Browsing articles from "January, 2011"

Study: 86% of people use mobile devices while watching TV

Jan 26, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  1 Comment

Photo by Eelke Dekker

By Chris Hogg

According to a study published by Yahoo’s advertising division, TV fans are very active on the mobile front. The report indicates nearly 90 percent of boob tube watchers are using a mobile device at the same time.

It began as a passive past-time meant to escape from the everyday, but television today is turning into an engaging experience thanks to that smartphone in your pocket. Be it Twitter, Facebook, email or instant messaging, TV watchers are doing more than watching what’s on screen.

According to stats released by Yahoo/Nielsen, 86 percent of mobile Web users (and 92 percent of people aged 13 to 24) are using a mobile device while watching TV and one quarter of them are looking at related content to what they’re watching on screen. For this study, Yahoo interviewed 8,384 Americans aged 13 to 64. Of those, 5,313 were mobile Internet users.

The study (PDF) says TV watchers use their mobile to simultaneously text family and friends (56 percent); visit social networking sites (40 percent); browse content unrelated to the program on screen (37 percent); email friends and family (33 percent); use mobile apps (33 percent); browse for content related to the show on screen (24 percent); search for info based on a commercial that aired (23 percent); and instant message with friends or family (12 percent).

Courtesy Yahoo

“This data mirrors Yahoo research on PC users, as we see that mobile users often scan content unrelated to TV programming, participate on social networks and send email,” the study reports. “Mobile allows ample opportunity for brands to continue the conversation after the TV ad is flighted.”

In addition to post-program interaction, the real-time Web and mobile apps are changing how people consume content on television. Evidence can be found with shows like Glee or Obama’s State of the Union address where people took to social networks like Twitter to discuss what they were seeing in real-time.

Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, recently spoke about Glee’s use of social media with Kara Swisher, showing how mobile devices have changed the TV-watching experience.

“The characters on Glee actually tweet and they tweet during the show,” Costolo said. “When Glee starts, the moment it airs for the first time on the East Coast, the tweets per second for Glee shoot up. They stay up there at a super high level at hundreds of [times] what they are before the show comes on until the moment the show ends and then they drop. [...] People feel like they have to watch the show while it’s going on because the community is tweeting about the show and the characters are tweeting as the show’s happening so [they have to] watch it in real time.”

ReadWriteWeb notes the Glee phenomonenon has caused viewers to tune into the show in real-time rather than time-shifting or recording it on DVR.

For marketers who want to connect with today’s modern TV-watcher, Yahoo says mobile usage presents “a compelling opportunity for content providers and advertisers alike to complement the viewing experience on the mobile platform.”

Personal news service ‘Ongo’ blends aggregation with paywalls

Jan 25, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Ongo is a news aggregator that charges users for access to content

By Chris Hogg

It calls itself a “personal news service.” Others ask if it’s the craziest startup idea ever. The business is Ongo and it’s a news site attempting to blend aggregated content with paywalls.

“Premiering with more than a dozen top-tier titles in a single interface designed for readability, Ongo delivers full articles and convenient customization features, along with editorial curation that uncovers vital and interesting stories beyond the day’s top headlines,” a company press release reads.

Ongo says it offers an “immersive” reading experience where users can easily search, save and share stories — something it says other news aggregators fail at doing. “Many of today’s online news aggregation services are disjointed, distracting experiences — providing only snippets of articles surrounded by links and ads that require readers to jump from site to site,” the company says.

With its debut, Ongo will be carrying content from The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Guardian, Slate, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, USA Today, and selected content from the Financial Times and the New York Times.

Ongo promises to carry content from these sources, strip out ads, improve the interface and charge $7 per month for a base subscription (for select Financial Times stories, as well as content from the Washington Post, USA Today, select New York Times content and AP stories). It costs an additional $0.99 to add content from other sources (Slate, Boston Globe or other regional newspapers).

“Yes, Ongo is going to charge for news that’s generally free on the web,” Jay Yarow from Business Insider notes. “Crazy, right? We think so, but Ongo CEO Alex Kazim doesn’t seem rattled.”

Yarow compares Ongo to basic cable, where you pay a flat fee for content and you get more for a little extra cash each month.

According to Business Insider, Ongo execs estimate the service could generate $6.99 per user, so 1 million users would make it a $100-million business. With 100,000 users, it would be worth $10 million.

Kazim previously worked at Skype, PayPal and eBay and Ongo investors include USA Today, New York Times and Gannet who put $12 million into the company in September 2010.

The company launches today with mobile apps and a traditional website. More info on product features can be found via the company’s press release. A demo of the service is available via a company YouTube video:

Report: New York Times online subscription will cost less than $20/Month

Jan 21, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

By Chris Hogg

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg is reporting the New York Times will charge less than $20 per month for full access to its online newspaper when it launches its paywall later this month.

As Bloomberg reports: “The price has been set at less than the $19.99 that customers pay for a New York Times subscription on Inc.’s Kindle reader, said the person, who declined to be identified because the price hasn’t been made public yet.”

The price point is in-line with what New York Times president Scott Heekin-Canedy said last month, when he announced it would be comparable to the Kindle subscription.

The paywall issue is a big one for media publishers who fear a switch to a paid-only option will drive away readership, which in-turn will affect advertising. The issue has been big in media circles since The Guardian reported The Times Online in the United Kingdom saw its online readership drop by almost 90 percent after the paywall went up. Numbers from Nielsen Co. show a 40 percent drop in the first several months after the paywall was announced, Bloomberg notes.

“Times Co. and other newspaper publishers are trying to determine how much of their online content should remain free, how much can be moved behind a paywall, and how much to charge for access,” Bloomberg reports. “The companies are seeking new revenue sources as print advertising and circulation revenue decline amid competition from Internet publications.”

Janet Robinson, CEO of Times Co. said some content will remain free but the company will begin charging for content in the first quarter of this year.

The New York Times will allow visitors to its site to read a set number of articles each month before being prompted to pay for full access. The number of stories visitors can read for free has yet to be announced. Print subscribers will have full access to the online publication at no extra charge.

Comment: Google and Apple go at it on the future of news

Jan 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Photo by Brian Brooks

The following is a guest post by Tamlin Magee, a journalist with the TechEye. It originally appeared on TechEye and has been reprinted with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @wegotblankets.

By Tamlin Magee,

The war on the future of news reporting continues to find its place on the digital battleground with Apple and Murdoch signing on for a not-so-civil partnership. Google has been testing the waters in Italy with a pay-as-you-go paywall for some time now – but according to reports it has been stepping up its game against Apple, saying: “Hey, we’ve got mobile devices too!”

Google is doing the rounds trying to nick and create new partners for its own “digital newsstand,” reports the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.  The WSJ suggests Google is “chasing Apple” which already has a slew of titles available for its costly thin rectangle, the iPad, but the truth is sales have been slipping over 2010. Both rags and mags were hit.

Details of Google’s foray into the world of printed news are thin on the ground. In fact, some speaking to the WSJ have doubts it’ll appear at all. We’d be surprised. A monopoly on the news is a valuable thing and already publishers are chasing their own tails in search of extra hits from Google’s engine and that mysteriously coded algorithm behind news dot google.

Apple is about to refurbish iTunes‘ back-end to give an enticing helping hand to publishers who have been on the fence about signing up.

It wants to make selling publications and subscriptions over iTunes easier while it will also discretely take in data about consumer buying habits. It wants to share purchase data about publisher’s apps and flog that on to the publishing houses themselves. It’ll have a 30 percent take on subscriptions.

Whether Apple, Google or a seperate third party take the biscuit with wooing publishers one thing is for certain – it is dangerous territory. Publishers and editors must think of their readers first, and take a stand against the changing agenda of news as dictated by the pushers of products. You wouldn’t let a paper mill run its press releases on the front pages – so why Google, or Apple?

Really, tablets are a means to an end. But many, including the Financial Times’ web editor, don’t agree. Robert Shrimsley said late last year: “Apple’s power as a distributor is something we will have to get used to.”

It’s all about tablet computing, according to the manufacturers of tablet computers. They want you to believe it’s a tactile and fun way to read a newspaper without smudging ink over your fingers, and a fresh take on looking at the news. High definition photos, embedded video, etc.

Apple is, obviously, way ahead of the game with the success of the iPad but – as we’ve said before – every electronics manufacturer wants their slate in your home.

There have been tests into reading habits on tablets and e-readers compared to books and papers. It turns out reading on a shiny, handheld screen marks well on enjoyment. But reading on a screen rather than paper has its downsides – the reader is more likely to scan paragraphs instead of letting it all sink in. Not a bad thing depending on your paper of choice.

Check out Leah Borromeo’s column for us in November 2010. She suggests that the case isn’t that there’s an Apple bias in the media, it’s that “Apple has managed to get the media to buy into the ideal of the Apple.”

Is the iPad, or Google’s alternative Android offerings, or any other tablet, really the be all and end all of news publishing? Probably not. The internet still hasn’t killed the newspaper.

Or the film industry.

Or the music industry.

It has been something which must be adapted to and worked alongside traditional means and we imagine tablets will be no different.

First spectacularly shameless plug of 2011 goes to the Wall Street Journal, which, ahem, slates the competition in one paragraph and whores itself in the next.

“Some companies already offer subscriptions through iTunes, but they have largely cobbled them together,” it begins. “Newsweek sells 12 and 24 week subscriptions to the iPad editiong, though Apple handles the transaction and Newsweek doesn’t know who the subscribers are.”

“The Wall Street Journal sells iPad subscriptions for $3.99 a week.”

External links:

The following is a guest post by Tamlin Magee, a journalist with the TechEye. It originally appeared on TechEye and has been reprinted with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @wegotblankets. This blog post is part of the Future of Media‘s ongoing coverage and examination of what’s happening in the media around the world. If you have a story idea, please contact us.

The future of news? Media trends suggest social media, partisan reporting and brevity

Jan 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  7 Comments

Photo by Archibald Ballantine

The following is a guest post by Chad Garrison, a journalist with the Riverfront Times. It originally appeared in Garrison’s Riverfront Times blog and has been reprinted with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @chadgarrison.

By Chad Garrison,

Amy Mitchell, deputy director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism was in town yesterday to speak at a luncheon for PR professionals. Her topic, “The New News Consumer and the Future of News: Trends for 2011 and Beyond,” also drew a fair number of reporters and editors. Yep, flacks and hacks brought together to try to read the ol’ proverbial tea leaves.

And the bottom line? These are uncertain times. But you already knew that. Here, then, are a few of the statistics Mitchell shared with the audience that may offer some guidance on the future of journalism:

  • Contrary to popular opinion, the average American actually spends more time consuming news than he/she did a decade ago. They tend to spend the same 57 minutes per day getting news through traditional outlets (radio, TV, print) today as they did in 2000. But they now also spend another 13 minutes per day consuming news online for a total of 70 minutes spent each day following current events.
  • People tend to be “news grazers” getting their information from a variety of sources with just 33 percent of Internet users saying they have a favorite site for their news gathering.

  • Moreover, the average time per visit to news sites continues to drop. In 2009 it was three minutes and six seconds. Last year it dropped to just two-and-a-half minutes.

  • Sixty-two percent of Internet users participate in some kind of social media.
  • Seventy-seven percent of social-media users say they get their news from social media.
  • Facebook is now the third biggest referral site for news articles, following only Google and the main new site from which an article is linked (ex. a New York Times article that’s linked from the main page of the NYT.)
  • In 2010 online news readership grew 8.5 percent. News consumption for all the following fell: local TV (-1.1%); network TV (-3.4%); print newspapers (-5%); cable TV (-11.4%); magazines (-12%).
  • Newspapers have lost an estimated $1.6 billion from their newsrooms budgets since 2000, and that money isn’t coming back with online ads selling for a fraction of what similar print and classified ads sold for.
  • Of the three cable news networks, Fox and MSNBC far outpaced CNN in revenue in 2010.

Lessons? Obviously social media is key. Getting people to share stories on Facebook, Twitter, etc. can bring in new readers. But is a more wholesale change needed?

Based on the success of Fox News and MSNBC, I asked Mitchell if she thought the key these days was for news outlets to become more partisan as a way to increase traffic.

Mitchell didn’t really answer my question, but she ended her talk by noting that the public today has a lot more freedom to choose where and from whom they consume their news. With that freedom comes that old journalism mantra: Always consider the source.

As for news agencies, the challenge is to make the news available in platform-specific consumption across all new media — phones, tablets, social media, etc. The news, concluded Mitchell, can no longer be seen as a product. It must be considered a service.

That said, I’m struggling to think of any business — be it a manufacturer or a service industry — that gives away its work for free, as has been the case over the past decade with newspapers and the Internet. Mitchell suggested that that may change as papers find a way to finally charge for news downloaded to tablet computers.

We shall see.


The following is a guest post by Chad Garrison, a journalist with the Riverfront Times. It originally appeared in Garrison’s Riverfront Times blog and has been reprinted with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @chadgarrison. This blog post is part of the Future of Media‘s ongoing coverage and examination of what’s happening in the media around the world. If you have a story idea, please contact us.