NNN Perspectives

Hearst is enhancing premiere brands with a formation of new digital development group

September 24th, 2014

One of our publisher partners, Hearst, announced last week the exciting news that they have formed a Silicon Valley digital product development group working to propel growth in their premium brands. Hearst already has one of the largest digital media consumer footprints with over 200 million uniques worldwide including large daily papers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union.

The new product development group will be producing multi-screen digital media offerings along with mobile enhancements.  Philip Wiser, the chief technology officer states regarding the new division: “Hearst has a mission to advance our technical capabilities with a particular focus on the development of highly engaging multi-screen experiences… and now (we) intend to supercharge our mobile efforts.”

Large publishers like Hearst are taking advantage of their vast resources to pave the way with the most cutting edge UX engineering to ensure success as “mobile media madness” accelerates forward for advertisers, consumers and publishers alike.

To read more about the core team, check the newsroom release here.

Newspaper loyalty spans across platforms

September 18th, 2014

Although everyone knows the absorption of mobile is on the rise many don’t realize that dedication to the print newspaper medium remains strong. A survey conducted by The Reynolds Journalism Institute found that about 1 in 3 people (30%) who subscribed to a printed newspaper in Q1 of 2013 still had their subscription in Q1 of 2014.

The attachment of print subscribers was evident when asking about their main source of local and national/international news. Among subscribers, 23 percent selected newspapers as their main source for national/international news and an impressive 42 percent for local.

Concurrently, 49% of boomers used their smartphones or tablets during the week to read the newspaper prior to the survey.  What is particularly interesting is that most of the growth in mobile media usage by both subscribers and non subscribers was among A55 or older.

A couple more highlights from the study include:

  • Subscribers across all ages were more likely to pay for subscriptions to mobile news content. Among newspaper subscribers, 11 % overall said they paid for mobile content, non-subscribers only 5%.
  • Subscribers who used mobile news apps were much more likely than non subscribers to use mobile apps branded by newspapers.

The loyalty of a newspaper reader hasn’t changed much over the years, although the medium itself certainly has.  For more details on the results behind the survey, check this out.

NJ Advance Media is the latest newsplatform innovation from NJ.com

September 12th, 2014

Photographers and videographers that populate NJ.com are now part of a new company NJ Advance Media whose singular mission is to expand and improve the news and information products available to New Jerseyans. This restructure  recognizes that a robust newsplatform requires full-time reporters, columnists and photojournalists who will work across the Garden State to bring its residents the most in depth coverage of the local market. Content will appear on NJ.com and in the Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s most popular news and information outlets. NJ Advance Media will support NJ.com’s aggressive growth having received more than 13 million unique visitors in August.

To learn more about the launch, read here.

Don’t underestimate the Power of Print

September 4th, 2014

In a world jumbled by such a myriad of options that it could make one’s head spin, print proves to be  a valuable platform for reaching consumers.  The survey “How America Shops & Spends” executed by the Newspaper Association of America interviewed 1,527 adults in the month of May and found that most – 79% – take action as a result of reading or seeing an ad in a print newspaper. “The power of newspapers print ads to drive consumer to action is clear,” the NAA writes in their report.

High impact poster sized ad units can speak volumes to the consumer instead of getting lost in the clicks online.

Other key findings of the “How America Shops & Spends” include:

  • Eight in 10 (79%) of adults have taken action as a result of reading or seeing an ad in a print newspaper in the past 30 days.
  • Newspaper media, combining the print newspaper and newspaper websites, are used by 57% of adults in the past seven days for shopping planning and purchase decisions.
  • Four in 10 adults have taken an action online as a result of reading or seeing an ad in a print newspaper in the past 30 days.

Read more about the newspaper industries latest findings here

Newspaper E-Editions are the next evolutionary step for news consumption

August 28th, 2014

Looking to create a profitable digital product, many publishers are looking at a dynamic reader experience in the next level of e-editions. By combining the best aspects of print and web products, these “live” e-editions will offer a consumer-friendly product. Gone will be the days of exact replicas of the newspaper.

Several CMS (Content Management System) vendors and digital platform providers are coming out of the woodwork to get these products in market. The challenge is to turn the profit from pennies into real dollars. “You’re not going to replace those customers in ad revenue with just a website,” says Erlend Viddal, CEO of the cloud-based CMS and e-edition player Libercus. “You still need an editorially produced product. We think that there should be a middle ground there.”

So far, a few national and major market papers have experimented with mixed and weak results. USA Today reported 121K “Digital replica” subscribers, while the New York Post reported 1,559 and The Wall Street Journal zero.

However, the CMS vendors are optimistic about the potential of both the ad and content sides of the next generation e-edition. For advertisers, clickable ads allow users to go to the campaign’s site.  Video could include a pre or post-roll ad.  With ads that are entirely trackable like web but with the interface that looks like the print product, the engagement results are promising. Further tactics include developing targeted ad delivery systems based on profile data or geo-targeting.

The editorial aspect offers up a product that doesn’t have the clutter of a website, yet includes many of the same features: search and share functions, polls, interactive games and crossword puzzles. Another player in the e-edition arena, TownNews is building their e-editions on a Blox CMS which allows editors to incorporate any asset on the page, whether text, video, photo, HTML or related links, giving the user a seamless replica experience in real-time.

So this all sounds like the papers can have their cake and eat it too, so why haven’t more jumped on the bandwagon?

The leading and pretty much only reason is of course, the revenue stream this would cause, or better said, lack thereof. “The circulation manager may say, ‘Oh my God, I’ll never sell another print edition if we have this,’” Marcus Wilson, CEO of newspaper CMS purveyor TownNews says, “so we may have an anchor dragging.”

Of course, to pave the way for change is a challenge and definitely a risk, but also necessary to survive in the world, in media and overall. The providers must sell publishers on the potential for not only change, but growth, with new business – perhaps readers out lives outside the delivery area, or a new market of more technologically adept readers that prefers to read the paper, but on a tablet.

With many CMS providers coming to the table, it is obvious something exciting is brewing for the future of the print paper and the time is coming as quickly as the technology is advancing.

For more details on some of the CMS providers, check out the recent article from NetNewsCheck.

Newspaper trends worldwide show an increasing multiplatform audience

August 11th, 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.

Chicago Tribune launches a fully responsive website

August 4th, 2014

Responsive design is at the forefront multi-platform website priorities, especially for  in-depth article coverage like that offered by the Chicago Tribune. The fully responsive experience–which intuitively tailors content based on device–is designed to help audiences discover news and information in the most entertaining, empowering way possible.

Tony Hunter, CEO of Chicago Tribune Media Group, notes that the new technology will deliver a more intuitive and enjoyable experience for readers: “We built the new experience from the ground up to give readers more of what they value most–premium content–and we designed it to facilitate dynamic discovery across all devices.”

Like the Chicago Tribune, more sites are going with a mobile-first design, which is visually striking and less cluttered than desktop-first layouts. Moreover, time based content strategically aligns reader engagement patterns with what matters most to visitors throughout the day. This ‘endless scroll’ technology allows for one piece of content to flow to the next, anchored by a row of thumbnails that automatically transport readers to related coverage or other sections.

The new design allows advertisers more flexibility in placement as the verticals and distribution channels feature expanded content. Audience engagement will be enhanced with this richer, more targeted experience.

To read more about the details of the new site, read here.

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.