CIQ Headlines for January 31, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Newspapers Must Reinvent Themselves–(Hollywood Reporter) More ink on the fact that, in order to survive, newspapers must reincarnate in a meaningful digital way. CIQ: This will take time, money and brains. There will likely be pain and casualties along the way. Newspapers need bright digital minds on staff.

Snickers Site Extends Bowl Ad–(Ad Week) The microsite will provide alternate endings to the TV commercial. CIQ: Focusing the UCG energy is a great idea.

Online Advertising is Up, Site Development Soaks Up Dollars– (Media Post) Fascinating stat that’s rarely seen. 58% of all “online advertising” is actually spent on marketers’ own web sites. CIQ: Publishers must do more to offer creative ideas, including microsites. In other CIQ material we have covered that advertisers and agencies are more and more getting into the business of publishing content, effectively competing with publishers.

CIQ Headlines for January 30, 2007

CIQ Headlines

P&G Says No to 30-Second Spot— (Media Post) The CPG giant will be placing ads at the Oscar web site instead. CIQ: Old media death throes.

Will the Digital Era Change Writing— (WSJ, subscription required) The columnist notes the iPod-caused dissolution of the album and wonders will the same thing happen to books. CIQ: This editorial, plus the many responses to it, seems to miss the point, in our opinion. The question to ask is will a new written/spoken form emerge just for the iPod?

Media M&A Deals at 6-Year High— (BtoB) The largest number of acquisitions in publishing, information, and training companies since 2000. CIQ: How do we build a sustainable model and avoid what happened in 2001?

CIQ Headlines for January 29, 2007

CIQ Headlines

You Tube to Pay Users–(Media Post) You Tube announced over the weekend that it will share a portion of the ad revenue it ears on popular videos with the user who posted the video. CIQ: A step towards democratizing content and monetizing the long tail.

Old Media Optimistic — (Financial Times) In Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, the moguls of Old Media sound hopeful. Says Bob Wright, chairman of NBC Universal, the company plans to place “small bets” on new media initiatives and start-ups. CIQ: We see reminders of the dot-com heyday. Maybe this time around we can all keep our heads.

Eat Food, Not Too Much –(New York Times Magazine) A fascinating article about the ascendance of “nutritionism”– eating manufactured food filled with “nutrients” instead of the plain old stuff your great-grandmother would recognize as food. The culprit: corporations and politicians working collaborating for the profit of the food industry. CIQ: From cancer information to cell-phone video of Baghdad, the democratization of content has the potential disrupt long standing power structures.

CIQ Headlines for January 25, 2007

CIQ Headlines

SMS Novel–(Mercury News) A novel told in about 1,000 text messages was released in Finland. “The Last Messages” tells the story of a fictitious information-technology executive in Finland who resigns from his job and travels throughout Europe and India, keeping in touch with his friends and relatives only through text messages. CIQ: We wish we could read Finnish. A shorter version of this would be great for teens. A Da Vinci-code-type narrative in text-messages.

Magazines Can’t Get Rate Hikes— (Media Life) With pressure from the internet, magazines are not in the bargaining position they used to be. Says one megazine executive, “We aren’t just a magazine company anymore. We’re a promotions company, an internet company, a lot of different things. We go beyond the platitude of being a marketing partner, with events, online, in-store promotions, custom publishing. We are bringing things to the table that help make the discussion of rates moot.” CIQ: This states the ideal vision. Can traditional print companies make this kind of shift fast enough.

More Marketers are Using Branded Games— (New York Times) A great solve to the much debated quesiton, “Should online content be free or by subscription?” Weatherbug has tried the model where you could pay, or choose your advertiser. Now game sites are doing the same thing. Choose your advertiser or pony up for the premium. CIQ: This works best if you can provide enough advertisers. I might be really excited to receive advertising from Dove or Jcrew. Cialis, not so much.

When Is $3 Billion Really $800 Million? Ask the New York Times

CIQ Headlines

What if the New York Times, roughly a $3 billion business, became and $800 million business?

That is the question posed earlier this year at a small event I went to by a guy I thought was wacko. It’s now being asked by Editor and Publisher in an article today. So, I recalled the meeting.

I attened an IAB event where Michael Wolff spoke. He is the author of Burn Rate had just come out with a new book Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures With the Titans, Poseurs, and Money Guys Who Mastered and Messed Up Big Media. He outlined the scenario above in a way that took all our breaths away. First, he described the junkets Vanity Fair would sent him on. First class $10,000 tickets to London. Suites at the Claridges. Yes, he was smug, but he was also talking in the self-deprecating tones of a man who knows his world is ending. He also described the money spent, by Vanity Fair, the New York Times and others, to keep reporters around the world, in places like Afghanistan and Bagdad.

The New York Times, he said, makes roughly $3 billion in its print circulation. Let’s advance the clock. Print circulation continues to decline. More and more people read online. Maybe they even read on new electronic devices. As people move to electronic media and away from print, online CPMs climb. But how high? Wolf, on a white pad, sketched out a substantial rise in online CPMs. Squeak, squeak, squeak went the marker. At the same time, advertising becomes more measureable, he postulated. The old saw “half your dollars are wasted, you just don’t know which half” goes away, taking out the bloat. His conclusion: In a forseeable scenario, one that is neither too rosy, nor too dim, if a substatial part of the New York Times’ business transitioned to online, the company would end up as an $800 million business, down from $3 billion. Does that, he asked, pay for reporters in Bagdad?

“The internet is subsidized by the old media business, but it is in the process of putting old media out of business,” Wolfe concluded.

It’s a scary picture, one all the best minds in media and content need to work on. And perhaps, those enjoying the bloat need to be more honest with their customers, before the whole house of cards collapses around us.