Most printed newspapers in the United States will last only another five years, says a new report from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, reported LA Weekly. Released Wednesday, Dec. 14, the report, “Is America at a Digital Turning Point?,” looks at 10 years worth of studies from the Center for the Digital Future. According to the report, only the very largest and very smallest newspapers stand a chance: “It’s likely that only four major daily newspapers will continue in print form: The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. At the other extreme, local weekly newspapers may still survive.” Other findings from the report include the lack of credibility in social media content, and the impending replacement of the PC by the tablet computer within three years. “At one extreme, we see users with the ability to have constant social connection, unlimited access to information, and unprecedented buying power. At the other extreme, we find extraordinary demands on our time, major concerns about privacy and vital questions about the proliferation of technology – including a range of issues that didn’t exist 10 years ago,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, according to the center’s website.
Call it a sign of the changing times: The Huffington Post had more unique visitors to its website than the venerable New York Times in May, outstripping the Grey Lady’s web traffic for the first time, according to data from market research firm comScore Inc. The newspaper, owned by New York Times Co., has been experimenting with a new online revenue model for two months now — a paywall that charges readers for access to more than a certain number of articles. In April, the first full month of the paywall, nytimes.com had 32.9 million unique visitors, still ahead of huffingtonpost.com’s 29.9 million. But HuffPo took the lead in May with 35.6 million unique visitors compared to 33.6 for the NYT. For the period from May 2010 to May 2011, the New York Times’ website hit a high of 38.1 unique visitors in March 2011, just before the introduction of the paywall. HuffPo — the popular online news site that offers a combination of aggregation and original reporting and recently launched a Canadian version — has yet to see those kind of numbers. In terms of newspaper websites, the Washington Post, LA Times and Wall Street Journal followed with 19.9 million, 18.4 million, and 13.9 million unique visitors respectively in May 2011, according to comScore
Social networking website Facebook and Internet telephone company Skype are in talks to establish a partnership that is aimed at integrating their communication services, Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation. Under the proposed partnership, Facebook users would be able to sign into Skype through their Facebook Connect accounts, the Journal said. Once signed in, the users would be able to send text messages, voice chat and video chat with their Facebook friends from within Skype, according to the paper. The integrated functions are built into Skype’s 5.0 version, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks, the person told the paper. Enabling Skype’s voice and video chat on Facebook would be a “logical progression” to the partnership, the person told the paper.
Amazon is seeking to launch a service that would give paying subscribers unlimited access to television shows and movies over the Internet, The Wall Street Journal said Wednesday. The newspaper, citing “people with knowledge of the proposal,” said the move is a bid by Amazon to take on movie service Netflix and grab a bigger slice of the online TV business. It said the Seattle-based company has proposed the Web-based subscription service to several major media companies including NBC Universal, Time Warner and Viacom among others. The Journal said Amazon would like to launch its new video service in time for the holiday season, “but it is unclear if any media company intends to participate.” It said the plan could could be delayed or shelved if not enough companies sign on. The service would be viewable on the Internet or through devices such as Web-connected TVs or Xbox 360 videogame consoles that play television shows and movies Amazon already sells on an individual basis, the newspaper said. Like Apple’s iTunes, Amazon currently offers TV shows for USD 1.99 per episode. The Journal said subscriptions could be bundled with the Amazon Prime service that gives offers free shipping on purchases. It said spokesmen for Amazon, NBC Universal, Time Warner and Viacom declined to comment on the proposed service
Google Inc has held talks with gaming companies as it looks to develop a new service to compete with social networking website Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The Internet giant has had talks with makers of online games for the service including Playdom Inc, Electronic Arts Inc’s Playfish and Zynga Game Network Inc, the report said. The report said is unclear when the new offering will be launched. Google already owns and operates social networking site Orkut. The company could not be immediately reached for comment. Walt Disney Co said earlier on Tuesday it is planning to acquire Playdom for USD 563.2m, as the young but fast-growing market for Internet games on Facebook and other websites has exploded, increasing the links between social gaming developers and social networking.
The Wall Street Journal is to launch a new European technology section as part of its digital expansion. Six new jobs have been advertised by publisher Dow Jones as it prepares to enlarge its online and mobile offering and build up commercial opportunities. Europe.wsj.com launched in February 2009 and since then has seen good growth in terms of traffic, its editor Neil McIntosh said. The journal is well known in the states for its technology coverage and the WSJ wanted to offer more in Europe, McIntosh said. The new section is expected to cover technology business activity in Europe, startups and entrepreneurs, and gadget and service launches. The new section will incorporate US content, as well as its own regional output. The new section will be a mix of news and commentary, as seen in existing sections that include “straightforward top quality reporting” supported by analysis on Heard on the Street and other blogs. WSJ Europe currently offers an iPhone app and a mobile web edition, with an iPad app on the way.”
The reality facing many American newspaper publishers continues to look stark, as figures released Monday show deep circulation declines, with average weekday sales down almost 9 percent since the same time last year. USA Today had a 13.6 percent weekday decline. It held the top spot before losing it to The Wall Street Journal last fall. In the six-month period ending March 31, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported Sunday sales dropping 6.5 percent and weekday sales 8.7 percent compared with the same six-month period a year ago. The figures are based on reports filed by hundreds of individual papers. The decline was widespread, as nearly all of the major newspapers and many of the smaller ones lost circulation. Among the 25 largest papers, The San Francisco Chronicle suffered the most, losing 22.7 percent of its weekday sales. Among the 25 largest circulation newspapers, 10 had declines in weekday circulation of more than 10 percent. The Sunday circulation figures were slightly higher, though far from a bright spot, as five of the 25 largest papers reported double-digit declines.
Newspaper outcry prompts BBC Trust to examine initiative
The BBC has postponed plans to release free iPhone news applications after concerns about an unfair market advantage.
A report on BBC News said that the BBC Trust had decided to halt the planned April release of news and sports applications for the Apple handsets, after newspaper publishers claimed that the BBC would unfairly influence the market for news apps.
The BBC Trust will review the plans, and decide whether the apps would violate its public service agreement.The row comes as newspaper publishers seek to capitalise on Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad platforms amid slowing sales of print editions.
Major papers such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have announced agreements with Apple to offer special subscription offers formatted for the iPad tablet
Recent media reports claim that the BBC intends to reduce its web operations by as much as a half.
Just two weeks ago, USA Today became available in 6,500 Starbucks for the first time in almost a decade, challenging The New York Times, which had long been the only national newspaper sold by the coffee retailer. Now, the Wall Street Journal is expanding its New York distribution, adding Starbucks stores in New York City and parts of New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, writes AdAge. The move comes just weeks before the Journal introduces a New York edition, to be included in copies distributed in the New York market, which is said to be a direct assault on The New York Times’ advertisers and readers. The Journal has already sold ads for the New York edition to advertisers like Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman, big New York Times advertisers. Meanwhile, USA Today and The New York Times are both fighting the Wall Street Journal in ad campaigns. The Journal proudly announced last fall that it had usurped USA Today’s dominance as the country’s largest-circulation daily newspaper. Now, USA Today is running a campaign, titled What America Wants, that is meant to question the Wall Street Journal’s relevancy. The Times is running its own ad campaign geared toward keeping advertisers from jumping ship and running to the Journal’s New York section. The ads are running in newspapers, trade pubs, and online, while ad execs are being targeted with coffee giveaways.
Once again, rumours are making their rounds that Google is going to make some sort of set-top box play. The latest: the Wall Street Journal reports that the company is working with Dish Network on a new feature that would let users search both TV content and web videos on set-top boxes “using elements of Google’s Android operating system”. The tie-in direct with Dish Network, a broadcast satellite service provider, makes sense, since both companies already have a close relationship on the TV, where Google TV Ads counts Dish Network as one of its primary partners. But there are some big caveats and unknowns: It’s unlikely that the service will come to market soon, since the WSJ makes a point of emphasising that the tests are limited for now to a “very small number” of Google employees. Also, no set-top boxes that run on Android are currently on the market. But as far back as November 2007 there were rumours that Google was working to build an app platform for set-top boxes. Nothing has come of that, although that effort would presumably be related to this one in some way. If Google did go ahead and launch some sort of “Google TV search”, competitors would include Clicker, the much-hyped (and funded) online video search engine which has deals with set-top boxes like Boxee and popbox, so that users can search Clicker from their TVs.