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

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

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

Paywall or no paywall, print is still what pays

Peter Preston The Observer, Sunday 20 March 2011

The New York Times’s model for online charging will no doubt be widely copied. But according to one analyst, print will still be providing 86% of UK newspapers’ revenues even in 2017.

So, at long, long last, we have the paywall policy all Americannewspapers – and many others around the globe – have been waiting for. Get the New York Times delivered at home and you receive internet access free. But eschew print and visit the website more than 20 times a month and you’ll be charged $15 or $20 or $35 a month according to the number of bells and whistles (tablets, smartphones etc) you opt for.…more

Media Buyers Say NYT Advertising May Actually Get A Boost From Paywall

David Kaplan twitter @davidaKaplanMar 18, 2011 11:15 AM ET

Media buyers don’t expect the New York Times’ online ad revenue, which was up double digits last year, to take a hit from the company’s new digital subscription plans. Some even see a scenario where the NYT will be able to charge higher rates—if the newspaper hits the expected number of “heavy users” which may offer proof of “more engaged” readers.

When it comes to digital ad revenue, the NYTCo’s experience has mirrored most major publishers. In Q4, digital adsremained a particular bright side in general, as that segment rose 11.1 percent to $113.2 million. Citing a “volatile ad market,” the company experienced a 7.2 percent drop in print ad dollars...more

New York Times launches online charging

By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York Published: March 17 2011

The New York Times has launched its long-awaited model for charging for news online, with a “metered” subscription approach that will charge more than some analysts had expected, but ensure that most readers never encounter the paywall.

NYTimes.com will become the largest non-financial newspaper to charge at least some online readers, starting the industry’s most closely watched experiment in whether general interest publications can wean readers off a 15-year habit of finding news online for free...more

Bob Woodward: ‘You get the truth at night, the lies during the day’

by Mallary Jean Tenore Published Mar. 15, 2011 6:34 pm Updated Mar. 16, 2011 9:56 am

During a visit to Poynter on Tuesday, Bob Woodward talked about Watergate’s original code name, why he likes his iPad, and the best time of day to access hard-to-reach sources.

Below, I’ve highlighted his thoughts on these topics and others. The quotes are drawn from two talks Woodward gave at Poynter and a one-on-one interview I had with him...more

The State of the News Media 2011

By Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism

By several measures, the state of the American news media improved in 2010.

After two dreadful years, most sectors of the industry saw revenue begin to recover. With some notable exceptions, cutbacks in newsrooms eased. And while still more talk than action, some experiments with new revenue models began to show signs of blossoming.

Among the major sectors, only newspapers suffered continued revenue declines last year—an unmistakable sign that the structural economic problems facing newspapers are more severe than those of other media. When the final tallies are in, we estimate 1,000 to 1,500 more newsroom jobs will have been lost—meaning newspaper newsroomsare 30% smaller than in 2000.…more