Category Archives: Advertising

If You Have News, It Will Be Aggregated and/or Curated

The Pew Research Center has come out with a massive new report on the state of media as part of its Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it comes to a number of conclusions about where the industry stands—including the fact that Twitter and Facebook are still driving a fairly small amount of traffic to media outlets (although this segment is growing quickly) and that such tech giants as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft control almost 70 percent of online advertising. But one other thing that becomes clear from the Pew report is just how big a role aggregators of all kinds—both human and machine-powered—are playing in news consumption.

Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many newspaper companies and other traditional media outlets still seem to think the vast majority of their audience comes to them directly and prefers to read their content above all other sources. More than anything else, this is the core philosophy behind the rise of paywalls—which more and more papers are implementing—and also the millions of dollars media companies have poured into developing iPad apps and other walled-garden-style approaches to news delivery. The assumption is that readers will want only the content that comes from that specific outlet.

For many consumers, however, aggregators of various kinds are the way they consume their news now, whether through Web-based portals like Yahoo News or Google News, or through a variety of newer aggregation-based apps and services, such as Flipboard, Pulse, or Zite for the iPad, as well as News.me, Summify (which was recently acquired by Twitter), and Percolate. According to the Pew report, almost 30 percent of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app,” compared with the 36 percent who go directly to a media company’s website or app.

In effect, many users seem to be looking to generate their own digital-newspaper-style overview of the world rather than accepting one from a single media outlet, and if the content they are looking for comes from an aggregator like the Huffington Post because the original is behind a paywall, then so be it. The problem for media companies is that this kind of behavior is in direct conflict with most of  the business models they’re relying on for revenue, whether it’s advertising or app- and paywall-based subscription services—which is why such media moguls as News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch continually accuse Google of “piracy.”

And the problem is actually even bigger than that, since the Huffington Post and Google News are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aggregation and/or curation. Although Facebook and Twitter may not be huge factors in terms of news consumption at the moment—as my colleague Staci has pointed out at paidContent—with only 9 percent of users saying they get their news from those networks, that figure has grown almost 60 percent in the past year alone and is likely continuing to increase.

To some extent the curation phenomenon is helping mainstream news organizations, because people are sharing links that get clicked on and drive traffic back to news outlets. This is especially the case with Twitter, since the Pew report notes that a larger proportion of users follow official media sources there, while a majority of Facebook users get their news from friends and family members. But just as with aggregation apps and services, the content that any single media company produces just becomes part of the sea of content that is distributed through these networks.

On top of that, Facebook itself is becoming much more of an aggregator of news, through the “social reading” apps it offers from such outlets as the Washington Post and the Guardian. Although both newspapers have bragged about the number of people who have registered for their apps and shared content through them, the reality is that much of the benefit from that activity ultimately goes to Facebook—in terms of the time users spend on the site, the advertising they are exposed to, etc.—rather than the news outlet.

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, noted in a response to the Pew report on Twitter that social platforms like Facebook are becoming “frenemies” with media companies, since they generate traffic but also suck up much of the benefit in terms of advertising.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-19/if-you-have-news-it-will-be-aggregated-and-or-curated

BRIC countries lead advertising growth

Russia and India will record the strongest growth in advertising spend over the coming year, according to the latest Warc international ad forecast. It predicts that Russia will increase expenditure by 16.5%, followed by India (14.0 percent), China (11.5 percent) and Brazil (8.5 percent). The picture is very different outside the BRIC quartet, especially in Europe, where three countries – Germany (1 percent), France (0.8 percent) and Italy (-0.2 percent) – are now expected to record the worst year-on-year performances. All three economies are facing the possibility of renewed recession due to the eurozone debt crisis. Taking into account the likelihood of inflation, all three countries are likely to see a decline in advertising spend in 2012. The forecast for the UK is more positive, with predicted growth of 4.2 percent. But Warc, the marketing intelligence service, points out that the figure will be boosted by two sporting events – the London Olympics and European football championships. As for the United States, which is forecast to see a 4.1 percent increase in ad spend, its TV broadcasters will undoubtedly benefit from the presidential election. Indeed, across all 12 countries covered by the survey, TV is predicted to increase its share of main media advertising, growing by 5.3 percent compared to the overall media total of 4.5 percent. As for online advertising, the pace of expansion is expected to slow to 12.6 percent this year, down from an estimated 16.6 percent in 2011. The internet is expected to account for 20 percent of all media spend by the end of 2012.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/feb/06/advertising-russia?CMP=twt_fd

Research firm sees Twitter’s ad revenue tripling

Twitter is set to triple its advertising revenue this year and could generate USD 250m in ad revenue in 2012, according to an industry research firm’s projection. The revenue estimates provide one of the first public assessments of the fast-growing Web service’s money-making performance and come a month after Twitter was valued at USD 3.7bn. Twitter, which had 175 million users as of September, is among the new crop of popular Internet social networking services including Facebook, Zynga and LinkedIn. According to the report released on Monday by industry research firm eMarketer, San Francisco-based Twitter generated an estimated USD 45m from ads in 2010 and is expected to bring in USD 150m in ad revenue in 2011. The growth in Twitter’s revenue this year will come from the forthcoming launch of a self-service advertising feature, eMarketer said. The report noted that such a self-service advertising capability, in which marketers can quickly create ads online, has been a major factor behind growth at Google Inc and Facebook

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70N5P220110124

Smartphones bring mixed blessings for newspapers

The growing popularity of smartphones is proving a double-edged sword for newspaper publishers, with the number of consumers reading more content online almost exactly counterbalanced by a decline in those buying print products, according to a report from Orange. The telecoms company’s study found that 14 percent of people who access the internet on their mobile phones said they read fewer newspapers as a result. On the flipside, 13 percent of respondents said that owning smartphones such as the iPhone had led them to read more newspaper content online. However, the same is not true of all publishing sectors with 16 percent of mobile media users – those accessing the internet via a smartphone – saying they read fewer magazines, but none saying they read more magazine content online. The problem for newspaper publishers is the gap between declining print circulation and revenue and the relatively small revenues from products such as smartphone apps and mobile internet advertising. The Interactive Advertising Bureau puts the UK mobile internet ad market at just under GBP 40m in 2009. Orange’s report points to the potential of mobile commerce, in which it includes the purchasing of apps, but does not provide any insight into revenue generation

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/06/smartphones-newspapers-orange-report

Advertising billboards use facial recognition to target shoppers

In Japan, sci-fi prophecy is now becoming reality, with the first digital billboards tailored to passing shoppers tried out in malls Produced by the electronics giant NEC, the ad signage uses facial recognition software and can identify the shopper’s gender (with 85-90 percent accuracy), ethnicity and approximate age. With obvious attractions for marketers, they can then be targeted with ads for appropriate products – perfumes for women, for example. Still in the future for now are individual-specific ads as in Minority Report, but the potential is there for the software to measure the distance between features – a distinctive aspect of our face that does not change with disguises or even surgery – and then find a match on a database in less than a second. The ad panels have so far caused little concern in Japan, where there is less sensitivity to big business keeping tabs on citizens; but NEC now plans to introduce them abroad, and western consumers may be more resistant. But NEC insists there is little to fear: “As our system does not store any images – it stores only the analysed results [viewers’ age and sex] based on those images – we feel there is no privacy issue.” Along with Blade Runner-style 3-D ads, Tokyo now also boasts a camera-equipped vending machine that suggests drinks to consumers according to their age and gender. Weather conditions and the temperature are taken into account too

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/sep/27/advertising-billboards-facial-recognition-japan

New York Times publisher warns of losses

The publisher of the New York Times warned Wednesday that it would slip into the red for the third quarter because advertising revenue was falling short of expectations, both on the internet and for its print editions. Shares in the New York Times Company (NYTC) dropped by more than 5 percent on Wall Street following the gloomy update, delivered by chief executive Janet Robinson at a media conference hosted by Goldman Sachs in New York. The NYTC’s bearish news is likely to heighten fears that the media industry is struggling to pull out of a long advertising recession, amid signs that America’s broader economic recovery is stalling. The company owns the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and 15 regional US newspapers, plus dozens of websites. It said its total revenue was likely to fall by 2 percent to 3 percent over the three months to September, compared to the same period last year, as a 14 percent rise in digital advertising failed to compensate for its weakening newsprint editions. Analysts had forecast a 1 percent revenue decline. The digital revenue increase was slightly short of its previous guidance of growth in the “mid to high teens”. Meanwhile, both print advertising revenue and circulation income were likely to fall by 5 percent, the company predicted

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/22/new-york-times-company-loss

Google Campaign to Build Up Its Display Ads

Google, the online search ad giant that rarely advertises, has decided it needs to advertise the fact that it is in the online display advertising business. On Wednesday, Google will erect a billboard in the center of Manhattan that will vie for attention with the hordes of other flashy billboards. But it will stand low to the ground and invite passers-by to touch it and watch videos about the display ad business. The billboard is part of Google’s broader ad campaign called Watch This Space, which includes ads in trade magazines and other print and online media, to inform the advertising industry and investors of Google’s online display ads. Google is also playing offense, trying to get a piece of a market that has lots of room to grow even though display ads have been around for more than a decade, first as pop-up and banner ads, and now as ads of different sizes that mix images, text, audio, video and animation

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/business/media/22adco.html?_r=2&ref=media

Times Puts Some Ads Outside The Wall And On iPad As Web Display Reduces

Though they are often cast as distinct business models, advertising and paid content are not necessarily mutually exclusive – or are they?

Observations from Times Newspapers’ digital properties point to two different answers…

In one, The Times is now selling full-page display campaigns in to its iPad app, for which readers pay £9.99 per month. Campaigns spotted by paidContent:UK are for IBM and Lloyds TSB, occupying four pages each in Monday’s third edition. Each includes a video overlay containing the companies’ existing TV ads.

The Financial Times had made its iPad edition free for two initial months thanks to a big headline sponsorship from watchmaker Hublot, but The Times is using iPad to combine both payments and ads, as newspapers do.

Times Newspapers had gone in to its new paid website strategy saying it would continue running ads on the Times and Sunday Times websites despite introducing reader charging. Indeed, its commercial team has promised advertisers “large impactful formats”….

But, in fact, what’s happened is the number of ads has reduced dramatically from when Times Online was freely available. Apart from spots for Virgin Media (NSDQ: in Sport and Tavarnello wine in Style, display slots in key website sections are so far mostly occupied by promotions for Times services themselves.

In their place, one thing that is clicking increasingly is a new spin on an old kind of sponsorship – paid editorial

The Times and Sunday Times sites are running a series of sponsored features and site-lets for Accenture, Courvoisier, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet and ICIS, each apparently the online extension of a recent paid supplement…

But (and this is interesting) these advertorials are not behind the paywall. The Chevrolet campaign, for an outdoorsy new 4×4, even exists on an external domain name from the main Times site altogether, CoolGlamping.co.uk. Meanwhile, the Accenture campaign is actually for a Business news section called Need To Know, which, despite being presented in navigation as content, is also outside the wall.

One theory about The Times’ recent strategic shift is that the whittling down of its audience to a handful of paying customers would default advertisers’ addressable market to a self-selected group of wealthier readers, with a higher inclination to buy stuff. A contrary theory had been that, actually, advertisers just want scale and would hate losing mass appeal…

Whatever; why would advertisers want to restrict viewing of their ads only to paying readers?

The reduction of conventional web display ads from the Times Online days may suggest advertiser concern at the smaller audience – but it may also be possible for The Times to make some of it up with big-hitting sponsorships from premium brands, and by jumping aboard the nascent iPad advertising rush.

http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-times-puts-some-ads-outside-the-wall-and-on-ipad-as-web-display-evapora/

Here’s a Twist: At Canwest (Canadian News Group), Newspaper Revenue Grew While Digital Shrank

In its final fiscal quarter and under bankruptcy protection, Canwest Limited Partnership, publisher of the largest chain of English-language dailies in Canada, grew overall revenue on the strength of newspaper print advertising, which offset a decline in digital media, its new owner reported Thursday. Postmedia Network Inc., which closed its purchase of the Canwest papers on July 13, reported fiscal third-quarter revenue ticked up 1 percent to CAD 270m and operating income before amortization and restructuring expenses jumped 13 percent to CAD 51m. But the most remarkable detail is that the Canwest newspapers, including titles such as the National Post and Vancouver Sun, reported revenue that were up 1 percent, while digital media revenue decreased 16 percent. The drop was due in part to a change in allocation between reporting segments – but the “overall increase in revenue was primarily due to increased advertising revenues,” Postmedia said. Operating expenses for the quarter ended May 31 were down 2 percent, “the result of cost reduction initiatives implemented in the last nine months of fiscal 2009 and a continued focus on cost containment,” the company said

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/Headlines/here%E2%80%99s-a-twist-at-canwest-newspaper-revenue-grew-while-digital-shrank-62078-.aspx

Google Updates Its Image Search

Google announced a series of updates to the design and presentation of the image search section on its Web site. The company also said it would begin offering advertising with images on these pages. Image ads are the latest in a string of new ad types that Google has been trying. People often search images for queries about shopping, travel and entertainment, which lend themselves well to advertisements, Ben Ling, Google’s director of search products, said on Tuesday at the press conference in San Francisco. Now, a fashion designer, for instance, could show an ad with a picture of a new trench coat whenever somebody searched for images of coats, or a ski resort could show a picture of its mountain that would show up when people search for images of winter vacation spots. Advertisers have in the past been able to include photos, but they have been small and the process has been complicated, Google said. The ads will appear on the top of the results page, clearly marked as ads, the way that text ads appear on top of Google results now. Google “will explore” whether image ads eventually also appear on the main Google search results page, Mr. Ling said. The new designs include a number of visual and interactive makeovers meant to make searching images on Google simpler and more informative.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/google-updates-its-image-search/?ref=technology