Tag Archives: The Los Angeles Times

Local Sites Prep for Black Friday, SMB Saturday, Cyber Monday

The hordes of shoppers who still enjoy standing in lines and fighting for parking spaces, on the “Black Friday” after Thanksgiving is an offline event. Or is it?

Local sites are prepping shoppers who want to see what’s available at the stores, including The Deal Map, Milo.com, Local.com and SuperPages. Other local media companies, including The Los Angeles Times, are helping small businesses get in on the game for CyberMonday.

American Express is also getting in on the game with Small Business Saturday, a promotion for SMBs that include a $25 gift certificate for consumers who shop participating SMBs, and a cash donation to Girls, Inc. of $1 per “like” of the effort’s Facebook page (867,594 “likes” have been registered.) We also noticed that Yelp is involved with the effort, listing several recommended local SMBs on a geo-targeted basis, which is really useful.

The DealMap’s effort is categorizing and mapping more than 150,000 unique Black Friday product offers at nearly 50,000 retail locations. Smart phone owners can use their phones to check out the deals when they are on the go, and will even be notified if they are near a deal. The site reports that 300,000 people have downloaded its app.

Milo.com is also in on the game, providing sales information and more importantly, real time inventory feeds for more than 5,000 products. Its inventory feeds will include major chains, such as Target, Toys “R” Us and Macy’s.

Local.com, meanwhile, has integrated the local and daily deals from The Deal map along with major retailer coupon codes and deals from Savings.com; loyalty card coupons from Coupons.com; and weekly circular ads from ShopLocal. SuperPages.com has also done a great job integrating various kinds of coupons.

The LA Times, for its part, is supporting Cyber Monday with a Shopping Directory that is being published in its Main News section on 11/29, and also accessible on latimes.com.

iPad’s Impact on Newspapers: Too Little, Too Late?

Wired on the iPad, via All Things D

Next month, Apple’s iPad comes out (and I will buy one). But what will be the impact of iPads and tablets from other companies on traditional media? Many are considering it to be the new magazine form factor. In theory, the iPad would make online ads compelling, and better enable digital subscriptions and a la carte buys. Wired Magazine, for one, has been showing off a good- looking prototype. I highly recommend this video from the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D site.

Newspapers will look great, too. Look at The New York Times iPad demo. My guess, however, is that the iPad’s impact on newspapers’ bottom line will be marginal for several years – and then, it may be too late. While the iPad should have excellent introductory sales, most sales will likely be low end units without communications, so their usage will be mostly home and coffee shop based. Low end units, limited to WiFi Internet, are $499. Wireless Communications adds $130, plus $30 a month. Wifi-only won’t provide a big lift to newspapers, because it doesn’t get the product onto commuter trains.

Newspaper companies, of course, are better positioned to participate in the mobile revolution than a year ago by virtue of their vertical properties, such as Classified Ventures’ Cars.com and Apartments.com. Both are “on the go” media sites that allow users to get information on a 24/7 basis, but more importantly, while they are out and about shopping for their category.

Other newspaper niche sites, like The Envelope from The Los Angeles Times , bring newspapers into an entirely new domain with the addition of online App games based on news and entertainment. These might ultimately play a role in the transformation of newspapers.

For now, I’m not counting on significant advertising or circulation revenue to develop for newspapers directly because of their investments in tablet devices, or mobile generally.

NAA 2009: Paying Attention to Newspapers (Still)

Next week is the Newspaper Association of America’s Annual Conference in San Diego. I’ll cover Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s keynote on Tuesday, in which he’ll express his support of the newspaper industry despite Google’s very public axing in January of its PrintAds newspaper partnership (the talk is being streamed live at 10am PDT).

Newspapers, of course, aren’t in very good shape right now. Long term, their traditional model may not be sustainable. But if you are trying to reach the local audience, they deliver an effective yield, with local readership of maybe 25-30 percent. You can’t match it.

Yahoo is relying on its ambitious newspaper consortium to help in a number of ways. Among other things, its newspaper ties supports HotJobs, provides inventory for national advertising, and sells behavioral targeting.

Zillow is another partner that is banking (somewhat) on its ties with newspapers.The Z-estimates company expects a healthy bump from this week’s launch of a real estate search partnership with 180 newspapers, including The Tampa Tribune and 100 small weeklies owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. among its first rollouts.

In coming months, additional papers will launch, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal. Besides search, Zillow is providing real estate advice features and mortgage information and calculators.

CFO Spencer Rascoff says he especially likes the strong newspaper brand. The Tampa Tribune has “close to 100 percent brand ID in its locality” he says – something that a new brand like Zillow wouldn’t have on its own.

Going into the annual conference, I’m not very interested in hearing about the various life-support efforts that newspapers have had to undertake (but there will be a lot of that). In my backyard,The LA Times has shown the way by ending the poly-bagging of the morning newspaper so that my sprinklers destroy the paper; wrapping each section with an overlapping ad that needs to be peeled off before I can read it; enclosing AARP membership materials since I am probably ready for it (not); and making me specifically ask for credit when I suspend the paper for vacation holds.

In my hometown of San Diego, I find it especially depressing that the local paper (which has just been sold to an equity firm at a fire sale price) is perhaps most identified with the homeless men selling it at red lights.

But I’m always very interested in hearing about what newspapers can do as a powerhouse local brand with daily frequency that delivers to a large percentage of the community in print, online and now on mobile. The footprint won’t be as large, the news coverage won’t be as extensive, and substitutes may develop equal effectiveness. But the opportunities beckon.

In fact, as we see at conference after conference, newspapers have more experiments going on in local community, information and commerce than any other sector in our interactive local media space. It isn’t entirely because of any special nostalgia that I keep an eye on this industry.