Groping the way forward on digital mags

Good, long, detailed and thoughtful article in the Report on Business yesterday (Feb. 26) about the wary struggle between digital media and MSM to come to some sort of mutually profitable reconciliation. Apple has a program in which it slices off 30 per cent of the magazine subscription to download it through iTunes to its tablet. Meanwhile, other tablet producers like Google and RIM my come out with their own system of monetizing with the mags. Biggest issue thought is that Apple wants to keep the subscriber data (age, income, purchasing preferences) to itself and not share with the mags. The mags meed that detailed info to sell ads and persuade advertisers that their messages reach their potential customers’ eyeballs. Both sides very wary now, knowing this is not a good deal, but hoping to find their way forward. Reminds me of the early days of movies, when Edison patented a camera and demanded a piece of the action from every movies made with it. The producers had a more novel solution; they moved from New York to some place called Hollywood far from the eastern lawyers. Wonder if either side on this dispute will come up with a lateral solution like that.

Report on Business, Feb. 26 22011

Journal/Peladeau settle two year lockout

Locked out in Jan. 2009 by Quebecor, journalists at the Journal de Montreal finally settled a deal last night (Feb. 26) that will see 61 keep their job, out of 253 locked out. The rest get severance. So, once again a mogul decides to cut costs by cutting staff in a newspaper newsroom. Admittedly, the union had a good contract, which is what unions are supposed to do. Still, here’s another example of a wealthy corporation, buoyed by cable monopolies, cutting costs for the sake of costcutting instead of worrying about the journalistic quality of the product they’re producing. Well, guess it’s not for nothing that Peladeau bought the Sun chain, which is losing readers dramatically as its understaffed newsrooms recycle QMI stories instead of create their own.

Montreal Gazette, Feb. 27 20111

CEP challenges Postmedia investors

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union has formally challenged Postmedia’s 92 per cent foreign ownership, citing 500 job losses and the potential of closures (though the closure of the National Post would be welcomed in each newsroom of the Postmedia dailies, which support the 13 year money pit.) CEP sent a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore, using the net benefit argument that killed the Potash takeover and threatens the TSX “merger”.  What effect this will have on the feds is dubious; they like the National Post’s neoconservative editorial line, and don’t have a consistent practice when it comes to foreign ownership. Still, nice to see someone standing up for Canadian ownership of a chain that was built and properly managed till the Aspers bought it and ran it into bankruptcy.

Digital Journal/CNW, Feb. 25 2011

End of civilization as we know it is nigh

Well, it seems to be true: Swiss Chalet is trying to get a license to have a tv channel that just shows its rotisserie chickens roasting, 24/7. What next? GM showing its cars in a showroom? Who pays for this? How bored do you have to be to subscribe to this channel. I thought a 24 hour fishing channel was insane. Maybe its just a joke, or a good attempt by Swiss Chalet to engender lots of earned media. How much does Swiss Chalet pay the carriers to have it bundled into a package, forcing chicken down our throats?

Globe and Mail, Feb. 23 2011

Top ten brands in social media

Social Media Reputation, which I’ve never heard of  (but they’ve probably never heard of me) has put out a list of the top ten brands in social media. I’m not entirely sure about their methodology, as I’m not sure about a lot of quantification of the value of social media, but it’s worth a look.

PR Daily, Feb. 21 2011

Egyptian uprising boosts Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera English saw its North American numbers rise dramatically as it pushed its advantage of covering Arab/Muslim issues to the rest of the world. Too bad hardly anyone gets it or wants to get it. The only other broadcaster providing a nonWestern view of the world is APTN News, which takes an aboriginal perspective on stuff. Whether its US news, BBC, Agence France Presse or whatever, it’s still western.

Toronto Star, Feb. 15 2011


Future trends in media for 2011

Nieman Journalism Lab put on a talk in Toronto on eight coming trends in journalism this year. Interesting, but predicting future trends in media is like predicting the future of democracy in Egypt. Anyway, some interesting ideas, though it’s too bad hiring more reporters isn’t one of them.

NiemanJournalism, Feb. 14 2011