Snippets From A Fast-Changing World

An independent observer looks at things differently to someone who is right in the middle.

The New York Times’ R&D Lab has built a tool that explores the life stories take in the social space

By Megan Garber

Some of the most exciting work taking place in The New York Times building is being done on the 28th floor, in the paper’s Research and Development Lab. The group serves essentially as a skunkworks project for a news institution that stands to benefit, financially and otherwise, from creative thinking; as Michael Zimbalist, the Times’ vice president of R&D, puts it, the team is “investigating the ideas at the edges of today and thinking about how they’re going to impact business decisions tomorrow.” (For more on the group’s doings, check out the series of videos that we shot there a couple of years ago.)...more

The app divide between casual readers and news junkies

By Andrew Phelps

Can a single app please both casual news readers and news junkies?

That’s the question I found myself asking upon rereading that report from a couple weeks ago on iPad users’ reactions to The Daily.

The report was put together by knowDigital, a division of market-research firm Coleman Insights, which asked more than 40 iPad owners to download The Daily and use it for two weeks. Sam Milkman, the head of knowDigital, interviewed participants afterward, and he found that even in a group that small, the needs of users were split...more

Inside the NYT Lincoln Deal: It’s About Dollars, Traffic and Conversion

Apr 7, 2011

So, it looks like an intriguing deal.

Ford Motors’ Lincoln is subsidizing 100,000 new NYT digital subscriptions. Well, it is an intriguing deal, but it’s more nuanced than it seems, and in that nuance, we see some of the next models for how the digital circulation business and the digital ad business will newly intertwine, and open up new revenue streams and new marketing opportunities.

It’s just one deal, but it points to the fact that the new business model in creation will be based more on digital advertising than digital circulation. Making that new interplay work is as important as setting prices and deciding how to restrict content accces for anyone putting up a pay wall, pay fence or pay obstacle of any kind...more

The newsonomics of the digital cafeteria

By Ken Doctor

Here’s how newspapers sell what they do to would-be readers.

You can get the whole paper, now sometimes including digital access. We’ll sell you Sunday only, or the weekend, or 7-day, but you have to take our whole paper. That’s what we sell; that’s our one-size-fits-all product. It fit your grandparents and your parents, so why shouldn’t it fit you?

If newspapers were in the restaurant business, they’d be out of business quite quickly. That’s not much of a menu. There’s practically no à la carte, other than single copy, which is again the whole thing, but just once. It’s prix fixe, with early-bird specials for introductory signups...more

Bing’s new iPad app is a newspaper in disguise

by Damon KiesowPublished Apr. 11, 2011 Updated Apr. 12, 2011

Microsoft’s new Bing iPad app, released Thursday, does more than search — it begins to remake the newspaper experience in digital form.

The app is not being marketed as a news platform, but journalists should consider it one because it offers a great local information utility for the iPad age...more

RIAA v. Limewire: Record Labels Will Get Paid Twice For Some Downloads

Joe Mullin twitter @joemullin Apr 8, 2011

The Limewire file-sharing service was shut down last year, and the only thing left now is to figure out how much money the now-illegal service owes the record labels that first sued it back in 2006. The judge overseeing the case made two key rulings this week that strongly favor the record labels. The orders are responding to a flurry of motions filed by both sides, as Limewire and the RIAA each try to get the early edge in a trial over damages scheduled to begin May 2. The most recent order will allow the RIAA to “double-dip” and get paid twice for more than one hundred songs....more

The newsonomics of WaPo’s reader dashboard 1.0

By Ken Doctor

Don’t call them pageviews— call them pages read.

Don’t call them unique visitors — call them readers.

Welcome to The Washington Post’s new foray into understanding — and acting on — how readers actually consume digital news.
I wouldn’t quite call it a revolution. But it’s a firing shot in an effort to bring a modicum of science to the art form we editors like to believe we exercise so gracefully. It’s The Washington Post’s reader dashboard 1.0.

“Journalists like to believe that readers read every story they write,” says Raju Narisetti, one of two managing editors at the Post and head of washingtonpost.com news operations. “We’re disturbing that illusion. We’re also saying that focusing on the numbers doesn’t equal pandering.”...more

Millennials Still Prefer Newspapers for Political News

By Jim O’Sullivan Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reports of the demise of newspapers may be greatly exaggerated.

According to a new Harvard study, the denizens of the digital age — 18-to-29-year-olds — would prefer to get most of their political news about the next presidential campaign from — believe it or not — major national newspapers....more

News International shows digital readership rise

By Salamander Davoudi Published: March 29 2011

The Times and The Sunday Times had a combined total of 79,000 monthly digital subscribers at the end of February, up almost 60 per cent over the past four months, according to unaudited figures released by News International.

The total was up from 50,000 last November and included subscribers to the two newspapers’ digital sites as well as to The Times’ iPad and Kindle editions.…more

The NYT Pay Plan’s Most Dangerous Foe: Perception

Staci D. Kramer Mar 27, 2011

By now, we were supposed to have clarity about how The New York Times will use a meter to create a digital subscription revenue stream. After all, the plan went into effect in Canada March 17 and is supposed to start rolling out in the United States and globally Monday afternoon. We do have details—all-you-can-click social, 20 clicks at NYTimes.com (NYSE: NYT) before direct access is lost, pay plans of $15-$35 every four weeks—but the clearest aspect so far is how hard it is to cut through preconceptions, particularly when flexibility and complexity are involved...more

Nothing much happened

MARCH 21, 2011 by Nicholas Carr

“If you look at the history of the world, up until 1700 nothing much happened.” That’s what Karl Marx said to Friedrich Engels when the two first met, at a cafe in Paris, in 1844. No, I’m kidding. The guy who actually spoke those words is Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, and he spoke them just a few days ago.…more

The newsonomics of Sunday paper/tablet subscriptions

By Ken Doctor

Digital news business models are playing out on pool tables these days. Break the balls and you have no idea where they’re going or how they’ll impact each other. We’ve got paid content models of varying kinds. We’ve got the new combining “free world” of AOL/Huffington Post+ taking aim at the emerging paid world. We’ve got continuing revolutions in advertising models and technologies. We’ve got the knitting together of professional publishing and higher-end “amateur” publishing. And we have the biggest introduction of a digital device, the iPad, that we’ve ever seen, while smartphone adoption continues to create a news-anywhere world. Draw back the pool cue, punch a ball, and new patterns emerge — some planned, many quite unintentional, and maybe a few dramatic in their impact...more

New rules on the way for online content

By Tim Bradshaw, Digital Media Correspondent Published: March 23 2011

Digital media companies will soon find it easier to clear content rights for new online services, under recommendations from the Hargreaves review into intellectual property.

The review is part of a wider package of proposals around IP in Wednesday’s Budget, including the creation of new diplomatic posts in Asia to lobby for greater protection from piracy, which is rampant in markets such as China and India.…more

NYT Posts Articles on Twitter; Asks Others Not to Notice

by Erik Sass

Huh?  The New York Times is clearly struggling with the whole social media angle of its new online pay-wall — or rather, trying to have its online cake and eat it too.

On one hand, the NYT wants heavy users to pay for access to online content, shelling out $15 per month for continued access after reading the maximum allowed 20 articles for free; the pay wall is supposed to take effect on March 28 (it’s already up in Canada)...more