Category Archives: Media trends

Extra, extra! Weekly suit makes the big time!

Last week I excerpted an Editor & Publisher column that chided mainstream media for ignoring the lawsuit brought by the independent weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In 2004 the Guardian charged that the rival San Francisco Weekly had used deep-pocket support from its corporate parent, Village Voice Media, to lower advertising prices in an alleged effort by the chain weekly to drive the indie weekly out of business. Under California law such behavior, if proven, would be called “predatory pricing” as the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday after the case went to the jury last week. Here’s are two opposing snippets from the Chronicle article:

“Cash infusions from the parent company allowed the Weekly to drop ad prices from $18 a column inch to between $10 and $15 an inch, said Guardian attorney Ralph Alldredge . . . Weekly attorney H. Sinclair Kerr Jr. said the Guardian is tanking not because the Weekly is stealing its ad contracts but because things are bad for newspapers everywhere, big and small.”

I am a Chronicle staff writer.

‘Influence peddling’ a future news revenue stream?

If you’re in the news business online guru Kevin Kelly has news for you. Forget how you used to make your living delivering scoops. Make yourself valuable in new and more personal ways or else perish he suggests in Better than Free.

With that in mind Paid Content reports that the Financial Times has created a $3,300-a-year Executives Forum ”where members can “maintain contact with peers and luminaries …  and to stay in touch with the key issues facing fellow members.”

The 140-year-old FT is the Wall Street Journal of the United Kingdom.

And now this journalistic icon has set up a VIP lounge. Critics might call this influence peddling but not me. The rich and powerful have always had influence, undue influence if you prefer. I see no reason not to monetize that fact.

Moreover the grassroots influence on the news is growing. It’s the interactivity, stupid! Online readers can comment on stories, contribute citizen-generated content and spark trends. Technology is making media into better mirrors.

 In time new webs site will become portals for the people. Comments and citizen journalism will create a bubbling up effect. Journalists will actually build the public forum that has so far existed only in their imaginations.

But first journalism must survive. So let’s wish the FT luck. If they can nick corporate Peter to subsidize populist Paul so can we.

Browsers spend three hours plus on videos


More than 140 million Americans watched 10 billion online videos in December says a report from comscore Video Metrix. That’s about 72 videos per viewer. Video Metrix said the average video was 2.8 minutes. Over the course of a month the  average viewer spent three hours and twenty minutes enjoying this new habit that didn’t exist even three years ago.

Google sites had 43 percent of this new attention-getter, followed by Fox (23.9 percent) and Yahoo sites (20.8 percent).

Wired Magazine editor Nancy Miller calls this ”Snack Culture.”

Lord only knows what Americans are snacking on, however, because comScore Video Metrix didn’t say.

AdAge job report: marketing rules, news drools


News media are losing jobs; but Ad Age says marketing broke an employment record in November

If you’re in the news business maybe you ought to slide over into marketing.

An analysis of federal jobs statistics by Advertising Age magazine says media jobs — newspapers, broadcast and cable TV, radio, magazines and internet media companies –”fell to a 15-year low (886,900), slammed by the slumping newspaper industry. But employment in advertising/marketing-services — agencies and other firms that provide marketing and communications services to marketers — broke a record in November (769,000).”

Here are a couple of excerpts from the February 18 article by Bradley Johnson.

Marketing thrives:

“Among all the ad-related job sectors, the hot spot is marketing consulting. Employment in that field in December reached a record 148,500, accounting for the lion’s share of job gains over the past year in advertising and marketing services.”

News writhes:

“Since media employment peaked in dot-com-infused 2000, media companies have eliminated one in six jobs (167,600) . . . The only media sectors to add jobs: magazines (up a meager 400 jobs) and internet media companies (up 9,200) . . . The big problem is newspapers, which account for half (82,800) of media jobs lost since 2000. One in four newspaper jobs have disappeared since newspaper employment peaked in 1990 . . . Newspapers, saddled with heavy costs of printing and distribution, last year accounted for 38% of U.S. media jobs, down from 50% in 1990.”

To drill down further into the current numbers, Johnson and AdAge presented a separate page of charts showing 2006 to 2007 job movements for each of the job categories inside of communications – jobs in all news media plus advertising and marketing.


Survey says bloggers more diverse than nation


A detail from a float celebrating the diversity of San Jose, California, where 130 languages and/ dialects are spoken in the school district.

A newly-released survey from BigResearch drawing on a panels nearly 16,000 respondents suggests that one in four Americans blogs “regularly or occasionally” and that this blogging community is more ethnically diverse than the general adult population.

 I offer a snippet from the top of the press release and post its entirety below because I couldn’t find a link. The press release is written as if the data are statistically valid but I found no note about methodology:

“Twenty-six percent of all adults say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of those, 53.7 percent are male and 44.7 percent are married. Twenty-eight-point four percent hold a professional or managerial position, while only one in 10 (10.4%) are students.  Bloggers tend to be younger, averaging 37.6 years old, compared to 44.8 for adults 18 or older (in the general adult population). Ethnically, 69.7 percent of Bloggers are White/Caucasian (vs. 76.1%), 12.2 percent are African American/Black (vs. 11.4%) and 3.7 percent are Asian (vs. 2.0%). Twenty percent of Bloggers are Hispanic, compared to 14.8 percent of adults 18+ (in the general population). In addition, Bloggers report a lower income ($55,819 vs. $56,811) and are better educated (14.3 years of education vs. 14.2).” (emphasis added)

    .*                    *                   *                  * 

COLUMBUS, OH – (MARKET WIRE) – 2/12/08 – The art of blogging is no longer reserved for the college student with too much to say or the unemployed, self proclaimed “computer-nerd,” according to BIGresearch’s ( most recent Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11) of 15,727 participants. 26% of all adults say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of those, 53.7% are male and almost half (44.7%) are married. 28.4% hold a professional or managerial position, while only one in 10 (10.4%) are students.    Bloggers tend to be younger, averaging 37.6 years old, compared to 44.8 for adults 18+. Ethnically, 69.7% of Bloggers are White/Caucasian (vs. 76.1%), 12.2% are African American/Black (vs. 11.4%) and 3.7% are Asian (vs. 2.0%). 20% of Bloggers are Hispanic, compared to 14.8% of adults 18+. In addition, Bloggers report a lower income ($55,819 vs. $56,811) and are better educated (14.3 years of education vs. 14.2).In the blogosphere, political blogs are becoming increasingly common, especially in an election year. 24.6% of registered voters say they regularly or occasionally blog. 37.6% of Libertarians regularly/occasionally blog, followed by Democrats (26.9%), Independents (25.7%) and Republicans (22.9%).“Bloggers are a diverse group and not who you would expect,” said Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch. “This diversity provides political Bloggers with a forum to discuss issues or maybe be influenced by others, while Candidates have an opportunity to reach interested voters.” Another point of interest from the analysis of the Blogger shows that they are using most forms of new media significantly more than the average market.

Regular/Occasional New Media Usage (Top 5) 


Cell Phone 93.0% 87.5%
Instant Messaging 75.3% 49.3%
Download/Access Video/TV Content 72.2% 45.0%
Video Gaming 66.9% 47.5%
Text Messaging  65.5% 45.2%

Source: BIGresearch SIMM 11, Jan 08, N=15,727More Bloggers regularly seek advice from others before purchasing products or services (21.3% vs. 16.8% of adults 18+). They are also more likely to give advice with 38.3% saying they regularly give advice about products / services they have purchased (compared to 29.4% of adults 18+).Although Bloggers are more likely to use new media, the analysis finds that more conventional forms of media trigger their Internet searches. Magazines, at 51.6%, rank highest; followed by reading an article (48.8%), broadcast TV (46.1%), cable TV (44.5%), face-to-face communication (42.5%) and the newspaper (39.7%). To receive a recap of the key findings, click BIGresearch
BIGresearch is a consumer intelligence firm providing solution-based insights of consumer behavior, present and future, in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. BIGresearch conducts the Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM) bi-annually and the Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) monthly. More information is available at  

When crowdsourcing meets broadcasting

Crowdsourcing is the term coined to describe using an audience to generate some form of content, from simple feedback to fully fledged stories or artistic creations.

CNN is now poised to put its broadcast — and online — muscle behind an experiment in crowdsourcing as MediaWeek reports:

“Time Warner’s CNN this week will enter YouTube territory with the launch of, a new Web site built entirely on user-produced news. And unlike CNN’s own properties—where only iReport submissions that have been handpicked by editors and checked for accuracy ever make it online or on air—the new site will be wide open, allowing users to post whatever content they choose, CNN said.”

Susan Grant, executive vp of CNN News Services told MediaWeek the site would not rush to look for advertising opportunities in part perhaps because advertisers may be leery of putting their brands into this content mosh pit.

This is not an isolated development. It is my sense that broadcasters have embraced user-participation far more aggressively than print media perhaps because the new-found ease of video production and uploading strikes that industry as a novelty. It used to be difficult to freelance as a videographer. It’s getting less so.

As another example along these lines MTV got a grant from the Knight Foundation to create an election-site drawing on citizen contributors. (details).

I’ve blogged in the past (but can’t find the reference now) about how local broadcasters have been beefing up their web sites and gaining traffic at the expense of local newspaper sites. Print had an early advantage in getting web traffic because it was easier to repost words and photos than it was to either contribute or distribute video. That is changing. And fast. (Get a whiff of this in a post titled “TV & Radio facing news revolution“ from Ken Kaplan.

As communication migrates from the literal to the audiovisual broadcast websites could easily leapfrog print websites as magnets for attention. Broadcasters have a great medium for pushing people to their web sites. And once viewers get to the web it’s easier to downland and watch a video than to wrap one’s mind around words.

So here CNN throws open its doors. ““This is an opportunity to create a relationship with a global audience,” said the CNN exec behind the project.

It’s an interesting experiment. I’m not aware of anything of a similar scale being conducted by a newspaper.

Google to media: wake up and smell the synergy

tn_davideun.jpg David Eun

The Google vice president who deals with print and broadcast media recently admitted that his firm cooperates with content companies, it doesn’t compete with them.

“We don’t produce or own content,” David Eun told interviewer Patrick Phillips. “What they do as a company — with journalists, news bureaus, thinking about what people want to read, producing a newspaper — that’s not what we do . . . our business model is based on connecting users with their content and bringing advertisers to their content.”

What a relief! I thought Google was ought to saddle media companies with all the costs of creating content while offering them pay-per-click ads worth just 10 percent of what they used to get from print or broadcast sales. But Eun reminds us that Google is the publisher’s friend:

“What we do is point people to where they can find content. And we make a business by putting relevant ads next to it. Our strength is in understanding what’s out there and then putting ads around it, as opposed to trying to guess what kind of content people would like and trying to sell that content ourselves.”

The full interview offers the complete win-win.