WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Thu - 23.10.2014


business model

Woo Hee Chang believes she has the solution to a troubling paradox at the heart of the online news industry. As journalist Tyler Falk discusses in an article (in French) for business and technology website, smartplanet.fr, media businesses want their content to go viral and, of course, they want to monetise it, but more and more have made their content largely inaccessible by putting up paywalls. Some choose to keep a minority of their articles freely accessible, whilst others choose to provide a title and short summary for every article.

But blocking content to non-paying customers, seen now as a financial necessity for many newspapers such as the New York Times, can lead to the "stagnation" of a newspaper's readership. When a paper starts charging for content, many potential new readers steer clear, especially in the case of a brand new publication which has no established reputation or faithful readership willing to pay for continued access to trusted content. This paywall strategy constitutes a "wall" in the very literal sense of the word – it erects a barrier between the newspaper and its potential audience.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-18 17:37

Almost two-thirds of visits to Tamedia’s largest online news site 20min.ch originate from a mobile device, said Gabriele Ottino, the Swiss company’s project manager for business development. The paper has lost traffic on its desktop site, and Ottino believes that “we are in the midst of a total shift.”

In the UK, 45 percent of traffic to the Guardian’s site now comes from mobile, up from a quarter at the beginning of 2012, said Anthony Sullivan, group product manager at the Guardian. At certain times of day, such as early mornings, traffic from mobile has already passed the 50 percent mark, and he thinks that within the next 12 months this will be the case overall. The fastest growth is on tablets, he said. Alex Kozloff, head of mobile at the UK Internet Advertising Bureau, noted that 32 percent of all page views in the UK now come from mobile devices.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-04-16 13:11

The Financial Times is adopting a digital first approach, as detailed yesterday in a memo from editor-in-chief Lionel Barber to staff, published in the Guardian. “We need to ensure that we are serving a digital platform first, and a newspaper second,” Barber wrote, inspired by a visit to Silicon Valley last year which, for him, “confirmed the speed of change.”

The memo focused on the importance of proactively adapting to the new digital age, at a time when 25% of the FT’s online traffic now comes from mobile. The FT will be launching new digital products and services, Barber said, such as a new Weekend FT app and “Fast FT” for markets.

A key aspect of the changes is reducing the cost of producing a newspaper and subsequently increasing investments online. Some resources will be shifted from print to digital, and journalists will be trained “to operate to the best of their abilities,” Barber wrote. The paper is about to launch a voluntary redundancy scheme in an attempt to reduce costs by £1.6m this year. It plans to lose 35 of its current staff, while introducing 10 more digital jobs.

“We need to become content editors rather than page editors,” he said, emphasizing this essential change in mindset, while calling for all to “think harder about a more dynamic and inter-active form of FT journalism beyond the printed word.” It will be a "big cultural shift," he believes.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-01-22 19:28

How to restructure newsroom operations and create sustainable business models for the digital age are priorities for newsrooms around the world. In advance of a webinar on Wednesday, 16 January, media analyst Ken Doctor offered some advice to newsrooms facing multiple challenges on what to areas to invest in and focus on, and how to make readers pay for your content.

WAN-IFRA: There used to a rough formula/rule-of-thumb (at least for many US newsrooms), that you had one journalist for every 1,000 copies of circulation. Do you think there’s a new formula? Or are things changing too fast to be able to calculate an equivalent today?

Doctor: Just as the old business model has broken down, so has the newsroom math that used to accompany it. Smarter companies actually have increased the percentage of their overall spending in the two areas that matter most for the future: news content-creating capacity and advertising sales. The last five years have seen unparalleled cost-cutting, beginning with the great frightsizing of 2008-2009. So we’ve seen cuts across the boards and while we’ve seen some appropriate Big Iron - presses, pre-production and trucking -  cuts, newsrooms have lost much capacity.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-01-15 09:56

Success for a news organisation in today's highly-competitive, highly-digital news landscape is increasingly dependent not only on having top quality content but also in presenting this to audiences in the most effective way - in the most compelling format, via the right device, at the right time. Raju Narisetti, head of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, and former managing editor of The Washington Post, is well aware of this. (The network includes WSJ.com, MarketWatch.com, the language editions of WSJ.com, WSJLive Video platforms, and WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks.)

Ahead of a webinar on Wednesday, 16 January, which will feature a range of participants discussing the newsroom of the future, we asked Narisetti a few questions about the role of metrics and other top concerns for editors and newsroom managers today.

WAN-IFRA: How significant a role do metrics/analytics play in your day-to-day job?

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-01-14 13:13

The Economist, the shining star among weekly news magazines, sells more than 1.5m print copies but fully expects this figure to decline, said Tom Standage, the publication’s digital editor in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) Q&A session on Reddit. So far print circulation hasn’t started to fall, even as digital-only subscriptions grow, “but it will,” Standage asserts.

“The important thing for us is to deliver distinctive content that readers will pay for; whether it's on paper or a screen, or in audio format, is not really the point,” Standage said. “Our aim is to deliver our content in whatever form our readers want it; we are not wedded to print.”

So far, The Economist has 150,000 digital-only subscribers, and a total of 600,000 people use the paper’s mobile apps each week. Seventeen per cent of traffic comes from mobile, and The Economist is “retooling” its site to make it more mobile-friendly, Standage wrote, mentioning that “we will be doing some slightly more daring stuff shortly.”

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-01-10 19:48

Over the last couple of days probably the biggest story among the news media commentators has been Andrew Sullivan’s decision to leave The Daily Beast and take his blog The Dish independent. Early stories reported that he had made the decision, then that he had raised $100,000 in less than 24 hours, then $333,000 and now, barely more than 48 hours after the announcement, he and his team have received more than $400,000 in advance subscription payments. This is still well before the actual switch to the new blog, which is due to take place in February.

Sullivan’s decision to shun advertising and the support of a big media company and revert to “the purest, simplest model for online journalism: you, us, and a meter,” has struck many with its directness. “As we debated and discussed that unknowable future,” Sullivan wrote, describing how he and his team made this choice, “we felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism.”

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-01-04 20:14

The Washington Post is the latest US paper that is reportedly planning an online paywall in the upcoming year. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Washington-based daily will introduce a metered payment model in the summer of 2013 or later. This comes as the paper tackles a steep decline in its core business of print advertising, the Journal notes.

A Washington Post article adds that “Access to the home page and section fronts would not be limited,” and that home subscribers to the print edition would have full access to the paper’s website and other digital products.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-12-07 19:10

Flash quiz: what is the highest-circulation English-language newspaper in the world?

(Hint: Rupert Murdoch doesn’t own it.)

The correct answer, as you are likely aware, is the Times of India, which has a circulation of 4.3 million, and reaches an average of 7.64 million readers with each issue.

While money may not exactly be growing on trees in the news industry these days, the 174-year-old title, published by family-owned media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman & Company (B.C.C.L.), is planted in fertile soil: it is the most widely read English-language daily in a country where newspaper circulation is rising by 8 percent per year overall, and 1.5 percent per year for English-language newspapers.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-10-23 09:28

Journalism is undergoing the most profound changes since Gutenberg’s printing press, said Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, a paper which has seen significant digital growth and now has a digital audience close to 15 times larger than its print one.

Now anyone can publish, and we must not fight that trend, rather, we must face up to it and establish what we as journalists can do better, he said. Rusbridger was speaking at the Paris-based Sciences Po university on 7 September.

“What is journalism? What is the difference between what these people can produce and what we can?”

Many journalists are reluctant to consider contributions from readers or bloggers as serious competition, Rusbridger said, but it is dangerous to be in denial about how the publishing world is changing, he stressed. It is not just individuals who are contributing to the media landscape: from NGOs to supermarkets, from opera houses to TV stations – all are becoming online media suppliers.

The power of a media organisation is to be able to harness the intelligence of the web: you can tap into this by being part of the web, rather than just on the web, he said. “You can be more powerful if instead of ignoring other people, you bring them into what you're doing,” he continued.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-09-10 18:49

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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