newspapers

What does content strategy mean at The Economist?

The Economist has caught the eye of late, with notable successes in creative programmatic and experimentation with social platforms.

I caught up with Heather Taylor, Director of Content Strategy at The Economist, to ask a few probing questions.

Why the digital-only Independent is doomed without drastic change

The Independent recently announced that it will be closing its print newspaper titles and putting all efforts into digital

It spun the move as a positive, proudly declaring that it is the first newspaper to go digital-only, but anyone who has followed Mark Ritson’s posts about this publication will know the move was likely an unavoidable decision.

I applaud The Independent’s bravery in publicly admitting defeat in the print market, but if it thinks it’s going to succeed with its site in its current state it’s dreaming. Drastic changes are needed.

10 publishers that want you to disable your ad blocker

‘Please turn off your ad blocker!’ The plaintive cry echoes down the tubes of the internet.

Although the ad blocker dilemma is a complex and important one, I get perverse enjoyment from reading the different messages that publishers display, imploring users to disable their ad blockers.

Here are 10 of them.

Five ways The New York Times is innovating its publishing model

At the beginning of 2016 things are much rosier at The New York Times than they were two years ago.

Though print is still suffering, there seems to be a greater degree of parity between the incumbent’s digital know-how and that of new online-only upstarts.

The paywall is bearing fruit, social media platforms court its content and Google is trying to shine a light on longer form journalism.

The paper has shown itself again to be a restless experimenter across digital platforms and with new digital technology.

Native advertising: the Guardian Labs way

Guardian Labs began in early 2014 with its aim to work with clients to create sponsored content opportunities.

This is a trend in publishing with BuzzFeed and The Telegraph (and more besides) experimenting with in-house content creation tailored for brands.

The Guardian is seeking to rise above some of the disquiet around native advertising (is it a case of the emperor’s new clothes?) by simply creating transparent sponsored content to a great standard.

Anna Watkins, who heads up Guardian Labs, was speaking at the IAB’s Content Conference and this is what I took from her talk.

For a full intro to native advertising see the new Econsultancy report, Native Advertising: What it means for brands and publishers.

Quartz: what’s so great about it?

What’s so great about Quartz?

Quartz is a business news publication that’s been talked about a lot since its founding, by Atlantic Media Company (publishes The Atlantic), in 2012.

It’s built on WordPress, is mobile-first and characterised by a strong team of journalists that produces engaging short and long content that’s incredibly sharable.

Here’s some more answers to the question ‘what’s so great about Quartz?’

The BuzzFeed way: examples of shareable native advertising

BuzzFeed is successful in anyone’s book when it comes to creating content their audience wants to consume wherever they are and then share with their friends.

I listened to Will Hayward, VP Europe, BuzzFeed, at the Adobe Summit EMEA 2014. He was talking about how traditional display advertising is still inefficient and how new methods of social distribution of native content are worki.ng for BuzzFeed.

Here I’ve attempted to sum up some of Will’s thoughts.

In conversation: the CEO of the Financial Times

I’ve been writing about presentations I watched at Digital Media Strategies 2014, including talks by Verdens Gang, Axel Springer and the New York Times. So apologies if publishing isn’t your thing. 

But that’s sort of the joy of discussing media companies, how do they become more than mere old fashioned publishers. How do they find new streams of revenue and restructure so that subscriptions work and digital actually makes some money? 

One of the spots at the aforementioned conference was CEO of the Financial Times, John Ridding having a fireside chat with Ken Doctor, President of Newsonomics. 

Many interesting facts, figures and opinions were teased out, so I thought I’d round them up here.

The New York Times on subscriptions, product development and NYT NOW

How does a newspaper create new digital products to attract new customers? Understanding your market and adapting your offering accordingly is key, according to Denise Warren from the New York Times.

At Digital Media Strategies 2014, Denise discussed new products, including NYT NOW and their development in the context of selling digital subscriptions.

As the pioneers of the paywall, what do the New York Times team have to say about making revenue from digital and innovation in product development?

Verdens Gang and the Holy Grail: a case study in integrating print and digital

Is achieving integration of print and digital publishing the pursuit of the Holy Grail? Well, it certainly sounds nice listening to a publisher talk about burgeoning digital revenues in multiple channels, alongside beautiful print products.

Verdens Gang is a Norwegian newspaper with a daily circulation of more than 200,000, in a population of 5m. Across print and digital, 1.8m people use VG daily.

At Digital Media Strategies 2014, editor-in-chief and CEO of VG Torry Pedersen gave the lowdown on how they integrated print and digital effectively, along with how they monetised smartphone and tablet content.

Culture is the key, as is so often the case in disrupted industries where big brands have to adapt and are competing with pure-plays that have started on the right foot.

Torry used the analogy of Haile Gebreselassie vs. Usain Bolt to describe print and digital. They both run but they run in very different ways and they shouldn’t have the same training regimen. The same can be said of magazine-style high quality print products compared with the fast-moving multimedia world of online news. The two teams can’t necessarily work together.

That’s why from 2000 until 2011, everything at VG was separate for print and online, from ads to editorial. In 2011 the two were joined back together once again.

The same thing happened with mobile and desktop, the two had separate ad sales and technical teams from 2010 until 2014 (though the same content team). Now ad sales and techies across desktop and mobile are integrated.

So what are the challenges that VG has overcome and how is it moving forward?

Is The Telegraph’s metered paywall a good idea?

Yesterday, the Telegraph announced the introduction of  a ‘metered paywall’ which allows visitors to read up to 20 articles before having to subscribe for more.

There are two options: a ‘web pack’ which allows access to the website and content via apps at £1.99 per month, and a ‘digital pack’ which adds tablet access and loyalty club membership at £9.99 per month. 

But can a paywall ever be a good idea for a general news site like The Telegraph though? And how will it affect the newspaper in terms of SEO and traffic to its ecommerce pages?