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.

CIQ Headlines for January 24, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Can Online Save Print— (Editor & Publisher) One of the most important articles we’ve seen recently. The problem for traditional print: An online customer brings in $5-10 in revenue. A traditional print reader brings in $1000. Online’s efficiency plus years of bloat in print ad dollars are adding up to a witch’s brew where no one is the winner.

Politicians Circumvent Big Media— (Boston Globe) Everyone in commerce loves a bottleneck. Take a wedding– you have to spend money in a short amount of time with a deadline. For media, elections are like a wedding, bringing big windfalls. Will online video take some of the gravy away from the networks. A Boston Globe columnist says, “Circumvention by tech-savvy politicians is one of many ongoing predicaments that will begin altering big media’s value proposition and economics during the next several years”

Agencies Owning Content?– (Ad Age) Some agencies (Crispin Porter) are moving away from a clock-punching model. And to the extent that they create content, they want to share in the ownership.

CIQ Headlines for January 23, 2007

CIQ Headlines

Big Agency Makes Seemingly Reluctant Digital Investment–(Financial Times) Publicis is nearing the completion of its Digitas acquisition. Yet, Maurice Levy, Publicis chief is quoted saying, “Due to the sheer number of people going through Google or Yahoo every day, they are having to take an almost mathematical approach to advertising. That is great for them, but what you lose is the human touch.” The agency, FT notes, may have a hard time getting the kind of margins on web as they do on print and TV. Our CIQ viewpoint: So sorry boys; the times they are a-changing.

New Chief for Conde Net Teen Site— (Media Post) CondeNet’s new teen site for girls, Flip, has a named a chief. The 20-year print veteran will head the new social networking site. CIQ’s take: Conde Net is right to dive into this space, trying to make it both authentic to teens and worthwhile to advertisers. But make sure you have someone who understands digital first. If that part doesn’t work, it won’t matter if advertisers are happy.

VC Investment Hit $25B in US in 2006— (FT, registration required) Consumer internet was one of thet top categories. Also covered in the Financial Times: European investment in internet startups is up. CIQ perspective: Let’s get it right this time. In 2000 and 2001 we hated to see great content ventures, which otherwise might have had a future, go under because the funding was pulled.