Date

Sat - 23.09.2017


digital

As Shakespeare might have said, the course of transferring to a digital revenue model never did run smooth...

A report published today by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism highlights the difficulties that many US news organisations are having in adapting their business models to the digital age.

The report states that for every dollar that papers gain from increased digital ad revenue, they lose seven from decreased print ad sales. "In general," asserts Pew, "the shift to replace losses in print ad revenue with new digital revenue is taking longer and proving more difficult than executives want."

The report was based on data from 38 newspapers from across six US media companies, as well as on interviews conducted with the company executives in 2011. This year, Pew also carried out follow-up interviews with executives from the original six media groups, as well as talks with management figures at an additional seven companies. The 13 firms who participated in the study in some way represented a total of 330 daily papers - a pretty comprehensive sample.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-03-05 16:20

People aren't just talking about news organisations switching to digital any more; evidence that it's happening is all around.

Pearson announced on Monday that its digital revenues have risen by 18%, and now make up 33% of the company's total sales. The firm, which owns of the Financial Times, reported that the FT Group now draws 47% of its revenue from digital and services, compared to just 25% in 2007. Digital subscribers now make up 44% of the Financial Times paid circulation.

Earlier last month, the international media group Future PLC announced that it had succeeded in offsetting the decline in its print earnings in the UK, where the company has 75% of its business, with an increase in digital revenues.

Digital ad spend is gaining over print. A report from eMarketer last month predicted that online ad spending in the US will overtake print in 2012. The digital analysis company estimated that the amount of money spent on online ads in America last year totaled $32.03 billion, and is expected to grow by another 23.3% this year, to total $39.5 billion.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-03-02 13:31

Pearson has just published its end-of-year results, and in a tough economic climate they're impressively strong. The company, which counts the FT Group, Penguin, Pearson Education and a 50% stake in the Economist Group among its many holdings, has reported a 12% increase in its adjusted operating profit, with a 27% growth in profits for the FT Group.

Part of this success is due to the FT Group reducing its dependence on volatile advertising markets, and relying more heavily on digital, subscription and content revenues.

Overall, the FT Group is now making more money from its content, and less from advertising. In 2007, the group drew 41% of its total revenues from content, 59% from ads. Now the balance is 58% from content, 42% from ads.

What's more, according to the report, money from digital and services now account for 47% of the FT Group's revenues, compared to just 25% in 2007.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-27 13:07

Tough times call for tough measures... And as News International continues to go through a hard period, the Times and Sunday Times of London have announced a steep hike in the amount they charge users for a digital subscription package.

The package, which includes access to the Times and Sunday Times website, mobile and tablet editions, will be raised from £2 a week (£8.88 a month) to £4 a week, writes paidContent. However, author of the article Robert Andrews notes that web-only customers will continue to be charged £2 for access. What's more, existing subscribers will not have to pay the new, higher rate until 2013.

Andrews quotes a spokesperson from the Times, who insists: "we're not 'doubling' our price. We're introducing a new pack that includes all digital products. Previously, we were offering iPad access as complementary offer."

But Andrews is not convinced. "The difference may effectively be semantic," he writes.

Despite controversy when the Times introduced its impenetrable paywall in July 2010, figures released by News International last week show that its numbers of digital subscribers have been rising steadily. News International states that the Times now has 119,255 digital subscriptions, while the Sunday Times has 113,818.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-24 13:29

Have we reached a turning point in digital growth? Paid Content reported today that the London-based international media group Future PLC managed to offset the decline in its print revenues in the UK with a rise in digital earnings.

The company has just published its Interim Management Statement, analysing its performance between 1 October and 31 December 2011. In the UK, where Future PLC has 75% of its business, digital circulation and ad revenues increased by 51% - enough to make up for a decline in print revenue. The company sees this development as "an important milestone in the evolution of the business".

However, Future PLC also notes that in the UK revenues did decline by 2%, but states that this was "chiefly as a result of the loss of a customer publishing contract".

In the US, revenue fell by 20%, as the company "anticipated", due to shinking print revenues and the closure of some publications. However, digital revenues rose by 24%, and the company claims that the growth in this area, along with cost-cutting measures and the sale of some US properties, should allow it to become profitable in the US again by 2013.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-08 12:57

Last July Johnston Press appointed Ashley Highfield, previously head of technology at the BBC and then director of Microsoft's UK consumer and online business, as its new CEO.

The appointment raised two questions. One: why did Johnston Press hire a boss with no newspaper experience? Two: Why would Highfield want to head Johnston Press, which has seen its share price drop from 480p to 5p over the last five years?

Both of these points have been raised by Raymond Snoddy who has published a long interview with Highfield in In Publishing's bi-monthly magazine.

The answer to the first question seems obvious: Johnston Press was investing in a Digital First Future. Other news publishers have done the same; in November Time Warner Inc. hired Laura Lang, formerly of the digital advertising company Digitas, as its CEO.

In his interview with Snoddy, Highfield is clear that Johnston's future is as a diversified media company: "yes I have absolutely no previous newspaper experience but the board had already made the decision that the future of Johnston Press lay in moving the organisation beyond print and that was explained to me in the first sentence".

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-26 18:20

When News International properties The Times and The Sunday Times of London put up hard paywalls in July 2010 it seemed like their digital strategy had been decided in favour of paying users and against sharing on the web. But now an interview with News International's digital product director Nick Bell, which appeared in Paid Content earlier this week, suggests that The Times is considering making its paywall ever-so-slightly leakier by allowing subscribers to share articles with their direct friends.

Bell is quoted in the article saying that sharing has been "a hotly-debated topic" at the Times headquarters.

He promises that, "over the next six months, you will see us rewarding our paying subscribers with the ability to share amongst their network.... If they want to share content with their direct friends, then we're going to enable that."

However, the author of the Paid Content article, Robert Andrews, stresses that this is not a guarantee that Times content will be free for friends of subscribers. Bell is clear that The Times is not about to switch to a metered paywall like that of the New York Times, but is only interested in giving ""more value to our paying customers."

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-20 15:10

As Eastman Kodak files for bankruptcy protection today, the once-powerful company's demise has been largely blamed on its failure to adapt to the digital era.

With this warning ringing in their ears, it seems more urgent than ever now for publishers to make sure that they are doing everything possible to gain digital expertise.

The Hearst Corporation has already made a move in this direction by hiring Philip R. Wiser as its first-ever chief technology officer. Wiser, who will start his new role on February 1, was CTO of Sony Corporation of America from 2004 to 2006 and co-founded Sezmi Corporation, a company that offers broadband, mobile and cable providers with a platform for delivering personalized video content. Wiser served as chairman and president of Sezmi, before its recent sale to KIT digital for $27 million.

Earlier in his career Wiser founded Liquid Audio, an early music distribution platform and served as CTO before Microsoft bought up several of its digital rights management patents for $7 million.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-19 17:44

The Wall Street Journal has launched The Wall Street Journal Deutschland today: a digital German-language edition of it paper, available at www.wsj.de and via mobile and tablet apps.

National reporting will come from journalists at the Mudoch-owned Dow Jones Newswire, and international news will be supplied by The Wall Street Journal's 2000 worldwide correspondents. A team of around 10 editors based in Frankfurt will prepare articles for publication in the new edition.

The German edition is promoting itself as a digital only publication, proudly declaring on its Twitter feed this morning that it is "only on the web, never from the kiosk". The new managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Deutschland Knut Engelmann is quoted by the German tabloid Bild as a strong supporter of new media: "market surveys show that people want to consume news on the go and in real time. That means that a printed daily paper will always lag behind."

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-10 16:12

The position of chief digital officer looks like it's making a comeback.

Recently, Time Inc. began the search for its first CDO. Gannett Co., Inc. and Clear Channel, meanwhile, have been trying to fill the same position after months of searching. Wenner Media, which hired its first CDO two years ago, is also rumoured to be recruiting for the role, AdAge reported.

Image: cs4fn.org
The CDO position first began making headlines five years ago, when content companies began to create the role, which "involved a lot of hand-holding as media attempted to adapt to interactive platforms."

Today the role is changing, and is now more about managing standalone digital businesses, Michael Wolf, former COO of MTV Networks and founder of Activate, told AdAge.

However, titles can "actually hinder progress," Kendall Allen wrote in MediaPost blogs, commenting on the AdAge report. "If you've ever taken a good look at the company context around a 'digital strategist,' 'vice president of digital,' 'senior vice president of innovation,' or any number of associated divisions or special forces, you'll usually find a lack of operational grounding."

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-11-25 18:04

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