Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In 10 Years Time

When I am 34 I think we will have more advertising revenue coming in from the online segment, and paywalls will be a thing of the past. I think a larger percentage of news will be consumed on the web than today, with shorter stories. We will have more online ad companies to compete with Google ads. I also hope that computer systems are like Iron Man's.

In ten years

To make sure that people can access to the internet everywhere anytime will become one of the most important responsibility of the government. Who owns the platforms, like telecommunication infrastructure, fixed line, or mobile base station, could be the most powerful person in the market. And I will think of today while we can still enjoy print media.

The future..? Well..

It’s hard for me to predict and imagine the future, but I believe that in 2022, the print media will restore the novel status after having experienced hard economic times due to the Internet, providing audiences with differentiated news contents such as in-depth and investigative news.

10 years

When Zach is 10, "newspapers" will be known as "news services" which still have a team of professionals dedicated to gathering and evaluating the day's intelligence and distributing it via a number of platforms. The number of people required to do this will be fewer than the number employed today. This is because revenue will be less, but there will be less duplication of effort.

Too Much, Too Fast, Too Small...

Because too much information that comes at too fast a pace through too many screens (that are too small) tires news consumers out, about half of the news organizations will no longer exist and the other half survive because they provide niche content or rely on user generated content. 

When Zach is 10

... print news from big name organizations (e.g., Dallas Morning News, NYT) will be luxury good. Print newspapers will be a symbol of social status, and Zach's generation (if not those younger than Zach) will be taught that quality news is something desirable and valuable.  It will still be an era of information surplus online, but people will have learned to "pay for quality" both off and online when Zach is 10. Hopefully.

Carrying the print edition of the NYT, you are so rich!

Print edition of newspapers will become a luxury item in 10 years.

Demise of the golden age of newspapers?

It seems to be true that there have been transition from provider business to consumer business in news industry. One of the reasons for the change is the surplus of information and technological development, which allows audiences to have an easier and complimentary access to news contents. One of the two opposite directions that the impacts of the changing media landscape on news are pulling in is the demise of the traditional news media.

I am very interested in an OECD paper - The Evolution of the News and Internet. According to it, some observers argue that “the golden age of newspapers and journalism when quality and reliability were arguably higher is now sadly gone.” That is, the growing financial pressures and the emergence of “free news” put this golden age increasingly at stake. In addition, novel forms of news creation and distribution and especially Internet-based offerings do not yet constitute a viable alternative to more traditional ones. This is because no online business model has been elaborated which would sustain expensive news coverage. The Internet may be a good platform for a cacophony of voices but the latter leaves the reader in doubt about the accuracy and the interpretation of the information. In other words, the online news ecosystem offers a profusion of opinion, but there is little reporting, and little is subject to any rigorous fact-checking or editorial scrutiny. As a result, most online news players and portals such as Google and Yahoo simply relay information from traditional news organizations: original news material without gathering independent news themselves or adding a lot of value. Is this really the alternative models in sight that will save both the news companies and journalism? In fact.., I have no idea. However, it seems to be quite plain that “the current online news ecosystem ends a period in which news monopolies controlled the news.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Big wave is not here, yet. Do not predict online advertising revenue, yet.

Growth of newspaper industry comes with a development of postal service and infrastructure. Perhaps, it was more expensive to send letters and newspapers via postal service in 1800s and early 1900s. Reflecting from the history of growth of newspaper industry, it is more appropriate to consider a development of broadband services and diffusion of smartphones or tablets when we talk about transformation of newspapers to online edition. However, much discussion narrowly focuses on online revenue and advertising expenditure on online news without consideration of infrastructure for online editions.

Newspaper industry, specifically in the U.S., has multiple layers of market structure; from monopolistic market structure of the community newspapers in rural area to competitive market structure of metropolitan newspaper. Thus, it is hard to generalize general strategy of newspaper in new media environment. In rural area, change of media platform or pricing on online news are actually up to a supplier of news since it is a supplier market where there is no competition. Readers do not have any option, but only follow what supplier drives.

On the other hand, newspapers in a competitive market should consider many factors including readers’ response to their policy change. Individuals in this market have many alternative newspapers, so that they can easily discard their first choice upon the condition that quality of news contents is not much different.  

However, those two different markets might be merged with together at a certain level if cheap broadband services, and smartphone and tabloid are available to the public. Easy access to online editions will abolish clear boundary of readership which is defined by deliberative capacity of newspapers. Upon change of those environmental conditions, some regional newspapers, which struggle a lot, might transform themselves to the online media. The benefit of transformation is saving a lot of cost for printing and delivery system, so those papers will have capacity of reallocating their resources to penetrate into new terrestrial markets. More news coverage on new market will give the public an incentive to switch their news outlets. The public does not need to rely on print version of newspapers to get informed their local news.

In light of this, prediction of online advertising expenditure does not ensure what will come to newspaper industry in the future because the prediction is based on the fixed probabilistic model of current status. Change of newspaper industry is still at an early stage when only minor symptoms are seen at this point. Perhaps, newspaper readers will drastically change their attitude and behaviors when they see a technological revolution. The successful transformation of print editions to online editions depends on the change of infrastructure. Who would think in 1800s and 1900s that everyone could read newspapers in the future? It won’t be surprising to witness that everyone read their news on new medium in 2020.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making Use of Secondary Data

Pew Research Center for the People and the Press -- Biennial Media Consumption 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010

Pew Internet and American Life Project

ABC -- Newspaper/Magazine Print Circulation Data (click on eCirc)

Newspaper Next 2.0 -- Advertising Spending Data
1. Market Selector
2. Online Spending Analysis
3. 2007 Online Spending Per DMA
4. Future Tools (one for each quintile)
5. WebAudits (one for each quintile)
(No longer online -- data are available on a CD.
Background information is here: )

ABC's Audience-FAX online database (registration required):
Data on newspapers' average circulation, average print and online readership, total combined audience, and total unique Web site users as well as a variety of print demographic information for both national and local newspapers.

ABC's Audience-FAX* eTrends Tool (registration required):
The tool is designed to allow users to create trending reports by reporting period on newspaper's average circulation, average print and online readership, total combined audience, and total unique Web site users.

Newspaper Association of America -- Trends and Numbers: Newspaper Web sites (Reach by DMA)
(Click on menu items on the top and on the left for more stuff)

Scarborough -- Free Reports (Select "Newspaper" or "Internet" from the jump menu)

Some example reports:

The 2008 Scarborough Newspaper Audience Ratings Report (Combined audience numbers for newspapers in DMAs)

Audience Aggregation and Audience-Based Selling: A New Approach to Growing Audience and Advertising

20 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

Quantifying Twitter activity