Sunday, February 8

Algorithms buy television ads

Television commands $74.5 billion in annual advertising spending, which dwarfs the $42.8 billion that goes to digital ads. Decades into this whole Internet thing, we’re still waiting for ad dollars to follow the eyeballs online. But those analog and digital ad budgets are beginning to blur thanks to “programmatic” buying.

Read more at Fortune

Thursday, January 15

Will millennials cough up money for media?

Deloitte projects that the average millennial will pay just $19 on newspapers this year, less than the cost of four Sunday editions of The New York Times. Newspaper companies are also facing a similar money problem on the Web, which is eroding both their advertising revenue and ability to get money directly from readers. And they partially brought that fate upon themselves.

“It’s not that millennials don’t want to pay for things — it’s just that they don’t want to pay for the things that a lot media companies are making.”

Read more at Digiday

Saturday, January 3

2014 was another bad year for music sales

New numbers from Nielsen show that digital album sales in the U.S. declined by 9 percent in 2014, to 106.5 million, down from 117.6 in 2013. Including CDs, album sales even fell 11 percent. Digital song sales are also down 11 percent..

Read more here

Wednesday, December 10

Instagram Is Bigger Than Twitter

Instagram announced Wednesday that it now has 300 million monthly active users, up 50 percent in just nine months. That makes the service, a photo- and video-sharing app owned by Facebook, more popular than Twitter, which had 284 million monthly active users as of the third quarter. More than 70 percent of Instagram’s users are outside the United States, the company said.

Read more at the New York Times

Tuesday, December 9

Magazine Single Sales tumble

According to newly released newsstand sales numbers by the Alliance for Audited Media, Cosmopolitan won the September issue battle with 698,500 total single-copy sales for its cover featuring Lucy Hale. While Cosmo won the battle, it isn’t exactly winning the war. In September, the title logged total single-copy sales of 1.1 million. That means that in the 12 months to September 2014, sales have declined 35.1 percent at the newsstand.

InStyle’s single-copy sales fell 26.5 percent in September, and Vogue’s sales declined 28.1 percent, while Glamour, which came in fourth in newsstand sales with 260,416 with its Olivia Wilde cover, nonetheless saw sales plummet 49.7 percent from September 2013.

Read more at WWD

Saturday, December 6

Video in demand

Some big providers, such as Google (which owns YouTube) and Netflix, one of the world’s largest video-steaming services, are exploring other ways to deliver films more reliably.Google has been perfecting a technique of pre-loading YouTube video clips for particular users before they even hit the play button.

Read more at the Economist

Friday, December 5

Fewer People Than Ever Are Watching TV

About 2.6 million households are now “broadband only,” meaning they don’t subscribe to cable or pick up a broadcast signal, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, released December 3. That figure comprises about 2.8% of total U.S. households and is more than double the 1.1% of households that were broadband only last year. At the same time, overall viewing of traditional TV is continuing its slow decline. The average person watched about 141 hours of live television per month in the third quarter of 2014, compared to 147 hours in the third quarter of 2013.

Read more at TIME

Saturday, November 29

The future of television

Only 24 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds have cable, whereas 61 percent pay for a stand-alone streaming service. Inevitably, streaming will disrupt TV the same way the internet disrupted the music and print-media industries — by "unbundling'' content and making it cheaper.

Read more at The Week

Thursday, November 27

Rich countries are deluged with data; developing ones are suffering from drought

Africa is the continent of missing data. Fewer than half of births are recorded; some countries have not taken a census in several decades. On maps only big cities and main streets are identified; the rest looks as empty as the Sahara. Lack of data afflicts other developing regions, too. The self-built slums that ring many Latin American cities are poorly mapped, and even estimates of their population are vague.

As rich countries collect and analyse data from as many objects and activities as possible—including thermostats, fitness trackers and location-based services such as Foursquare—a data divide has opened up. The lack of reliable data in poor countries thwarts both development and disaster-relief.

Read more at the Economist

Tuesday, November 25

FCC Airwave Wireless Spectrum Auction

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has auctioned off AWS-3 frequencies, and total bids have reached more than $30 billion on Nov. 21, surpassing the reserve price of $10.1 billion.

Read more at Tech Times

There are now 3 billion internet users, mostly in rich countries

The UN's International Telecommunication's Union (ITU) has revealed that over 3 billion people are now connected to the internet, an increase of 6.6 percent over last year. Of the 4.3 billion people still not connected to the internet, 90 percent live in developing countries, with two-thirds of users in first-world countries.

Read more at Engadget

Saturday, November 22

Twitter’s future

Around 285m people log on to Twitter each month—some 20% of American smartphone users and 9% of those elsewhere. It gets its content free from twittering users, and makes money by charging advertisers for such things as inserting “promoted tweets” into users’ message streams. Twitter has more than quadrupled its revenues since 2012, to an expected $1.4 billion this year. Like many technology firms, its valuation has ballooned even more. So far, however, Twitter is a more important cultural force than a commercial one. It remains unprofitable according to general accounting principles, and this is not expected to change until at least 2017. Today Facebook has 1.4 billion monthly active users, over four times as many as Twitter, and controls around 10% of all digital advertising spend in America, according to eMarketer, a research firm. Advertisers look for a combination of scale and precision in online advertising..

Read more at the Economist

Sunday, November 16

Internet of Things To Reach 25 Billion Units by 2020

The number of objects connected to the Internet and in use will grow 30 percent from this year to next, for a total of 4.9 billion, according to a new report from market research firm Gartner, and will hit 25 billion by 2020. Along with the growth in the number of devices, Gartner predicts an increase in total spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) to climb from $69.5 billion next year to $263 billion in 2020.

Read more at Campus Technology

Saturday, November 15

Survey: 40% of U.S. web users harassed online

More than one-third of adult Internet users in the U.S. say they've personally experienced harassment online, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. The most common form experienced by users is being called an offensive name (27%) or having someone try to "purposefully embarrass them" (22%). As for the more serious forms of harassment, the survey found 8% of users have been physically threatened, while another 8% say they've been stalked.

Read more at USA Today

Newspaper Ad Revenue Fell $40 Billion in a Decade

From 2000 to 2013, advertising revenue for America's newspaper fell from $63 billion to $23 billion, according to a report by Washington Post veteran Robert Kaiser.

Read more in the Atlantic

How Videogames Like Minecraft Actually Help Kids Learn to Read

“Suddenly, being a writer is sexy and hip and cool. They have an audience that knows their stuff, and they expect you to be knowledgeable.” The lesson here is the same one John Dewey instructed us in a century ago: To get kids reading and writing, give them a real-world task they care about. These days that's games.

Read more at Wired

Saturday, November 8

the TV business is set for a profound upheaval

Unlike newspapers and the music industry, which saw their businesses sink with the rise of the internet, change has come gradually (for television). So far the TV industry has been a story of powerful and rich characters intent on keeping things just as they are. Network-owners and pay-television distributors made a pact not to sell each other out, and worked to preserve a business that has been extremely lucrative for all of them.

Advertisers and analysts have started to use the word “video” instead of “television”, because they consider online video an increasingly important part of their ad spending. The doomsaying may be premature. Viewing habits have changed, especially among the young, who watch more online video and time-shifted television, and often prefer to stare at a tablet than at a TV. But Americans continue to watch a remarkable amount of TV the old-fashioned way: around four-and-a-half hours a day, on average.

Many younger people will never shell out for traditional pay-television but advertisers have few alternatives to reach big audiences besides television, so for now have stuck with the medium in spite of flagging ratings. That should give TV bosses a bit of comfort for the upcoming season but they would do well not to lose sight of the wider narrative arc.

Read more in the Economist

Tech industry’s restructuring

Another trend is that consumers are spending more time on mobile devices. This, among other things, has hit Google, which is selling more advertisements on smaller screens, where rates are lower, whereas growth in more lucrative ones on bigger devices has slowed. For other firms this shift has been good news: Yahoo, a struggling online conglomerate, joined Apple in exceeding analysts’ expectations in large part because of a notable increase in mobile-advertising sales, which accounted for 17% of its revenue of $1.1 billion in the past quarter.

Read more in The Economist

Politicians know which TV shows you watch, and tailor their advertisements accordingly

Cable-TV firms sell campaigns data about subscribers’ individual viewing habits. It arrives anonymised, but with addresses, which can then be matched to the addresses on voter-registration and canvassing databases. So if, for example, people living at addresses marked as potentially Republican happen to watch lots of golf, then a Republican candidate might buy ads on the Golf Channel. Indeed, according to a study by Echelon Insights, a political consultancy, 93% of political spots on that channel are Republican; on Comedy Central, by contrast, the ads are 86% Democratic.

By 2016 advertising will be even more precise, reckons Mr Goldstein. The newest thing offered by cable and satellite TV companies is called “addressable advertising”. This allows advertisers to buy the viewers they want rather than slots on particular programmes. So whatever the target voter watches, a campaign advertisement will appear in the middle of that show, via the set-top box.

Read more at the Economist

Saturday, October 25

The future of the Book

In the past decade people have been falling over themselves to predict the death of books, of publishers, of authors and of bookshops, even of reading itself. Even the most gloomy predictors of the book’s demise have softened their forecasts. Books may face more competition for audiences’ time, rather as the radio had to rethink what it could do best when films and television came along; the habit of reading for pleasure has fallen slightly in the past few years. But it has not dropped off steeply, as many predicted.

Read more at The Economist

Replacing wallets with mobile phones

Such technology has been around for years. It has failed to take off, however, in large part because so many firms have fingers in the mobile-payment pie, and often block others from grabbing a big piece of it.

Mobile phones have already enabled poor countries to leapfrog a few stages of development in telecoms and, in some cases, finance. Cheap mobile payments will allow them to jump further.

Read the full story at the Economist

Tuesday, October 21

Nielsen Will Soon Rate Everything on the Web, From Videos to Articles

Nielsen announced that it’s expanding its ratings system to all kinds of digital content to give both its creators and advertisers a more meaningful way to measure popularity in the online era.The most striking development in Adobe’s new system is that it’s designed for comparing disparate kinds of content. The new ratings, Nielsen says, can rank an online video next to a podcast next to an article.

Read more at Wired

Sunday, September 28

The divide between having ideas and reporting

Increasingly think-tanks are doing journalism—not just blogging and tweeting but foreign reporting, too. Deskbound journalists, meanwhile, are embracing data and spreadsheets.

Unlike non-profits, such as ProPublica and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, think-tanks are in journalism more to promote ideas than to inform the public or expose wrongdoing. Much of what they publish is about policy. For officials and politicians, writes Jeremy Shapiro of the Brookings Institution, an American think-tank, “The thinkers are the validators. They will write op-eds, give pithy quotes to important newspapers, and appear on network news programmes.” Think-tank journalism comes closest to the traditional sort when it is in the field.

For journalists, the news is not so good. Twitter, blogs and newsletters can get a think-tank’s ideas to its audience direct. Hence a relationship that used to be symbiotic, with wonks helping create news and hacks distributing it, is becoming competitive—especially in the battle for influential readers, such as politicians.

Read more at The Economist

China tries to restrict foreign entertainment online

China’s TV regulator said that, from April, any foreign series or film would need approval before being shown online. Chinese media say that regulators are also considering limiting the number of foreign series shown online to a specific proportion of total output. The new rules appear aimed at closing one of the biggest loopholes in China’s control of its media: on terrestrial TV, for example, foreign dramas are banned in prime time. Many are forbidden altogether.

Read more at The Economist

Surveillance is the advertising industry’s new business model

By monitoring the websites people visit, these companies can infer their location, income, family size, education, age, employment and much more. One data firm has compiled a billion profiles of potential customers, each with an average of 50 attributes. Consumers are lumped into “segments” such as “men in trouble”—presumed to have relationship problems because they are shopping for chocolates and flowers—or “burdened by debt: small-town singles”. When people visit websites, advertisers bid to show them precisely targeted ads. The auctions take milliseconds and the ad is displayed when the website loads.

Targeted advertising has advantages for consumers. It pays for many popular websites which people can enjoy free of charge. Relevant ads are probably more useful to consumers than irrelevant ones. But any business based on covert surveillance is vulnerable to a backlash.

Someone who is categorised by a data broker as a “motorcycle enthusiast” might find his rates for medical or accident insurance rise. “Men in trouble” might find it harder to get a job. Until objections were raised, OkCupid, a dating website, used to sell data about people’s drug and alcohol consumption. It is not going to be to anybody’s advantage to have such information about them widely available.

Read more at The Economist

Saturday, September 20

TV is increasingly for the old

According to new research by media analyst Michael Nathanson of Moffett Nathanson Research. ..The median age of a broadcast or cable television viewer during the 2013-2014 TV season was 44.4 years old, a 6 percent increase in age from four years earlier. Audiences for the major broadcast network shows are much older and aging even faster, with a median age of 53.9 years old, up 7 percent from four years ago. Read more in the Washington Post

65% of smartphone users check their device upon waking

A third of all smartphone users in the U.K.—or 11 million adults—check their phone within five minutes of waking, according a report published Thursday from consulting group Deloitte. 67% of 18 to 24-year-olds do so within 15 minutes. And there is a set routine. Most smartphone owners first check their text messages (33%), followed by e-mail (25%), and then social networks (14%), says the report, based on data from a survey of 4,000 people.

The pattern of phone “addiction” continues during the day. One in six adults looks at their phones more than 50 times a day. 18 to 24-year-olds check their device on average 53 times a day, and for 13% the figure is more than 100 times.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Sunday, September 14

5 simple tips for visual branding on social media

The number one mistake companies make when branding their businesses on various social media outlets is being inconsistent across different platforms. One great example is Quotery.

Use simple branded images and videos on Instagram, such as a peek at a new product.

Use shareable images that can have many interpretations on Pinterest, such as a DIY or recipe with an attractive image that can be pinned to recipe boards, foodie boards and party planning boards.

Use large images that can stand out in a news feed on Facebook, such as a sale or an event poster

Use time sensitive or less important links on Twitter since it stands the possibility of getting, such as an article about an event the night prior.

Keep your profile picture simple and consistent.

Read more at TheNextWeb

5 data-driven ways to get your Facebook posts seen

At any given point a user logs into the Facebook platform, there are more than 1,500 posts that user could be shown.

Try shifting your scheduling strategy from posting during the most popular times in the workweek to the most effective times. Although most of the work marketers put in happens Monday-Friday, the magic actually happens during the weekend. 

Images receive 37 percent more interactions.

Using exclamation points in a post correlates with more engagement.

Add hashtags for 60 percent more engagement.

Our data showed a positive correlation between word count and post effectiveness. More specifically, posts of 80-89 words got 2 times as much engagement.

Read more at The Next Web

Investors are taking an interest in journalism

This week A&E Networks, a television company jointly owned by Disney and Hearst, was negotiating to buy a 10% stake in Vice’s parent company. The deal would value Vice Media at $2.5 billion, nearly double what it was worth about a year ago when Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bought a 5% stake, and ten times what Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, paid for the venerable Washington Post last year.

BuzzFeed still produces a lot of fluffy content (including, this week, “27 Google Searches All Cat Owners Can Relate To”) but it is hiring foreign correspondents to provide more serious coverage. The Huffington Post, a pioneer of digital news, is seeking readers in places like France and Brazil. Few newspapers have established a truly global business, says Ken Doctor, a media analyst, but a handful of digital news firms could pull it off.

Read more at The Economist

Saturday, September 13

Why is Amazon paying $970m for a video-game streaming startup?

Some amateur gamers have gained huge audiences through streaming sites like Twitch, just as they have on other forms of media. YouTube “vloggers”, often confessional and endearingly personal, are becoming celebrities in their own right. A gaming-related subgenre of video blogs, “Let’s play”, is persistently popular on YouTube. The videos of one “Let’s play” broadcaster, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, are alone estimated to bring in advertising revenues of up to $16m a year, according to SocialBlade, an analytics firm.
Read more at the Economist

Friday, September 12

Reading higher among millennials

More millennials read books than their elders, a new Pew Research report finds. According to the report, 88% of Americans 16 to 29 years old have read at least one book in the past year, compared with 79% of people 30 and older.

Read the story in the LA Times

Sunday, September 7

Where gadgets go to die

A growing mountain of electronic waste needs to be disposed of responsibly by rich nations rather than shipped to poorer countries to do the dirty work.

According to a United Nations initiative known as StEP (Solving the E-Waste Problem), electronic waste can contain up to 60 elements from the periodic table, as well as flame retardants and other nasty chemicals. Apart from heavy metals such as lead and mercury, there are quantities of arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and polyvinyl chloride.

What little is known about recycling hazardous waste in America, for instance, suggests that only 15-20% is actually recycled; the rest gets incinerated or buried in landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no evidence to suggest other countries are any better.

Recycling in an environmentally sound manner is expensive. For wealthier countries it remains much cheaper to ship unwanted electronic goods to poorer parts of the planet.

An interactive map giving details of certified recyclers is on the EPA’s

Monday, September 1

Sometimes you see brands on the balance-sheet, sometimes you don’t

Both American and international accounting rules prohibit companies from recognising brands and many other “intangible” assets (such as customer lists) if they have created them themselves. Some marketers would like to change that. Roger Sinclair, who advises the MASB, an American body that sets marketing standards, points out that rules are inconsistent. The value of a brand—invisible when internally generated—is revealed when another company buys it.

Read more at The Economist

What are brands for?

Brands are the most valuable assets many companies possess. But no one agrees on how much they are worth or why. Most of the time they do not appear as assets on companies’ balance-sheets

Read more at the Economist

Sunday, August 31

All-time low for album sales

For the first time since Nielsen SoundScan began keeping track in 1991, album sales failed to reach the four-million-sold mark this week, totaling just 3.97 million.

Digital album sales are down 11.7 percent for the year, and à la carte downloads are down another 12.8 percent according to Billboard. Illegal downloading has no doubt eroded much of those digital sales, but it’s the emergence of legal streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora that has also chipped away at overall sales.

Read more in Rolling Stone

Tuesday, August 26

Study: Facebook news referrals are 'gaining' on Google

Traffic referrals to news sites from Facebook have "gained significant ground at the expense of Google" since the social networking platform changed its algorithm towards the end of last year, according to a study.

The report, entitled How efficient is the news? also showed that although sites with higher traffic have more reporters and, on average, publish more posts, this does not necessarily lead to more page views per story.

Read more here

Monday, August 11

The growing pay gap between journalism and public relations

The salary gap between public relations specialists and news reporters has widened over the past decade – to almost $20,000 a year, according to 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. At the same time, the public relations field has expanded to a degree that these specialists now outnumber reporters by nearly 5 to 1 (BLS data include part-time and full-time employees, but not self-employed.)

Read more at Pew here

Thursday, August 7

Overall Consumer Magazine numbers fall in first half of 2014

For the first half of 2014, magazines reported a total average of 11.6 million digital replica editions (paid, verified and analyzed nonpaid), or 3.8 percent of total circulation. This compares with 10.2 million digital editions, or 3.3 percent of total circulation, in the first half of 2013. For the 367 U.S. consumer magazines reporting comparable numbers, total paid and verified circulation was down approximately 1.9 percent. Paid subscriptions were down 1.8 percent, and single-copy sales decreased by approximately 11.9 percent.

Read more at Audited Media

Thursday, July 31

Newspaper newsroom employment declined in 2013

The number of minority journalists in daily-newspaper newsrooms increased by a couple of hundred in 2013 even as newsroom employment declined by 3.2 percent, according to the annual census released Tuesday by the American Society of News Editors and the Center for Advanced Social Research.

Read more here

In a tabloidized world, tabloids struggle

Tabloids are still struggling to calibrate their newsrooms for this more crowded, digitally focused market. The Post, which some analysts estimate hemorrhages tens of millions of dollars annually, announced plans last year to cut its newsroom staff by 10 percent. Its print circulation, meanwhile, has fallen from about 600,000 to 250,000 over the past decade, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

The Daily News has similarly seen print readership dwindle during that span, from roughly 700,000 to 300,000. As first reported by Capital New York, the paper laid off at least 17 journalists earlier this month, most of them print hands or photographers.

See more at Columbia Journalism Review.

Monday, July 21

Why digital publishers want to be in the magazine business

Print magazines, meanwhile, are everything online publishers want — they stand for something with their audiences, they have established rates based on a long tradition of buying and selling. The publisher can artificially limit supply by cutting pages.

And the magazine-reading experience is different. Magazines may be losing importance as more readers shift online, but they’re still the ultimate engagement vehicle. Research has shown that people are more focused when reading print than when listening to radio or watching TV.

Meanwhile, online publishing is heading for trouble.

Read more here

In China, more people now access the internet from a mobile device than a PC

the latest report published by state-affiliated research organization China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) shows that the percentage of Chinese users accessing the Internet via mobile grew to 83.4 percent as of June 2014, for the first time surpassing the percentage of users who access the internet via PCs (80.9 percent). New numbers released today also show that the overall number of new internet users is still climbing, even if the rate of growth may not be as fast as before.

Read more at The Next Week

Referral share in Q2 2014

In Q2 2014, Facebook gained share, while Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn all fell. Here’s the bigger picture: these eight social referral sites drove 31.07 percent of overall traffic in June 2014. The number has more than doubled: it was at just 15.55 percent in June 2013.

Read more at The Next Web

Sunday, July 20

Eight (No, Nine!) Problems With Big Data

Many tools that are based on big data can be easily gamed. For example, big data programs for grading student essays often rely on measures like sentence length and word sophistication, which are found to correlate well with the scores given by human graders. But once students figure out how such a program works, they start writing long sentences and using obscure words, rather than learning how to actually formulate and write clear, coherent text. Even Google’s celebrated search engine, rightly seen as a big data success story, is not immune to “Google bombing” and “spamdexing,” wily techniques for artificially elevating website search placement.

Read more at the New York Times