Posts Tagged ‘revenue’

Paid Content vs. Free Content, Apple vs. Google, Web Browsers vs. Apps…as we enter a new phase of digital media who will emerge victorious?

Monday, September 13th, 2010


In March 2009 I wrote my first blog post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, about how emerging technologies and platforms were changing the way we consume news – supported by input I gathered from a media summit I had attended that featured panelists such as Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe and BBC’s Rome Hartman.

I wrote, “And with the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ and this ‘Pro-Am’ partnership that is developing with media, the panel agreed that consumers will have a stronger need for trusted brands, filtering, and editing to help navigate the media.” A year and a half later, the cream seems to be rising to the top in this fragmented media universe.

Today the “trusted brands,” such as The New York Times, are beginning to abandon the old business model of offering free content in exchange for paid advertisements. They are instead looking to generate additional revenue by putting their text, audio, and video behind pay walls or by offering their content as an app for a small fee. “I think we should have done it years ago,” said David Firestone, a deputy national news editor commenting on the NYT’s decision to put some of their content behind paywalls beginning in 2011. “As painful as it will be at the beginning, we have to get rid of the notion that high-quality news comes free.”

The Times Co. Chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. added, “This is a bet, to a certain degree, on where we think the Web is going…This is not going to be something that is going to change the financial dynamics overnight.”

In fact, no one is sure where the web is going; this undeniable shift away from free content will certainly make life more difficult for the Googles of the world who rely on free content to fuel their search engine. Consumers may turn to company’s like Apple for their media, who adopted the “paid content” model early on by making content available for small fees through iTunes and more recently showing consumers how convenient it is to access a magazine or newspaper digitally for a small fee on their iPad.

 Fox News this week launched its new iPhone political app, available through iTunes for 99 cents. “The idea is that this is your essential guide to daily political news,” says Chris Stirewalt, Fox News digital politics editor, “to put power into peoples’ hands to give them the opportunity in this history making, nation shaping election, to have the tools at hand so that they can really understand and add to the depth of their experience.”

With more people opting to have their media pushed to their smart phones and iPads rather than retrieving information over the Internet it will be interesting to see how this affects web browser traffic. As free content slowly disappears, news websites and aggregators such as the Drudge Report and the Daily Beast may have a tougher time filling their sites with the hyperlinks that contain the raw material that drives much of their sites traffic. Instead the eyeballs will be looking in other directions – with more people willing to pay for content this may ultimately prove to be the antidote that saves a hemorrhaging newspaper industry.

It appears we are on the verge of coming full circle on how we get our news. We’ve gone from relying on newsstands and subscriptions to searching and accessing free content online, only to return to paying the publishers directly once again for their content through app fees and online subscriptions.

Paperboys and newsstand operators may be on the verge of extinction; however, content providers like newspapers, network, and cable TV and movie studios may have the final say in how their product is consumed after all.

As public relations and marketing professionals, how are you getting your news? How do you think the evolving media landscape will affect your ability to successfully conduct media relations and assess the value of your efforts?

PRSA 2010 Counselors Academy: Indra Gardiner, Bailey Gardiner Inc. Interviewed by Johna Burke

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, everyone. This is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PRSA Counselors Academy with Indra.

Indra, will you please introduce yourself?

INDRA GARDINER: I’m Indra Gardiner from Bailey Gardiner in San Diego.

BURKE: Thanks so much for joining us. And you’re doing a session on incorporating digital into the agency and how you can turn that into revenue. Can you tell some of the people some of the success stories and some of the tips that you have to implement that?

GARDINER: We’ve spent the last couple of years growing our agency digitally and expanding our service offerings to our clients. And not only has it been helpful for them in terms of results, but it’s also allowed an opportunity for our employees to learn and grow and expand their skill set. So it’s been everything from learning SEO and then applying that to our social media as well as our web development side. So it’s been cross-purposed to things like email campaigns and how does email fit into social media and a public relations program? So it’s a–it’s a much broader way of thinking about public relations and the marketing skill set.

BURKE: Great. That’s super advice for anybody to be able to apply to their systems. And so where can people find you on the web and then in social media?

GARDINER: Our website is Our blog is and my Twitter handle is bgindra, I-N-D-R-A.

BURKE: Thank you so much.

Magazines Strive to Find Their Place In The Emerging World of Publishing

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Valerie Simon

bl1.jpgAs I relaxed by the pool this Memorial Day Weekend with a few of my favorite magazines and a glass of lemonade, I couldn’t help but ponder the future of the magazine industry and what it will mean to the PR profession. The magazines we read for our clients here at BurrellesLuce have changed quite a bit this year. While magazines such as Domino and Portfolio shuttered in 2009, new magazines, Best You and Sandra Lee Semi-Made come to mind, have launched. Still others, such as Newsweek, have undergone a dramatic transformation. Several trends are emerging while magazines strive to find their place in the emerging world of publishing.

Trend 1: Digital initiatives
As publications take advantage of their websites to attract and engage both readers and advertisers, new opportunities for public relations professionals to reach readers are created. It seems as though every magazine is currently in the process of designing or enhancing online features – striving to build communities and provide additional value to readers. Magazines now have Facebook sites where readers become “fans.” Twitter feeds are becoming standard. The Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) website offers a full list of the digital initiatives by magazines.

Trend 2: Going niche
Magazines with a narrow but intense focus and targeted audience are finding loyal readers and advertisers. While readers are getting general news and information from more sources than ever, they crave more detailed, focused, and in depth expert coverage of their special areas of interest. Targeted advertising can also be extremely profitable, since each view has a greater value to the advertiser.

Trend 3: Identifying new options for advertisers
Allocating space on the cover for advertising, something which still generates controversy in terms of acceptability, has been attempted in various formats by Scholastic Parent and Child, ESPN the Magazine, Esquire and others. US Weekly did an entire “faux” cover to promote the movie “Grey Gardens.” As the MPA site demonstrates, publishers are also working feverishly to appeal to advertisers through new portals, interfaces, and integrated opportunities.  

What other trends are you seeing in the magazine industry? What do you think the future of magazines will look like?

I’m Not Going to Pay A Lot For That Content!!!!

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Steve Shannon
316929914_238392ea55_m.jpgThe headline of this post paraphrases the great boxer and pitchman George Foreman. Before he got into the grilling business, George “wasn’t going to pay a lot for a muffler.”

Apparently, he and countless others don’t want to pay a lot for the electronic editions of books either. Motoko Rich of The New York Times writes, in this article, that customers of Amazon have balked at paying $15 for the electronic edition of David Baldacci’s newest novel “First Family.” Most e-editions for Amazon’s Kindle reader are priced at $9.99, while the average hardcover book has a cover price of $26.

The argument advanced by these consumers: the costs of paper, printing, and distribution are out of the equation and the price of the electronic edition should reflect it. Sounds right to me. But Rich reports that such expenses generally run 12.5 percent of a hardcover’s average retail price. If that is the case, then $3.25 should cover those costs.

Continuing to follow the logic advanced by the consumers, an e-book should then have an average retail price of $22.75, not $15 or even $9.99. What’s going on here? It turns out that Amazon is likely subsidizing the books – paying publishers $13 for each $9.99 book it sells. Thirteen dollars is the same price Amazon also pays publishers for a hardcover version. The subsidy from Amazon probably encourages adoption of its Kindle reader, which then makes the owner beholden to Amazon for their e-book purchases.

Who’s right?  Publishers? Retailers? Consumers?  Who knows, but that’s the beauty of capitalism.

More importantly, for those of us in PR, what does it mean for the news media, which faces a similar conundrum in the pricing, revenues, and profits of the print versus electronic realms? Personally, I think it means that publishers and news consumers will both have to give a bit to continue to create, sell or receive quality news.  For news publishers, it means finding a way to charge for content they’ve so far given away for free on the web. New consumers will have to acknowledge and pay for the quality of that content with their wallets, their demographic info and/or consuming advertising, along with the editorial. Much like the book publishing example above, the market will take a while to find its equilibrium, but find it, it will.

My bet is that we’ll see a plethora of free and paid news (and topic) sites, and perhaps hybrids of both. My other bet: paid audience will be prized by PR professionals and marketers. That is where the ever-desired “influentials” will reside, as quality content for news (or any topic) will likely be monetized rather than free.

One thing you can be sure of, no matter what models news media sites end up with, BurrellesLuce will be there to monitor them.