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Jeff Jarvis: ‘Journalism has a model built on entitlement and emotion, not economics’

Jeff Jarvis keeping an eye on City professor George Brock. Image: Wannabe Hacks

Journalism is labouring under a business model based on entitlement and emotion, not economic reality, said leading media commentator Jeff Jarvis today at City Unversity’s Sustaining Local Journalism conference.

We need to understand the business model. I’m tired of the argument that journalists ‘should’ be paid, what successful business model was ever built on the word ‘should’?

Virtue is not a business model, just because we are doing good things that doesn’t mean we should be paid.

He said it was a model in need of disruption.

Some of my colleagues don’t like it when I use that term, disrupt. But welcome to the jungle.

We are a business that has to add value to the community in order to extract value back.

Jarvis set out three ways he thought that hyperlocal sites could make money in a difficult market space:

Developing new products and services to sell
Events (he cited US blogs running flea markets and buying club events)
The creation of sales networks

He only elaborated properly on the last of these, saying that individual bloggers are usually too small to interest city-wide advertisers but grouping together in a network can make them much more of a force to be reckoned with. “When it comes to journalism, he said, “we are better off doing things together”.

Philip John, director of the Lichfield Blog, blogged in March about the need for hyperlocal sites to build networks, writing that they bring about “a sort of collective consciousness whereby an improvement to one site is an improvement to all”.

With the likes of Addiply founder Rick Waghorn and Talk about Local’s Will Perrin acknowledging earlier in the day that just turning a profit as a local or hyperlocal blogger in the UK was rare, it was surprising to hear Jarvis talking about local blogs in US cities of 50,000–60,000 turning over $200,000 a year.

Jarvis admitted that is was a hard slog for hyperlocal sites to bring in ad money, but argued that there was a return in building networks. Giving AOL’s huge hyperlocal network Patch as an example, he said Patch was hiring a journalist for each of it 150 sites and paying them $40,000 a year. AOL wouldn’t be doing that if it didn’t think there was ad money there.

Asked whether journalists should be concerned about conflating journalism and sales – a recurring theme of the conference – Jarvis cited the example of Rafat Ali, founder of paidContent, who he said “had to go out and sell the ads at first, but retained his own moral compass”.

“It is probably our job as educators to guide students in these things”, he said, adding that in the end it is all down to credibility, which can be maintained even if a journalist is pitching in with the business side of things. Maintaining credibility is vital, he warned.

“If you lose credibility you lose your value.”

Also from today’s #citylocal conference: Hyperlocal ad sales and ‘the age of participation’

You can see a Chirpstory of some of the best tweets of the day at this link.

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UK national papers offering collective ad package

Marketing Week reports national newspapers across the UK are to join together to provide brands “with a collective advertising package that will see them sell ads on their own and rivals’ titles for the first time”.

The collaborative package offers brands dedicated space next to Wimbledon editorial in papers which are members of the Newspaper Marketing Agency, including broadsheets such as the Times, Independent and Guardian, as well as tabloids the Sun and Daily Mirror. Outlining the deal on its website the NMA says:

Simply choose a package to suit your target market and budget. In return, during the two week tournament, when all eyes will be on news from SW19, the NMA and the national newspapers that make up the NMA membership will serve you space alongside the cream of tennis journalism; in print or online.

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BBC College of Journalism blog: Google not to blame for journalism’s woes

Peter Barron, former editor of BBC Newsnight and now director of external relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Google, has responded to ongoing criticisms that Google News is profiting off the back of content form news websites. In a guest post on the BBC College of Journalism blog Barron repeats the argument that Google News signposts readers towards stories – claiming one billion click-throughs a month from Google News to news websites.

He also refers to Google’s new online payment tool One Pass, which he identifies as a way of supporting news organisations “in finding their way through the current challenges”.

We work with publishers which have chosen the ad-supported model to help find ways to engage readers for longer, making the advertisements more valuable. We have built the One Pass payment tool to make it easier for publishers which want to charge for their content online, giving them flexibility to choose what content they charge for, at what price, and how – day-pass, one-time access, subscription and so on. And Google is investing in not-for-profit organisations to encourage innovation in digital journalism.

The full blog post is at this link.

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Online advertising spend tops £4bn after 12.8% rise

March 29th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Advertising, Business

Spending on online advertising has topped £4 billion for the first time in the UK, as advertisers spend £1 in every £4 online, according to new research.

The findings, published today by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, showed that online advertising grew by 12.8 per cent, from £3.5 billion in 2009 to £4.1 billion last year. The digital share of the UK’s total advertising spend of £16.6 billion last year rose to 25 per cent.

Mobile advertising experienced 116 per cent year on year growth on a like-for-like basis, up from 32 per cent in 2009. Advertisers spent £83 million on mobile advertising in 2010, led by the entertainment and media sector.

Researchers explain the findings in this video:

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Newsquest ad revenue drops almost 8% but digital revenue is on the rise

February 1st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Business, Editors' pick

Fourth-quarter advertising revenues at UK publisher Newsquest were down 7.8 per cent year on year in 2010, while digital revenues were on the up, according to figures published by US parent company Gannett.

Gannett released its financial results for 2010 yesterday, including a detailed report of it’s fourth-quarter revenue.

The US company went on to describe Newsquest as “an internet leader in the UK”, claiming that its network of web sites attracted over 65 million monthly page impressions from approximately 8.8 million unique users in December.

You can read the full release from Gannett here…

Journalism.co.uk reported last week that staff at Newsquest titles in certain regions were understood to have been asked to take a week’s unpaid leave in response to “poor trading conditions”.

An internal Newsquest memo circulated in Wales, Gloucestershire, and the South Midlands said that revenues are “considerably below last year’s performance” and therefore action needed to be taken “to drive revenues and control costs sooner rather than later”.

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Ofcom to allow product placement on UK TV

December 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Broadcasting, Business, Editors' pick

Broadcast industry regulator Ofcom has announced that product placement will be allowed in UK TV programmes from 28 February 2011. The rules for paid-for references on radio broadcasts have also been revised.

Full news release on Ofcom’s website…

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paidContent: Northcliffe plans to tap into hyperlocal network for advertising revenue

The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) says its regional publisher Northcliffe will “tap its LocalPeople hyperlocal network” in an attempt to reach more advertisers online, paidContent reports.

According to the group’s preliminary results published yesterday, Northcliffe recorded several declines in the year ending October 2010, with underlying revenues down £16 million (six per cent), reported revenues have dropped by 8 per cent and advertising revenues were also down by 7 per cent.

Presenting the results yesterday morning, CEO Martin Morgan told investment analysts that the group is “trying to give ourselves a good shot at capturing local information markets”, paidContent reports.

“We’re going to be taking the technology platform we’ve built (for LocalPeople) and merging it with the ThisIs sites,” Morgan told analysts. “So local people can concentrate on finding a garage, finding a plumber in such a way that provides a long tail of local advertisers – people who aren’t advertising in the local press, we think we can get them in.

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Mail Online helps DMGT to significant increase in digital revenue

Underlying digital revenues from newspaper websites owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) increased by 54 per cent in the year ending October, due to the “growing success of its primary website, Mail Online” according to the group’s preliminary results published today.

According to the published reports, circulation revenues at the group’s Associated Newspapers titles, which includes the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and Metro, fell by an underlying two per cent while underlying advertising revenues were up seven per cent, said to have been driven by a “strong performance” from Metro.

Both the Daily Mail and Metro recorded their highest ever operating profit, the report adds.

DMGT’s regional arm Northcliffe recorded several declines, with underlying revenues down £16 million (six per cent), reported revenues have dropped by 8 per cent and advertising revenues were also down by 7 per cent.

Northcliffe: facing another tough year; UK advertising revenue in the first seven weeks down 7 per cent on last year, continuing year‐on‐year trend experienced in September (like‐for‐like decline of 8 per cent). Outlook for first quarter not expected to improve on this trend; will also be affected by higher newsprint costs; focus remains on reducing costs and new revenue opportunities.

Note: Underlying revenues are those adjusted for acquisitions and disposals made in the current and prior year.

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#soe10: Society of Editors conference looks on the bright side of life

November 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Events, Newspapers

John Mair is a senior lecturer in broadcast journalism at Coventry University. He reports from the Society of Editors conference in Glasgow, which finished this morning.

Britain’s top newspaper editors were smiling, in public at least, as they met for the annual Society of Editors conference in Glasgow under the slogan ‘Have we got good news for you’. Circulations may be falling, print products hemorrhaging readers and advertising, but the local and national editors here were not going to be downcast and they heard from a succession of speakers inviting them to be positive.

Russian oligarch and Independent and Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev said in his opening lecture that he was proud of the two papers (and the new baby paper, i) that he owned in Britain and would continue to invest in exposing corruption. “Investigative journalism is something I want to invest in more.” he said in closing.

Jim Chisholm, CEO of the National Readership Survey, and Stewart Purvis, former partner responsible for content regulation and standards at Ofcom and now at City University, kept up the positive mood with their rosy views on readership data and the potential of youview to transform TV viewing and open the way to local television.

Media commentator Raymond Snoddy chaired a session called ’It ain’t dead and we’re fixing it’. Two young editors from the North East of England, Darren Thwaites of the Teesside Evening Gazette and Joy Yates of the Hartlepool Mail, continued in the same bright vein, showing how by campaigning and getting closer to their communities they were able to arrest some of the decline in sales of their papers.

It was left to veteran editor Derek Tucker of the Aberdeen Press and journal, who announced his retirement after 12 years in the editorial chair last week, to bring the first note of negativity with what he admitted were “Jurassic views” on the digital future and an astonishing attack on university journalism courses and the students who came out of them: “Very few possess the street cunning and inquisitiveness that is the hallmark of good journalists, and it often appears that English is a second language.”

That generated much comment from the journalism educators (“well meaning amateurs”, Tucker called them) in the audience.

It’s not known how long the Monty Python ‘Always look on the bright side’ theme can be kept up in view of the continuing crisis in the media industries.

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How Conde Nast is dealing with iPad advertisers

November 12th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Editors' pick, Magazines

An interesting post on Rob O’Regan’s blog looking at how Conde Nast has developed best practice guidelines for advertisers who want to work on its iPad apps. To create the guidance for clients, the magazine publisher has been conducting extensive research on how readers are using and rating the apps:

To learn more about these early adopters, Conde Nast is combining its in-app and in-person research with usage software built into its apps. Results from the in-app survey showed that 80 per cent of users who downloaded a Conde Nast digital magazine app said the content and experience “met or surpassed their expectations”, and 83 per cent said they were likely to purchase the next month’s edition.

Full story on emediavitals at this link…

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