Archive for December, 2010

Online ad spending eclipses newspapers

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

A digital marketing and media research firm said Tuesday that advertisers this year will for the first time spend more money for online advertising than for newspaper advertising.

eMarketer says says total newspaper spending [print and online] for 2010 will drop to $25.7 billion, a 6.6 percent decline, while online advertising will jump 13 percent to $25.8 billion for the year. Spending on print newspapers alone will fall to $22.8 billion for the year.

Newspapers will see a gain of a 7.8 percent in online ad spending this year, to $3 billion – making online ad revenue 11.67 percent of the total spent on newspaper ads. (The numbers don’t add up correctly –  the $3 billion online and newspapers’ $22.8 billion for print alone, for example – because of rounding, the report says.)

“The spending gap will widen significantly next year,” the report says.

Geoff Ramsey, chief executive officer at eMarketer, said online ads are typically seen as more reliable because their effectiveness can be measured, whereas print ads “are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result,” according to Bloomberg News. The bad economy has also accelerated the move toward digital platforms.

“It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point,”  Ramsey told The Wall Street Journal.

Total ad spending in the U.S. is expected to increase 3 percent to $168.5 billion in 2010.

eMarketer also says that total US online ad spending will continue double-digit growth through 2014, when it will surpass $40 billion.

Off topic: the Jake Nelson Raleigh TEACCH Fund

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Care to help kids with autism? Need a year-end tax-deductible contribution? Please consider a contribution to the Jake Nelson Raleigh TEACCH Fund, which we’ve established in memory of our son.

The Jake Fund will provide a stipend to practicum students and interns learning to work with individuals with autism at the Raleigh TEACCH center, which is located in Garner. TEACCH  stands for Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-related handicapped CHildren.

Chris Nealy, a graduate student in UNC’s School of Social Work from Lumberton, N.C., is the first to receive a stipend from the fund.

“One of the goals of the TEACCH center is to train professionals from different fields — psychology, social work and more — to work with individuals with autism in order to increase the number of professionals available to meet the rising need for services for individuals with autism,” Mary Van Bourgondien, professor and clinical director at the Raleigh TEACCH center, told the Garner Citizen. “This fund enables us to attract students to the field and to partially support the efforts of these trainees.”

Jake, who had Asperger’s syndrome, volunteered with the Raleigh TEACCH center to speak before middle school and high school teachers about how they could help their students who have autism spectrum disorders. He was particularly concerned that they protect autistic kids from bullying.

“After high school graduation, he came back to the high school group to share his college experience and help those younger than him prepare for life after high school,” Van Bourgondien said. “He became confident and realized he had valuable information he could share to enhance the lives of others.”

Contributions to the Jake Nelson Raleigh TEACCH Fund can be sent to the Medical Foundation of North Carolina Inc., 880 MLK Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514-2600. Specify that the donation is for the Jake Nelson Raleigh TEACCH Fund.

Smartphone apps mine, forward personal data

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Your smartphone is spying on you and peddling the information to advertising companies, the Wall Street Journal said Saturday.

The WSJ tested 101 popular smartphone “apps” – games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones – and found that 56 transmitted the phone’s unique device ID – effectively a “supercookie” that cannot be erased, the article says –  to other companies without the  users’ awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone’s location. Five sent the user’s age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.

Examples the WSJ cites include TextPlus 4, a popular iPhone app for text messaging, which sent the phone’s unique ID number to eight ad companies and the phone’s ZIP code, along with the user’s age and gender, to two of the ad companies; and the music app Pandora, which sent age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks. Grindr, an iPhone app for meeting gay men, sent gender, location and phone ID to three ad companies.

Because of the test’s size, it’s not known if the pattern – more than half of apps sharing info – holds among the hundreds of thousands of apps available, the newspaper says.

The article has the “we care about our customers” statements you’d expect from iPhone maker Apple Inc. and Android maker Google Inc. But, “‘In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity,’ says Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association, an industry trade group. A cellphone is ‘always with us. It’s always on.'”

Why does this  matter? “The main companies setting ground rules for app data-gathering have big stakes in the ad business,” the WSJ says. “The two most popular platforms for new U.S. smartphones are Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Google and Apple also run the two biggest services, by revenue, for putting ads on mobile phones.

“Apple and Google ad networks let advertisers target groups of users. Both companies say they don’t track individuals based on the way they use apps.”

And, “Ad sales on phones account for less than 5 percent of the $23 billion in annual Internet advertising. But spending on mobile ads is growing faster than the market overall.

“Central to this growth: the ad networks whose business is connecting advertisers with apps. Many ad networks offer software ‘kits’ that automatically insert ads into an app. The kits also track where users spend time inside the app.”

The WSJ says it tested its own iPhone app, btw, and it did not send out data.

Newspapers cut fewer jobs in 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Paper Cuts, the site that tracks newspaper layoffs, reported far fewer jobs lost at the nation’s papers in 2010 compared to the two previous years, says Fishbowl L.A. Of course, there are far fewer jobs left to be cut.

The industry shed some 2,800 jobs this year –  layoffs and buyouts the site tracks of newspaper personnel “from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper” – compared to about 15,000 in 2009 and 16,000 in 2008. The total does not count jobs lost through attrition, i.e., left unfilled after someone leaves voluntarily.

“But it’s also become more obvious that many papers are laying off employees and never publicly acknowledging it,” Paper Cuts’ Erica Smith told FBLA. “Even with many of those numbers filled in, though, I don’t think the total will hit 2008 or 2009 levels.”

The Paper Cuts site has Google Maps mash-ups that show job cuts at individual papers dating to 2007, including  2010 job cuts at The News & Observer in Raleigh (21; owned by McClatchy), The Winston-Salem Journal  (“unknown”; Media General), the Asheville Citizen-Times (4; Gannett),  the Star News in Wilmington (2; New York Times), NASCAR Scene in Charlotte (18; Advance Publications), the Independent-Tribune of Concord-Kannapolis (“unknown”; Media General), The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. (7; McClatchy), The State of Columbia, S.C. (12; McClatchy), The Greenville (S.C.) News (7; Gannett), and The Morning News of Florence, S.C. (“unknown”; Media General).

Beauty in ads makes women feel beastly

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Objects of beauty in advertising, such as fashion products, actually make women feel less attractive, a study by The Journal of Consumer Research says.

The New York Times reported the study last Friday, saying, “advertised products, unlike [just a photo of] unadvertised products, affect both whether and how the viewer thinks of herself afterward. In other words, an image of the high-heeled shoe in a stylish advertisement is likely to trigger a sense of inadequacy.”

Study subjects “who were shown advertised beauty-enhancing products were likely to think about themselves more afterward than other women would. Perhaps not such a big deal. But the thoughts they had about themselves (when asked questions such as ‘How attractive do you find yourself?’ and ‘How satisfied are you with your body?’) were decidedly gloomier.”

The unanswered question – to be studied next, according to the Times – is whether this decreases buying intentions or results in “shopping therapy.”

McClatchy shines in latest revenue report

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Not only has McClatchy stock gained nearly $1 since CEO Gary Pruitt made his presentation to investors and analysts Wednesday morning at the annual UBS Global Media Conference in New York, Pruitt says classified advertising revenue is leading the way in the firm’s improving 2010 ad revenue picture.

It’s a Bizarro world.

As Poynter’s Rick Edmonds points out, the death of classified advertising is pretty much  “a consensus truism about the decline of the newspaper industry.” But McClatchy says not only that classifieds are leading its improving outlook, but among classifieds, employment advertising is up 2.1 percent since first turning positive in May.

It’s all a part of the continuing “less-bad is good” scenario. Here’s the score, directly from McClatchy’s news release: “Advertising revenues were down 5.8 percent in October and November 2010 combined, compared to declines of 6.4 percent in the third quarter, 8.2 percent in the second quarter and 11.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Year-to-date advertising revenues through November 2010 were down 8 percent. Total revenues for October and November 2010 combined were down 5.1 percent and were down 6.2 percent year-to-date through November 2010.”

But the stock is soaring, says The Street, based on Pruitt’s optimistic outlook. “We have seen improvement in revenues in every quarter of 2010 and that has continued into the fourth quarter,” Pruitt said in his presentation. “Looking forward to 2011, we expect advertising revenues to continue to improve.”

Edmonds reports that Pruitt said classifieds are recovering faster than other segments of the company’s advertising base and should be a healthy business for years to come.

More than half of McClatchy’s employment classifed income is now from the digital version, and rates for online classifieds, which have always lagged print, are pulling even with print, and may pass them in another year or two, according to Pruitt, again with employment ads taking the lead.

Edmonds also points out that McClatchy derives revenue from part-ownership in such online classifieds sites as CareerBuilder, Classified Ventures and  Homefinder. McClatchy announced that Classified Ventures, which includes cars.com and apartments.com, will pay McClatchy a special dividend of $20 to $25 million by the end of the year.

“McClatchy, like most of the newspaper companies presenting this week, is operating profitably and using a big share of those earnings to pay down debt,” Edmonds concludes [The publisher will have $1.775 billion of outstanding debt and “a very manageable maturity schedule” at the end of its fiscal year, Pat Talamantes, McClatchy’s chief financial officer, said.]. “And like the other companies, it is not making any promises that revenues, currently declining about 5 percent year-to-year, will grow in 2011.

“’I can’t tell you when we will go positive,’ Pruitt told a questioner, ‘but we think that we will.’”

iPad users dropping print newspapers

Friday, December 10th, 2010

A survey out of the University of Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute backs the previously stated notion that the iPad is the future of newspapers.

The survey, which AdWeek calls “one of the first deep dives into how people are consuming news content on the eight-month-old device,” said that most heavy users of the tablet have or will drop their print subscriptions.

“These findings are encouraging for newspaper publishers who plan to begin charging for subscriptions on their iPad app editions early next year, but our survey also found a potential downside: iPad news apps may diminish newspaper print subscriptions in 2011,” said Roger Fidler, RJI’s program director for digital publishing.

The survey contacted more than 1,600 iPad users online from September to November. It found that “58 percent of respondents who use the Apple tablet at least an hour a day for news are very likely to cancel their subscription in the next six months. One in 10 said they had already done so.”

Another survey, by GfK MRI, found about 4 percent of adults read newspapers or magazines via apps or mobile devices.

The Onion offers slices to local owners

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The Onion, a satirical newspaper, has announced a national franchising program, allowing local owners to publish and distribute the weekly.

“Franchisees will pay a weekly fee to license Onion content; they’ll sell their own ads, pay to print and distribute the papers, and keep the profits from the ads they sell,” the Columbia Journalism Review says. “In turn, The Onion expands its readership and drives more readers to their ever-expanding website.”

Onion CEO Steve Hannah told the CJR that as its online and television presence expanded its audience, the company’s print revenue declined. It shut down print editions in Los Angeles and San Francisco in May 2009 because of lack of advertising revenue.

“What The Onion does best is produce content,” Hannah told the magazine. “So we said, ‘We’ll produce all the content — we have 100 percent control over the content — and you people know how to run a business in your individual cities better than we do.’”

Hannah said the Onion’s print and web editions complement each other well, and that they have more online readers in cities where the print papers are distributed for free. “They started to see how attractive it would be to bring their print editions to cities where they knew they already had a large online audience, without assuming the risk of operating remotely in a place where they didn’t already have relationships with local advertisers. Hence, the franchise.”

Franchisees would pay a weekly fee for one or more of three  levels of content: the national Onion news, the A.V. Club arts and entertainment news, and local A.V. Club entertainment listings.

The company is first targeting newspapers in cities where the Onion prints now, since they have distribution and sales organizations, and presses in place, then looking to new markets. “The new franchisees who sign on could be other existing newspapers, or — enticingly — individuals looking to get into business with their favorite satirical news source,” the CJR says.

“[W]e love the idea of launching new cities with a couple people who are fresh out of school, or who have been in the print business before,” COO Michael McAvoy said. “All those things sound great to us, as long as they are Onion fans and they want to protect the brand and build a good business.”

Facebook as tabloid

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Just for fun: Log in with your Facebook user name and password at PostPost to see everything your friends have shared as if it was a newspaper website.

Users can also comment on shared items and reshare them directly via the PostPost platform, which is by TigerLogic.

WebNewser points out that readers of the New York Post will certainly recognize the font used in the PostPost logo.


TV commercials to be turned down

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Congress has finally passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act — the CALM Act — regulating the volume of television commercials. And, eventually, not anytime soon of course, the volume will be cut.

“The act directs the Federal Communications Commission to regulate volume levels in a manner that has already been embraced by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, an industry group,” the New York Times says. “The FCC has a year to take action, and then the affected television providers have another year to comply.”