So, if the Postmedia group is showing the wrong way to do business, the revamped Globe and Mail is showing the right way. After about a year or so into its new format, circulation is up, higher than other dailies. The reason? Simply because the Globe has adapted its content, giving up the day to day stuff well covered by the 24 hour news channels and the web, except in such major things as Jack Layton’s death, and focusing more on commentary, background and features. It provides a double spread daily providing good depth (and great design) on a major issue and it has columns throughout. In short, it’s adopted the sports model of coverage. Since Joe Fan knows the score already, he doesn’t pick up the paper looking for a game report; he looks for the commentary and background to give the game report some greater meaning. So it is for news, now. The net gives us the day to day stuff, updated regularly. The printed page gives us something deeper and different from the net. A great combination; beats the convergence model all to hell.
Steve Jobs is getting the kind of adulation that Bill Gates can only dream of. Anyway, in all the chat with his unfortunate demise, some comments from him on the importance of mainstream media versus the blogosphere, and of an intervening force between brain and keyboard:
Traditional media remains vital.
“I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I think we need editorial oversight now more than ever. Anything we can do to help newspapers find new ways of expression that will help them get paid, I am all for.”
[D8 conference, via All Things Digital, June 2010]
Notwithstanding certain elements of public opinion that views “lame” mainstream media as overwhelmingly dead, defunct, decease and demised, a recent UBC poll shows that in fact newspaper, television, online news and radio news are all more trusted than any other news source. That’s probably why these “old” technologies continue to exist, if not thrive, despite the digital revolution. Young people continue to have higher levels of trust in social media, but even they still put the dinosaurs of technology at the top of the trusted list. I suspect a simple reason is that professional reporters have higher standards of what and how to report than does bloggerworld, where all opinion is unfiltered, unchallenged and so forth.
A new survey by the Canadian Media Research Consortium shows that only four per cent of Canadians want to pay for accessing media on the web, and 81 per cent said they wouldn’t. Given the New York Times gambit, and that a bunch of people have already figured out how to get around their paywall, makes you wonder if this is ever going to work. Too early to tell what this means for Canadian media, most of whom are trying to monetize news by other media. Wonder why no one has thought of giving free web access to subscribers of newspapers/magazine, and charging everyone else a web access fee?
Globe and Mail March 30 2011
It took some time, and no doubt more thought, but the New York Times has finally figured out a fairly sophisticated way to charge for web content, essentially charging heavier users while letting casual users continue to access content free. Basically, we’ve got 20 chances a month to access any aspect of their web site — stories, crosswords, recipes, streaming videos, interviews etc. — before a fee kicks in. Also, they are not charging for secondary referral to their sites, from Google searches say. The extremists on both ends will howl — either all free or all pay — but I think it’s a reasoned, thoughtful way to balance access with costs of producing content. Aristotelian, in fact.
journalism.co.uk, March 17 2011
The Guardian newspaper is one of the leading digital newspapers in the world. How did they do it? By stop thinking of themselves as traditional print journalists and pushing the new technologies as far as possible. And by stop giving orders to reporters on how to use the new media, and letting them find out for themselves how the new media can be used to expand and build on the old.
J-source, March 8, 2011
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