Category Archives: News Corporation

NY Times’ David Carr Pitch to ‘Occupy Newsrooms’ Spurs Comment Frenzy

New York Times media critic David Carr has struck a populist nerve with his latest column.  In his Monday “Media Equation” piece, Carr admonished Gannett, the massive print and broadcast media chain, for an editorial from its own USA Today about the Occupy Wall Street protests. In the editorial, the newspaper decried the Wall Street bonus system, listing it as one of the good reasons for the weeks-long protests.

Carr found this a bit hypocritical. “If you were looking for bonus excess despite miserable operations, the best recent example I can think of is Gannett, which owns USA Today,” he wrote. Thousands of readers were incensed by the column — in a good way. Some 235 people commented on it, many reacting with the same disgust Carr expressed. “I have always been mystified by the rarified ranks of the uber-execs who command these kinds of salaries in any industry. It seems to be some kind of club like Skull & Bones that once you are admitted, you are set for life,” Richard Williamson of Dallas wrote. “it’s disgusting watching these failures award themselves millions for destroying tens of thousands of lives,” Linda from Brooklyn wrote. “but it does speak to the overwhelming corruption of american corporate ‘governance.'” Other media critics, like the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade, chimed in as well: The ever-readable New York Times media commentator David Carr has contrasted what a newspaper says with what its publisher does.”

Carr, who has turned into a media star himself over the past couple of years, is no stranger to going after corporate excess or malpractice – whether he’s exposing the “bankrupt culture’ at Tribune or a history of ethical lapses at News Corp. properties. The problem at Gannett, he argued, is that while the company’s stock price continues to tank and workers lose their jobs, recently departed CEO Craig A. Dubow netted $37 million upon announcing his resignation. And that’s on top of the sky-high salary he has been earning. Yet if most agreed with Carr wholeheartedly, other readers seemed to think he picked the wrong target – keep the focus on Wall Street! Still others felt this was nothing revelatory, that this is rather obvious. And, of course, some had proposals for new targets to occupy. Occupy Wall Street! Occupy Newsrooms! Occupy Everything

http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/ny-times-david-carr-spurs-tirades-against-corporate-greed-32140

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/

GNM’s Brooks: Times to keep 10% of readers would be ‘breathtakingly successful’

Publishers looking to paywalls, mobile or the iPad to singularly replace lost print revenues are set to be disappointed, according to Guardian News & Media’s Tim Brooks.

“There is no silver bullet,” warned the 52-year-old managing director who is, like the rest of the industry, following News International’s paywall experiment with great interest. But, he believes, unlike this week’s reports that claimed The Times retained two-thirds of its online traffic, actual readership is likely to settle at a fraction of that.

Brooks said: “We did our own calculations around paywalls in the early part of last year and the indications we’ve had is that the assumptions we put into our model are actually similar to the assumptions that they’re working on.” Prior to erecting the paywall, John Witherow, editor of The Times, appeared to be under no illusions when he admitted it could cost the brand more than 90% of its audience. But Brooks said “to keep 10% would be astronomically brilliant”. He explained: “If you think about click-through rates and you think about conversion rates on click-through rates, and that’s what marketing people are used to dealing with, and then you multiply that by an order of magnitude for the fact that you’ve got a strong brand like The Times. 10% would be breathtakingly successful.”

GNM’s leader has tried to avoid being drawn on the actual number he believes his rival is looking at, but goes on to use the example of evaluating the loss of 95% of readership. Brooks suggested the Murdochs have a more ambitious strategy in mind than generating online subscriptions and pointed to James Murdoch’s MacTaggart Lecture last summer, in which he stated his belief that there’s only one media market now. e also mentioned News Corp’s move to buy the 61% of BSkyB it does not currently own as soon as David Cameron came to power. He said: “You can see a picture that they may be painting of the future where they have a sort of ‘walled garden’ of Sky / News [Corp] wholly-owned content offerings, including their newspapers.”

 The Guardian remains open to paywalls

For his part, Brooks remains decidedly pragmatic about the possibilities around paywalls. Unlike The Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, there’s no talk of Rupert Murdoch “sleep walking to oblivion” or philosophical musings about the “democratisation of the web”. For Brooks, the equation just doesn’t currently fit with GNM’s goal. He said: “We looked at the difference it will make to our net revenues, and we looked at the loss of over 90% of our audience for the gain of a very small percentage of additional revenue.

 “For News [International], journalism is a means to an end, and the end is profit. For us it’s different, journalism is our end. “It’s not a means to anything… and you would need very powerful journalism arguments for us to close our journalism off from 95% of people who are accessing it currently.” Interestingly, this altruism does not appear to extend to GNM’s other outlets, including the newspaper itself or its iPhone app, which achieved more than 100,000 downloads in its first 10 weeks and, at a cost of £2.39, raked in more than £240,000.

 Brooks reasoned it is because of the open nature of the web: “You have to think about the nature of the platform that you’re trading on. So if you think about newspapers, typically, it is a closed platform. “That is one reason why we felt confident about charging for our iPhone app, the habit of paying for things through iTunes is an established habit.”  But those who believe that the Guardian is somehow a devout champion of an open, free internet should take note. If expectations were to shift, GNM’s leader has no qualms in changing direction.

 Noting Google’s trialling of “newspass”, a system that promises micro-payments as well as long-term subscriptions through a friction-free paywall, Brooks admitted: “If the ecology of the system changes, we’ll change our behaviour. We’re not King Canutes here. “We just believe at the moment, people don’t expect to pay for things on the web, by and large won’t pay for things on the web, and we’re not a big enough animal to change people’s behaviour.”

 http://www.brandrepublic.com/bulletin/brandrepublicnewsbulletin/article/1017422/gnms-brooks-times-keep-10-readers-breathtakingly-successful/

Clay Shirky: ‘Paywall will underperform – the numbers don’t add up’

His predictions for the fate of print media organisations have proved unnervingly accurate; 2009 would be a bloodbath for newspapers, he warned – and so it came to pass. Dozens of American newspapers closed last year, while several others, such as the Christian Science Monitor, moved their entire operation online. The business model of the traditional print newspaper, according to Shirky, is doomed; the monopoly on news it has enjoyed ever since the invention of the printing press has become an industrial dodo. Rupert Murdoch has just begun charging for online access to the Times – and Shirky is confident the experiment will fail.

“Everyone’s waiting to see what will happen with the paywall – it’s the big question. But I think it will underperform. On a purely financial calculation, I don’t think the numbers add up.” But then, interestingly, he goes on, “Here’s what worries me about the paywall. When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they’re critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn’t want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jul/05/clay-shirky-internet-television-newspapers

Editorial Comment

If Murdoch wants to turn The Times Online into a wierd version of a paid for subscription only news sheet let him. The Times (aka Thunderer) made its name bringing the news to the masses, telling people news it was scared to hear but needed to know (Russell in the Crimean War) (George Steer’s report of the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War) (Robert Fisk’s reports on brutality in Northern Ireland in the 80’s) – some of the last centuries greatest work. However, as Murdoch said himself “I did not come all this way not to interfere” (ref: John Simpson ‘Unreliable Sources’ p502 Macmillan Press) – and he is doing it again. How can The Thunderer ever set the news agenda of the nation (and the world) if it is only ever read by a small fee paying elite? If it wants to make tips on the stock market then fine, sell & charge for it online. If it wants to be relevant to Britain it needs to speak to everyone

News Corp buys e-reader company Skiff

News Corp branched into the digital reader market with the acquisition of Skiff, a Hearst-backed company that helps distribute newspaper and magazine content to e-readers and other devices. News Corp also said on Monday it made an investment in Journalism Online, a company that helps publishers reap revenue from online news. The financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. News Corp’s latest investments underscore the company’s seriousness about charging for online news and delivering content on various devices. The deal for Skiff includes only the software distribution platform and does not include its e-reader device, which has not yet gone on sale to the public. The market for devices has become increasingly crowded, with competition from the likes of Amazon’s Kindle, Sony Corp Reader, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iPad tablet. Through Skiff, News Corp is hoping to be better positioned to distribute its content not only to the crowded field of e-readers but also to smartphones and netbooks. Journalism Online offers to help publishers charge for content in a variety of ways, including subscriptions and micropayments to access individual articles

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE65D4WB20100614

U.S. – Fox News launches social media-centric website

Fox News has soft-launched a website, Fox News Insider, with a social media focus. The site, which as at www.Foxnewsinsider.com, is being constantly updated with reports from Fox News Channel, as well as info on FNC programming like “The O’Reilly Factor”. Users can sign into the site with their Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! or MySpace accounts, allowing them to comment on or share stories. There is also a dedicated Twitter account @foxnewsinsider, which is feeding updates from the site directly to users Twitter feeds. The site also features a “live wall” where users can post comments about what is happening on Fox News, as well as a Twitter tracker, which aggregates the tweets from FNC correspondents and shows. Other features include a daily poll and an “open question” which asks users what they think about an issue of the day. The site is a very fan-friendly move for FNC, with embeddable video, deep social media integration and a user-friendly layout and structure. For Fox News fans that are stuck at work during the day, the site can serve as a way to get the latest news from the network straight to their desks. The site seems to have come together pretty quickly, as the domain was purchased by News Corp. on May 24

http://www.mediabistro.com/webnewser/foxnewscom/fox_news_launches_social_mediacentric_website_163975.asp

The new Times and Sunday Times go live – paywall means see all or see nothing – no aliases on the comment section either

The new websites of The Times and Sunday Times went live Tuesday for a free trial period ahead of the adoption of an all-or-nothing paywall. The sites will be free to view to those who register for around a month, after which all content except the homepages will go behind a paywall, rendering it invisible to search engines. This paywall big bang is far more ambitious than existing paywalls at titles such as the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal which allow limited free access and let casual browsers to view articles via search engines like Google. In another radical departure, the sites will only allow subscribers to comment under their real names. Those wishing to comment anonymously will have to make a case to editorial staff for doing so. For the Sunday Times it will be the first time the title has had a standalone website. Around 35 additional staff have been taken on to produce thesundaytimes.co.uk, which is more visual and magazine-like than thetimes.co.uk – that site more closely resembles the print edition. This week’s launches will mark the first step in News Corporation proprietor Rupert Murdoch’s bid to charge for content across all his newspaper titles. The Sun and News of the World are set to follow later this year.

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=45494&c=1