Monday, December 18, 2017

Think small: the new metrics of engagement for news

Forget about the big numbers of total page views per month or unique users per month.

Fans are engaged and willing to give their time and money.
Those numbers are misleading and meaningless. They had meaning only in the days when the media business depended on mass media, massive audiences, and products aimed at the masses.

That was when the news media depended on advertising.

Today the business of media is all about touching potential customers with personalized, customized messages. It's about identifying the small number of people who are truly fans of your publication or the stars on your team. It's about strengthening the emotional attachment people have to your brand and its mission.

How the big numbers mislead us

In their very successful campaign to reach 1 million paid subscriptions for their digital-only edition, the Washington Post learned that the users most likely to subscribe came to their site three times a month.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Media seek 'emotional engagement' of audiences

Sylvia Chan-Olmsted is one of the leading scholars of media economics, and she stopped by the University of Navarra Dec. 13 to chat about some of the trends she is seeing in the industry.

"Media companies need to translate data into intelligence."
Chan-Olmsted, a professor at the University of Florida, singled out three trends:

1. There is a new value chain in media. Content is becoming "unbundled", meaning users can buy individual movies, TV shows, or songs without having to pay for products they don't want. 

Content is becoming crowd-sourced, meaning that consumers are recommending things to each other through social media.

And the major media companies are harnessing their data about users to recommend media products and even create content based on their customers' tastes.

Media platforms like YouTube, Apple, AmazonHulu, and Facebook are all starting to invest billions of dollars in original content to challenge Netflix, whose business model has disrupted the movie studios, TV networks, and cable services.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The audiences are in charge: are publishers listening?

Recently I was invited to give a lecture at the University of Malaga--"The audiences are in charge: Are publishers listening?" The audience had students in their doctoral, master's and bachelor's programs, as well as a number of faculty.

Below is a summary of the presentation.

1. The marriage of convenience between advertising and journalism is over. For proof, look no further than the graphic below, which shows that newspapers in Spain have lost more than 500 million euros in ad revenue since 2009, and that includes the revenue they get from digital. (The U.S. is very similar.)

In the future, news media will need to develop a deep relationship with their users. The important thing will be not the quantity of eyeballs reached, as measured by page views and unique users, but the quality of the relationship with the users.

Versión en español

Friday, December 8, 2017

Journalists and sales: don't sell your soul

Over the past several years, I have written a number of blog posts about how journalists can get involved in sales and marketing without violating their ethical standards or damaging the credibility of their publication. Here are a few of them.

1. Journalists selling ads: think of it as a fair exchange
When I was going through the transition from editor of a business publication to the role of publisher, I dreaded sales calls with clients.
"It meant I had to ask clients for money, which was a new and uncomfortable experience. The hilarious irony of this is that, as a reporter and editor, it was my job to ask people much tougher, more-intrusive questions, and I did it with no problem -- grieving parents about the death of their child, a political candidate about his sexual escapades, a business executive about her salary.
How tough could it be for a former reporter to ask an advertiser for money?