By just about any reasonable measure, The Economist is doing pretty darn well for a magazine. As the print world frequently looks to be in a state of perpetual implosion, The Economist stands out as one of the print publications that's not only surviving, but thriving.
While struggling print publications like The New York Times mull a paid content strategy from a position of desperation, The Economist is going paid from a position of strength.
It's familiar by now to hear mocking sounds come from new media champions and writers when old media takes a stand against Twitter or Facebook or some other new tech tool. But new Twitter guidelines issued by the Washington Post on Friday came from inside old media.
Why? Because beyond helping a publication gain traction and authority on news items in real time, social media can be a journalists best tool for job stability. And the new rules threaten them more than anyone else.
When visitors to The New York Times website began falling victim to a fake anti-virus ad that attempted to install malware on readers' computers, some, myself included, suspected that the ad was probably being served through an ad network.
According to The Times, about half of the ads that are served on its website come from ad networks and they are an obvious target for scammers looking to distribute rogue ads that deliver malware.
But as it turns out, the rogue ad that was wreaking havoc with some Times readers was actually sold by The New York Times itself.
In the debate over the future of journalism, there are some who argue that stodgy old news organizations aren't necessary. Leaner and meaner ventures can take on the same burdens. Citizen journalists and bloggers are capable journalists.
But a victory for Bloomberg LP in a lawsuit against the United States Federal Reserve highlights the importance of having large news organizations.
Rupert Murdoch may be leading the pack when it comes to charging for content, but he's not dumb enough to go it alone. The News Corp. chief said recently that all of his publications will start charging for content within a year. And now it appears that he's got plans to get other publications to go in with him. According to The Los Angeles Times, News Corp. execs have been meeting with major publishers to create a media consortium that collectively charges for articles across digital platforms.
Why does Murdoch want help? Because his papers will take a nosedive in readership when he starts charging for content. One way to stave off the bleeding is to make sure that other news providers are siphoning their content behind a pay wall as well.
By all appearances, the question isn't whether the New York Times will revisit paid subscriptions. The question is what those subscriptions will look like.
Last week, Gawker published documents purporting to detail two possible online subscription packages the newspaper company is mulling over, New York Times Silver and Gold.
Newspapers are currently involved in a struggle to protect and monetize their content online. The Associated Press, especially, has been on the offensive when it comes to trying to get paid for articles online. To that end, the AP board announced a plan today to tag and
track every piece of text content for the co-op and its members — and
eventually photos and video.
The move could be excellent step for the AP. If they can figure out how and what to charge for licensing their content online.
Hard to argue with a $5 CPM for advertising on a New York Times property, even if the ad run on its portfolio of hyperlocal properties. But what do the butcher, baker or candlestick maker know from CPMs?
The Times just announced on The Local, its clutch of microregional, citizen-journalism blogger sites, that it plans to make display advertising easy, self-service, and cheap. It's inviting nieghborhood dry cleaners and hardware merchants to design, post, and allocate a capped budget to ad campaigns targeted to neighborhood audiences.
While other media sites are struggling to increase page views, Gawker's Nick Denton is willing to get traffic the old fashioned way: by paying for it.
Major newspapers are contemplating putting their content behind a pay wall and testing the waters with micropayments, but Denton is committed to making money from free ad-supported content. And to do that, his sites will live and die by their page views.
So far, that's working well for the company. While online ad revenues have fallen on average by 5% this year, revenues at Gawker have increased 35%. To keep that trend going, Denton will return to giving his writers traffic bonuses. He's also reiterated his interest in paying tipsters for traffic earning scoops.
Assume for a moment that you're an artist. You get a call one day from somebody at Google. Good news: Google wants you to create a skin for its Chrome browser.
You ask, "What's the fee?" The response: "There's no money but you'll get lots of exposure". Deal or no deal?