The Media Oxpecker: Print, Interrupted

october 19, 2012  01:37 pm
Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy swinging.
  • How did the polls react to Newsweek's decision to kill its print edition at the end of the year?

    "The chances that Newsweek will succeed as a digital-only subscription-based publication are exactly zero," says likely voter Felix Salmon:
    There's no demand for a digital Newsweek, and there's no reason, either, to carve off some chunk of the NewsBeast newsroom, call it "Newsweek", and put its journalism onto a platform where almost nobody is going to read it.

    What you're seeing here is, basically, path-dependency. If Barry Diller were given the Newsweek brand on a plate, he would never invest in turning it into some kind of subscription-based digital-only operation. The opportunity costs alone are too big: the same money, invested in the Daily Beast or in some other property with a chance of succeeding in an increasingly social world, would surely have a much higher probability of generating positive returns.

    Adds Gawker's John Cook: "Recall that the entire point of the Newsweek/Daily Beast merger, by [Barry] Diller's lights, was that print advertising was still where the money was, and that the Daily Beast needed a print operation to subsidize it. It only took two years for a print advertising vehicle to go from the Daily Beast's savior to its albatross."

  • The partisan Interactive Advertising Bureau says online ad revenue will overtake print ad revenue this year.

  • Alan Mutter is equally bearish on the outlook for print:
    While the research shows that newspapers have slightly more market clout in small and isolated communities than in cities and suburbs, the trends all point in the same direction. Although publishers in small and medium markets have slightly more time to adapt to the digital revolution than their metro colleagues, the challenges causing the New Orleans Times-Picayune to abandon seven-day print publication will affect all but a few outlier markets in the fullness of time …

    … Assuming young’uns don’t suddenly ditch their Droids in favor of print, publishers hoping to maintain the value of their franchises must invest aggressively in broadening their audiences and revenue opportunities beyond the narrow confines of their existing, monolithic, and increasingly fragile businesses.

  • Et tu, The Guardian? How the paper across the pond is moving away from newsprint and towards a "digital first" strategy.

  • Over at Gannett, 3rd quarter digital advertising gains almost made up for the decline in print revenue. Twenty-five percent of the company's overall revenue now comes from digital, including paywall-fueled subscription revenue. Enter the Wall Street Journal which declares paywalls a success.

  • Are we underestimating the amount of traffic that's arriving on our sites through social sharing? The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal thinks so, and he's calling that traffic "dark social."

    But BuzzFeed's Matt Buchanan is skeptical:
    A deeper dive into the extensive data BuzzFeed collects on the topic suggests that Madrigal may have overstated the case. "Dark social" is a catch-all term for traffic that includes sharing on email and IM — but also, according to BuzzFeed's data, "regular" social traffic that's being miscategorized: Clicks out of third-party clients like TweetDeck, for instance, and sharing on Facebook's mobile app and other apps.

  • Ann Friedman says journalism could use more binders full of women:
    The binder of women was assembled by women and pushed onto Romney’s desk, unsolicited. When we mock Romney’s reliance on it, we’re actually mocking a concerted strategy by an accomplished group of women to diversify their state government. Oops.

    The binder-full-of-names approach is a time-honored way of getting people (mostly men, sure, but also women) in positions of power to do more than pay lip service to the idea of diversity. In my own industry, I got so sick of hearing male editors say over and over that they didn’t know or couldn’t find any great women journalists, so I created an online compendium of recent work by women. A digital binder full of women journalists, if you will. I have no idea if editors have turned to it when they’re looking to assign articles, but I do know that its very existence disproves a classic excuse for lack of gender balance in magazine bylines. It answers a very stupid but persistent question: Where are the women writers? Right here, in this binder that I can show to you.

  • Here's some advice on "how to deal with an online shitstorm" from Maria Bustillos.

  • A South Carolina judge has ruled that email isn't protected under the Stored Communications Act. (h/t Deborah Redmond)

  • And finallly, we're paraphrasing here, but Felix Salmon essentially asks Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget, "What the shit is this?" after a writer posted the story, "I'm Going On A Pilgrimage To The Best Hotel In The World—In A Tanzanian Game Reserve," [link redacted because no one needs to read that crap]:
    Obviously this isn’t reporting ... Who exactly are you serving here? It sounds like you’re doing the sponsors’ job for them.
    To which Blodget disingenuously replied, "Lots of questions in there! Which one do you want answer to?"

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