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Will Google, Apple and Amazon Fuel Newspaper, Magazine Subscriptions?

While a lot of people in the media industry spent the past couple of years figuring out how to make old media business models work online, and media critics droned on about the death of newspapers and magazines, technology innovators focused on fixing the problem.

What problem? Getting consumers to want to pay for digital content. I took a pretty hard line on the issue of free versus paid content, pushing for free as the answer. I now pay for a dozen or so subscriptions across the various electronic devices I use to consume content. [Read more…]

Use Community to Drive Impressions and Revenue

It’s no secret that media properties—newspapers, in particular—are facing disruptive challenges today. These include the physical cost of newsprint, the explosion of the Internet for information consumption, falling revenues from classified advertising, the loss of print advertising to the web and a general uncertainty of the future of print.  This impact has been significant in the U.S. and Europe with ad revenues down 30 percent and job cuts and wage freezes being the norm for the past few years.

The most dramatic of these challenges has no doubt been the uncertainty caused by the shift in consumer attention from print to the online content.  This has required media groups worldwide to investigate and experiment with new business models and content strategies aimed at retaining their audience while finding ways in which to effectively monetize their content assets.

With consumers expecting content to be accessible across a myriad of devices (smartphones, the iPad, laptops etc.) it’s vital for media businesses to engage their customers as individuals across all touch points.  They must also support the demand of both corporate and user-generated digital content in growing communities – faster, efficiently and more consistently.

Today’s news properties compete aggressively online for the attention of consumers and are compelled to move beyond their traditional news delivery capabilities to support this rapid transition to online content consumption and communication. News outlets are now required to offer a trustworthy engaging community-driven experience with the delivery of personalized content, offers and promotions, in order to increase readership and create new revenue opportunities. [Read more…]

New Business Models for News

For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m pretty interested in new business models for news. I was excited to see that the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism (and Jeff Jarvis) is working on the New Business Models for News project, funded by the Knight Foundation. [Read more…]

On The Future of Journalism

“In times of change learners will inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to work in a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)

This is one of my favorite quotes. Few places does this quote ring more true than in the world of traditional media today, where the ‘learned’ continue to resist change and refuse to accept that some of their business models no longer make sense.

The Rosen Group conducted a recent survey of American readers about the state of current and future media, finding that nearly 80% of respondents still subscribe to magazines and 83% find that daily newspapers are still relevant. In the same survey, only 45% said they think newspapers and magazines will exist in 10 years, while 40% were uncertain.

While it’s easy to get distracted by the fact that consumers still subscribe, it’s nothing short of alarming that many don’t think newspapers and magazines – at least not in their current print bodies – will exist in 10 years. If that’s the case, what will the future of journalism look like for you and me? If the ‘learners’ have anything to say, it will look much different. [Read more…]

Community Funded Journalism – The Spot.Us Model

I recently stumbled across the website for Spot.Us, an interesting model in news production. Spot.Us is a nonprofit project of the Center for Media Change. It’s goal is to pioneer “community funded reporting” – enabling the public to commission journalists to do investigations on important and perhaps overlooked stories.

It’s an interesting concept, but on the surface it seems flawed on several levels – at least based on my basic understanding of media ethics. I have never met a journalist that would write a story that somebody paid for. Okay, I take that back – there are plenty of outlets that ‘secretly’ operate on the pay-to-play model, but that’s a topic for another post. It’s not common – at least not that I know of – at the mainstream media level.

Here’s how it works (based on what I could gather from the Spot.Us website). Let’s say there’s a story I think needs to be told, and the media isn’t covering it. I can pitch the story and commit funds to sponsor the production of the story. In turn, reporters can commit to doing the story. Now if the news organization buys the rights to the story, my tax deductible donation is reimbursed. So that is an approach media organizations can use to get around the payment issue. [Read more…]