Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

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?

All The News That’s Fit To…Tweet? Re-writing the New York Times Motto

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Flickr Image: B.K. Dewey

Flickr Image: B.K. Dewey

Valerie Simon

Monday morning, as I sat down on the train headed to the Bulldog Reporter 2010 Media Relations Summit, I had trouble getting past the front page of The New York Times. No, it wasn’t the story about “online bullies” or the “G20 agreement to halve budget deficits,” but a part of its masthead: “All the news that’s fit to print.”  

I am bothered by the fact that the motto remains tied to a particular format, when in fact The New York Times Digital ranked 13th on the newly released comScore report of top 50 web properties. I enjoy reading The New York Times online via my BlackBerry, following @nytimes on Twitter and receiving its RSS feeds in my reader. I listen to podcasts and watch NY Times videos. The various formats and channels each offer a unique purpose and different advantage in storytelling.

When I arrived at the conference I paid particular attention to how other media organizations were evolving. During the first roundtable I moderated, Glenn Coleman, managing director, Crain’s New York Business, discussed the different methods of outreach and subscription types available to readers. Alongside the original print edition, there is a digital edition, several premium specialized newsletters, as well as free email alerts consisting of daily, weekly, industry and company email alerts delivering the day’s breaking business news.

Likewise, at my second roundtable, Joe Ciarallo, editor of PRNewser and manager of PR initiatives for, noted that the MediaBistro community receives content and information from a wide array of platforms. In addition to its original blog, MediaBistro reaches its audience using targeted blogs such as PR Newser, TV Newser, and Agency Spy, premium content, and opportunities for members,  live events and an active social media presence.

So what is the new standard of newsworthiness – the new goal of media organizations striving to be that essential trusted source of news?  During the conference Rand Morrison, executive producer, CBS News Sunday Morning, wisely remarked that, “Long is shorter than it used to be.” Perhaps an updated motto for The New York Times would be “All the news that’s fit to tweet.” But seriously, the motto should no longer focus on one particular format, but rather on consumption, discussion, or sharing. I’ll put it to you, the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas community. What do you think would be a more appropriate motto for today’s New York Times?

The Future Can’t Come Fast Enough for the News Industry and It’s Looking a Little Brighter

Friday, May 28th, 2010
Image Courtesy of DC Comics

Image Courtesy of DC Comics

It would be hard to imagine the fictional newspaper men (and women) of the past like Perry White of the “Daily Planet” (Superman) hollering for their first quarter numbers of “unique visitors per month” or boasting about their ranking for “most-linked-to-news-outlets” or even deliberating about putting their content behind a “pay-wall.” Today these are just some of the relatively new terms being used to describe the various metrics and business models newspapers are exploring during this transitional period in which the entire industry finds itself. 

For the last several years the forecasts for news organizations have been filled with doom and gloom. However the news about the news industry has been much rosier as of late. For starters, newspaper website’s traffic continues to grow. As highlighted in this Media Post article, online newspaper operations from the top 25 media outlets reached 83.7 million unique visitors in April, up 10 percent from March, 12 percent from February and 15 percent from January of this year, according to comscore figures released by the Newspaper National Network. And according to Nielsen, 74.4 million unique visitors per month in the first quarter of 2010 were a record – up from 72 million from the first quarter of 2009. These increases were actually higher than competitors like CNN and The Huffington post who came in at 43.4 million (flat) and 22.2 million (a 3 percent drop) respectively.

(For a list of the top 100 daily newspapers, 25 consumer magazines, 25 blogs, and the 20 social networks in the U.S., check out the updated 2010 Top Media List from BurrellesLuce.)

It is obvious from these figures that, as Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt was recently quoted as saying, “Newspapers don’t have a demand problem they have a business model problem.”

As various business models continue to be tested, measured and debated within the industry, a silver bullet has yet to emerge. So far, it appears that several viable solutions are taking shape and depending on who you ask you’ll get a justification for each of them. According to this article on, “Last year Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of The Wall Street Journal’s parent company News Corp., said ‘The current free access business model favored by most content providers was flawed and contributed to a fall in newspapers’ revenues.’” The WSJ is currently behind a pay-wall and “he also claimed the Wall Street Journal had proved that charging for content could be made to work pointing out that 360,000 people had downloaded an iPhone WSJ application in three weeks and that users would soon be made to pay “handsomely” for accessing WSJ content.”

Alternatively, The New Times plans to use a metered system (EZ Pass approach) starting January 2011, where a certain number of articles would be free before demanding payment (similar to what Financial Times is currently using). This may solve their monetization challenge, but it will no doubt affect their “most-linked-to-news-outlets” rank, a measure used to track the amount of people who actually clicked-through to the original news organizations website via a blog or third party source. This could significantly impact results, with 99 percent of the stories bloggers include as links coming from traditional mainstream media sources. Interestingly enough, 80 percent of the stories linked to in online and social media come from only four news outlets: The New York Times (20 percent), BBC news (23 percent), (21 percent), and the Washington Post (16 percent). The Wall Street Journal has twice the print circulation as the New York Times, but  is not on this short list. 

Some pay-wall advocates would argue that the majority of these visitors are merely “drive by users” who come in once through an aggregator and don’t really engage with the product. The counter argument claims more traffic directed to a newspaper’s online site would ultimately translate into higher advertising dollars.

If the numbers prove the demand for news content is there, let’s hope for the news industry’s sake the revenue will follow. In my opinion credible news journalism still trumps all. As long as it’s being distributed through the device of choice, engaged by the readers, and monetized in a way that generates revenue without isolating readers – it doesn’t matter whether it’s done through pay-walls, online advertising, or possibly something we haven’t thought of yet. (After all necessity is the mother of all inventions.) A tall order for the news industry for sure, but the future suddenly looks a whole lot brighter. There’s no doubt the identity of the news industry will change, but a reinvented news organization is still better than none at all.

Multipliers: A Way to Establish Correlations Between Audited Circulation and Readership Or Just Fluff?

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

by Carol Holden*

Ever since taking over the reins of the BurrellesLuce Media Measurement department, more years ago than I wish to claim, I have heard a persistent question from clients: “What is an accurate multiplier to use with the audited circulation for print media to give a more realistic readership measure.” “Isn’t there an overall industry standard to use?” It came up again as recently as this week.

Obviously the question is asked because many publications are passed around the household or office, and are available in every waiting room space in America.  And I have heard multipliers tossed about, anywhere from two to as much as seven, with little substantiation as to how the number was derived.

Our response to this question has always been that we do not recommend any multipliers because we have not found data to support any overall numbers that would equate to all newspapers, large or small, daily or non-daily. The same feeling holds true for magazines.

However, there is some research on the topic this month, produced by Scarborough Research and the Newspaper National Network, working to

Multipliers: A Way to

Flickr Image: atomicjeep

establish correlations between circulation (audited) and readership.

The examination of the two metrics was done using 25 major daily printed newspapers – although not all were in the top 25 – ranked by total circulation as reported in the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The following are some of the conclusions the study draws:

  • Readership and circulation are highly correlated and have been moving in the same direction over time.
  • Readership is decreasing at a slower rate than circulation.
  • The analysis found that Readers-Per-Copy is increasing.
  • The readership metric facilitates apples to apples comparisons with other media, which rely on audience estimates.

Although I found the report interesting, I would still be hesitant to make recommendations to a client who wished to add a multiplier because:

  • I would not feel comfortable using the findings from this type of report outside of the specific 25 newspaper media universe studied, such as applying the multipliers to smaller daily or non-daily newspapers.
  • Because readership/circulation illustrates “opportunities to see” rather than eyeballs, I would be wary of advising a client to make an apples to apples comparison to other media that rely on audience/visitor estimates.
  • The New York Times reported on April 26, 2010 that: “In the six-month period ending March 31, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported Sunday sales dropping 6.5 percent and weekday sales 8.7 percent compared with the same six-month period a year ago. The figures are based on reports filed by hundreds of individual papers.” With the landscape changing so quickly, how long would multipliers even for the subset of 25 newspapers analyzed be valid?

What methods do you use to judge the reach of campaigns in print media? Do you incorporate any type of multipliers in your data and if so how did you come up with them and support them going forward. Are there any other “fuzzy” numbers that you use? And for those not using multipliers, how are you qualifying those opportunities to see? How are you distinguishing them from circulation and eyeballs? Please share your thoughts and experience with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.


Bio: I’ve been in the media business all of my adult life, first in newspapers before going full circle and joining BurrellesLuce, where I now direct the Media Measurement department. I’ve always enjoyed meeting and especially listening to the needs of our customers and others in the public relations and communications fields; I welcome sharing ideas through the Fresh Ideas blog. One of my professional passions is providing the type of service to a client that makes them respond, “atta girl” – inspiring our entire team to keep striving to be the best. Although I have been lucky enough to travel through much of Asia and most major U.S. cities for business or pleasure, my free time is now spent with my daughter, visiting family/friends, and of course the Jersey shore. Twitter: @domeasurement LinkedIn: Carol Holden Facebook: BurrellesLuce

BlogRolls are Out – Peer Media Is In

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Blogrolls are out - Peer Media is in. As social media continues to change and evolve – it has gone from a place where content is merely pushed out to the masses to one where engagement reigns supreme.

In that spirit, we are looking to replace the BurrellesLuce blogroll – which is compiled by our contributors – with content driven by you, our readers and fans.

So, tell us:

  • What are your go-to online media sources?
  • Which industry-related blogs top your RSS feed?
  • What online media can’t you wait to dig-into first thing in the morning?

We’ll tally up your responses and feature the top resources in a new section called, “Peer Media.”

Perhaps you prefer the online edition of the New York Times. Maybe it is the Huffington Post. Whatever your preferences, we want to know. Leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. And be sure to look for an update soon, revealing what your peers had to say.