel a lot – consumer in transit] audience becomes much more important because it becomes more defined and more easily addressable and targetable.The JetBlue example shows you how violently media consumption – particularly amongst younger people – is changing, how it is likely to keep changing, and how specific it can all be. And actually it can be very effective and cheap for everyone.

What’s the missing link in getting brands to seriously spend on the Web? Is it that advertisers flock to quality content, and that just doesn’t exist to scale online?

Time. A lot of it’s to do with time. I’ve described it in the past as “age” but that’s gotten me in trouble. Agencies are run by old people like me, and older people like me are media owners and clients as well.

People take time to change. They might not get it yet. You become the CEO of a company and it’s taken you 25 years and the last thing you want in your last four or five years is violent change. You want things to go on just as they have before. So it’s a natural human emotion if you like – a human feeling – to resist this change. But it’s only a question of time. Because if consumers are spending 20, or 25 percent of their time online and clients are spending 12 or 13 percent of their budgets online, there’s a natural gravitational pull to that 25 percent.