Frédéric Filloux shares some fascinating data in a Monday Note post from awhile back (just discovered it in my blogging tool’s open drafts area). Look at the scary paragraph on the shifts in advertising spending. He writes:
Forget Joe Average, he’s dead. Ten or twenty years ago, analyzing audiences was much easier. Medias enjoyed well-defined and relatively unchanging target groups. For television, networks had a precise idea on who was watching what, and specialized cable outlets knew their viewers pretty well. Newspapers had their content structure sliced to fit various audiences by center of interests, age groups and opinions. At the time, contents were bundled together, delivered on a unique platform for a flat fee, on a per copy or subscription basis: the popular sport section, or classifieds did subsidize the expensive but more elitist foreign section, all for a dollar or the equivalent of a euro. ¶ In today’s marketplace, every single piece of information lies the open, naked, stripped of a set value. People don’t buy contents by the bulk, they peck at it, leaving to a third party (the unstable advertising market), the burden of financing it. As the content scatters on the internet, so does the audience. … ¶ … Coming back to the title of this column, analyzing trends has become more complicated: audiences are no longer monolithic, their breakdowns are hard to ascertain. This uncertainty makes an average a less and less relevant notion. For an online newspaper, what is an average reader? Consider two readers and focus on their different level of engagement. One is glued to the New York Times, Le Monde or Aftonbladet on his/her iPhone during a 30 minutes daily commute. The other, at 7 pm, casually glances at headlines while sipping a glass of chardonnay with TV providing the ambient noise. In this particular example, the level of engagement makes a crucial difference to the value of a reader. …
So says an IDG News Service article by Joab Jackson in Computerworld:
While text-based search services such as Google's and Microsoft Bing now come pretty close to consistently serving up what users seek, video search services remain inexact at best, said video archiving experts who spoke on a panel at last week's WWW2010 conference. ¶ Yet the panelists agreed that video searching techniques must improve exponentially if people are to use the growing amount of video footage now stored on the Internet and elsewhere. …
A new study, Wireless Broadband and the Redlining of Rural America [pdf], by Gregory Rose for the New America Foundation,
…suggests that 8-to-10 percent of rural America is likely to be permanently redlined by the incumbent wireless broadband providers because in those areas population density, median household income, and levels of commercial activity are too small to permit efficient aggregation of demand and too much of its geographic area is too remote from primary infrastructure (Internet backbone, internet highways) to permit cost-effective deployment….
I rarely post work related material (I'm an SVP at NPR, where member services is in my current portfolio but digital media is not), but readers of this blog for the last 6½ years know of my long-time interest in how public media meet the challenges of disruptive developments and investments. So, with permission of all, I'm posting here a file containing an important email discussion initiated by Jon Schwartz. GM of Wyoming Public Radio, on the NPR "authorized representatives" email list. It's nine pages -- an original and addendum from Jon, a reply from NPR President/CEO Vivian Schiller and NPR SVP/GM Digital Media Kinsey Wilson, and a further reply from Jon. PDF Link.
Kevin Kelly has a good post introducing what he calls “The Shirky Principle.” Clay Shirky states:
Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are a solution.
Shirky made his quote in a recent talk, a bit from his upcoming book Cognitive Surplus. Shirky also referred to a similar idea in a recent blog posting about the ways in which media companies and the media industry are often constitutionally incapable of changing because they are still solving the last problem.
… In the future, at least some methods of producing video for the web will become as complex, with as many details to attend to, as television has today, and people will doubtless make pots of money on those forms of production. It’s tempting, at least for the people benefitting from the old complexity, to imagine that if things used to be complex, and they’re going to be complex, then everything can just stay complex in the meantime. That’s not how it works, however. … ¶ … Some video still has to be complex to be valuable, but the logic of the old media ecoystem, where video had to be complex simply to be video, is broken. Expensive bits of video made in complex ways now compete with cheap bits made in simple ways. … ¶ When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. …
My candidate for a must-read post this month is Umair Haque’s (@umairh) essay on this topic in his HBR blog. He says that the Internet is “largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.” He writes further:
Nominally, you have a lot more relationships — but in reality, few, if any, are actually valuable. Just as currency inflation debases money, so social inflation debases relationships. The very word "relationship" is being cheapened. It used to mean someone you could count on. Today, it means someone you can swap bits with. ¶ Thin relationships are the illusion of real relationships. Real relationships are patterns of mutual investment. I invest in you, you invest in me. Parents, kids, spouses — all are multiple digit investments, of time, money, knowledge, and attention. The "relationships" at the heart of the social bubble aren't real because they're not marked by mutual investment . At most, they're marked by a tiny chunk of information or attention here or there.
Those of us in public media have embraced social media and have found it valuable, at least for enhancing connections with listeners and viewers to spread the word about content or events. But we should be careful not to equate it with real mutual engagement around content that impacts the lives of people who hear, read or view it over our media. --Dennis
According to Borrell Associates, in 2009 there was $13.2B in money that originated in the local marketplace and was spent on local online advertising. You’d think that local businesses were enterprising most of that, but in 2009 for the first time it was “pureplay” web companies, with Google as the largest player, who took over half that revenue – this is revenue that’s leaving the community in which the advertisers operate.
Terry Heaton (@TerryHeaton) has a thoughtful on the implications of this called We have met the enemy, and he is “pureplays”. Link: Terry Heaton’s PoMo Blog.
The Borrell pie charts also show that local radio and television have a miniscule part of this $13.2B, and that the share of local newspapers is shrinking rapidly. --Dennis
Consultant Terry Heaton writes about the excellent results that WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky is having with its switch to a web site that presents news in a ongoing stream, similar to how blogs are done. You can view it at lex18.com. Heaton writes that they hit 9 million page views for 2010 by the end of February and its bounce rate is under 50%. Lexington is the 62nd Nielsen DMA. Be sure to check out the “time on site” graph.
The concept has a simple logic behind it, if you think about it. Present the news in a manner familiar to people who use the web, not in the manner that recreates a newspaper page on the site.
Thanks to Cleve Callison for a link to this interesting article by Greg Ferenstein, which begins:
On the campus of Penn State University, a rivalry between a rogue campus blog
and the official newspaper has become a fascinating mirror of the strife between
old and new media. In only a matter of months, the unofficial campus blog Onward
State, has marshaled the power of social media to compete with the
award winning 112-year-old campus paper The Daily
Collegian. With one-tenth of the Collegian’s staff size,
Onward State has constructed a virtual newsroom that collaborates in
real-time with Google Wave, outsourced its tip-line to Twitter, and
is unabashed about linking to a competitor’s story. ...