Tag Archives: newspaper

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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Filed under Consulting, digital media

What Do You Wrap Something Fishy In? Newspaper!

You might have heard something about the study that was released yesterday by the folks at the Newspaper National Network.  It proclaimed in large type that “Sports Fans Rank Local Newspaper Sports Pages #1” and that “The Study Validates the Unique Benefits of Newspaper Sports Content to Advertisers.” You can read the study here.

Logo of the Newspaper National Network.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now being the open-minded sort of guy that I am, I read through the study with great interest but also with a very large wad of skepticism. You see, it strikes me that everything we read about newspapers has to do with the decline of daily readership. Given the “right now” nature of sports information in particular, I was surprised that the study found that newspapers are still the top source for sports news for sports fans. Let’s see what you think.

Sports news and information is one of the most hotly-contested content areas.  Having lived in it for decades, I know that the competition is fierce.  Other than the big guys – USAToday and Sports Illustrated, I can’t think of a single daily or even weekly print source that can compete for the sports audience.  Still, according to the study:

Wow!  Now I read a couple of newspapers every day but I must admit that I don’t do so for the sports scores.  I’m also out of the demo that was surveyed – Men 18-54.  I was also quite surprised by the second point.  The study shows that 76% of the respondents identified newspaper websites when asked to identify all the places you typically go to for sports news, information, and/or analysis, not including live games or competitions.  Only 65% mentioned ESPN.com and 46% identified either Yahoo Sports or a league website. Given everything I know about traffic numbers in sports, that 76% seems weird, even aggregating all of the newspaper sites (except USAToday) into a number.

That’s when I took the advice I’ve given you here on the screed a number of times:  when the results seem weird, check who was asked the question and how the question was asked.  In this case, half the men surveyed identified themselves as regular sports pages readers (2x or more/week).  Given that the ongoing Pew Study found late last year that only 29% now say they read a newspaper yesterday – with just 23% reading a print newspaper that seems like a skewed sample to me.  In fact, it’s hard to accept that 69% of male sports fans identify the print sports section as the “go to” source when over half of those who read the newspaper do so electronically according to Pew.

The best research is enlightening and can’t be picked apart very easily.  Unfortunately, this does neither.  Do you agree?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Huh?

Why Newspapers Won’t Die

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Hope everyone had a great holiday and now it’s back to business. My business brain got turned on yesterday as I read the article on the front of the NY Times business section. If you haven’t read the piece on how an unscrupulous web vendor grew his business by exploiting Google’s algorithm (my guess is it’s the same with the other search engines as well), you can read it here.  The gist of it is this dirtball welcomes and precipitates customer complaints, saying they vault his business higher in Internet search results.  It’s really frightening but in the almost 48 hours since it was published (on the web site Saturday night) a lot has happened.  Most importantly, it shows me once again why newspapers won’t die any time soon. Continue reading

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