The Media Minute 05.13.2020

The writing has been on the wall for years. The decline of display advertising has been well documented in this publication and others. CPM rates for ads have fallen at the same time ad viewability has been called into question. Rather than sit back and wait for the walls to potentially come crashing down around them.

There’s more competition than ever before: literally hundreds of millions of publishers, brands, and individuals are creating and amplifying content in attempts to earn attention. Simultaneously, the content bar has been massively raised: what stood out from the crowd in 2010 would be lucky to get 1/10th the attention 10 years later.

The media industry is mostly in dire straits, particularly those dependent on advertising revenue. A media company that hasn’t rolled out pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs in this period is an exception to the norm. Despite many publishers recording record traffic and viewing figures, the supply and demand economics of the ad market means ad prices have dropped and revenue has plunged.

The coronavirus pandemic has magnified the financial difficulties for many local publications, and it’s not too early to consider their longer-term marketing strategies for when the health crisis subsides. Government bailouts can provide an emergency lifeline, but the industry will emerge much stronger by developing a mix of diverse sources of revenue.

The Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire. A David taking on Goliath. Any way you want to put it, the new ecommerce site Bookshop has attracted a lot of attention for challenging Amazon on its original turf. (What, did you forget Amazon launched as “Earth’s biggest bookstore”?)

Content has always been king for news publishers, but with print readership declining, publishers have had to think creatively with how to reach readers who are moving over to different platforms. Whether it’s through TikTok, podcasts or videos, media companies are experimenting with various ways to entertain and engage with consumers.

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The Media Minute 05.05.2020

Marketing leaders around the world are struggling to strategize around the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially top of mind is how to reach and engage your audience. Email might seem like the best option right now. After all, email is a channel your audience trusts, and it lets you maintain consistent voice while reaching people instantly.

The global spread of COVID-19 has had a damaging effect on many publishing businesses. However, “subscription businesses are proving to be resilient,” according to an analysis of over 700 subscription-based companies by Zuora, the publisher of The Subscription Economy Index.

The coronavirus content surge happened across all formats, including video on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, where publishers saw a surge in viewerships in March for virus-related videos. Now, that viewer interest is tapering off, and publishers are inching back to more of their regular programming mix.

Publishers that are planning to reopen their offices as cities and states begin to ease pandemic lockdowns face numerous decisions about how to safeguard workers. As long as the coronavirus is a significant health threat, publishers must determine how to adapt almost every part of their operations.

By the end of 2020, the total number of Facebook users is expected to reach an all-time high of nearly 1.7 billion people around the world. That’s a lot of eyeballs. It’s also a lot of pressure when you have a business and are trying to figure out a strategy for optimizing your tactics for targeting ads efficiently and effectively.

Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain and owner of USA Today and 260 other daily publications, announced it was implementing pay cuts and furloughs across the company as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close and local advertising to plummet.

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The Media Minute 04.28.2020

Faced with shrinking ad revenue during COVID-19, magazine publishers are being forced to ask tough questions about their upcoming print issues. Some are scaling back circulation or frequency to cut costs, while others are suspending print runs altogether. In most cases, they’re taking a second look at their digital editions.

With the end in sight for third party cookies following Google’s bombshell announcement in January, first party data is set to become the dominant currency in the digital ad market. Publishers are in a unique position to take advantage of this, with direct reader relationships.

Bayer’s in-house agency is changing where the company’s digital advertising shows up, adding more retail media channels to the media mix, after seeing consumer behavior shift to online shopping in mid-March and all throughout April.

There is more evidence that readers have lost interest in news about the coronavirus pandemic, which appears to have peaked in mid-March. The shift signals that publishers should consider highlighting other kinds of content with web traffic likely to remain elevated until the end of lockdowns.

Curating an effective email list for your company is a lot like creating a playlist of songs for a party. It takes time, consideration,and awareness of who you’re trying to connect with. You don’t make your friends listen to a bunch of random songs in an attempt to get their attention.Instead, you hand-pick tunes that you know will get the crowd excited.

As many local newspapers are scaling back or no longer publishing, some hyperlocal news and digital companies are making a profit. One of the more successful has been Patch. Patch covers such localized information as car accidents, criminal activity, store openings, real estate news, weather or school board information.

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The Media Minute 04.21.2020

There are no easy, one-size-fits-all answers to how magazines can survive COVID-19 and the resulting recession. But asking the right questions can help you navigate your magazine through these rough waters.

68% of consumers say they’re searching for coronavirus updates on the internet – making it the biggest online activity, according to latest research by GlobalWebIndex. The company has been studying consumers’ media consumption habits in the current pandemic.

Called Source Local, the product allows readers to browse businesses in a local market offering gift cards. The businesses are sorted in alphabetical order. Nearly 10,000 businesses across the U.S. have added themselves to Source Local since Gannett first launched the product last month, and it has drawn over 1 million pageviews.

Publishers fret they are losing revenue from their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic when media buyers block online ads from appearing next to those stories. Yet much of that content can be considered brand-safe, according to a study that suggests news publishers are being unfairly punished for keeping readers informed about the crisis.

Curating an effective email list for your company is a lot like creating a playlist of songs for a party. It takes time, consideration,and awareness of who you’re trying to connect with. You don’t make your friends listen to a bunch of random songs in an attempt to get their attention.Instead, you hand-pick tunes that you know will get the crowd excited.

It turns out if you’re a journalist, Muck Rack is a handy little website filled with a few useful tools intended to help reporters monitor the news and quantify the impact of their reporting. Not surprisingly, it was Poynter’s digital tools guru Ren LaForme that got me to stop and notice what the site had to offer.

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The Media Minute 04.14.2020

This is part of a series of articles showcasing publisher responses to COVID-19. If you’d like to share what your publishing business is doing to serve audiences and maintain business, please reply to our callout for industry input.

A vast majority (96%) of consumers read, watch or listen to media content (including news) for almost 24 hours a week, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. What’s more, “almost 60% have gone through some form of registration process to consume news or entertainment – either free or paid.”

With commuting on hold and everybody Zooming all the time, podcast consumption has taken a bit of a hit as listeners look for new ways to fit shows into their daily routines. Last month, the analytics firm Chartable released research suggesting that podcast downloads were 10% lower on March 25 than they were on February 26.

Of the 2.8 million online pages containing COVID-19 related keywords across GumGum’s publisher network, 62% were considered brand safe, according to a study by the artificial intelligence company and its content classification and brand safety platform, Verity.

We’ve all been there. Standing in line for a cup of overpriced coffee, reluctantly deciding to click on the little envelope icon on our smartphones because we know exactly what’s coming: a flood of emails with everything from sales on shoes from a store you barely remember visiting to deals on yoga classes that never seem to stop coming in after you innocently attended a studio’s free week trial.

As is the case with any successful business, it’s one for all and all for one. Yet based on my experience in both newspaper publishing and commercial printing, I’ve often questioned the fair distribution of expenses across these two divisions.

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The Media Minute 04.07.2020

Attention and eyeballs go to the legitimate publishers who have invested so much in talent and infrastructure that allows them to do original and researched reporting, as opposed to aggregating other news sites or relying on user-generated content. Publishers are seeing a marked increase in engagement.

Echobox, a social media platform for publishers, tracked more than 2.3M stories shared to social media by 700 leading publishers, in more than 50 countries, through most of the first quarter of the year. The company looked at how many of those mentioned the words “corona” or “covid” in the shared messages.

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith said it’s seeing Asia open up again and the beginnings of more activity happening there. One major international news brand is expecting to sign three contracts last week from three of the biggest countries in China and the immediate area.

Digital magazine service Readly reports that as people spend more time at home to deter the spread of the COVID-19 virus, readers are increasingly turning to the Home & Renovation, Gardening, Comics and Kids categories on its app.

As COVID-19 stealthily continues to make its way around, many people have taken precautionary actions, like stocking up on disinfectant products and even washing their hands, to avoid getting sick.

In an era where print advertising revenue continues to decline rapidly and the lion’s share of digital advertising dollars are sucked up by Google and Facebook, it’s more important than ever for news organizations to focus on developing as many revenue streams as possible.

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The Media Minute 03.31.2020

“Isolated Connectivity” was the first thing that came to mind when I heard that story. Folks today feel we are so connected, yet we are more isolated than ever before.

It’s become a mantra of sorts, one of those terms we use without really giving it a lot of thought. In my world view, I have some trusted industry thought leaders I turn to again and again, including Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni.

Publishers on Monday began to make cuts to their businesses to control operating costs, with many following the lead of BuzzFeed and enacting an assortment of pay cuts and benefits reductions that do not — for now — cut deeply into staff.

The U.S. government’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package may help some ailing publishers, especially small businesses that face the biggest financial threat from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their bigger concern will be how quickly the economy bounces back from the public-health crisis that likely has caused a deep recession.

Publisher Abrams launched a new #HELPABOOKSELLER fundraising challenge campaign to benefit BINC (Book Industry Charitable Foundation), looking to raise more than $100,ooo to help booksellers in need. Ceo Michael Jacobs says in the announcement..

It’s all thanks to the Post and Courier, the robust, family-owned newspaper that can trace its roots back to 1803. It’s not exactly the type of publication you’d expect to be a hotbed of successful innovation, but as they say, “Don’t judge a broadsheet by its cover.”

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The Media Minute 03.24.2020

The coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty in a very short period of time. Many companies have decided to cut their marketing budgets as a result. On the one hand, this is a prudent financial decision to protect cash flows.

Popular content analytics platform Chartbeat has reported that the number of pageviews across its network was up 33% last week compared to the same time last year, according to Recode. The amount of time spent actively scrolling, clicking, and reading articles was also up 30% during the same period.

Reader worry – and work from home policies – are driving a surge in news consumption about the coronavirus, with pageviews up 30% year over year, according to Parsely data. Publishers also face pressure to move their stories about the virus in front of their paywalls, stunting a key area of revenue growth.

Brands increased their email volume following President Trump’s European travel ban announcement on March 11. But that doesn’t mean consumers were converting, judging by research conducted by email service provider MessageGears.

Recent start-up Bookshop.org has received a significant lift in recent weeks, as a number of independent bookstores have enrolled with them to create an online storefront quickly and easily. And the organization gives a lift to ABA member stores as well — stores that sign on as affiliates get 25 percent of any sales they generate.

As newspapers have struggled with the decline of advertising revenue from retail, auto, real estate and recruitment, many have leaned on preprints, legal advertising and obituaries for stability.

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The Media Minute 03.18.2020

With more people living in Europe than in the U.S. and Canada combined, there’s a massive knowledge pool among European publishers that many North American media companies have yet to access. In fact, publishers in North America face many of the same challenges that European media companies deal with and, in some cases, have already overcome.

Publishers are now trying out different strategies to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing situation and continue serving their readers, as well as wrestle new opportunities out of this global calamity. Many publishers have admirably risen up to the occasion to take the challenge head-on.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s 2020 NewFronts moved to streaming-only presentations, several media companies have canceled their upfronts and industry conferences, such as SXSW and Collision, have been postponed or gone digital.

Following that order, the area’s most prominent paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, published a note to readers reaffirming its commitment to journalism through the coronavirus outbreak and the steps its taking to make that possible.

Along with the significant shutdown of the nation’s public libraries, independent booksellers are joining the call for social distancing and closing on a temporary basis, at least to the public, with many stores continuing to process shipments and/or make deliveries.

Along with the significant shutdown of the nation’s public libraries, independent booksellers are joining the call for social distancing and closing on a temporary basis, at least to the public, with many stores continuing to process shipments and/or make deliveries.

Cutting costs in our operations has long been the fallback for many companies. As painful as this strategy is the approach seems to show immediate savings and despite of ourselves, we always seem to find a way to get the work done through one means or another.

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The Media Minute 03.10.2020

The age of the Internet re-wrote all the old rules, making it necessary for publishers to adapt quickly. Ever since then, publishers have had to get used to new trends arriving every couple of years – from e-books to social media to video to audio – and pivoting to stay afloat.

As publishers grow more sophisticated with their reader revenue strategies, one trend in its early stages is the introduction of group calls and meetups as a benefit for subscribers or members. Here, we look at how three publishers have found value in subscriber and member-only calls and meetings, not just for their audience, but as a vehicle for sourcing new stories and connecting with potential new readers.

Hearst has recently taken incremental steps towards digital reader revenue. But Hearst Magazines’ first membership product, Runner’s World+, will act as a blueprint for Hearst’s other enthusiast publications moving into reader revenue.

President Trump’s re-election campaign this week filed its second libel lawsuit within a six-day period against a newspaper, taking a more aggressive stance against the news media the president once described as an “enemy of the people.

With more and more companies asking employees to work remote amid the coronavirus outbreak, we compiled some tips to help keep business running as usual from home.

  • None of the video advertisers who were notified about Facebook’s proposed $40 million class-action settlement over inflated video metrics have objected to the deal, class counsel says in papers filed Friday.
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