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Press Mentions

  • Ad Age/Nat Ives: It's Back: 25 MORE Media People You Should Follow on Twitter
    25 media types worth following on Twitter.
  • Ad Age: Why So Many Media Companies Stumble Globally
    The few news brands that have succeeded, to greater or lesser degrees, arguably include CNN, Bloomberg, People, Thomson Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times and The Economist. Other contenders are the Associated Press, the BBC, ABC, NBC, maybe CBS, National Public Radio, News Corp. and the top U.K. dailies, said Ken Doctor, the newspaper veteran who's now an analyst at Outsell. "If a news-media organization sees itself as covering the wider world, sees it as its foundation, that in and of itself differentiates it from all the local media -- newspapers, TV, radio -- out there," he said. "If, in addition, it has substantial reporting and editing resources, then it can play. The tough part is the part we're in: Who wins the race to ubiquity and can make it pay off?"
  • NYT: If The Globe Were Sold, What Price?
    “The best guesstimate of the real price: a buck. The best of an announced price: between $50 and $100 million,” he wrote in an e-mail message. The devil will be in the details of the obligations that a buyer would assume, he said, adding that “a buck essentially represents a gentleman’s agreement: I take a liability, headache and a distraction off your hands.” He said that the Times Company could hang on to some pension liabilities or other obligations in exchange for a higher purchase price, a number that would give the appearance that it was getting something for the more than $1 billion it paid 16 years ago. He added that no bank would be interested in financing a deal given how other deals have blown up, so “the owner’s own money is immediately at risk.”
  • Economist: It isn’t just newspapers: much of the established news industry is being blown away. Yet news is thriving
    Ken Doctor of Outsell, a research firm, reckons that the Kindle appeals to baby-boomers who would otherwise read a paper magazine or newspaper. The young prefer their iPhones and their aggregators. Indeed, the top four magazines on Kindle, according to Amazon’s website, are the New Yorker, Newsweek, Time and Reader’s Digest. Not much of a youth market there.
  • Forbes: San Diego News Shoot-Out
    "The Union-Tribune is cratering. That opens a hole in the market and the opportunity for some unconventional business models."
  • Journal Sentinel faces daunting choices
    “There’s no strategy – this is panic. What we’re likely to see this year (around the country) and what we’ll see in Milwaukee too is (publishers asking) how much they need to cut back and how much they can do to still hold their place in the market. For publishers, it’s about ‘How do we stay alive and stay profitable until we can get to some sort of breathing period?’ (Economic) recovery will not bring back their old business, but it will give them some breathing room.”
  • AP: Threat to shut Boston Globe shows no paper is saf
    The threat to close the paper "sends a very clear message to all employees and unions of surviving newspapers — that this is not business as usual. This is uncharted territory....Newspapers all "have a sword over their heads," said Doctor. If the industry wants to survive, he said, "everyone has to give some blood."
  • Guardian: Seattle mourns the last day of its venerable Post Intelligencer
    "There's a lot less reporting happening, on a national scale. For the 1,500 or so daily newspapers, it's just a matter of getting smaller and smaller."
  • Seattle Times: Seattle's oldest newspaper goes to press for the final time
    "They're bringing the full force of their national relationships and content to bear on Seattle. They [Hearst] could sustain this experiment indefinitely. If it makes a million or loses a million, that's nothing to a company like Hearst."
  • AP: Hearst hopes Web-only Seattle P-I will turn profit
    "It [online-only PI] definitely can make money. They have a head start in terms of the brand and (Web) traffic. They have to run like hell to create a new identity."

What's On My Netvibes

  • Steve Goldstein
    Fellow KR alumnus Steve Goldstein understands the research/info needs of end-use enterprise customers, and he's built a company that is helping satisfy them.
  • Peter Krasilovsky
    Centered on e-commerce of all kinds from Yellow Pages through classifieds and new ad models.
  • Mark Potts
    Mark Potts is an experienced journalist, observer of Internet journalism and an alumnus of the Backfence experiment.
  • John Blossom
    Thoughtful views on a wide-ranging mix of media change.
  • Jay Rosen
    Jay Rosen is a provocateur in the best sense, an NYU journalism professor deeply committed to keeping the press accountable and vibrant in the digital age.
  • David Meerman Scott
    David Scott understands web marketing of digital content. Check out his site and his new book, "Cashing In With Content"
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« In Real Estate Sell-Off, Newspaper Symbols Slip Away | Main | Belo Buys Some Time for Its Papers »

September 18, 2007


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Bill Densmore

There's a middle ground:


Look, everybody, here's the business model:

Integrate Google AdWords into all but the hardest news (wars, famine).

Here's what the NYT would call "the backstory":

I dropped my subscription to the print daily not long ago (but kept the Sunday sub -- which gave me free access to TimesSelect). One Sunday, I was reading a food piece in the print edition of the Magazine. When I went online to find it a day or two later, I noticed that the only hyperlink in the piece was to Al Gore (don't ask what he was doing in a piece on leeks!). The link took you to NYT news articles on Gore. Really dumb.

So here's my proposal: How about letting advertisers buy relevant text links EMBEDDED in the articles. If the article is about scallions, let Gourmet Garage sponsor that link. And signal to the user that it's an ad link by using a different color (green, maybe) or a double underline like Vibrant Media uses (but DON'T use annoying popups, just let it be an unobstrusive link).

I know the editorial side will scream bloody murder -- just like they did about the very profitable advertorials I produced for years at New York Magazine. So let's not use the "ad links" in the hardest news stories about war and famine. That leaves, like, 75% of the lighter content -- including auto, fashion, travel... big money ad categories.

We maintain the same ad/edit wall that exists in print (where even The New Yorker runs advertorials). We tell the reporters: "Ignore the ads; just keep doing the great impartial journalism you've been doing. We'll take care of the business."


True. But ultimately, who pays for the $300 million the Times spends each year on its news budget? Certainly there is no indication that online advertising comes anywhere near to generating the kind of revenue that would pay that bill among others, not now and not in the foreseeable future. I keep looking for a cogent answer.

Glenn Fleishman

A couple of thoughts on this great commentary.

First, seems like the Times created this awesome pent-up demand. Won't a flood of readers run through the doors when the paid padlocks are removed tonight? It seems like by making the Select content more special, they now have a huge audience that has been set up to believe that it's more valuable than it was, even though it's now free.

Second, is the Times still reaping huge rewards from Lexis Nexis and Factiva? My local library gives me full access at no cost (except my tax dollars) to many huge newspaper and periodical databases, and do many libraries around the country. Students no longer pay for these services while at school. The Times had made available its TimesSelect to something like 500,000 people at academic institutions by their own numbers.

I would suspect that those that subscribe to Lexis and Factiva will continue to do so because of the sheer value of the collection and its paring down ability, and that most of the subscriptions are likely sold at a corporate level. The Times has less negotiating power, but if they can move the paid database queries to Web-ad sporting pages, they may recoup more than the lost revenue. And they have to have a plan: that money wasn't going to keep coming in forever.

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