Home' Local Media Today : April 2015 Contents 14 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | April 2015
Local? Local remains where we are, and will always be a part of the mix of want and
need. The trick will be using technology to smartly incorporate local as only one – major –
input into who we are and what we want.
Q More than 50% of digital traffic for news will be mobile by the end of this year.
How should local news media companies best pursue their mobile first strategy?
A It’s simple to say, and oh-so-hard to for local newspaper – and broadcast – com-
panies. With mobile on its way to 75% of all usage by 2019, go to where the
growth is. For most, it’s a matter of reversing the process. The smartest editors now lead
their newsrooms in the right direction, using the morning news meeting to focus the
news of the moment, and the news of the next hours – not tomorrow’s Page One.
Reversal means understanding that smartphone, tablet, desktop and then print have
become the new order, logically following customer use. Consequently, mobile-first
means two things: making the daily flow fit with customer use and then reorienting the
new product development process – editorial content and sales – to focus on a rich
smartphone experience first.
Q Should we be considering what comes after mobile? Will people look for their
information and entertainment in other ways?
A Publishers need to get over their future shock, and focus on the world today.
After waiting for mobile to get “big enough”, too many are now behind the
eight-ball, playing catch-up yet again.
It’s a five-screen world, and we should think screens, rather than awaiting the next
new thing. Think about current news usage, which is about 50% (and declining) desk-
top/laptop, 35% smartphones and 15% tablets. Add in Connected TV, on our doorstep
after years of promise, and Connected Cars, increasingly a reality, and we have five.
That’s plenty to focus on right now.
Q Are paywalls still a wise option for the industry?
A I believe that the healthiest local news publishers will make reader revenue their
number one revenue source within five years. While smart digital marketing
initiatives and mastering of content marketing and native offer lots of promise, ad
revenue will likely become the vital second source of revenue. Paywalls, or Paywalls 1.0
as I call them, have worked, but too many publishers have simply used them to price up
print subscribers to All-Access ones, and failed to move on beyond that.
Paying readers – subscribers – are our most defensible line of revenue. The key here: do
more for readers, with new niche news and information products – and provide them
services, as companies like Europe’s Schibsted is doing. The valued, trusted relationship
with readers is more than a goodwill asset. It’s the very foundation of the next stage of
local media business.
Q You say that technology is the new center of the news business. How critical is data
to our business now and what should local media companies be counting?
A It’s all about hunch and munch. I love great editors, and what they best do is
knowing how to satisfy audiences. There’s the experienced hunch of editorial
intelligence that’s needed in the digital age as much as in the print one. Munch – the
thorough and smart use of endless feedback – is a must addition. Think of it as recombi-
nant publishing DNA, taking the best of the old world and meshing it with the news.
Count what you care about. Real engagement with content and with advertising.
When, by whom, on what device and more, all in the service of providing more of what
customers want. Count impact on positive community change. Count how useful read-
ers are finding your mobile products. Can you tell me how much average revenue per
reader customer you are getting, and what you are doing to increase it?
The data both helps editors know what audiences are reading and will drive smarter
auto-customization news presentation very soon.
Q Local media companies have long relied on personal relationships – with readers,
merchants and the community - to build brand and trust. How can local media
use these cornerstones to their best advantage?
A Relationships provide touchpoints that provide data that, in turn, o ff e r knowl-
edge. That’s the gold of these local relationships. These are relationships that
even Google and Facebook can’t recreate. My emerging work on what I’m calling
Relationship Newsonomics focuses on building commercial value off of these relation-
ships, using everything from events businesses to niche product creation to smarter
shopping targeting to do that. Again, increasing average revenue per reader customer is
a way forward for top-line revenue growth – something we haven’t seen since 2007.
What can’t be forgotten: a deep authentic, inform-the-community product remains
the very basis of this trust. Diminish that product, which too many have done, and you
diminish the potential of rebuilding the business on relationships.
Q Love your slogan ‘Forget Time on Site. Think Time in Life’. Can you expound on that?
A In our movement from print to digital, we’ve forgotten so much of what
newspapers traditionally did for readers and for communities. Sure, the local
news has always been a vital part of the mix, but the information and columns that
touched every aspect of family life, home fix-up, relationships, advice, pass-the-time
reading and lots more got lost in the print to digital translation. Many local newspaper
sites’ low usage reflects the loss of this myriad of lost franchises that newspapers once
held. We got 20 or 30 minutes a day (!) of readers’ time, because we provided so much
that intertwined with their lives and their families’ lives.
The newspaper was never just about news.
Today, digital publishing offers us the ability to touch – many times over – readers’
full lives. Consider the apps on the first screen of our smartphones; these are a reflection
of our lives today. Is the local newspaper general site even included? What unique local
app can a local news and info company create, as an entertainment or restaurant guide,
or family fun guide? If, in fact, we claim to know our communities better than Google or
Facebook, we have to prove it – to our communities.
The model here is one we can borrow from consumer packaged goods companies:
Profile a number of typical community members and answer the questions of how a lo-
cal media company can now provide what they need in their daily lives. The answer will
lie in doing more for them, and that’s as much about tools and services, and interaction,
as it is news.
Q Finally, where should we be investing our energy and resources? What are the best
opportunities for long term audience and revenue development for local media
A Focus on the best customers. I shared my research at the Atlanta Mega Confer-
ence showing that 10-15% of all the combined print readers and digital unique
visitors provide 90% of the revenue. A lesson: stop chasing uniques and page views;
that’s a fool’s game, being won by others. Focus on understanding and better serving the
current paying customers, print and digital – and then expend resources on identifying
would-be customers who share similar habits and preferences. That’s the next stage of
rebuilding the business.
Q&A Ken Doctor
CONT. FROM PAGE 2
AD - Local Media Today 4.875 x 6.5_gugliotto copy.pdf 1 3/12/2015 9:17:13 AM
Links Archive March 2015 May 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page