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Is Foursquare the next consumer internet startup that's on the verge of making a big mainstream splash? A growing number of print publishers seem to hope it is and are in turn aligning themselves with the young company.
Recently, I detailed the Financial Times' initiative with Foursquare, which will give certain Foursquare users the ability to access FT.com without a subscription at no cost for a limited time.
I had to breathe deeply and compose myself for several minutes before I picked up the receiver and made The Call, but finally summoned the fortitude. Today, after four decades of near-uninterrupted service, I cancelled delivery of The New York Times. The Internet's partially to blame, but digital is only part of the reason I fired the Grey Lady.
It didn't take much consideration to drop my landline. Cable I thought about a tad longer before cutting the cord (all those years in the TV business doubtless had something to do with hanging on). Fewer bills, reduced customer service hassles, and besides, neither my telco nor MSO delivered anything I wanted but couldn't access digitally anyway.
As most newspapers cut back on their budgets and staff, Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is expanding — launching a new New York section to rival The New York Times' coverage (and steal some of its rival publication's advertising).
Today, Murdoch outlined his logic in growing the paper while other papers shutter their local bureaus. Speaking at the Real Estate Board of New York meeting, he put it simply:
"Technology is putting a premium on content."
Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is making a major play for local this year. The newspaper has hired a large, capable staff (disclosure: many are my former colleagues from The New York Sun) to create a New York focused arts and culture section. The section won't debut until the Spring, but when it does, chances are, it could take a large chunk of The New York Times' advertisers with it.
Why? Because luxury advertisers are often based in New York or targeting its residents and they are more likely to reallocate their ad budgets than increase them in the coming year.
If 2010 is really going to be "The Year of the Paywall" as The Economist predicted this month, The Wall Street Journal is set to be the year's poster child. Rupert Murdoch's business paper made waves — and headlines — in 2009 for increasing readers and profits behind a paywall. But if Murdoch's slights against Google over the past few months are serious and he takes the paper's articles off the search engine, The Journal's fortunes could quickly about face.
In an interview with MedaShift today, Alan Murray, the Journal's deputy managing editor, suggests that the Journal may have found a escape hatch from Google's stranglehold on search: social media.
One of the interesting things about The Wall Street Journal's paywall is that it lets Google searchers view The Journal's subscription content for free. But that isn't likely to continue. Rupert Murdoch has been sounding the alarm about charging for News Corp. content. And today Google made a change to its search program that will put an end to freeloaders who use Google search as an endless free pass to WSJ.com.
The Journal takes advantage of Google's First Click Free program, giving Google searchers access to the full text of a document found through Google search results before hitting the pay wall. But now users who click on more than five articles from a publisher in a day will see a “registration page” — in efforts to get potentional subscribers to poney up for content. That should help News Corp. wring a few extra dollars out of frequent Wall Street Journal readers. Too bad that's not what Murdoch is concerned with at this point.
While other newspapers like the New York Times grapple with how to charge readers for content online, the Wall Street Journal stands out as one of the few newspapers that doesn't have to deal with such issues.
Unlike many other newspapers, the Journal didn't drink the 'content just wants to be free' kool-aid. When it seemed like advertisers had an unlimited amount of money to throw around, the Journal stuck to its guns and ironically, has managed to have its cake and eat it too. Its ad sales are healthy and the mixed model it employs has apparently proven to be the secret sauce.
Display advertising may get a bad rap for its lack of click-throughs, but one way to increase clicks is by making the advertising more interesting. And a new play by browser plug-in Cooliris is trying to do just that.
Cooliris is a browser extension for media viewng with a very shiny and slick interface. But the company also offers a way to access its content in a browser through display ads. And it is a product that has the potential to get web publishers very excited.
While other online advertisers struggle to sell off their content, Cooliris' summer ad inventory was completely sold out by July.
Rupert Murdoch is going all in on paid content. The News Corp. head anounced yesterday during an earnings call that all of his publications will be charging for access within this fiscal year.
The announcement has been met with both derision and excitement. Charging for news content has the potential to shrink audience numbers and choke ad revenue. But as publications struggle to find the right revenue model, Murdoch's decision could pave the way for other organizations that have been talking a lot about charging online but doing little about it.
So will News Corp. sink or swim with its plans to charge for content? The answer, as with anything: it depends on execution.
As newspapers struggle to turn a profit in the digital economy, the Wall Street Journal has had one small advantage in the battle for monetization: people don't mind subscribing for their content. But The Journal isn't expecting that to be a sulver bullet long term strategy.
Like every other print publication, they are looking beyond ad dollars and subscription fees to make money. And their newest attempt is a business focused social network.
In 2007, there were rumors that News Corp. was trying to buy resume building social network LinkedIn and now it looks like the company is looking to go it alone.
Ever since taking over The Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch has been making noise about charging more for its content. And now the paper is moving toward charging for mobile content.
WSJ.com has started polling iPhone subscribers to the paper's content to gauge their proclivity to pay for the application.
While consumers are lax to pay for content they currently receive for free, this could be a great revenue stream for The Journal. And Apple is paving the way for more papers to follow suit with changes at the App Store.
The Wall Street Journal may be getting more expensive. The business paper has been making headlines of late for growing its revenues behind a pay wall while other papers are bleeding ad revenue. But is the Journal the exception to the rule, or just ahead of the curve of paying more money for content?
Speaking at the Digiday: Networks conference in New York, Brian Quinn, the Journal's vice president of digital ad sales, said that the newspaper is so happy with its subcription results that it is looking to push the website toward a "hyperpaid" model. And Quinn said that there are initiatives across Newscorp trying to try to get people to pay even more for its content.
Just last week, former AOL exec and current Chief Digital Officer at News Corp. John Miller suggested that Hulu content might soon go behind a pay wall. But will charging for content work for all Dow Jones properties?