Snippets From A Fast-Changing World

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

9 Women Can’t Make a Baby in a Month

by MARK SUSTER on MARCH 30, 2011

I’m a very big proponent of the “lean startup movement” as espoused by Steve Blank &Eric Ries.

The part of the movement that resonates the most with me (in my words) is that entrepreneurs should keep their capital expenditures really low while they’re experimenting with their product and determining whether there is a large market for what they do.

In the initial phases of any new market you’re developing a product (hopefully with a minimal set of features), getting feedback from customers, refining your product based on user feedback and then re-launching your product. Rinse & repeat. Nobody really knows whether or not the idea is yet going to be big, so I believe in not over capitalizing too early. This benefits you, the entrepreneur. It’s the whole basis of my investment philosophy, which I call “The Entrepreneur Thesis.”...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

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

Hulu Plus to Exceed One Million Subscribers in 2011

By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO

Hulu LLC’s subscription video service will surpass one million subscribers in 2011, chief executive Jason Kilar said in a blog post Monday.

Mr. Kilar also reiterated that the company is on track to approach $500 million in revenue in 2011, up from $263 million in 2010. Its first-quarter revenue grew 90% from 2010...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

Backlist E-Books Find an Audience

By JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG

Last October, suspense writer Jonathon King launched “Midnight Guardians,” the sixth novel in his Max Freeman crime series. Unlike the previous five titles, this one didn’t have a major publisher or a cash advance.

Instead, “Midnight Guardians,” available at Amazon.com for $14.99 as a digital text and $23.08 as a print-on-demand paperback, was issued by Open Road Integrated Media LLC, a digital upstart that has also reissued Mr. King’s entire backlist...more

Where Microsoft went wrong – by Paul Allen

March 31, 2011 1:15 am by Richard Waters

The details of Paul Allen’s testy personal relationship with Bill Gates have been the most eye-catching part of his forthcoming memoir. But it is the Microsoft co-founder’s damning critique of the company’s current problems that could well prove more telling.

In a draft of the forthcoming book, seen by the FT, Mr Allen writes: “How did a company once at the forefront of technology and change fall so far behind? It’s a thorny question, with roots that go back decades, but I believe it boils down to three broad factors: scale, culture and leadership.”...more

How Amazon has outsmarted the music industry (and Apple)

By Ed Bott | March 30, 2011, 2:21pm PDT

What Apple took away, Amazon has restored.

I’m talking, of course, about Lala, the pioneering digital music service that Apple purchased in December 2009 and shut down more than a year ago. The first thing Apple did, almost immediately after purchasing the company, was to disable its Music Mover feature, which allowed Lala members to upload their personal music collections to a cloud-based locker where they could play it from any web browser.

Yesterday, with the double-barreled launch of its Cloud Drive storage service and the tightly linked Cloud Player, Amazon brought that capability back to a mass audience. They’ve executed their strategy brilliantly, and they’ve painted the recording industry and their archrival Apple into a corner...more

Popular Science iPad Edition Has Sold 10,000 Subscriptions

Popular Science magazine sold the 10,000th subscription to its iPad edition sometime on Sunday, nearly six weeks after accepting Apple’s terms for selling subs on its tablet. That’s a speck compared to the title’s nearly 1.2 million print subscriptions, but a significant early foothold for digital magazine subscriptions on the iPad.…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

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

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