Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Audience Measurement: For Users or Advertisers?

Measuring media use and exposure has always been problematic, but vital.  From a measurement perspective, there are three main issues involved in considering the accuracy of measures: imprecision, reliability, and validity.

Measuring media us is vital to advertisers that base the value of purchased time or space in terms of its reach.  And thus also vital to media outlets who depend on advertising for some or all of its revenues.  And the need for good, reliable and valid measures is critical in a world of expanding competition, both within and among traditional and emerging newer media outlets, and increasing fractionating and targeting of media audiences.

Historically, the need for some audience use measures prompted the development of multiple systems of media use measures based on sampling (a full census has been too expensive). Sampling theory tells us that there will always be some imprecision in media use measures based on samples - and even higher levels of imprecision if the sample isn't perfectly random. Deviation from perfectly random samples brings to the measure the added potential of sampling bias, which can skew numbers.  Reliability is more of an issue of consistency, and can be improved by standardizing both the sampling and measurement procedures over time, or using more accurate means of collecting data (as in the use of a meter instead of relying on recall).  But the most problematic has always been the issue of validity - whether the measure is actually measuring what it is supposed to. 

The issue of validity has always been at the heart of audience measures, and is tied to the question of just what is the purpose of the measure.  Broadcast ratings are a good illustration of the issue.  Ratings are supposed to measure the size of the audience consuming broadcast programming, the number watching or listening to a particular signal at a particular time.  But their stated purpose is to indicate the size (and make-up) of the audience exposed to advertising sports inserted into the program.  But the measures are based on whether an audience member was watching or listening to a certain proportion of a broadcast program during a specified period of time, and not whether they were exposed to a specific advertising slot.  When an audience member's only access to a program was through a specific channel at a specific time, the discrepancy of the two goals (audience for program & audience for ad) is likely to be fairly small.  Moreover, it was viewed as being largely consistent - thus the media and advertising industries came to an agreement on measurement process.  They both understood the issues (imprecision, reliability, and validity), and saw reliability (consistency) as the most important issue, agreed to accept the measures as reasonably valid, and accepted (while often ignoring or forgetting) the inherent imprecision.

As media markets fragmented, new channels emerged, and competition arose, media faced the problem of their audience usage shrinking, at least according to the older measures.  Television broadcasters, for example, were impacted by cable's importation of distant signals, then by the expansion of cable channels, the rise of videocassettes, videogames, DVRs and VOD options, and ever-expanding Internet-based video options. All of these increasingly competed for the time and attention of traditional TV audiences, shrinking and fragmenting them.  As traditional ratings for programs continued to drop (threatening the ability to capture advertising revenues), the broadcast industry tried to recapture some viewing by offering the program at different times, on different channels, and through trying to capture use through alternative media (including viewing via DVR, VOD, or IPTV), and then sought to redefine audience use measures to include such use.

If the goal is to measure exposure to the programming content, redefining measures in this way can be considered as a more valid measure based on current audience media use behaviors.  (It may also negatively impact on sampling precision and bias, especially if different samples and methods are employed for the various media, and reliability, at least in the comparability to older measures).  However, unless the embedded advertising is also delivered with the program over each option, the new measures will be increasingly less valid as a measure of exposure to specific advertising messages, and thus less useful to advertisers.  With the growth of alternative delivery systems for media content, the gap between the measures of content exposure and the goal of estimating audience size for specific advertising slots is likely to increase. 

In the US television industry, the increased use of audience size guarantees in advertising sales is indicative of the concern that advertisers already have as to the value of existing audience measures as predictive.  As the gap between the competing goals increases, look for the advertising industry to increasingly discount the value of audience estimates, and for it to seek alternative ways of measuring exposure to, and impact of, advertising messages and their value to advertisers. (see this post for TV, this post for newspapers)

As John Osborn recently blogged,
"ratings were always just a surrogate for the number of potential impressions an ad could garner within the program, helping set pricing for advertisers in a world of imperfect measurement... Without a better understanding of DVR usage, advertisers will pay more and more to run spots - especially on successful, high rated programs with the highest commercial loads - all while significant numbers of consumers are increasingly avoiding ads.  Can you imagine advertisers opting in to such a business model if it hadn't already been running this way for years? "
With a predicted $10 billion already committed to "upfront" TV deals - based on weak predictions of audience size drawn from increasingly problematic measures - the stakes for advertisers are reaching a critical point.   Media needs to develop better, and more valid, audience use metrics to justify the value of its advertising slots, and the financial contributions they expect advertisers to contribute.

Prompted by: "TV Audience Ratings: Less and Less Relevant for Advertisers," TVBoard

HDTV - What comes next?

Sharp recently demonstrated an 85-inch LCD with a resolution 16 times that of HDTV.  It's one of several advances coming out of collaborations with NHK for what is being called Super-Hi-Vision, which will also include a 3-D 22.2 audio system.  In the U.S., that level of resolution is known more widely as 8K, and is widely used in the film industry for conversion and restoration of older films and digital film-making.  Sharp's new screen is the first consumer-level set to be able to display that level of resolution on a single screen.  Sharp is expected to have an 8-K set on offer in Japan in a couple of years.

Sources: "Sharp develops an LCD with 16x the resolution of HDTV," Broadcast Newsroom

Shifts foreseen in international Internet traffic

A recent study from Informa Telelecoms & Media (ITM) estimates that by 2015, more than 1.2 million petabytes of data will be uploaded and downloaded annually around the world.  (That's about 7 times the Internet traffic of 2010.  The continuing rapid expansion of data flows will be driven by video (accounting for more than half of the traffic) and emerging online storage and back-up services (including Cloud services such as the newly emerging music Clouds (Amazon, soon to be joined by Apple and Google).
Internet traffic levels continue to vary, and grow, differentially around the globe.  ITM predicts that by 2015, the Asia Pacific region will surpass the level of US-generated traffic, as a result of increasing internet penetration and the fact that Asian users generate the most traffic.  South Korea and Japan enjoy the fastest broadband speeds in the world, and South Korea boasts the world's highest per-head usage rates.  Further, China is likely to reach a total of 670 million Internet users by the end of 2015.

Source: "Shifting trends in global internet traffic," telecoms.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Report on Business of Digital Journalism

One of the bigger issues regarding the Future of Journalism regards funding - what viable business models will emerge for journalism and its distributive media.  And while online news is increasingly cited as a primary source for news, its been clear that following traditional models relying heavily on advertising are not likely to produce sufficient revenues in the short term.  In the meantime, the search for viable business models for digital journalism continues, with much experimentation.
Recently, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (which owns and runs the Columbia Journalism Review [CJR]) released a study on the current state of the digital journalism economics.  The rise of digital is transforming journalism, impacting both costs and revenues, redefining the markets in which journalism outlets operate, but also creating significant opportunities for rethinking the purpose and focus of journalism.  The study rejects the idea that non-digital news platforms will necessarily disappear, and argues that news organizations should embrace digital platforms, recognize that they are still in a transformative state, and explore the potential for innovation in both the journalism and business sides.
The report offers some specific recommendations:
  • Digital platforms should be more than a repository for existing content created for another medium.  There is evidence that offering high-value, more distinctive content designed for digital media can be economically successful.
  • Rethink the relationship between audience and advertising.  Traditional mass media built its advertising model on reaching large numbers of lightly-engaged readers and viewers.  Digital media offers the potential for higher-value engagement, interactivity, and targeting. News organizations can benefit from understanding the audiences they have and the ones they want - and revise their content and offerings to build audience loyalty.
  • Media companies need to rethink their relationships with advertising.  Advertisers have a much wider range of outlets they can use to reach people.  News organizations have to know and sell their strengths and areas of competitive advantage.
  • As part of the above, the media and advertising industries need to develop alternative metrics for measuring audiences and advertising effectiveness.  In particular, they need to move away from the overly simplistic impression-based pricing systems that dominate both online and traditional media today.
  • Journalists and news organizations need to give more emphasis to licensing and secondary rights.  They need to be vigilant in terms of outright theft of content, while recognizing the direct and indirect values of having their content more widely available and used.
  • Journalists need to be prepared for a highly competitive news environment, and its concomitant downward pressure on editorial costs.  The rise of digital has reduced technological costs, allowing for more, and smaller, news outlets to emerge and become successful
  • The rise of mobile and tablet personal media devices present special challenges and opportunities for journalism.  Those media are new enough that there is no clear picture of what products or services will be successful, so experimentation is key.
  • News organizations should have very limited expectations for pay schemes for online sites in the short term.  As news organizations shift from providing more standardized, commoditzed content to a more differentiated and distinctive content - as they redefine their online sites from offering low-value content competing  with a plethora of other undifferentiated news sites, to offering high-value content to a more limited audience (and market), pay schemes become more viable.
Finally, the report reaffirms the notion that the public needs, and benefits from, "independent journalists who seek out facts, explain complex issues and present their work in compelling ways."  While they suggest that philanthropic or government support can help (although possibly reducing journalists' independence), they recognize that ultimately, it is up to the commercial market to provide the economic basis for journalism.  It just needs to figure out how.

Source: "Conclusion: Lessons, takeaways, and bullet points" CJR
Full Study: "The Story So Far: What We Know About the Business of Digital Journalism"
Executive Summary for a quick outline

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to measure a "hit"

In the world of broadcasting, success has traditionally been determined by ratings.  Ratings are supposed to measure the size of the audience - something that has been increasingly difficult in an era when programs are aired on multiple networks, may be time-shifted, and accessed through Video-on-Demand and IPTV. (See earlier posts here & here,)  This has led to proposals for alternative ways to measure audiences.  As the TV advertising market rebounds, and with an increasingly fragmented range of viewing options, advertisers are seeking better information to help place increasingly targeted ads.
Nielsen and CBS are working on shifting to a psychographic model that might be more effective for advertisers.
Optimedia US's Content Power Ratings (CPR) model looks at audience size across delivery systems (TV, Web, and mobile) and includes mentions of the program on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  The CPR is looked at as a better indicator of the level of interest and fan devotion to a program.  They're also looking to see whether social media buzz can aid in predicting a show's success.  At times, the two rankings match (American Idol was #1 on both) - other times there can be significant differences (Glee is ranked 55 by Nielsen and 2 by CPR, and South Park comes in at 211 on Nielsen, and 4 on CPR).
A third approach is to try to measure the actual effectiveness of advertising.  While the effectiveness of a specific spot is really difficult to determine, ad agencies like Universal McCann are developing statistical models combining viewing, sales data, brand attitudes, and broad economic data to help determine how much commercial time to buy, and at what price, to meet specific advertiser goals.
Other advertisers remain skeptical, preferring to remain with the well-established measurement norms. 

But the old norms of ratings were never as accurate or precise as they were treated by broadcasters or advertisers, and never directly measured either the audience for, or impact of, specific ads. We're in a world where data abounds, and analytical techniques flourish. It's well past time to try to develop better, and particularly more predictive, measures of the value of advertising spots to the advertiser.  Particularly if you want to justify higher prices for those spots (as broadcasters do).  It's not clear, yet, whether any of the new metrics are better - but at least they're trying to measure things that are more appropriate for predicting audience interest and/or effectiveness in reaching targeted audiences or in message impact.  Both broadcasters and advertisers need to be supportive of these efforts to measure something better that the presence of a warm body before the screen.

Source: "New Tools for Picking Hits", Wall Street Journal

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crowd-funding boosts films at Cannes

Crowd-funding is an emerging media business model that raises cash online from many small investers to support the production and distribution of content.  Proponents of crowd-funding argue that it lets content users buy into a creative project at its inception, tapping into a pool of supporters and fans who have an interest in the project.  It provides an alternative source of funds and investment, particularly in the movie industry, where multi-million dollar production budgets and limited distribution networks have traditionally limited funding to a handful of studios, banks, and big investors.
Crowd-funding has supported two of the Palm d'Or (best picture award) contenders at this year's Cannes Film Festival ("Habemus Papem" & "Polisse"), as French crowd-funding site PeopleforCinema raised the capital to produce and distribute the films.
Crowd-funding is making other inroads as a financial model for media content and distribution.  Two sites have been established in the U.S. to provide crowd-funding opportunities for creative artists and projects.  Both Kickstarter and Rockethub post opportunities to support the production and distribution of creative projects.  And Spot.us has been using a crowd-sourcing model to support independent online journalism.

The older media funding models worked fairly well for "commercial" and general-interest content, and may still be the best model for funding high-cost productions.  Crowd-sourcing offers creators an alternative funding model that bypasses traditional media gatekeepers, particularly those whose focus is on producing content of high commercial value.  It can particularly target minority and non-commercial interests, and tap into a highly supportive fan base for content and artists in more focused areas.  Look for crowd-funding to increase as creative content diversifies, providing a more fertile field for cultivating creative artists and content.

Source: "Buy! Sell! Crowd-funding helps boost Cannes films", Broadcast Newsroom

Bad News for Newspapers: Real Estate #2 Online Advertiser

Adweek reports that the real estate industry is now the second-largest spender on online advertising, accounting for almost 45% of its total advertising spending (in 2010) of $20 billion.  A large chunk of that advertising used to be a staple of the newspaper industry, and it seems unlikely that papers will be able to change real estate's advertising strategy.
(Newspapers have lost significant advertising revenues from classified advertising, auto dealers, and real estate firms in recent years - mostly to Internet services and advertising that has exploited its inherent advantages in currency and interactivity, particularly the ability to search.)

Source: "Real Estate Second-Biggest Online Advertiser", Online Media Daily

IPTV - Expect High Growth Rates

IPTV providers around the world should continue to see rapid market expansion over the next few years, according to a recent report released by SNL Kagan.  They project that subscriptions to IPTV services will double in the next three years, reaching 70 million.
The rosy forecast results from an IPTV adoption rate that has averaged a 92.4% compound average growth rate over the last 6 years.  The also think that the current push for "TV Everywhere" and IP-based Video on Demand (VOD), and continued diffusion of broadband networks will drive demand, leading to a doubling of IPTV video service revenues in the next three years.  Currently, IPTV accounts for 6% of all global subscription-TV revenues; SNL Kagan predicts that by 2014, it will account for 11%, between IPTVs rapid growth and the slowing down of cable and satellite providers.

Expect further market expansions and realignments, as consumers embrace the choice and flexibility of IPTV video services (and the lower distribution costs, compared to older video media models).

Source: "Major IPTV Adoption Means $27B Revs by 2014," Media Daily News

LTE: On the path of wireless broadband

LTE is the latest mobile wireless standard being widely adopted in cellular network upgrades.  LTE (formally, the 3GPP Long Term Evolution standard), while often marketed as "4G", is really more of a stepping stone towards LTE advanced, which will meet all of the 4G standards for high speed, high capacity, mobile telephone networks.
Last week, during LTE World Summit 2011, there were a number of reports on the roll out of the new standard. Sweden's Ericsson, an early adopter of LTE (in 2009), continued it's general support of the standard, although noting that assuring interoperability with other networks and having a IP infrastructure to handle the higher loads in place before opening markets were critical to success.  Ericsson is also planning to build on its experience in the U.S. market, where adoption of LTE is being pushed by Verizon and AT&T.
Meanwhile, Verizon announced its expansion of LTE coverage to nine additional market, bringing its current coverage to a total of 55 markets in the U.S. Verizon's chief technical officer, David Small, says their goal is to bring 4G LTE to their current 3G coverage area by the end of 2013.  He indicated that current implementation is providing download speeds between 5-12 Mbs, with 2-5 Mbs speeds on the uplink, comparable to most cable modem networks (but well below the 4G promise of up to 1 Gbs).
AT&T, which has lagged in the actual introduction of LTE, did provide a demo of their LTE network, which they say will be significantly faster than Verizon's, and seven times faster than its current high speed network (HSPA).  During the demo, download speeds reached 28.7 Mbs, with upload speeds of 10.4 Mbs, although engineers acknowledged that actual consumer speeds are likely to be lower, particularly once cell towers reach capacity.  While AT&T has not yet officially set a date for the introduction of its LTE network, a June launch is widely expected.  Initial rumors suggested the introduction was to be tied to the introduction of Apple's iPhone 5, which would be LTE-compatible.  However, delays in LTE chipset availability is said to likely delay the introduction of the iPhone 5, with Apple offering a tweaked iPhone 4S in June instead.

The expansion and introduction of LTE and subsequent true 4G networks won't do much in terms of enhancing telephony and voice services, but will support further expansion of data-heavy mobile systems and services, such as video and interactive gaming.  The big question remaining, though, is how data-driven services are to be priced, as the expansion of tablets and smartphones have led some carriers to impose new pricing schemes based on levels of data usage, rather than the older "unlimited" plans.  Too heavy a "per-bit" pricing level might drive users back to land-line based networks.

Sources: "Arun with a View," telecoms.com
"Verizon Wireless expands into nine additional markets," telecoms.com
"AT&T looks to outpace Verizon with 28.7 Mbs LTE network demo," telecoms.com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NBC/affiliates look at Retrans/Consent

Retransmission/Consent rules allow broadcast television stations to seek payment from cable systems for the right to carry their signal and copyrighted content. In the first couple of rounds, stations weren't able to get much from cable systems, but in the last few rounds, they have be able to get cash payments in many cases.  This has been a boon for local stations, helping to replace the revenues lost as the major networks reduced their payments for program carriage  In recent years, networks have reversed the carriage arrangement, now asking for payments from affiliates in return for the right to transmit network programming. In addition, during the last round of negotiations, the networks started arguing that they should be getting a percentage of the retransmission fees, since it's their content that makes the station's signal valuable, .
At the recent NBC affiliate board meeting, that arrangement was solidified, with NBC announcing that it would act as proxy for its affiliated stations in negotiating with cable and satellite systems.  NBC would get a cut of the negotiated fees.  Affiliated stations would benefit from the greater bargaining power of a unified critical mass of stations, lower negotiation costs, and what would essentially be a guarantee that network carriage costs would not be greater than retransmission fee revenues.  Look for similar ideas to follow from other station affiliate groups and networks.

Source: "NBC, affiliates unveil retrans proxy framework," RBR/TVBR

Nielsen shows Tablet penetration at 5%

For a class of consumer electronics that's only been around for a year or so, reaching 5% penetration is impressive (given e-readers at 9% and netbooks at 8%- and both are cheaper and have been around much longer).  The research by Nielsen and others about the rise of tablets suggests a strong impact, and their rise as a superior media consumption device:
  • Tablet users show strong engagement rates (30-40 minutes per app) and a willingness to buy content
  • The rush by big brands to adapt content to the format, and giving publishers the opportunity to provide an immersive (and controlled) experience.
  • 70% of tablet owners use it while watching TV, with potential to create synergies between screens.
These suggest the potential to recreate relationships between a wide range of content producers and distributors ("publishers") and their audiences, and along the way creating new markets and revenue streams.
Of course, they could still manage to blow it, but it looks like the tablets come along at a time when the media have finally recognized and embraced the need to expand their vision and markets beyond the old traditional media silos.  This suggests that they might have learned something after all.

Source:  "Tablets: The 5% Solution," Mobile Insider

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New approaches for online advertising - Adkeeper et al.

Do people really hate ads, or do they hate the fact that they interrupt something they are more interested in?  A new Web start-up thinks there's money to be made in the latter case.  Adkeeper is a service that allows users to "bookmark" or "Time-shift" online advertisements they might want to examine later, and even share them with others.  Research from Nielsen suggested that about half of users would be interested in such a service,  Venture capitalists were even more interested, to the tune of coughing up $80 million to fund development, and PepsiCo was so impressed that it ordered that it all of their banner ads had to incorporate the service.  Adkeeper has added 350 ad campaigns to its system so far.
The man behind Adkeeper, Scott Kurnit, sees the service as step in a broader movement to improve the quality of online display advertising, in part by thinking about how users experience it, and how they can find and create value. Ben Kartzman, CEO of a competing service (Spongecell) commented that ""What we're all trying to do is make the online advertising experience memorable, sharable and valuable.  We're trying to drive engagement from a banner."

Source: "Preserving Advertising," OMMA, The magazine of Online Media, Marketing & Advertising

Android's Nook features Magazines

Barnes & Noble has updated its Nook e-reader app for Android, offering access to tablet magazines through a free reader for the first time.  The new app promises to provide access "to more than 140 magazines and newspapers, including ESPN The Magazine, The Economist, Rolling Stone, Travel + Leisure and Us Weekly." (Access was previously restricted to users of their Nook Color device).  This follows last month's introduction of a Kindle app for Android devices.
Several of the larger publishers (Nearst, Time Inc., Conde Nast) have been working with Apple to offer subscriptions (or free access to print subscribers) on the iPad.  One of the sticking points at the moment is the level of compensation Apple is seeking as developer/distributor of apps and online versions.

Source: "Upgraded Nook: Android App Carries 140+ Publications," Online Media Daily

Netflix expands mobile base

Netflix is starting to release apps for a limited set of Android mobile devices, following on its success with the iPad/iPhone version.  This initial release is limited to devices running Android 2.2 or 2.3, and that have a sufficiently fast processor.  The limitation, according to Netflix, is Android's lack of standardization, which means that Netflix needs to test the app on individual devices to see if can support streaming without fragmentation issues.
Netflix recently became the video company with the largest number of subscribers (passing cable operators and satellite services), and further expansion into the mobile world of tablets and smartphones is likely to keep them growing, and on top.

Source: "Netflix on Android Shows First Signs of Fragmentation Problems," Connected Planet

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From Katharine Hendy -

Frito-Lay not only launched a smart campaign strategy, they also broke the world record for “most fans in Facebook in 24 hours.” Talk about seeing your success. The page gained over 1.5 million likes on April 11. This was because of the brands new campaign strategy which gave consumers a behind the scenes look at the Frito-Lay kitchen, where they create new flavors, using Facebook to get their message across.  Below is their strategy:

  • a replica Flavor Kitchen created in Times Square with live cooking demonstrations streamed to the Frito-Lay Facebook page
  • a sweepstakes on the Frito-Lay Facebook page that gave consumers the chance to win some of the same Electrolux appliances that were used by the Frito-Lay chefs in Times Square
  • targeted media on Facebook
  • integration with Zynga’s FarmVille that gave players the chance to harvest sponsored-in game crops for the chance to earn exclusive virtual goods
  • the official launch of a series of online cooking “webisodes” available on the Frito-Lay Facebook page and featuring the Flavor Kitchen team
 Source: "Frito-Lay sets Guinness World Record on Facebook," ZDNet

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Google I/.O Announcements - Now a medium

Google is sponsoring a big event for tech types and reporters, called Google I/O.  Among the announcements are several indicating Google is making serious moves into both the content and mobile markets.  Here's a glimpse at some of the big announcements:

Google Music (or at least "Music Beta by Google) was launched, offering users the ability to upload 20,000 of your tunes initially, providing a cloud hosting service similar to Amazon's that would allow you to stream from your library to any device supporting Flash.  The full launch of a music store was delayed by issues in getting licenses from major record labels.
Engadget has a comparison of streaming music services.

Not content with sound, Google also announced the addition of video and movie rentals to the Android Market, mirroring the recently expanded YouTube rental inventory.  Users can access the movies Via PCs and Google TV through YouTube-Movies, and will soon be able to use Android Market for play on smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 or higher. In additions, purchases on one platform reportedly can also be accessed from the other.

Speaking of Google TV, the folks at Google announced that the Google TV platform will get an upgrade to the new Android 3.1 platform this summer.  The upgrade will provide users with access to the Android Market.  Google also confirmed that the Google TV app will be included in Sony, Samsung, and Vizio TVs offering internet access, and Logitech Google TV set-top boxes.

Sources: "Google Music Beta to stream 20,000 songs for free, official! (updated)," Engadget
"Android Market launches movie rentals, thousands of titles available to your PC, phone or tablet,"
"Google TV getting Android 3.1 and Market this summer; Sony, Vizio, Samsung and Logitech onboard," Engadget

Microsoft buys Skype for $8 billion (cash)

Following the latest strategy of buying dominant competitors, Microsoft reached a deal with Skype, paying $8 billion in cash.  The acquisition gives an instant boost to Microsoft's new Lync unified communications platform, as well as its Outlook platform, and the Xbox, Kinect, and Xbox Live consumer products.
Microsoft pledged to continue to develop and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft operating systems, stressing, in Steve Ballmer's words, that "the value proposition of communication is being able to reach everybody, whether they happen to be on your device or not."

Source: "Microsoft To Buy Skype For $8.5 Billion,"  Information Week

Where to put your videos & series

Topic suggested by Samantha Bright -

For budding TV program entrepreneurs, there are several sites offering to host videos and series, providing an opportunity to get your work out and build a fan base.  Blip.tv serves more as a hosting service, while Revision3 bills itself as a "network for the internet generation."  Revision3 creates and owns the series and content, but provides opportunities for local production.
Many user-generated programs and series have gained a lot of attention from airing on these websites.

blip.tv - http://blip.tv
Revision3 - http://revision3.com

Netflix to produce content

Topic from Samantha Bright -

Netflix has had a good year.  With help from their open challenge to better their recommendation formula, they've grown into the nation's largest video provider (in terms of subscriber numbers), and accounting for a large share of Internet traffic in the evening.  Continuing efforts at improving encryption and deals with Internet backbone providers has helped Netflix to reportedly cut the cost of streaming a movie in half, to about 2.5 cents for 2 hours of video.
More recently, Netflix bought the rights to several hit TV series, and announced a deal for their first original series, paying $100 Million for the rights to a hot new television property.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Newton Minow - From wasteland to abundance

Fifty years ago, FCC Chairman Newton Minow called television a vast wasteland at his first NAB Convention.
In a recent op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, Minow turned his thoughts back to television., concluding that "the promise and possibility of television is so vast that we can only guess at where it will take us."
Yes, he writes, TV is far vaster than could be imagined in 1961, and parts of it are still wastelands.  The vastness is a reflection of the explosion of stations and networks, an abundance of outlets that "far exceeded my most ambition dreams," an explosion of choices for viewers and listeners.  As he quips, "wasteland has turned into broadband."
While still chastising the industry in two areas (the lack of public service time for candidates, and the low level of support for public broadcasting), Minow cautioned against over-regulation which could restrict competition.  It wasn't a new concern for Minow, who harkened back to another speech given in early 1962:
"For just as surely as a commercial is wrapped around a station break, the television industry in the long run faces one result or another: more competition or more regulation.  My own vote is for more competition.  And my faith is in the belief that this country needs and can support many voices of television - and the more voices we hear, the better, the richer and the freer we shall be."

Source: "From wasteland to broadband in 50 years" Chicago Tribune

Army Gets Smartphone

From Andrew Starnes -

I think this is a very interesting story because I did not realize that the army did not already supply something similar to this for it's soldiers already.
The smartphone idea is brilliant because this will allow the military to be even more productive and anything that will give the military an advantage like this is a good thing. It's a good idea too, that they are ensuring the productivity level will be high by only allowing pre-approved to apps to be downloaded onto the phone. I also think picking android is the way to go too because of the popularity of the phone it's user friendliness.

ESPN regional sites changing the game:

From Chris Price -

ESPN is no doubt the leader in national sports coverage, but their move to go regional has local newspapers and sportscasters shaking in their boots. This article outlines the launching of those sites, which are now generating flourishing numbers. ESPN Chicago for example is generating almost 40% more page views than local newspaper websites.

The new regional coverage model is going to force newspapers into subscription online content, which is the model for the new ESPNsider articles found on many of the new regional websites. Look for these new sites to drive even more local newspapers out of business in less they can create a way to compete with the sports giant.

Source: "ESPN Regional Websites," The Business of Sports

U Texas sports to have lone star network

From Chris Price -

The ESPN Network has agreed to an exclusive network deal with the University of Texas. Watch out for this to become an increasingly common trend among large-scale sports universities. With sports coverage needing to be even more hyper-localized in order to be successful, this type of subscription-channel business model could change how sports coverage is done as a whole.

Already companies such as Scout.com, Rivals.com and 24/7sports.com have paved the way for one-team subscription based services, but this initial deal between ESPN and Texas could spark a big change in how sports are covered in both print and broadcast media.

Source: "Texas, ESPN announce new network."

Master's explores "TV Everywhere"

From Chris Price -

The Masters golf tournament application is totally changing the game as far as mobile sports application. The Masters tournament itself developed an application for its tournament that includes live scoring, live hole-by-hole coverage and even talk radio coverage.

Most applications cover just scoring and maybe a few highlights. The Masters application brought users live video and audio coverage without the need of an internet connection. They used the cell phone service to bring coverage to users. This is change standards for all applications.

Source: "Masters Golf Introduces iPad Application With Nine Live Video Channels," Bloomberg

Online news users mostly 'casual'

A recent Pew report on online news use suggests that there are several distinct types of news consumers.
The study found that the largest group, accounting for more than half of online news users, could be classified as "Casual Users," those drawn to major stories through searches for more details.  Another major source for casual users was referrals, most often from social media sites such as Facebook.  The Pew study predicts that if search drove online news use over the last decade, that news referrals and news sharing through social media will be among the most important drivers of online news use in the next decade.
At the moment, "casual news users" - those who visit a particular online news site once or twice a month - account for 77% of the traffic to top news sites.  On the other extreme, "Power Users" - those who visit a site more than 10 times a month - account for only 7% of traffic, on average. Of the five online news sites with the highest proportion of "Power Users," the top two are cable news giants CNN (at 18%) and Fox News (16%), followed by Yahoo (14%), AOL News (13.4%), and Google News (12.6%).  The low number of Power Users and the failure of any traditional print outlet to appear near the top of the pile suggests that the prospects for building a subscription-based business model for online journalism aren't great.  Add to that another result - that less than 10% of online news users spend more than an hour per month at any one online news site - suggests that the world of online news users are comprised more of grazers, spreading their online news use across many sites and sources, rather than regular, habitual, users of any particular source.

Source: "Web News Users 'Casual, Facebook Driving Traffic,Online Media Daily
Pew report -  "Navigating News Online: Where People Go, How They Get There, and What Lures Them Away"

"Green" chair powers personal media

From Emma Thomas -

An outdoor solar powered chair now charges your cell phones, tablets, computers and gadgets as you sit.  The tear-shaped furniture is called the SOFT Rocker and was invented by architecture students at MIT.  It includes a 35-watt solar panel on the top of the rocker that "charges a built in battery, so you can still get juice from its built in USB ports after the sun goes down." The rocker actually uses your motions as you rock to add more "charge to the system" and includes an above light for reading or while its dark.  While this technology hasn't been purchased by a major manufacturer, it reveals the potential future of park benches and university outdoor seating.

Source: "Solar powered lounge chair charges your gadgets as you chill," Dvice

Looks like something we could use in front of the Comm building - Ben Bates

Street Views go Inside (Business)

From Emma Thomas -

If you've ever looked up an address or wanted a street view of a location, chances are you've used Google Maps.  And while it can't seem to get much better than actually seeing the exterior of a building, Google has found a way to improve themselves: Google Maps will be bringing the street view indoors.  According to Google's Vice President of Location and Local Services, Marissa Mayer, Google Business Photos will be a new services allowing an interior view of businesses, yet unlike other services like Yelp that allow businesses to upload their own pictures, Google Business Photos will be taken by Google, just like the street view photos are.

Source: "Google Business Photos Brinks Street View Inside," Huffington Post
And don't forget to check out Google's video promoting Business Photos, posted late last year:

Journalism degrees "most worthless" - Newsweek

From Emma Thomas -

In a timely manner, Newsweek Magazine published the "most worthless degrees" for recent college graduates. They examined available jobs in the overall market and starting salaries for graduates of all majors offered for undergraduates.  Topping the list at No. 1 is Journalism.  Newsweek found the average starting salary to be $35,800, and that between 2008 to 2018, the overall change in the number of jobs will be -4,400, with the percentage change in the number of jobs during that same time is -6.32%.
Even a major considered a safe haven to make a profit in the field of communications made the list --coming in at the No. 4 spot was advertising, with an average starting salary of $37,800, the overall change in the number of jobs will be -800 from 2008-2018, and percentage change in number of jobs in that time will be -1.71%.

For other top "worthless" college degrees, visit "Media Gallery: 20 Most Useless Degrees," The Daily Beast

Also I found a variety of news networks and local college sites commenting on this report:
Fox News story, "Journalism Tops List of the Most Useless College Degrees"
Huffington Post slide show and story, "The 20 Most Useless Degrees"
Diary of a Media Junkie blog "Journalism: Most Useless College Degree?"

And this from Newsweek, recently sold for a record $1 - Ben Bates

Changes at ABC News

From Emma Thomas -

ABC network news is changing its structure, but also may change its face- literally.

In 2010, ABC network news experienced drastic changes.  About 25% of its news network staff in 2010 were fired- this included correspondents, producers and editors.  For recent college graduates, this means that jobs were scarce as the network decreased its staff by 1/4.  They also are relying heavily on the backpack journalist, multi-media journalist, or sometimes called the digital journalist. For graduates this means that you must posses skills in writing, producing, editing, shooting video, and editing video.

"Digital is becoming a more important part of those ABC News finances. Revenue from ABC News’ digital division may have exceeded $40 million during the year," read PEW's 2011 State of the Media Report.

Another big change that may CBS's Katie Couric also may be joining ABC News, yet there is still speculation on whether she will join ABC or not.  This would be a determent to CBS who has the lowest viewers of the three networks, coming in at 5.65 million viewers compared to CBS's 7.43 million viewers.

To learn more about PEW's state of the media 2011 report and changes at ABC News, visit http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/network-essay/

To read more about Katie Couric joining ABC News, visit

iPad Dominance slipping

From Sean Siegel:

This article was interesting talking about apple's dominance with the iPad. They don't believe its going to last as long as people think. I know for someone who has a sister who works at the apple store, she would be happy if the lines for the iPad and new products calmed down just a little bit. I definitely think the iPad will continue to be a hot selling product and dominate the market until a competitor comes up with something better.
Source: "Nielsen numbers show iPad dominance slipping," RCRWireless Unplugged

"Do Not Track" Legislation

From Eric Hutchinson: 

California is in the process of trying to pass a “do not track” bill that would require companies doing business online in California to offer an “opt-out” privacy mechanism for users of those companies’ services. Google, Facebook, Time Warner Cable, CTIA – The Wireless Association, the California Chamber of Commerce and around thirty other associations and companies wrote a letter to the Senate stating the bill would, “create an unnecessary unenforceable and unconstitutional regulatory burden on Internet commerce.” If the bill is passed, consumers would be able to opt out of data collection such as the date and hour of online access, the location from which the information was accessed, the means by which it was accessed and other information collected every day by these companies. The companies call the legislation unconstitutional, because they claim it’s an appropriation of Congress’s authority over interstate commerce.

Android upgrades for Tablets

From Eric Hutchinson:

Android 3.0 is Android’s new platform that is optimized for large-screen devices such as tablets. As the popularity of tablets rises operating system developers must keep up and adapt. The 3.0 version simply builds onto things that won people over in the older versions. Things like refined multitasking, rich notifications, home screen customization options and widgets are just a few features that make Android’s operating system both functional and fun. The new platform will include a system bar for system status, notifications and soft navigation. An action bar will allow application control, navigation and widget options. Android even reshaped and repositioned the keys on the touch keyboard to allow faster text input. Much more has been redesigned and tweaked, so this new platform should prove to be a winner for tablet users

Source: "Android 3.0 Platform Highlights," Developer.Android

Microsoft to add Voice to Lync Online

From Eric Hutchinson:

JAJAH, owned by Telefonica, plans to add voice calling to Microsoft Lync Online which is Microsoft’s cloud-based communications service. The service will allow Lync Online users to call landlines and cell phones. Also, users will be able to receive calls and route them to landlines, mobile phones or computers without needing a new phone number. JAJAH’s IP Communications Platform uses patented quality management to guarantee calls made over the JAJAH Network will be high quality.

Source: "JAJAH adds voice calling to Microsoft Lync Online..." TelecommunicationNews.net

Trends in Magazines

From Sean Siegel:

I just read this the other day. My friend is into magazine writing and I always ask him what the market is going to be like with magazines. I wasn't sure whether or not it was going to be as difficult to get into magazine writing as it will to get into traditional newspaper writing. Well from this article in 2009 it seems that things are not all bad in the magazine industry. 
Source: "Now Read This,"  Newsweek 
A bit dated (Aug 2009), but it makes some good points about adapting to new markets, and that decline isn't uniform. - BJB

How to Pod

From Sean Siegel:

I was intrigued by looking up if there were any sites that would help you setup your own podcast. Turns out apple has a list of directions that will instruct you how to make a podcast. This is good because I've been looking to setup my own podcast site. This way I'll have it available as part of my resume for when I'm applying for jobs.
Source:  "Making a Podcast," Apple.com

Warners trials direct rentals on Facebook

(Topic suggested by Samantha Bright)

For any media content producer, an issue has been having to use one or more middlemen (each of whom takes a cut off the top)  to get content into the hands of consumers.  The growth of the net has created opportunities to more directly reach consumers (and reach more of them, and more cheaply).  Over the last few years, innovators in various media (academic research papers and music early, more recently photography and book publishing) have explored ways to minimize the path from producer to consumer.
Warner Bros. Pictures is testing a new pathway, this time through Facebook.  The company is offering "The Dark Knight" for rental on Facebook.  The movie, which has already earned Warners a billion dollars worldwide (split with distributors, theaters, retailers, etc.), is being made available at a cost of 30 Facebook credits (about $3), with Facebook taking 1/3.  Purchasers, after downloading, have a 48-hour window for viewing. 
Warners has indicated that it will continue testing both rental and purchase options through Facebook with other titles over the next few months.

Source: "Facebook to Stream Movies,"  WGMT 411NBC News

Thursday, May 5, 2011

NPR at 40 - no longer hip (revised)

For those of us growing up in the 60s & 70s, conventional wisdom was that anyone over 40 was terminally un-hip and definitely not cool.  Well as we, and our heroes, aged, we had to revise the view somewhat.  Over 40 is probably still not hip, but now we see it as something even better; we're cool and wise, rather than just cool.  Or something like that.
Well the point of this is to recognize NPR's 40th birthday, and recognize its contribution towards expanding the programming options available on the radio dial.  Personally, I don't think NPR "revived" or "saved" radio as NPR's Scott Simon suggests in an Op-Ed in the Chicago Tribune, nor has it effectively "harnessed radio's special immediacy, mobility, and personality to tell stories from around the world."  It's provided an outlet for people who think that way, that they and their programming is "special" in the best sense of the word, if only because it's not "commercial.".  But what has NPR accomplished in its 40 years?
NPR has helped to start and fund a large number of noncommercial "public" radio stations across the US, and provided an outlet for a certain type of "alternative" programming.  It's given a large share of the American public access to an alternative. For that, at least, NPR needs to be recognized for a job well done.
But it's also enforced a certain world view as to programming and station operations that's at least as narrow and restrictive as what they see as the evil of commercial radio.  NPR has evolved into a network of programming and stations that in many ways has homogenized what used to be a free-for-all world of experimentation.  NPR's rise and dominance has made it more difficult for the truly alternative and innovative to find a home in broadcast radio.  Thankfully, those folks now have a new home on the Internet.

Source: "Here's why NPR really matters," Chicago Tribune

Revised - I had to fix a number of typos I missed, and corrected title.  BJB

Bounce enters broadcasting through digital side channel

Bounce TV, a new broadcast network with programming targeting African-Americans, has carriage deals in 26 markets for its Fall debut, but no traditional affiliates.  Rather, Bounce is taking advantage of the new DTV digital standards, which allow stations to add second standard definition signal to an HD signal, or offer 4-5 standard definition signals on a standard TV channel.  Many of those come from a recently announced deal with station owner Raycom.  Bounce hopes to have deals in place that will allow the network to reach 50% of US TV homes by the time it launches the network this fall.
As NAB head Gordon Smith put it, Bounce and local TV stations "are using TV airwaves to deliver on the promise of digital television" and helping provide niche audiences access to "a free niche programming service."

This move shows one of the ways that local stations can take advantage of digital to provide additional revenue streams while expanding service to its community.

Source "African-American Net Bounce TV Lands Raycom As First Carriage Deal," Broadcasting & Cable

Another Twitter scoop

From Jill Michaelson -

A man, Shohaib Athar, accidently liveblogged the Osama raid via social media website Twitter as it was happening. He began by making jokes about the helicopter making noise near him home, but later wondered if it was something more serious. After he realized what had occurred, he tweeted, “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

Source "Raid on Bin Ladin was Live-Blogged, Though The Blogger Didn't Know It," NPR's The Two-Way Blog

Wearable HD cams

From David Lewis -

One of the biggest advancements of technology in the video production world is the cameras and their capabilities. One camera that is becoming more and more popular with cinematographers is the very small and very simple GoPro HD camera. This camera features a prime fisheye lens and boasts full 1080 HD video capabilities. Talking about the camera simply is not enough. You just need to see it in action for yourself.

GoPro website: http://gopro.com/
Examples: http://vimeo.com/groups/30665/videos/15194647

Motion Picture Audio

From David Lewis -

When you watch a motion picture you are experiencing a story almost like you are right there in the action. One way of simulating the experience comes from big help of the audio that was put into the movie. The audio controls much of the mood in the movie and can either make or break the content being shown. Here is a small insight into how technical and how much creativity goes into creating audio for a big Hollywood motion picture.

Example: "'Inception' Sound for Film Profile," Vimeo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poynter: Essential skills for covering breaking news

From Britney Goo -

Even though journalism students learn the basics of the field in their classes, nothing can really prepare a beginner journalist for handling a huge breaking news story. 
Although I do not plan to become an anchor, I thought this article was really interesting.  It lists 8 essential skills that every anchor or journalist should have when covering breaking news.  I believe these skills could also pertain to citizen journalists or even people who like to post news on Facebook or Twitter:

1. Knowledge base: An understanding of issues, names, geography, history and the ability to put all of these in perspective for viewers. It comes from the journalist’s commitment to being a student of the news.
2. Ability to process new information: Sorting, organizing, prioritizing and retaining massive amounts of incoming data.
3. Ethical compass: Sensitivity to ethical land mines that often litter the field of live breaking news — unconfirmed information, graphic video, words that potentially panic, endanger public safety or security or words that add pain to already traumatized victims and those who care about them.
4. Command of the language: Dead-on grammar, syntax, pronunciation, tone and storytelling — no matter how stressed or tired the anchor or reporter may be.
5. Interviewing finesse: An instinct for what people need and want to know, for what elements are missing from the story, and the ability to draw information by skillful, informed questioning and by listening.
6. Mastery of multitasking: The ability to simultaneously: take in a producer’s instructions via an earpiece while scanning new information from computer messages, texts or Twitter; listen to what other reporters on the team are sharing and interviewees are adding; monitor incoming video — and yes, live-tweet info to people who have come to expect information in multiple formats.
7. Appreciation of all roles: An understanding of the tasks and technology that go into the execution of a broadcast, the ability to roll with changes and glitches, and anticipate all other professionals involved.
8. Acute sense of timing: The ability to condense or expand one’s speech on demand, to sense when a story needs refreshing or recapping, to know without even looking at a clock how many words are needed to fill the minute while awaiting a satellite window, live feed or interviewee.

Source: "8 essential skill for anchors (& any journalist) covering breaking news," Poynter Institute

Broadband Caps Come in Play

From Britney Goo -

Beginning this week, AT&T U-Verse customers will have a limit on their Internet usage.  However, AT&T is being pretty generous with the amount of broadband each customer can use by giving customers 250 gigabytes per month.  Households with DSL will be limited to only 150 gigabytes each month.  The change is said to only affect two percent of AT&T U-Verse customers currently who typically exceed the allotted broadband usage.  For every additional 50 gigabytes that a customer uses, AT&T will charge him or her ten dollars.  Customers can check their broadband usage online, and AT&T will send notifications when a customer is nearing the cap.   

Comcast established a broadband usage cap a while back, restricting its customers to 250 gigabytes per month as well.  In Asia, Europe, and Canada, it has become very common for Internet providers to limit their customers' usage.  Although the concept might seem ridiculous, AT&T said the two percent of customers who use extremely large amounts of broadband take up approximately 20 percent of the network's bandwidth.  As a result, other customers suffer the consequences by experiencing a slower Internet connection.

Yet, even though these caps do not seem to have a huge impact on internet users today, it could very well soon affect a wider array of people.  With services such as video on-demand becoming more and more popular, it looks like customers will soon be utilizing more and more bandwidth.  Does this mean companies like AT&T will be forced to increase their caps? Or will customers simply have to pay more for their broadband and DSL connections? This question can only be answered over time, but Cisco predicts that video will make up more than 91 percent of all internet usage by 2014.  For now, internet customers must say farewell to "unlimited" internet access, unless they wish to pay the additional fees.

Source: "AT&T starts capping broadband,"  CNNMoney 

Product Placement in Music Videos

In the ever-expanding search for revenues, product placement has seemingly come of age, and to music.  Research suggests product placement in music videos grew from $15 million to $20 million last year, despite an overall decline in product placement (down 2.8% to $3.6 billion). While most accept the need for concert sponsorships, some in the industry wonder about it's appropriateness.  But in many cases, money talks.
The recent Lady Gaga video for "Telephone" included product placements for Miracle Whip and VirginMobile, doing well for it's sponsors with over 108 million views on YouTube.

Source: "The Growth of Product Placement In Music Videos," VideoInsider

YouTube NextUp Winners Announced, 25 Creators Get $35k

From Martin Johnson -

YouTube announced the winners of its first ever NextUp Creators contest to identify 25 video creators to make up the network’s inaugural NextUp class. Each of the winning creators will receive $35,000 to help fund future video production as well as attend a 4-day YouTube Creator Camp (also a first) in New York City for “personalized training and mentoring to build their brands and improve their content.” The 25 winning creators, all of whom are YouTube partners, range from musicians to comedians to a trick basketball shooters, a makeup artist, a skateboarder and a screencasting Final Cut wizard.
Source: "YouTube NextUp Winners" TubeFilter News

Dead or just dying?

From Kelly Fox -

This is a blog from propertyadguru.com that discusses if advertisers are preferring to spend their money for digital ad space or print ad space. Being a magazine journalism major, this is the time when print is having to adjust the most so I've been reading tons of articles about "print dying theories". As much as I hope these theories are not true, it can also be an exciting thing for the magazine industry to take on. This article states the advertisers are trying to adjust to the economy and therefore they need more accountability that their ads are seen, which usually pulls them towards digital ads. However, "we surf the internet, we swim in magazines", so they run the risk of their ads not enticing readers enough and just being skimmed. The article is a year old however.

Source: "Print Media: Dead or Just Dying?", Propertyadguru

Use of news video booms Online

A recent study reports that 85% of online media sites is using video to cover news, inceasing by a third.  In addition, there was also a significant increase in the use of third party video.  As you might expect, 96% of TV Web sites incorporated video (63% used external video), but what may be more surprising is the increasing use of news video by radio station, magazine and newspaper websites.  Online news sites also reported a large increase in the use of video.
The third annual survey of Web media companies showed a general increase in the use of news video, particularly in the use of externally produced video.  The survey showed the use of externally video was highest in Radio station websites (94%), Magazine websites (93%), newspapers (86%), and Web media (80%).  Even two-thirds of TV station websites used externally produced video.
Douglas Simon, head of D S Simon (which produced the study), concluded that "given the high percentage of video accepted from external sources, this should prove to be a significant opportunity for companies, brand marketers and public relations firms to help these media outlets with relevant and quality video footage."  Further, 80% of respondents indicated that they would use more or much more video in the future, suggesting a growing market.
The survey also showed increased efforts to monetize their websites and content: 80% are selling advertising, and 47% offer a mix of advertorial, product placement, and paid content.  Surprisingly, TV stations were the least likely to try to create revenue streams from their websites (only 65% sold advertising, and only 31% used some form of paid placement).

Source: "News Video Skyrockets in Online Media," Online Media Daily

Small Business Goes Social for growth

The Amercan Express OPEN Small Business Monitor reports that small business owners are increasingly citing "growing their business" as their top priority.  The study showed that 44% of entrepreneurs were using social media to attract new customers (35% Facebook, 15% LinkedIn, 10% Twitter, 8% blog, 8% YouTube).  For overall marketing strategy, the top strategies were company website (65%), search engine optimization (36%) and online social networking (35%).

 Sources: "Small Business Investing in Growth," MediaPost Research Brief
American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor Spring 2011 Report

Big Papers Circulation Falls, despite 'Fix'

The Audit Bureau of Circulation, which keeps the "official" circulation counts (which form the basis for advertising rates) for newspapers in the U.S., recently released their numbers for the six months ending last March. Weekday circulation was lower than last year's numbers for 18 of the 25 largest U.S. newspapers, even with using expanded definitions that let newspapers combine separate editions under different titles into one total. (earlier, the ABC had allowed newspapers to count digital subscriptions).
The two highest circulation papers, the Wall Street Journal (2.12 million) and USA Today (1.83 million) posted slight increases (about one percent or less). The NY Times was third (920,000), down about 4%.  Four of the other five papers posting gains relied on the new rules to pad their numbers.  For example, the San Jose Mercury News included circulation counts from other San Francisco Bay Area newspapers sharing content and ownership (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, etc.) - those other papers accounted for 370,000 of the San Jose Mercury News' reported circulation of 578,000.

The ABC's expanding definition in search of higher numbers is not unique.  Nielsen, which provides viewership numbers for television, has also been expanding viewing.  Ratings were originally defined in terms of the percentage of households (with TVs) that watched a program at a particular time, on a particular channel.  Recently, Nielsen redefined viewership as seeing the program, on any channel, within a week of its first airing; it added viewing off of DVRs in 2005, and is working on how to count viewing where the program is delivered by Video on Demand or from Internet sites.  It's in one sense a disturbing trend, to redefine measures to look better (just as the government definition of inflation (CPI) has been redefined so that today's reported 2% inflation would be 10% under the definition used until the last 25 years).
The long-term trouble, however, is that these circulation and ratings numbers are used as the foundation for advertising rates - but the advertising is not generally sold for the full extended definition. As this discrepancy between reported overall viewing and readership numbers and the "real" numbers of people exposed to a specific ad placement increases, the system loses its credibility.  The advertising industry is already skeptical about the validity and usefulness of Nielsen's numbers (as seen in the continuing debate over the latest round of proposed expanded definition); it won't help the newspaper industry for the ABC numbers to be similarly viewed.

Source: "New rules don't stop newspaper circulation fall,Yahoo Finance

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Honoring Grantland

From Graham C. Kelly -

Bill Simmons arguably ESPN.com's most popular and influential writer is creating a new website to launch this summer called grantland. A tribute to sports writer Grantland Rice. He is teaming up with his friends Malcom Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman two other big time and well received authors. I'm wondering if this could be a potential trend where writers, instead of limited their writing for media outlets, use their fame to create their own brands.

Source "Bill Simmon's new Web site Grantland.com launches in June," USA Today

The Cloud's Dark Side

From Jocelyn Blake -

With my recent knowledge of cloud computing I have been seeing more and more information about this new advancement. The New York Times is reporting that while this new technology has it's pros it also has cons. 

"The insurgents in the cloud market, led by Amazon, see private clouds as mainly a means of account control for software’s old guard, holding onto customers and high profit margins. ‘Private clouds are essentially the same thing that large, established companies have offered for years as managed services,' said Adam Selipsky, vice president of product management and developer relations for Amazon Web Services, its cloud unit. 'It amounts to a rebranding.' Perhaps, but many customers do find moving toward the underlying cloud technology a big money-saver, even in a private cloud setting."

I also read that there are seven threats to cloud computing.

1. Abuse and nefarious use of cloud computing; 2. Insecure interfaces and APIs; 3. Malicious insiders; 4. Shared technology issues; 5. Data loss or leakage; 6. Account or service hijacking; 7. Unknown risk profile

I'm sure that since this is still an up and coming product that the issues that are being brought up will be resolved. Apple is great with providing different versions and updates that improve whatever faulty problems their technology may have.

From Professor Bates- The Cloud's not without its dangers - witness the Amazon Cloud's recent outage.  But the NYTimes piece seems more a prototypical Luddite response - "this new thing will disrupt all our nice current arrangements."  Yes, it will, and eventually probably for the better.  Otherwise that "new thing" won't last long enough to be the next generations status quo.