iPad apps are our flagship newspaper products, says News Corp’s James Murdoch

James Murdoch highlights the revenue potential but also the risks of iPad apps, in an interview at the Monaco Media Forum: “Our flagship newspaper products are now the iPad apps,” Murdoch said, and they pose a greater risk. “The problem with the apps is they’re much more directly cannabilistic of the core print product than the web site.” He added, “People interact more. They don’t dip in and out. The key is to get the advertising yields” to be the same. Combine that with the lower production costs, and the business model for apps could be highly attractive.

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Expensive, long-form journalism can be a hit online

Simplistic preductions about journalism and the internet are futile, and there’s evidence that good quality (more expensive), long-form writing attracts more hits online, says John Naughton in The Observer:

‘”Ah, yes,” say the sceptics, “but where’s the business model to support such expensive writing?” And here’s an interesting development. The online magazine Slate decided to allocate resources to encourage some journalists to produce long, long pieces – for example Tim Noah’s analysis of why there hasn’t been another 9/11-type attack. These pieces have attracted astonishing levels of reader attention, with page views in the 3-4 million range. And the editor of the New York Times magazine has made the same discovery. “Contrary to conventional wisdom,” he says, “it’s our longest pieces that attract the most online traffic.”‘

Article: Good journalism will thrive, whatever the format | Technology | The Observer

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Providing the information you didn’t know you wanted — Google CEO Eric Schmidt on newspapers, monetisation and the semantic web

Snippets from a Wall Street Journal interview with Schmidt:

Says Mr. Schmidt, a generation of powerful handheld devices is just around the corner that will be adept at surprising you with information that you didn’t know you wanted to know. “The thing that makes newspapers so fundamentally fascinating—that serendipity—can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically,” Mr. Schmidt says.[…]

On one thing, however, Google is willing to bet: “The only way the problem [of insufficient revenue for news gathering] is going to be solved is by increasing monetization, and the only way I know of to increase monetization is through targeted ads. That’s our business.”[…]

“As you go from the search box [to the next phase of Google], you really want to go from syntax to semantics, from what you typed to what you meant. And that’s basically the role of [Artificial Intelligence]. I think we will be the world leader in that for a long time.”

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Three fallacies of newspaper thinking (and how paywalls cracked…)

Three fallacies of newspapers’ assumptions about online content, highlighted by a discussion of paywalls etc, summarised by William Owen of Made by Many:

1) the internet is free because of a mix of habit and a spurious moral right, and that if you can change habits and challenge morality we’ll go back to paying for content.

2) a newspaper’s competition is other newspapers.

3) nothing else changes, content is still just the end product of the publishing process.

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BusinessWeek sinks $16m on social media project

Sounds like a spectacularly large spend for a social networking site, even for a large publishing company. Makes me wonder if there's more to be told. From Brand Republic:

"As the bid deadline for ailing BusinessWeek magazine approaches the McGraw-Hill title is revealed to have spent $16m on creating its social networking site, which is generating little cash.

BusinessWeek launched its social networking venture Business Exchange in 2007. By 2008 it had spent $16m on the site, which is estimated by the New York Time to have generated just $600,000 in revenues."

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Print is still king: Only 3 percent of newspaper reading happens online » Nieman Journalism Lab

Martin Langeveld does some estimates to get to this three percent figure and concludes:

"So whether you look at page views or time spent reading, only around 3 percent of newspaper reading happens online. I’ve made a few estimates along the way to reach that conclusion, but only a drastic and unwarranted change in my few guestimates would change that result signficantly.

Is it any wonder then, that online revenue is stuck at less than 10 percent of the print revenue? Given the online share of audience attention, 10 percent looks high, actually."

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Jeff Jarvis: History in the making the LA Times's online ads hit target | Media | The Guardian

Jeff Jarvis heralds the prospect of major papers going online-only as online revenue makes the grade:

” …the editor of the Los Angeles Times, Russ Stanton, said the paper’s online advertising revenue is now sufficient to cover the Times’s entire editorial payroll, print and online. “Given where we were five years ago, I don’t think anyone thought that would ever happen,” he said in email. “But that day is here.” The same day has arrived for at least one more major US newspaper. What this tells me is that we are on the cusp of the moment when online revenue could sustain a substantial digital journalistic enterprise without the onerous cost of printing and distribution. Hallelujah.

There are caveats aplenty…”

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Talking hyperlocal, ultralocal workshop at mashup* — Ultra Local Voice: communities, communicating

Hyperlocal publisher William Perrin on the paradoxes of local news, particularly the challenge — impossibility? — of making it pay, at least without drawing heavily on volunteers, UGC, citizen journalism etc:
“…it is hard to see how solo ultralocal or hyperlocal sites can support a paid member of staff (at the very lowest £25k inc overheads).  So unless new sources of funding arise, a conventional paid for journalist model looks unlikely at an ultralocal level.  The only way to gather hyperlocal news for an industrial era news model is by tapping into a volunteer base to write news for you.”

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Paid-for-free papers: the mirage of the hybrid models | Monday Note

More than 56% of the IHT's circulation is free, says, Frédéric Filloux (Schibsted), analysing the free/hybrid model and some key questions it raises:

"How to reach a bigger chunk of high value audiences using the same technique?  “Than can be summed up in one idea”, says Bruno Patino, former CEO of Le Monde Interactive, who likes to pitch the concept of paid-for-free newspapers: “The audience I do want, as a publisher, gets the paper for free; the rest have to pay for it”. […]
"The hybrid model bumps against two limits, though. The first one is the fit of the product to the target audience(s). […] The second limit is the social approach of the news business."

Read more here [link]