Tag Archives: online newspapers

ComScore’s Top 10 Online Newspaper Companies (By Usage)

Newspapers aren’t doing well, but they still represent one of the leading ways to reach audiences, online as well as in print. New data from ComScore Media Metrix, apparently released to coincide with Editor and Publisher’s Interactive Media Conference taking place in Las Vegas, showed that 57 percent of Internet users in the U.S. looked at a newspaper site in May at home or at work.

The New York Times is the leading online brand, thanks in part to its national footprint. Also receiving significant national traffic is USA Today, which is #4 among the newspaper groups; The Washington Post, which is #5; and The Wall Street Journal, which is #10. More in the realm of local pure plays are Tribune (#2), Advance (#3), McClatchy (#6), MediaNews Group (#7), The New York Daily News (#8) and Hearst Newspapers (#9).

ComScore also notes that the average CPM on online newspaper sites was $7, which is nearly three times the average CPM rate, which is $2.52.

Outside of top knowledge worker markets such as New York and Washington, we aren’t sure that 57 of 100 Internet users would say “sure” if we asked whether they read the online version of a newspaper in the last month (Anyone want to do my “train station platform” test?) But the statistics have been consistent, and suggest a possible second life for the newspaper industry.

Outsell: Digital News More Cannibalistic Than Complementary

Digital media is more cannibalistic than complementary, and seriously eating into the demand for traditional news sources such as newspapers, TV and news magazines, according to the third annual survey of news users done by Outsell, Inc.

The survey findings, based on almost 3,000 consumers and fully detailed in Outsell’s “News Users 2009” report, written by former Knight Ridder executive Ken Doctor. It essentially pours water on hopes that online traffic from Google and other news aggregators represent new growth opportunities for traditional publishers that ultimately outweigh any cannibalism. In fact, 44 percent said that news headlines on aggregator products such as GoogleNews suffice in themselves.

Indeed, such aggregator products are increasingly competing with traditional news products as primary “morning” news sources. They’re tied with newspapers, and catching up with TV, which leads with a 30 percent share, a drop off from 36 percent three years ago.

Long-term trends may be worse than the broad numbers suggest, as a segmentation analysis by Outsell found that “Power Users,” which represent slightly less than half of the market, are increasingly relying more on digital products. These users have “omnivorous” appetites for news, simultaneously serving as core newspaper subscribers while relying more heavily on news aggregator products.

Outsell, however, found they are spending less time with print publications. Moreover, they are increasingly inclined to drop their newspaper subscriptions.

“It’s worth watching the trends set by power news users – they tend to foreshadow where all news usage is moving,” notes Outsell. “The daily newspaper and news magazine habit is quickly ebbing.”

The survey also suggests that paid content may not be a panacea – something that The New York Times is betting on, as it implements plans to move to paid online models in early 2011. Analysts (like me) would argue that The Times exists in a class of its own as a news source and may prove the exception. Another industry hope –shared by Apple, Amazon, HP and others — is that large computer tablets might entice people to pay for a la carte or subscription content.

Without thinking about the exceptionalism of The Times, or the future of tablets, 75 percent of news users told Outsell that they would get their local news from a different source if a paywall was put up. Only a small minority said they would be willing to pay for some type of paid content (i.e. online access included with print subscription, online only access, or some other type of “press pass.”).

When the time comes, however, many users will surely reconsider. Just look at the evolution of pay per call, and more recently, paid iPhone apps. None of this, however, undermines the challenges that traditional media face with/and against Google and other digital sources.

Outside.in Teams with NY Post for Hyperlocal

Local media companies have been experimenting with different models for hyperlocal. Some are publishing their own blogs; others are building relationships with specific bloggers. Others are partnering with aggregator sources.

The New York Post has chosen the latter path, having formed a relationship with Outside.in, which has developed a specific “Outside.in for Publishers” program. The Post follows the lead of The Chicago Tribune in using Outside.in’s hyperlocal feeds.

Outside.in is working with The Post on its Local News section, which includes separate sections for each of the five boroughs, and now provides Neighborhood News Pages for specific neighborhoods. Included in the feeds is content from The Post’s sister Newscorp. neighborhood and local properties in Brooklyn, The Bronx and Queens. These include The Timesledger Newspapers of Queens and The Courier-Life Newspapers in Brooklyn. Outside.in, however, is not directly working with them.

The non-Post, NewsCorp. properties are combined into Yournabe.com, which is powered by Town News. The local portal includes online articles from 152 local publications.

Jacobsen: Verticalizing Newspapers and Grabbing GeoTargeted Ads

Hordes of vertical sites have been popping up and grabbing the geotargeted ads that could theoretically go to newspapers. In response, design and business consultant Alan Jacobsen – who last year developed RealPeopleRealStuff, an online video classifieds site — is reworking newspapers so they can build their own vertical sites on the go.

The idea is to develop demographically targeted niche sites that serve up local ads on every page adjacent to compelling and relevant content – especially user generated content. Ad clutter is eliminated by a sponsorship model that provides advertisers with exclusive deals. “CPM is DOA,” says Jacobsen.

Jacobsen’s first vertical product, TweenTribune, targets tween audiences between the ages of 8-14. Jacobsen reports that TweenTribune is being used as a Web-based learning platform by teachers, and is being used by newspapers such as The Valdosta Daily Times to drive kids to the main site.

Meanwhile, along the same theme, newspaper consultant (and longtime Hearst exec) Henry “Buzz” Wurzer has compiled a newspaper publisher “checklist.” Wurzer says he would:
1. Fire myself as Publisher and rehire myself as CEO, Local (Your Market) Information Utility
2. Reinforce my leading and trustworthy local brand identity by unifying all my existing and future channels of news, information and advertising in both digital and print formats
3. Aggressively and continuously promote my brand and various information channels locally, especially to young consumers
4. Lead a culture change throughout my organization that all future strategic plans would be initiated digitally and then employ traditional formats such as print in a supportive role
5. Retrain as well as hire staff to retool existing products as well as to create new products to fulfill our company mission as our local markets leading information utility
6. Insist that what makes any and all content we produce compelling and necessary is that it provides local context to help consumers better understand how news affects them and have advertising content available to make the goods and services they buy of greater value
7. Embrace outside vendors to initiate search and behavioral target marketing efforts
8. Embrace any and all rich media embellishments to maximize time spent on my sites
9. Make available multiple links to other information channels to enhance the content I provide
10. Retrain my sales force to provide consultative advertising advice as well as the ability to place additional advertising in other pertinent advertising mediums
11. Join any and all advertising networks to add traffic to my sites, to use their ad serving technology and to allow placement of their advertising via behavioral targeting techniques at increased CPMs
12. Invest in as well as join any source that can best measure the effectiveness of all the content I provide
13. Require that any and all content I produce starts digitally and thus can be redistributed to my entire market in a platform neutral manner
14. Continuously rework financial modeling efforts to best understand the changing margins on ongoing print and web revenues and expenses in order to radically change the current broken business model we are operating under
15. Be vigilant on a daily basis internally to staff and externally to consumers and competitors to promote the ever increasing share of the audience in our market we enjoy given the multiple channels of information we provide
16. Tell my story and successes to my industry peers and encourage all of us to direct our trade association to tell our collective story which is that the information industry is alive and well and your local information utilities (formerly newspapers) are leading the charge.

AT&T, Yahoo Team for Behavioral Targeted Display Ads

Yahoo is extending its local sales reach for its behavioral targeting-informed display ads, enlisting AT&T Interactive’s 5000+ sales reps. They will begin selling the “APT” branded- display ads later this summer to local businesses in more than 300 categories, along with Yellowpages.com, search packages, online video and other products.

The announcement is something of a milestone for AT&T, which now moves beyond Yellow Pages advertising into display ads and other local advertising more associated with newspapers. (And AT&T joins ReachLocal and others that are selling display alongside search to SMBs).

AT&T’s move, however, has created some uncertainty among some of the 30 newspaper companies that comprise the Yahoo! Newspaper Consortium. They believed they had partnered with Yahoo! to build up the local marketplace for behavioral targeting – even though, apparently, there was no guaranteed exclusivity.

To us, the reality of the situation is that most newspapers are not selling as widely as Yellow Pages. Consequently, the direct, short-term impact is likely to be minimal. At the same time, many newspaper-oriented customers (i.e. car dealers, hospitals) are unlikely to abandon ship and take an alternative package from YP sales. The deal, however, does set the stage for possible competition in the long-term (assuming there is a long-term).

The deal also reinforces the insecurity that many newspapers feel about Yahoo’s support for the newspaper consortium since the company’s leadership was taken over by CEO Carol Bortz – something, that to date, appears to be unfounded. To us, the complaints echo similar complaints from a few months ago, when Yahoo announced that its telemarketers would target local SMBs that had been eyed by newspapers.

What is clear is that the newspapers want to continue working with Yahoo (and they’d better, because they are tied to multi-year deals with major penalties for bowing out). Newspaper execs tell us that revenue- wise, Yahoo has helped the bottom line, especially with the healthy 200 percent boosts in pricing they sometimes see for products associated with behavioral targeting.

But the revenue contributions from selling the Yahoo products aren’t critical. Carol Bartz even acknowledged, during a press call, that Yahoo may have overpromised results when the APT program was rolled out. Moreover, the Yahoo sales efforts have proven to be a distraction in some small to medium-sized newspapers that have been overwhelmed and aren’t able to sell other enhanced revenue products, such as special sections.

Analyst Ken Doctor has more from the newspaper POV on his blog

Cablevision Still Bullish on Newsday Synergies, Despite Huge Write-Offs

Cablevision bet big on synergy (and ignored the CW about the newspaper industry) when it bought Newsday from Tribune Co. last summer for $650 million. Today, less than eight months later, it concedes that it has written off $402 million of that investment (a significantly worse investment than Stephen Marbury of Cablevision’s Knicks).

Whether the economics of the deal ever makes sense, here’s the rub…. Cablevision remains extremely bullish on the possible synergies between the newspaper, the newspaper website, and the on demand video capabilities of its Optimum broadband service. On January 1, it launched the Optimum Autos brand across both Newsday and Cablevision on Channel 605. Looking forward, Optimum Homes, a real estate channel, has been slated for Channel 606.

During an analyst call today, COO Tom Rutledge said that Cablevision continues to believe that it can better manage the transition of Newsday, which counts a million users a week for its newspaper and website. News is one aspect – Cablevision has been an industry leader with local 24/7 news. Classifieds are the other.

“Optimum Autos has great content related to Long Island, it’s a respected brand and it will continue to attract the same advertisers and consumers that we want to reach,” said Rutledge. “That’s ultimately the value that Newsday offers to us.”

Optimum Autos itself is poised to leverage the combined dealer base of Newsday, Newsday.com and Cablevision. A quick count looks like they may have around 300 dealers between them.

The rebranded site, which switched from Cars.com to Adicio Motors on January 1, provides “the best of all worlds,” per company press release. It has “maximum coverage across print, interactive and cable TV platforms, easy to use technology for uploading, searching and reporting, and a customizable local environment.”

The release went on to note that Optimum Autos includes “multiple color photos for each listing and one-click dealer contact. It also has hundreds of promotional video clips from leading auto manufacturers.”

Adicio Motors GM Deep Menon told us that after 11 weeks, the implementation has been going very well. By using Adicio’s reporting tools, Optimum Autos can show dealers their ROI based on the number of qualified leads they are getting. They can also get exclusive leads.

“Dealers have many ways to maximize their visibility, especially with video reviews, says Menon. At the same time, “the site can also sell pre-roll and video sponsorships by car make.” More advanced technology is in the works.

Executive Turntable: Jennewein Joins Curley in Vegas

Online newspaper pioneer Chris Jennewein, who was recently re-orged out of The San Diego Union Tribune, has started a new position as publisher and senior vice president of Greenspun Interactive in Las Vegas. Greenspun dominates Las Vegas as the publisher of The Las Vegas Sun, and owner of a city guide, TV and radio stations and some vertical pubs.

Jennewein will be joining former WaPo Interactive community guy Rob Curley and his team at Greenspun. Curley holds the position of president and editor.

“This is a great professional opportunity to build a strong online business largely unencumbered by a print legacy,” says Jennewein.