Archive for October, 2010

Daily Beast chair says printed version next step

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Barry Diller, chairman of the company that owns the Daily Beast, the Huffington Post challenger run by Tina Brown, plugged print as a viable advertising medium in a conference about third-quarter earnings Wednesday.

“One way or another, we’ll either find something or we’ll create somehow, as Politico did, a print product to go with the Beast,” Diller said, according to Business Insider. “For advertisers, that makes sense.”

Diller said the two-year-old Daily Beast, which posted a 44 percent revenue increase, will be profitable soon.

Asked about failed talks of a merger between The Daily Beast and Newsweek, Diller said Brown’s background in magazines makes print a logical step. “The idea that that sensibility (of the Daily Beast) would then come to a print product as a companion piece made industrial sense,” he said.

Newspaper circulation continues decline

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

“[T]here’s no getting around the fact that newspaper circulation continues to fall at a pretty good clip,” says Media Daily News in its look at the Audit Bureau of Circulations report for April-September.

The ABC report shows total daily newspaper circulation down 5 percent from the previous year and Sunday circulation down 4.5 percent for the 635 publications tracked.

The rate of loss has slowed compared to last year and even earlier this year but, “Over the last decade, total daily newspaper circulations have declined about 34 percent from 56 million in 2003 to 37.1 million this year,” Media Daily News says.

Lower circulation translates into less justification for newspapers’ advertising rates, forcing them lower when they can make the sale at all.

The one exception in the ABC report is The Wall Street Journal’s circulation, which grew 1.8 percent to more than 2.06 million (in print and digital editions), making the WSJ “now the nation’s largest newspaper in terms of daily circulation.”

Advertising guidelines greeted in new reality

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

The American Society of Magazine Editors has updated its guidelines for keeping advertising and editorial separate for the first time in five years, focusing mainly on the use of “false covers, cover flaps, sponsored sections and advertising adjacencies … to help publishers work effectively with marketers without compromising the relationship between editor and reader.”

The guidelines are meant to ensure that readers can tell the difference between editorial content and ads, the group’s CEO, Sid Holt, told MediaWeek.

“But,” says MediaWeek, “with magazines scrapping for every ad they can get and to compete with digital and broadcast media, where interruptive ads and product placement abound, publishers, advertisers and even some editors have expressed doubts about the relevance of the guidelines.”

Robin Steinberg, director of print investment and activation at MediaVest, said the guidelines make magazines less competitive. “This continues to hold a noose around our neck,” she said.

Violation of the guidelines results in disqualification from ASME’s National Magazine Awards and a “stern letter” from the group.

ASME  is also revising its digital guidelines to reflect the growing use of invasive and interruptive ads online and federal rules requiring bloggers to disclose commercial ties. That process is expected to be finished later this year, MediaWeek says.

Print revenue losses swamping newspapers

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

AP business writer Andrew Vanacore takes a look at the 3Q earnings reports from McClatchy, New York Times and others, and says things don’t look good for the industry.

“[P]ublishers still haven’t been able to reverse a slump in sales more than three years after it began” and they are not “able to draw enough new business from … digital operations to make up for the losses in print,” he writes.

“The outlook entering the holiday season isn’t much better.”

The NYT and McClatchy saw worse declines in September than a year before despite less-bad year-to-year numbers for the prior two months.

“On a conference call with analysts, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt had to fend off repeated attempts to get a more detailed picture of where things stand going into the holidays.

“‘We intentionally did not release any results for October or speak to them because we don’t think they are meaningful at this time, and we lack visibility as we look forward into the fourth quarter,’ he said.”

McClatchy down as 3Q trends worse

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

McClatchy’s excuse that things are less bad than they have been looked like it might have run its course in the third quarter, as advertising revenue fell 6.1 percent in July over the same month of last year, followed by a 5.8 percent decline in August and then a 7.3 percent decline in September.

The McClatchy Co. reported an overall drop of 6 percent in third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Media Jobs Daily said the 6 percent revenue fall represents a 50 percent drop in income, or profit.

“Excluding unusual items, like a tax recalculation that saved the company some money in 2009 and one and a quarter million in restructuring costs in 2010, income was nearly flat at $10.5 million,” Media Jobs Daily said.

Even CEO Gary Pruitt appears shaken, saying that for the fourth quarter “visibility on revenues is limited,” according to the AP.

The publisher reported a 8 percent drop in revenue for the second quarter and and 8.2 percent drop for the first three months of the year.

Online advertising revenue from July-September was up 1.6 percent year-to-year to $47.5 million for the quarter, while print was down by 8 percent, at $201.7 million. Circulation revenue, including subscription fees and newsstand sales, declined 4 percent to $66.4 million, the AP said.

McClatchy stock was down 27 cents on Tuesday at $3.15 a share, a 7.89 percent drop on the day. Its highest price in the last three months was $3.96 on October 13. On April 20, it was $6.95, it’s best price in a  year.

McClatchy has cut more than 4,150 newspaper jobs since June 2008, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

Interactive TV ads offer ‘endless’ opportunity

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The next big thing in television advertising, interactive ads, could be ready to take a big leap.

Media Daily News says Canoe Ventures already has “request for information” ads on such cable networks as AMC and Style, and is developing an iTV product involving polling and trivia questions. “The opportunities for an advertiser are endless,” David Goetzel writes.

Viewers with iTV capabilities could take part in live votes on shows like “Top Chef” and an advertiser could sponsor the results, for example.

“[R]esults of studies Canoe conducted … show interactive advertising is effective across three metrics: recall, opinion and purchase intent,” the article says.

Canoe’s request-for-information ads boosted unaided brand recall by 132 percent on average in testing, the company said. “Also when a poll runs during a show with an attached sponsor – followed by a related spot in the next break – results showed better unaided recall (167 percent higher) than if the spot did not follow,” Online Media Daily said.

“Canoe is owned by the six largest cable operators and licenses its technology to deliver iTV ads to national cable networks. … Ultimately, Canoe wants to run iTV ads in tens of millions of homes that have digital cable.”

Google sees jump in paid search, display

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Google is apparently cleaning up on paid search and display advertising, with profit up 32 percent in the third quarter for a staggering $2.17 billion. That’s profit, not revenue, according to Online Media Daily.

They are making money on what should be $2.5 billion worth of display ads and $1 billion in mobile on an annual basis – including about 90,000 Android apps – and by monetizing more than 2 billion YouTube views per week.

Online Media Daily says search ads remain the company’s primary revenue driver, from desktop to mobile,” topping display ads, though apparently specific figures for search were not released.

Advertisers are paying more for paid-search advertising, and clicks on ads posted to Google’s site and the sites of AdSense partners are up 16 percent year-over-year and 2 percent from the second quarter (see our AdSense ads below each post here  and on our Carolina Outdoors Guide and its This Land, Your Land blog, and our Carolina Music Festivals site).

The AdSense program pays its partner sites a small portion of advertisers’ fees when readers click on an ad that appears on the partner’s site – pennies per click, usually. But that money, called Traffic Acquisition Costs,  adds up, and payments increased to $1.81 billion in the third quarter of 2010, compared with $1.56 billion in the third quarter of 2009.

Online Media Daily also reports that “Google has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it used a misleading registration form that tricked marketers into paying for ads that ran on its publisher network.

“The proposed settlement affects marketers that advertised on Google between October of 2007 and July of 2009 and didn’t realize that they would be opted-in to Google’s AdSense network by default.”

$3.5 million out of a quarterly profit of $2.7 billion. Yeah, that’ll hurt.

iPad the future for newspapers, everyone else

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Two media heavyweights commenting overseas landed on the iPad as the future of newspapers. And folks are buying it.

Lionel Barber, editor of Financial Times, at a meeting organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Mumbai on Tuesday said flexibility and adaptability are key to newspapers’ survival.

“Today, newspapers cannot stay confined to the print medium, Barber said, according to Sify News. “Journalists will have to be willing to create more value, and newspaper managements will have to be flexible in terms of the content platform. After the Web, it was the iPad [that] FT tapped into. And in the last three and a half months, we have had half a million downloads of the application.”

Meanwhile, Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer, told Media Week at the Media Guardian Changing Advertising Summit on Tuesday,  “iPads will save newspapers, they really will.”

Marketing magazine says Weed added: “The sort of guys I hang out with, the iPad idiots, we’re all on them… I used to have a pile of newspapers in the morning but now I flick through my iPad.”

“In addition to the newspaper apps for sites such as the Financial Times, globetrotter Weed cited the restaurant guide and booking service Zagat to Go, and the airline apps, as among his favorites and most used.”

And, indeed, sales of the iPad have pushed Apple’s stock to record highs, according to the Associated Press.

“Apple’s iPad is setting the standards for this generation of tablet computers as competitors scramble to match the design and functions,” the AP says. “So far, no credible challengers have hit the market.

“In the first quarter it was available, Apple sold 3.3 million iPads. That’s about three times the number of iPhones sold in the first full quarter the smart phones were on sale in 2007. … Analysts’ estimates for iPad unit sales in 2011 are in flux, with those on the conservative end putting the number around 20 million while more bullish forecasters say it could be 50 million.”

Newspapers, e-readers a natural fit

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

It’s not surprising that the same adults affluent enough to buy an e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook, also still read newspapers.

“Scarborough Research found that fully 78 percent of adults in so-called ‘e-reader households,’ which number about 4 million, read a newspaper in print or online within the past week,” Editor & Publisher says. “That compares with 71 percent of all adults. E-reader households are 11 percent more likely to read a newspaper regularly than an average adult.”

Adults in e-reader households are also 9 percent percent more likely than all adults nationally to have read a printed newspaper during the past week, and 48 percent more likely than all consumers nationally to have visited a newspaper website within the past month.

“E-reader devices are becoming an important technology for millions of Americans, and our data confirms their emergence as a natural companion to newspapers,” said Gary Meo, senior vice president of digital media and newspaper services for Scarborough Research. “At this point, many newspaper publishers are determining strategies for making their content available on e-reader devices, and this is creating a new opportunity to monetize content and increase readership.”

Magazine ads up in 3Q

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Magazine advertising grew in the third quarter for the second quarter in a row, up 3.6 percent July-September compared to last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Year-to-date ad pages are still down 1.6 percent for the first nine months of the year, Media Daily News reports.

One hundred and thirty-six magazines showed growth, compared to 25 in the third quarter of 2009.