Tag Archives: comScore

Newsflash: They’re Alive! Newspapers Are Alive!

The folks at comScore released some information about newspaper readership the other day that might just be of interest.

Newspaper colour

(Photo credit: NS Newsflash)

The interwebs are filled from time to time with headlines blaring about the death of newspapers.  As it turns out, not so much.  As Media Post reported:

September was the busiest month ever for newspapers in terms of digital traffic, with 141 million U.S. adults visiting a newspaper Web site or using a newspaper mobile app.That figure is up 11% over June and represents 71% of the country’s total online adult population, defined as the total number of adults accessing any type of digital content.

I’m a believer in the “content is king” theory.  Great newspapers are content generation machines.  Besides developing their own reports on events of the day they commission other content – reviews, feature stories, etc. – that can be what’s lovingly called linkbait here in cyberspace.  That content is often circulated beyond and by the initial audience, furthering the reach.  What crappy newspapers do is cut and paste wire copy after gutting their content-generating capabilities.  I don’t know that those sort of newspapers are dying; it sees more like suicide.

What’s also suicidal is an insistence by any business on preserving a business model that is ceasing to work.  We saw it in the record industry and in many cases we’re seeing it with newspapers.  Smart newspapers jumped into digital with both feet.  Admittedly, many of those are still struggling with the appropriate business model: subscription vs. metered pay wall vs. ad-supported vs. some hybrid.  The formation and implementation of whatever the right model is get slowed down by the constant shift of technology and platforms.  As content consumption shifts to mobile – and the total mobile audience for U.S. newspapers was 77 million U.S. adults in September, or 55% of the total audience – the model needs to be thought out again.

What this research demonstrates again is that we need to emphasize business over tools.  Newspapers do an excellent job of using all the latest tools.  The best ones continue to produce great content, the core of their business.  What still needs work is the business model, which was stable for almost 200 years and has changed forever.  They’re not alone:  it could happen to your business in a relative instant.  Are you ready?

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A Peek Forward

I’ve written before about how the hardest job in digital media and technology is seeing over the horizon.

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The folks at comScore try to be helpful in that regard and issue an ongoing study about trends and predictions.  As they put it, they “examine… the latest trends in social media, search, online video, digital advertising, mobile and e-commerce are currently shaping the U.S. digital marketplace and what they mean for the coming year, as comScore helps bring the digital future into focus.”  Exactly.

The latest version of the study – The 2013 U.S. Digital Future In Focus Report – came out last week and there were a few nuggets I thought you might find interesting. You can read the entire deck here.

The first has to do with something that content producers have dealt with for years – the perceived mindset that consumers won’t pay for content:

Digital Content & Subscriptions, a category predominantly composed of digital content downloads such as music, movies, TV shows and e-books, ranked as the top-gaining retail e-commerce product category for 2012, its second consecutive year to claim that distinction. The increasing proliferation of devices like smartphones, tablets and digital music players has accelerated consumer demand for digital content downloads, contributing to the 26-percent gain in the category.

So much for that myth.  As it turns out, people will pay for high-quality content delivered seamlessly to all devices.  The next tidbit is related to, or perhaps even drives, the previous finding:

Smartphones continued to drive the mobile landscape in 2012, finally reaching 50-percent market penetration in 2012. Smartphone media usage is dominated by apps, which account for 4 out of every 5 minutes spent on smartphones with mobile web usage accounting for the remainder. Despite Facebook’s leadership in the app market, Google apps dominated the rest of the list of top apps visited in the U.S., with Google Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Gmail and YouTube ranking as the most heavily visited apps next to Facebook.

Consumers are using these devices to access content but I think there’s an opening for some smart company.  Notice that 80% of the usage is not on the mobile web.  I’ve yet to run into a great mobile web experience (although there is a lot of B+ stuff) and so developers are having to support the two big platforms, often with very different degrees of success between the two.  It’s interesting to me that the top mobile apps are all, with the exception of Maps, continuations of a desktop experience.  Instragram (not a top app) is about the only exception to that.

Finally, just as the web became a valuable extension of media’s primary channels, so too mobile is becoming that for the web:

The average Top 25 digital media property extended its reach via mobile channels by 29 percent. Even those with a relatively modest incremental reach in the teens are recognizing that mobile channels represent more than a mere rounding error. The future revenue streams of these media companies depend on effectively delivering content and commerce to their consumers through these channels, and demonstrating why they are an important part of the marketing mix. Failure to meet consumer expectations and aggressively prove the value of these additional channels in 2013 could spell a very rocky economic transition by the time 2014 comes around.

There’s your peek over the horizon.  Now, what are we going to do with it?

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Changing Media Dynamics

A couple of pieces of research this morning that confirm and clarify what many folks have been observing independently but which also made me a bit more confused.  In this case, it has to do with how our media habits are changing with respect to television.

Google TV

Google TV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frankly, I’m not even sure what TV is any more despite many years working in the industry.  A “TV” is a screen, and we’re surrounded by screens of that sort and many others, the use of which is reflected in the research.  In any event, the data are interesting and even more so when one considers the changes that are happening to the businesses behind the screens.

Let’s start with information from a TV industry group – CIMM.  The released a study which you can access here about How Multi-Screen Consumers Are Changing Media Dynamics:

Studying 10 broadcast network and cable brands over a five-week period, the research found that an average of 90% of consumers who engaged with brand did so on TV, and 25% did so online, and 12% via online video. In addition, comScore and CIMM found that 60% of a media brand’s consumers accessed both TV and the web during simultaneous 30-minute increments, and 29% accessed Facebook while watching TV. To the researchers, this suggests that digital platforms may be used to support the TV-viewing experience and drive multi platform engagement.

So multi platform is here.  What I think is lost a bit is that it may not necessarily mean multi-screen:

21% of consumers now have their TVs hooked up to the internet, a 5% increase from last year’s levels.The Magid Media Futures report says gaming consoles (Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360) are currently the “primary means” of connecting a TV to the internet, followed by “smart-TVs,” Blu-ray players, and then OTT devices like Roku, AppleTV or GoogleTV. The firm says early adopters skew toward men, as 56% of male respondents between the ages of 18-44 say they have their TVs connected to the web vs. 44% of females.

There’s also research from The NPD Group which finds that 66% of all big screen (50+inches) HDTVs are made with the ability to connect to the internet without a separate device, while only 1% of TVs smaller than 32 inches have the same technology.  Yes, we’re watching a mash-up of difference sources, brands, and technologies but no, it might not be through a TV, an iPad, and a phone.

So what’s it called?  TV?  Enhanced video?  A mess?  Let’s hear your thoughts.

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If An Ad Falls In The Forest…

comScore published the results of a study they did with a number of major advertisers on the subject of ad delivery.  While the study came out last week, it feels as if there is a bit of a drumbeat starting to happen and I thought I’d join the band (hey – we’re always out front here at the screed).  There is an excellent summary of the study on Exchange Wire and if you care to read the entire thing you can download it by clicking through here.  In brief, to get a better handle on the issues associated with display ad delivery and validation as well as to test-drive  comScore’s method for this validation called vCE, twelve leading marketers participated in a U.S.-based charter study, called the vCE Charter Study.

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Image via CrunchBase

The biggest point to come from the study, which seems to be the headline on the growing number of blog posts that reference it, is that 31% of ads delivered were never seen by a consumer.  It also called out that 72 percent of the campaigns studied had some ads running beside “unsafe” content as determined by the advertiser and that a small percentage (4%) of ads targeted to the US ran outside the country.

For a medium that touts itself as highly measurable and targeted, these aren’t great results.  Then again, none of the articles I’ve found put these numbers into any sort of context.  How does this compare to print, for example? As we’ve said before, stats by themselves are pretty meaningless unless you have something with which to compare them.  There is also an interesting nugget that surfaces about ads running lower on pages, or “below the fold.”  There is a common misperception that ads delivered “above-the-fold” are seen, while ads delivered “below-the-fold” are not.  Surprisingly, the findings demonstrate that some ads delivered “above-the-fold” were not seen because users quickly scrolled past them before the ad had a chance to load, and many ads placed “below-the-fold” delivered a high opportunity to be seen.  This might mean that inventory “below-the-fold” can be priced as premium as long as the publisher can prove it was viewed.

To me this all screams out for some human intervention.  Digital ad buying has become a mechanized world as one ad platform talks to another and humans stay out of the mix for the most part.  Buyers need to examine sites for more than their audiences.  Sellers need to pay attention to the analytics that show more than traffic but also “heat maps” of usage.  Both sides need to do a better job of quality control.  One can question comScore’s motives a bit since they’re also selling a delivery validation tool that will allow for both sides of the digital media equation to get more accurate numbers.  Commendable, I guess, but I wish there was some way to redo the numbers based on more human involvement as well as to compare the results with TV and print “opportunities to view.”

What are your thoughts?

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Burp Then Buy!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving feasts. apparently, a lot of folks ate and ran for their cars – not to get home before Aunt Sally passed out but to the stores to get a head start on their shopping for the next holidays. I was really surprised about how the Thanksgiving Day newspaper had several pounds worth of ads, in many cases for sales that would be over before many of us were getting out of bed on Friday.
One mistake anyone commenting on things can make is to assume that the way in which we see the world is the norm, and so while I’d never ponder running to a store to try to be one of the lucky 10 people who actually can get the $2 waffle iron (hopefully without a dose of pepper spray as occurred in some places), I know others do.  But while retail sales were up vs. a year ago, comScore reported something interesting occurring over the weekend. Continue reading

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The Trouble With 5 Year Plans

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One of the annual fire drills in many businesses is the creation of THE FIVE YEAR PLAN. For my money, it’s one of the biggest wastes of executives’ time out there and since, as we all know, stuff rolls downhill, that loss of productivity extends to their staffs.
There was a release this morning from comScore which made me think of this. It’s their annual U.S. Digital Year in Review report and let me tell you why the rant about five year plans came to mind. Continue reading

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These Got Me Wondering

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What if you made a product that was wildly popular but your business wasn’t set up to make any money off of it?  Suppose that millions of consumers were using what you made but because they were doing so in a manner different from what you had built your business to support, you were going bust?  I think you know where I’m heading with this but let’s just make sure. Continue reading

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