Archive for February, 2011

IAB unveils new online ad formats

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Six new online ad designs described as  “fairly large” and including “many high-resolution and interactive elements” have been sanctioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and are soon to begin showing up everywhere, Advertising Age says.

The new ads, illustrated here, were chosen in a competition that drew 36 entries from 24 companies. The winning entries come from AOL, Unicast, Google, Pictela, Genex and Microsoft.

The IAB, which administers a universal agreement on the size, shape and function of online ads, says it put out a call in September for new ads that would “encourage engagement with viewers on their terms and allow people to participate confidently with brands.” The new formats support such interactive elements as movie trailers and videos, games, quizzes and shopping modules, Ad Age says.

The new ad units are:

The Portrait, a 300×1050 canvas format with state-of-the-art plug-and-play functionality, which was developed by AOL.

The Slider, an overlay unit on the bottom of a page that is like a touchscreen, prompting users to slide the entire page over to unveil “a full branded experience,” which was developed by Unicast & Mediamind.

The Billboard, by Google/YouTube,which runs the full width of the page and has full close-ability.

The Filmstrip, from Microsoft, a 300×3000 canvas viewable through a 300×600 window and fully controlled by the viewer.

The Pushdown, a pushdown unit by Pictela with broad functionality via a visual toolbar.

The Sidekick Expandable, a format that launches from a standard ad and pushes page content leftward, revealing a large, functional canvas. It was developed by Unicast.

The IAB will evaluate the six new ad formats to see which ones gain a wider acceptance with online publishers, and those that do will become a part of IAB’s official roster.

The IAB also said today that 11 of the 18 current IAB standard ad units will be retired because they are no longer commonly bought and offered throughout the market.

Ft. Worth makes money selling TV insert

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

McClatchy’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram expects to reap $500,000 in new revenue this year from “TV Star Plus,” a new subscription-based television guide, News & Tech says.

In just two weeks, more than 15,000 subscribers have agreed to pay $2.50 a month for the publication. It had been a free insert in the newspaper and will still be available for free in newsstand copies of the Star-Telegram.

The Star-Telegram developed the publication with FYI Television, a Grand Prairie, Texas-based TV listings company.

Other McClatchy papers have changed their TV guide inserts to subscription-based models with less success, including the company’s North and South Carolina papers, which offer subscriptions to ON-TV Magazine, a product of NTVB Media.

Tribune moves deeper into e-commerce

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Two of Tribune’s top newspapers have opened online stores as a means of producing revenue, reports the Financial Times (the site requires registration).

The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune “have opened large shopping sections  on their websites in recent months, offering daily deals in partnership with the online coupon site, Groupon, and discounts on food, travel and entertainment purchases,” the paper said Monday.  Here are the Times’ Shop, and the Tribune’s Chicago Shopping.

“Many papers sell reproductions of their photographs and front pages, along with mugs, T-shirts and other memorabilia. But the Tribune Company’s foray into broader e-commerce marks a first for the industry, said Alan Mutter, a news industry analyst and author of the Newsosaur blog.”

Miami Herald video grows as others cut back

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Many U.S. newspapers are posting less online video as they lay people off, according to a study of 100 U.S. newspapers undertaken by the Associated Press. Not too long ago, video was touted as a way to boost traffic and revenue, Beet.TV says.

Kevin Roach, the AP’s director of U.S. broadcast news, conducted the study and would not give Beet.TV numbers, but said newspapers’ video operations are often the first to be cut when savings are ordered from above.

But the Miami Herald is one paper doing a lot with video, and Beet.TV links to a Poynter report that explains how the McClatchy newspaper is succeeding where others have given up.

“Last year, saw about a 25 percent growth in video traffic, making it the second-biggest traffic driver behind articles,” the Poynter report says.

The Herald has learned that, as Roach suggest, breaking news works best and that videos they were posting of editorial board meetings and of news makers speaking out on specific topics don’t get a lot of viewers.

The Herald and its Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald have two full-time news videographers and two photographers who spend part of their time on video, and they’ve joined with local TV stations to share content and cross-promote material, Poynter says.

The Herald and El Nuevo Herald also collaborated with WPBT2, one of South Florida’s PBS affiliates, to produce an hour-long documentary about last year’s earthquake in Haiti.

The Miami paper’s video group produces about 40 percent of what’s on the site and the rest comes from outside vendors, such as CineSport and The AP.

McClatchy continues to sink

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

McClatchy posted 4th quarter earnings with a 43 percent drop in revenue Tuesday and its stock price followed, dropping 12 percent to less than $4.50 a share.

The publisher also “warned that ad spending appears to be falling at an even quicker pace than before,” the Associated Press said. Ad revenue dropped 10 percent in January from the same month a year ago, following a 7 percent decline for the fourth quarter and a 6 percent decline in the third.

“Although McClatchy’s digital ad revenue climbed 5 percent in the fourth quarter, it was not enough to offset a 9 percent decline on the print side,” the AP said.

“Meanwhile, revenue from newsstand sales and subscriptions fell 3 percent. That made for an overall decline of 6 percent to $370 million from $393 million.”

The Tampa Bay Business Journal’s report quotes McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt as saying, “Overall, we made good progress in 2010. We held costs down and saw advertising revenue trends improve. As a result, we grew operating cash flow. We also strengthened our financial position by refinancing and reducing debt.”

Also on Tuesday, McClatchy’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced that it was cutting 22 positions, which matches moves by several of the chain’s papers since the start of the year.

The message is the massage, baby

Monday, February 7th, 2011

MediaBistro’s Agency Spy points us to “Advertising Pick-Up Lines” which is put together by a group of University of Missouri advertising students.

“If sexual innuendo spliced with industry speak is your cup of tea,” Agency Spy says, “by all means enjoy.”

TV gains in popularity, influence

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Ads on television are the most influential and TV is Americans’ favorite medium, Deloitte’s fifth annual “State of the Media Democracy” report finds.

In part thanks to high-definition broadcasts, Americans “are coming back to television in a big way. They’re enjoying TV more than they were three years ago, and they’re watching it more,” Jim McDonnell, a Deloitte principal, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The survey asked consumers to rank their top three types of media, and 71 percent of respondents ranked TV first, followed by the Internet (46 percent), music (35 percent), books (32 percent) and movies (25 percent), according to THR.

“Eighty-six percent said TV ads influenced them most, followed by online (50 percent), magazines (46 percent), newspapers (40 percent) and radio (27 percent). Billboards, in-theater commercials, ads in video games and other categories were further down the list.”

People watch TV on multiple platforms, and smartphones are particularly gaining in popularity. The study report says 33 percent of American households now own a smartphone, up from 11 percent only three years ago, and 40 percent of responding consumers who don’t have a smartphone said they are likely to buy one soon.

The study also found that social media has been a boost to TV viewing, because people don’t want to be out of the loop when online friends discuss programs.

“Consumers are not only watching television, they are talking about it, and those conversations are frequently taking place in real-time online and via IM/texting,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader for Deloitte.  “By embracing the Internet as a platform that encourages audiences to participate in discussions about their favorite programs, television is maintaining its hold on the American public. …

“And, because television has embraced the Internet and social media so effectively, the traditional television advertising model is alive and well,” Asmundson added.

The study also found that print magazines remain popular, and that cloud computing is emerging as a potential consumer entertainment storage and access solution.

Deloitte said its survey assessed media consumption preferences of nearly 2,000 consumers, ages 14 to 75 years old.

McClatchy layoffs continue

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The McClatchy Co. is announcing more of its ongoing layoffs at several papers this week, including 32 jobs cut at the Sacramento Bee, 20 at the Charlotte Observer and 20 at the Kansas City Star.

The firm’s News & Observer in Raleigh announced last week that 20 positions would be cut, and the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., announced the loss of six positions.

The papers are also requiring unpaid one-week furloughs for most employees.

McClatchy is to announce 4th quarter 2010 earnings next Tuesday.

Newspaper gets big numbers with Yahoo! video

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The Washington Post is claiming 1 million viewers on some days for a daily political report it runs in video online.

The Fast Fix is 60 seconds of Beltway news from Chris Cillizza, managing editor of and author of the Post’s insider blog The Fix. The show is co-produced and co-branded by The Post and Yahoo!, and has been running since September.

“At 1 million daily views, the non-partisan political show has reached an audience the size of Rachel Maddow’s cable show on MSNBC,” according to Beet.TV.

“The success of The Fast Fix points to the opportunities for newspapers to team with big portals and destination sites  like Yahoo!,” Beet.TV says.