NNN Perspectives

Telling a good story is great for branding according to IAB

July 24th, 2014

A whopping two-thirds of online news users said that they were more open to digital advertising that is based on telling a story rather than selling a product/service according to a study released by the IAB.  This form of sponsored content which blends organically with surrounding journalism has been gaining traction across publishers in recent months. Moreover, the native ads are better received if they appear on a site that the consumer already trusts.

Entertainment and business sites had extremely positive responses to native ads with 45 and 44 percent respectively stating they “enhanced the overall value of the Web site experience.” News titles have a tougher sell with approximately 1 in 4 people, or 27% agreeing that the sponsored content enhanced their experience.  Nevertheless, native advertising is the way of the future for established advertiser brands as the storytelling helps their message resonate with audiences.

To read more about the study, read on here.

The smart newsrack is the latest asset in new media

July 15th, 2014

Start-up software developer RedPost, in partnership with Shurz Communications is encouraging publishers to reach new readers through “smart newsracks” located at local gas stations and in the front of stores.

This innovative rack features a digital sign that is updated daily; in real time, the monitor highlights news and ads in that day’s paper. Twitter and news feeds complement communications as a feed on the bottom of the screen. The goal is to turn the occasional single copy buyer into a regular consumer by focusing ads and local news to attract the under 45 reader.

Early metrics are strong. Data is collected through RedPost’s software that measures proximity to the smartrack. Customers have to stand in front of the newsrack for more than two minutes to count.  Concurrently, the rack counts how many smartphones are within Wi-Fi range.

“Our first Sunday, we sold 25% more papers,” RedPost chief executive officer and the rack’s co-inventor Eric Kanagy said. “Our second week, it was 38%.”

For publishers, this could be a great opportunity to grow advertising and single copy sales revenue streams. As this test continues, the next step will be to roll out more racks at high traffic locations. Kanagy hopes to launch 100 racks this year as well as attract national advertisers.

To learn more about this growing trend, read here.

Gannett knows what advertisers want from media partners

July 2nd, 2014

Gannett recently asked over a 1,000 decision makers in small to medium sized businesses to reflect on what they look for in a media company.  Their responses mirror what we all want from partners: great experiences, accountability, simplicity, thoroughness and competency.

The top five insights garnered from the research are:

1)      Create a world-class experience. Be armed with an arsenal of creative, strategic sales tools. By applying best practices and making sure efforts are collaborative (between media, marketing and sales) your media company will outshine competition.

2)  Streamline pricing strategies.  Pricing needs to be simple across all platforms.  Communicate value and ROI at all levels of commitment.  Make it seamless for advertisers. Period.

3)  Change the way you talk about audiences. The key is engagement.  Metrics need to extend beyond reach numbers into a story that is compelling for our targets whether they are shoppers, civic/business leaders, moms, trendsetters, the influencers for our brand.

4) Improve training; cultivate expertise. Distinguish your team. Consider digital certification programs to spur competitive spirit and to help the staff become true experts. This will give us confidence that you know what you are selling.

5) Be accountable for our ROI. Customer results and customer loyalty are keys to success, so take it seriously. Create some formal guidelines for measuring success to give us confidence of your commitment to us as a customer, and not just a one- off opportunity.

For more about what the advertiser wants from their media company, read here.

Newspaper trends worldwide show an increasing multiplatform audience

June 20th, 2014

The World Press Trends survey released this week divulged some very interesting statistics about the state of newspaper media worldwide. Print and digital combined are seeing an increase in audience numbers, but digital revenues are not keeping pace. Although digital revenue for newspapers has increased 11% in 2014 and 47% over 5 years, it is still a small part of overall internet ad dollars. However, there is much the industry can do to push onward and Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA states “..the role that newspapers play in society cannot be underestimated…and that finding sustainable business models for digital news media…not only important for your business… but for the future health of debate in democratic society.”

Something to note in the print realm is that although single copy newspaper sales have fallen 26% since 2008, subscription sales have only fallen 8%, indicating high loyalty and stronger customer relationships with subscribers.  Kilman continues to point out that “there is a growing understanding by the public that you get what you pay for, an increasing willingness to pay for newspaper content…what they have offered for 400 years…and continue to offer, on emerging and existing platforms, no matter how delivered…”

It is essential for the newspaper industry to continue to keep readers loyal and to pass on the tradition to new readers in this digital age. Adaptation will be key to survival, but never forgetting where they came from, a place of ethics and journalistic integrity.

To read more trends on worldwide newspapers, check out the article here.

Downtown Detroit gains a major agency and an influx of 600 employees

May 29th, 2014

When the Mayor is part of your press conference to announce changes to your business, you know it’s significant to the whole town. Campbell Ewalds decision to move from the suburbs into the warehouse pace in Ford Field in the city of Detroit has turned heads. The 102 year agency is injecting the area with creative energy, an established business and a strong contribution to the revitalization of downtown Detroit.

Campbell Ewald is excited about the future of advertising in the motor city. CEO Bill Ludwig states: “It’s tough times like these when Detroit is at its best. I want to be a part of that creative energy.”  What’s exciting to us in the newspaper industry is that the ceiling in the lobby is made out of old newspaper boiler plates like this one from the Chicago Tribune. Very cool.

To read more about the expansion of the advertising industry with Campbell Ewald, read here.

Newspaper Boiler Plates at the Chicago Tribune

Mad Men Prefer Newspapers

May 16th, 2014

While some people will argue that Mad Men is one of the most important television shows of all time, it’s hard to deny that it is at least the most influential drama to represent the world of advertising. It’s accurate portrayal of the industry is so strong that each week you will be hard pressed to find any trade publication that doesn’t regularly reference or recap campaigns from the real life drama of Madison Ave. It’s in that spirit that AdWeek recently spent some time with actor Harry Hamlin who stars on Mad Men as account man Jim Cutler.

The biggest take away from the exchange is the revelation that newspapers are his favorite destination for not just news but general information. There’s a sense of discovery to newspapers that makes each page turn its own individual content adventure. At the NNN we regularly talk about how newspapers are part of our daily diet. There we find content beyond news that makes the life we lead richer, more complete and rewarding. In that sense newspaper brands walk with us throughout our day and our consumption cycle moves across platforms as well as screens. To borrow a term from television, newspapers offer the ultimate “appointment viewing”. Based upon this interview, we think Harry Hamlin agrees.

An excerpt from the interview:

“What’s the first information you consume in the morning?”

I am really old school. The first thing I do is read the Los Angeles Times. It’s an actual newspaper that gets delivered by a guy, and I’ve got to pad down to the front of the house to get it. It’s just like you saw in the old TV shows like Ozzie and Harriett.

“Why do you read the paper in print?”

“You know, there’s just something about wanting to go from section to section. There could be a surprise. By the time I get the newspaper in the morning, I already know all the regular news, so what I look for in the newspaper are human-interest stories and scientific stories that you would not see in a normal news broadcast.”

For the entire interview click here.

This is a content revolution for us all

May 12th, 2014

Content marketing is blurring the lines between advertising and publishing across all media.    Here are a few insights that I gathered from a breakfast panel presented by AWNY speaking to this “content revolution” last week. The panel included power players from every facet of the media spectrum from editors at major publishers to VPs of international brands like BMW and JPMorgan.

When establishing a content marketing strategy, there was consensus on the steps to take to execute a successful campaign:

1)      Form the strategy. In order to develop the best possible plan, pool your resources. During the ideation stage, gather your experts in the company with SEO, social, digital, research and marketing.  Putting together a team is when the ‘eureka!’ moments happen and creativity is stirred.

2)      Establish your messaging. As Stacey Warwick from JPMorgan Chase said “Talk to the brand like they are a publisher.”  Instead of traditional advertising, your message comes through the environment you are creating for your user experience. Whether it is a microsite, a twitter news feed or a blog, the goal is to encourage engagement and creating a conversation with your brand as the centerpiece. Utilize engineers with technical know-how to make the experience streamlined and user friendly.

3)      Content creation and curation is the heart of the campaign. The balance of building your own content from the ground up and utilizing existing content is crucial. The goal is to generate an enriching, quality experience that feels authentic.

4)      Choose the best distribution channels. This is crucial to a successful content campaign. Understand the difference between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Every channel has a different purpose when communicating your message and driving engagement.

5)      Assess ROI. Choosing the right KPIs to determine if the campaign was successful can be tricky. Take risks, but plan, plan and then plan some more. Sometimes finding out what doesn’t work can be as beneficial as to finding out what does.

With content marketing, media plans are becoming more evolved and complex. But with an original and stimulating experience, you can enhance your media mix and even create new brands within the content channels you launch. Welcome to an exciting and emerging trend in the world of advertising.

Internet news is going video

April 23rd, 2014

A notable 36% of adults – watch news online, according to the annual State of the Media Report from Pew Research. And that number is rising. Not surprisingly, the sheer number of younger viewers supersedes older demographics. While no one can debate it’s great that Americans are consuming news stories online; it’s interesting to unravel what sort of ‘news’ are people watching?

Like TV, not all online video is created equal and news outlets are adapting to cast a wider net to expand their current audience while continuing on their journalistic legacy. Carrying the torch forward many media companies are creating original online video content to reinforce and supplement their branded media.

In a recent report from Video Now, leading papers including The Washington Post , The Seattle Times , The Detroit Free Press , and The Chicago Sun Times have their own producers, editors, and reporters involved in proprietary video production. Interestingly, these papers consider themselves to be in a state of investment and development and are not looking to monetize this new business yet. They are simply trying to figure out the best way to roll out video on a large scale.

There are many questions posed by this fresh method of consuming news. Is the passivity of a viewer/reader made up for by the video content being embedded in related text and surrounded by relevant links to cater and engage the viewer/reader? Is this how newspapers want to communicate their stories?

There is certainly a role for online video produced by digital newspapers; it’s just a question of how far down the camera lens they want to appear.  For more on rise of internet video news, read here.

Pulitzer Prize winner leads team in a mobile newsroom tour de force

April 2nd, 2014

The continuously transforming company that is the New York Times has added another product to its portfolio of news and information:  NYTNow. The iphone/i-touch only app is available starting today and looks to increase the NYT brands market share of Millennials on mobile devices.   A major feature that sets NYTNow apart from other Times digital properties is its curation of news from outside sources, chosen by the news team with the goal of being interesting and digestible.  Serving up 30-40 articles per day which are succinctly prepped for the NYTNow generation, the morning and evening ‘briefings’ function as quickly consumed content.

I downloaded the app today and it was extremely sleek and user-friendly, with a mobile responsiveness that makes swiping from story to story seamless. I could read the daily briefing in a couple minutes or delve deeper into the full articles. The ability to save stories to read later or to share via text, email or social was also incredibly easy.  Not to fluff it too much, but the NYTNow experience felt vanguard, intuitive and still enriching with quality content, certainly a cut above any other summary style news app I’ve encountered.

The user can access 10 articles for FREE/month; they will have to subscribe to the app to satiate their appetite for more full articles.  With a combination of Times edit and curated external content, the Times team is seeking the app worthy $8 price tag/month. In a sea of free and 99 cent apps, some critics are skeptical, but the Times stands by its decision, backed by months of research and focus groups. “No one else doing news apps right now has that same level of experience, talent, and editing know-how…[the audience is] IS going to delight in the presentation and in the fact that we’ve really developed a strong sense of what the mobile reader wants…they believe in the New York Times and trust that we’re there.”

I’m eager to see the Times’ new vision pave the way for the industry, this time pioneering a new mobile newsroom for my generation.

Read what digital news leader Buzzfeed is saying about the app.

Boston’s newspaper websites are getting makeovers

February 27th, 2014

When The Boston Globe Company divided its site to Bostonglobe.com and Boston.com back in 2011, it was a bold move. But in a time where strategies like the need to create engaging content while concurrently distinguishing your site amongst millions of others are both major goals for publishers, The Boston Globe decided the split was a clever way to visually and socially appeal to its community while also housing premier content behind a paywall of its print publication, The Boston Globe.

Fast forward 3 years and both sites are alive and continuing to innovate to push forward in the marketplace.  Bostonglobe.com is moving to a metered model paywall in order to reel in readers with a certain number of free stories per month before having to pay.  This change in the paywall model strategy can most likely be attributed to last year’s purchase of the Globe from The New York Times Company by Redsox Owner John Henry who assumed the role to work for “a cause worth fighting for.”

Boston.com is undergoing a much more substantial change; it’s seeking a new identity.  Henry wants it to be “a phone-first website” that is completely independent of the Globe. It will broaden its scope to incorporate user-generated and flash-written content of Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. With the surge of mobile users, Henry envisions this site to be the mobile destination for Bostonians.

Henry believes The Globes journalism to be strong, in fact, irreplaceable – but George Brock, the head of the journalism department at City University London recently reminded him it’s time to “not ask his people to innovate. They need to experiment. Turn the Globe into a giant laboratory for journalism.”

Read more about the variables and controls being matriculated in “the lab of BostonGlobe.com and Boston.com” here.